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Exploring the Pros and Cons of CNC Machining Aluminum Parts with Hard Anodizing



Hard anodizing is a specialized electrochemical process that enhances the surface properties of aluminum components. As a CNC machining facility focused on custom OEM services, understanding the nuanced aspects of hard anodizing is crucial for informed decision-making in material selection and finishing processes.

Exploring the Pros and Cons of CNC Machining Aluminum Parts with Hard Anodizing 1


Characteristics, Advantages, and Disadvantages:


1. Characteristics:

   - Increased Hardness:

Hard anodizing significantly elevates the hardness of aluminum surfaces, providing enhanced resistance to wear and abrasion.


   - Corrosion Resistance:

The anodized layer acts as a barrier, improving the material's resistance to corrosion, making it suitable for harsh environments.


   - Improved Lubrication:

The porous structure created during hard anodizing improves lubricant retention, benefiting moving parts.


   - Electrical Insulation:

Anodized aluminum exhibits insulating properties, making it suitable for electrical applications.



2. Advantages:

   - Enhanced Wear Resistance:

The increased hardness results in improved wear resistance, extending the lifespan of components.


   - Corrosion Protection:

Hard anodizing provides robust corrosion protection, vital for components exposed to corrosive conditions.


   - Dimensional Stability:

The process generally maintains the dimensional integrity of parts, crucial for precision machining.


   - Improved Aesthetics:

Hard anodizing offers a range of color options, enhancing the visual appeal of components.



3. Disadvantages:

   - Brittleness:

The process may introduce brittleness, especially in certain alloys, impacting the overall mechanical properties.


   - Limited Color Options:

While offering various colors, the range is not as extensive as regular anodizing.


   - Complexity and Cost:

Hard anodizing is a more complex process, leading to higher processing costs.


Exploring the Pros and Cons of CNC Machining Aluminum Parts with Hard Anodizing 2

4. Detailed Application Scenarios:

Hard anodizing finds applications in various industries, particularly when increased hardness and durability are essential. Common scenarios include:

   - Aerospace components exposed to harsh environmental conditions.

   - Automotive parts requiring resistance to wear and corrosion.

   - Electronic components benefitting from electrical insulation.

   - Precision machinery with critical dimensions and moving parts.




5. Suitable Materials and Film Thickness Range (Table):




Hard Anodizing Film Thickness Range (microns) 




















7075 and 2017 aluminum alloys have high hardness, and the harder they are, the more challenging it is to achieve significant thickness in hard anodized coatings. For normal hard materials, it is best to achieve a thickness of 30-35μm in hard anodizing; going thicker may lead to issues such as sand spots and peeling.


As for 6061 and 6063 aluminum alloys, the maximum thickness achievable in hard anodizing is around 50μm. Going up to 60μm may result in surface cracking.



6. Considerations for CNC Machined Parts:

When considering hard anodizing for CNC machined parts, attention should be given to:

   - Material Selection: Choose alloys suitable for hard anodizing, such as 6061 or 7075.

   - Dimensional Accuracy: Account for potential dimensional changes during the anodizing process.

   - Masking Critical Surfaces: Mask off critical surfaces to preserve tight tolerances.

   - Post-Anodizing Machining: If required, plan for any post-anodizing machining with appropriate tools.





Q1: Can hard anodizing be applied to other metals besides aluminum?

A1: Hard anodizing is primarily applied to aluminum and its alloys. While it can technically be applied to other metals, the effectiveness may vary, and aluminum remains the primary candidate.


Q2: Is hard anodizing suitable for parts with intricate geometries?

A2: Yes, hard anodizing can be applied to parts with intricate geometries. However, consideration should be given to the complexity of masking and the potential impact on dimensional accuracy.


Q3: Does hard anodizing affect the conductivity of aluminum components?

A3: Hard anodizing introduces insulating properties to aluminum components. While this can impact conductivity, it is a consideration primarily for components where electrical insulation is critical.


Q4: What post-anodizing treatments are compatible with hard anodized parts?

A4: Post-anodizing treatments like sealing or coloring can be applied to hard anodized parts. However, these should be carefully considered to avoid compromising the enhanced properties of hard anodizing.

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