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I'm going to try my hand at home anodizing. I got some equipment from Caswell, as well as things I got at home, plus a how to guide. Any suggestions or common pitfalls to avoid?

Obviously safety is a huge concern and proper handling and PPE are essential.
 
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As you mentioned, safety is essential. Well ventilated area, it will generate some noxious fumes.
Clean and degrease your parts, then clean them again. The more pristine your part the better the results.
Have more distilled water on hand than you think you need.
Have baking soda on hand to neutralize any spills.
Make sure all of your electrical contacts with the cathode and your part (anode) are secure and solid. Aluminum, Titanium or Lead are the only things that are acceptable for the cathode or connections in the acid bath.
Always add acid to water. Never add water to acid.
Make sure any container you use for the lye etching bath or acid will not react with the chemicals.
Try to keep your acid bath cool. It will heat up during the anodizing process.
Find a good 720 Rule calculator online to help with time as well as voltage and amperage settings on your power supply for the given surface area of your project.
Battery chargers can work, but a power supply with adjustable voltage and current is better.
 
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What are you anodizing? If is a common gun part, there are a couple gunsmithing/anodizing forums that may have the surface area dimensions
 
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Went over to a buddy's and sandblasted the lowers.

20220523_173416.jpg

20220523_175059.jpg

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Now about ready to anodize and dye
 
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As someone who has worked in a professional anodizing ship, everything @Rkangel has guided you on is on point.

I've also used the Caswell kit. It's a bit finicky about your power source.

Before you dunk anything of value, get some 6061, prep it as you would your regular part and do some practice runs. YMMV depending on how consistent your voltage, dye and time are. Environmental conditions affect this as well.

CLEAN everything. When you think you have it clean, clean it again. If you don't go through a few gallons of denatured alcohol, you haven't cleaned it enough! (A bit exaggeration, but it gets the point across!). Oils (including from your fingers) will give you a spotty finish. Always wear gloves and change them often.
 

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