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De-Anodize Aluminum : test on EK-ACF fittings Rings

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This is a new experiment guys,
My watercooling loop components are mostly Black, including the tubes ( EK-ZMT) & the angled adapters, as I wanted more metal stuff to match my mod theme, I thought about painting the fittings rings metallic grey, mine are : EK-ACF Fitting 12/16mm - Elox Black
they look like this :

At the beginning I did put them in paint stripper, scrub them a bit, even with metal brush the paint didn’t come off , I thought it was some sort of epoxy paint or may be ceramic, & started to loose hope

then I get to EK website to check the material details & found that these are Anodized CNC machined Aluminum :


Important : some other sizes & models  are made of brass :

in general , i guess EK used Aluminum for the coloured versions & Brass for Nickel plated versions, seems logic, Nickel plating works better on copper & brass,  there is no reason to nickel plate aluminum anyway…

I thought about using hydrochloric acid to remove the Anodized layer, then I changed my mind, it may generate corrosive vapors & I have too much metal stuff that can rust in the workshop, so I decided to use caustic Soda «  NaOH »  ( Drain cleaner)  :



Note :  for my protection  I wear gas mask & gloves, & keep my head away from the chemical.

A cup of water & two teaspoons of NaOH , then immersion for 2 minutes maximum :
a few seconds & it starts bubbling,
 important : this chemical is destructive to aluminum, I have to check the piece each 30 seconds , I am mostly worried about the fine threads, if they’re eaten up, they become loosy  & the ring is no more usable)

-  as much as the solution gets darker from the  dye  decomposition  it becomes saturated &  less effective, I was renewing the chemical for each 5 pieces to de-anodize. 

then I put the pieces in water immediately , they continue to bubble for some time, that’s because the soda’s reaction did’nt end, it is possible to add some acid to the water to neutralize the Soda’s alkaline reaction faster, a few drops of white vinegar did work for me.


Right out of the water, the pieces have a bit tarnished, this is no big deal, I attach them to a plier or a vice & scrub with fine brass wire brush to remove that tarnished surface :





this is a picture comparing the tarnished & the scrubbed side :


then the top circle part was dry sanded from 400 to 1500 grits then polished ( this is optional for perfection)


Finished parts :



Note : as a test, I did polish the sides of one piece, for more shiny look , but it didn’t bring any noticeable improvement, the wire brush job is good enough.  


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1 minute ago, InsolentGnome said:

Yep, this is a good way to remove anodizing.  I've done it on some motherboard heatsinks.  Great for getting the color out of all the tight spaces.  

It was my first time doing this,
those nasty chemicals are scary :wacko:  ..... the result is pretty satisfying though.

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