Anodized Phone Mount For Your Bike

There’s a slew of apps out there for tracking your bike rides. If you want to monitor your ride while using the app, you’ll need it securely affixed to your bike. That’s where [Gord]’s No Dropped Calls build comes in. This aluminium mount was hand milled and anodized, which gives it a professional finish.

The mount consists of 3 parts which were machined out of stock 6061 aluminium. The plans were dreamt up in [Gord]’s head, and not drawn out, but the build log gives a good summary of the process. By milling away all of the unnecessary material, the weight of the mount was minimized.

Once the aluminium parts were finished, they were anodized. Anodization is a process that accelerates the oxidization of aluminum, creating a protective layer of aluminium oxide. [Greg] does this with a bucket of sulphuric acid and a power supply. Once the anodization is complete, the part is dyed for coloring. If you’re interested, [Gord] has a detailed writeup on home anodization.

The final product looks great, puts the phone within reach while biking, and prevents phone damage due to “dropped calls.”

17 thoughts on “Anodized Phone Mount For Your Bike

  1. That’s great work on the anodizing and a nice write up on the process. However, it looks like so much effort that rather than encourage me to try it I’ve decided it’s just not worth anodizing at home.

    1. I’ve always wanted to try anodizing myself. His setup looks like it too quite some time, and significant effort to get to where it is now. For the little jobs I plan on (eventually) doing, I think I am going to go the car battery and clothing dye route. If it looks horrible, oh well. At least it will benefit from the surface hardening qualities, and it won’t cost me to have some local shop run it.

      1. I have personally built an anodizing setup. Buckets, dyes, power supply, bubblers, titanium fixtures, the whole 9 yards. The results now are great. However, it didn’t start out that way at all. There is a huge learning curve to it and it’s more art than science. You can get really great results in small parts for a modest monetary investment but going beyond that, forget it. And you pretty much need to be CNCing actual quality stock. Castings don’t work very well. The time it takes to screw up, try something new and adjust for the next run is the biggest hurdle. Between (at bare minimum) etching or cleaning, anodizing, dying and sealing, each run lasts at least 3 – 4 hours, so any changes you make don’t immediately propagate or become visible right away. Plus, getting detailed data on process chemistry pH, created anodize layer thickness, titrations, specific dye chemistry, dye concentrations, acid levels, pore size and the like nearly all needs specific equipment. Then you have to deal with the waste and have safety equipment and preparations for that.

        Don’t get me wrong, the results can be fantastic. But it’s not quick, cheap or easy to do well if you have never done it before and are starting literally from scratch. A basic setup that cuts a lot of corners and only does small parts but still anodizes is doable with modest care and knowing what you are doing but even then be prepared to screw up a bunch and shake your head as to why things didn’t work at all due to some seemingly odd bug or quirk for the tenth time.

        1. I hate when people say this about technical subjects that are well understood. If its more art than science you are doing it wrong cause you clearly are not following engineering principles.

          1. It’s science in the sense that most of the chemistry and interactions are generally solved problems although the job shop anodizing industry in particular seems awfully closed off about sharing specifics, lest their competition “get ahead” somehow? The art part still arises from the fact that unless you measure *everything* about the process (and there are dozens of important variables), you have to develop a sense about why things break the way they do and what steps are needed to correct said changes if you are trying to achieve a consistent result. Some things are easy to measure, others are significantly harder. Particularly in real time.

            If you just want to “generally make something anodized” and don’t really care about thickness or specific colors or pore size then you can get there fairly easily as the major items are well known. The art starts to come in when you try to run a 3000 amp, type two, 2000 gallon sulfuric tank that is anodizing scores of different alloys at the same time with constantly increasing dissolved aluminum levels with inconsistent constant amperage output because you cannot realistically measure the surface area of every single 3d part you are trying to anodize so you are “getting it done” versus “doing it right”. Which is how many but certainly not all “professional” shops operate.

            While there may be general standards as to what most anodizing shops must be doing, there is significant variation in exactly what specific steps are taken at each location to actually create anodized parts.

    2. I used non-anodized aluminium on bikes and after years of being exposed to the elements it was unaffected. All I did to it was polish it with a fine sandpaper, and the air itself does enough anodizing it seems.

      Not that there is anything wrong with anodizing and coloring though, the coloring and finish on this holder looks real nice. I’m just not so convinced of how necessary it actually is for those not up to the process.

      1. Anodizing is more for abrasion resistance than corrosion resistance. The aluminum oxide layer that forms naturally is very strong but very very thin. By anodizing you make that layer much thicker.

  2. The reason I came up with an alternative anodizing process that does not use battery acid is to make it easier and less dangerous. HAD was kind enough to post this in 2011. There is of course, a tradeoff between the use of the correct procedure and my hack. But, it may make it easier for simple “at home” anodizing. The one change that I would make now is that I would invest in a professional dye rather than RIT. Thanks HAD: http://www.observationsblog.com/sciencetechnologyexperiments/anodizing-and-dying-aluminum-without-battery-acid

    1. Ken – thanks for sharing your ideas.

      I have heard about your method and it appears to be exactly the same except it uses SBS as an acid though, and everything else appears to stay the same as other “traditional” type two anodizing methods?

      What tradeoffs are there that you see? SBS is actually more expensive than sulfuric and also needs to be dissolved, instead of simply mixed, which from what I understand is a pain to actually do unless you heat things or don’t mind waiting a weekend or so. It’s a powder, so that makes it easier to transport and possibly obtain? But what downsides, if any, are there that you have seen?

      Everything else about your method stays the same though compared to a “normal” type two anodizing run? And I agree, RIT dyes are terrible for actually dying parts. They are “watered down” and buffered and not actually just dye, which is what you actually should be using. A little bit of dye goes a long way if you are doing bucket anodizing.

      1. Hey Waterjet,
        I have found it easier to find the SBS as it is used in swimming pools as pH reduction and with no maintenance batteries there is less availability, at least locally. It dissolves in cold water as the percentage is fairly low. I have also received many comments from Europe where apparently a license is needed to buy H2SO4. For me, it is also a lot safer to store. But being a half-salt of sulfuric acid the results are quite acceptable. That is my take on the upsides and I have seen no downsides. But, I also do a limited amount of anodizing and was generally happy with the results. Thanks for the comment, Ken.

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