Well, Color Me Anodized

This one ties in my last post, if you care to read that one. I actually wrote this one first, but then “misplaced” it on my laptop for a while, somehow. Anyway…

So, you know those little carabiner clips? Like the one you probably have on your key chain? The ones that rock climbers use to clip to their rope and such? You know how you can find them in all kinds of crazy colors? Have you ever wondered, “Gosh, how do they make this metal pink?” (Or green or blue or whatever.) I always assumed is was just something that was added after the fact, like some kind of fancy paint or something. Well, we all know what assumption does*.

Turns out that “fancy paint or something” is actually infused into the metal itself. (Also, just for the record, those colorful carabiners are made of aluminum, for the most part.) How does the coloring get inside the aluminum, you ask? Through a process called “anodizing”. I don’t 100% understand how it works, but it’s something to do with putting the completed aluminum object is a special solution and adding electricity.

How that does what it does, I have no idea—everything I know about it, which admittedly is not much, I learned from a website offering aluminum anodizing services that I randomly came upon a few weeks ago. Hooray for the rare occasion when I happen upon information that can actually answer a legit question I previously had in my noodle.

And hooray for anodizing, I guess…

* It makes an @$$ out of you and umption.

If Anodizing Was Easy, Everyone Would Do It

So, “hard anodizing” is a thing, apparently. I came across a company’s site that touts their hard anodizing capabilities, and I naturally assumed they meant it was a difficult process. Maybe it is, I suppose, but it turns out what they meant by “hard” was that it’s physically harder than regular anodizing, like how a diamond is harder than a cheeseburger. It’s probably not that extreme a difference; just how hard regular anodizing is, I haven’t the foggiest, but it’s clearly not as hard as hard anodizing.

Despite being punch-drunk from lack of sleep, and regular drunk from copious rum, I did manage to retain some information from this site. Anodizing, you see, is the process of adding a protective coating to things made of aluminum. Color can also be added in anodizing. You know those little red or blue or green or yellow or whatever color carabiners, the little spring-loaded clippy things people use to keep their keys or other stuff on? Those are made of anodized aluminum.

You know, one of these thingamabobs.

You know, one of these thingamabobs.

Still, as usual, I prefer willful ignorance, as life is generally more amusing that way. So I’m gonna go with “hard anodizing” being the more difficult version of regular anodizing. What makes it more difficult? For one, there are rabid badgers everywhere in the facility. Two, the instructions for the anodizing machine are written in Sanskrit. Three, all workers must wear pants that are either two sizes too small or five sizes too big (their choice). Also, the anodizing plant is inside an active volcano and run by a tribe of cannibals. And the soda machine in the break room charges 85¢ a can and the only option is room-temperature Mello Yello.

THAT, my friends, is hard anodizing.