Image of Anodized Aluminum Jump Rings

Why Anodizing is a Challenging Process

Image of Blue and Black wallet chain and box

Each time jump rings are made it’s done in a batch. A batch can contain anywhere from a hundred to thousands of rings at one time. Each batch of rings starts from a wire that is wound around a mandrel, cut, and finally anodized (colored). Not all batches of color are a perfect match. Anodizing is a tricky process, as there are many variables that make this coloring process a challenge.
 
I am no expert at anodizing and in fact I did consider doing it myself at one point. However, it requires a lot of chemicals, jigs, various tanks (baths), and electricity in order to make my own colors. It would also require a safe area to it in since it deals with chemicals and electricity. Not to mention the learning curve I would have to go through in order to be successful at it too! I quickly decided that anodizing wasn’t for me and that I’d accept the fact that my supplier might get the color spot on and every once in awhile the colors can slightly differ. This isn’t their fault, it’s the nature of anodizing.
 
When anodizing aluminum, there are things to consider such as timing, mixing colors, and over-dying. If you want  strong colors then the timing of a submersion bath, and the strength of the dye mixed have to be taken into account. This can take a few seconds to color anodize aluminum. However, a weaker mix can take up to a few minutes. As you can see, these variables need to be considered when matching colors.
 
Let me be clear, I’m not throwing my supplier under the bus here. I’m simply sharing the reason why the color in the chains I make may slightly differ from time to time. Did you know that this also happens when dying fabrics and yarn? I had no clue until I went with my mom to the craft store to buy yarn. Mom was looking at colors she loved and because she’s an avid crocheter, she buys anywhere from 2-4 skeins (balls of yarn) at a given time. When she is looking for a particular color in of yarn, she also looks for the batch number. Batch numbers tell her which batch the yarn was made from, so that she can pick two of the same colors from the same batches to insure that they will match.
 
As you can see, anodizing is a lengthy process that requires some knowledge in chemistry, color theory, and timing. Formulating color mixes, understanding the timing of a submersion bath to achieve desired colors is challenging, and why batches can differ.

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