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Bare Metal: Stripping Anodize From Your Aluminum Motor Mounts

You just got all your parts in and you’re itching to get your custom build together. But wait! Your board is one awesome color, but the hardware is all another, less awesome color! Well, shit. Now you’re going to have to go around all un-color-coordinated like some kind of unwashed heathen. I mean, just look at this gross injustice! Blue on lack and red? Blech!

blue anodized motor mounts on red board
blue anodized motor mounts on red board

But you know what would look amazing with black and red? It also looks amazing with just about any color combination. You’ll never guess. That’s right kids! Bare fucking metal. Aluminum in its natural state is a gorgeous tone of silver-ish grey that both reminds us of precision machinery and brings a neutral compliment to literally any color combination in use by your deck, box, trucks, and ‘thane.

So lets get the sandpaper and sit on the porch all day scrubbing that color off, right? NO! Stripping that awkward color anodize from your glorious aluminum hardware couldn’t be any easier. All it takes is a plastic dish, some Greased Lightning classic cleaner and degreaser from Lowes, Home Depot, or other store that carries gallons of concentrated cleaning supplies, a brush to stir and wash the parts with, and an hour or two of your time.

blue anodized mount clamps and pulleys soaking in greased lightning
blue anodized mount clamps and pulleys soaking in greased lightning

Do this in a ventilated area, you probably shouldn’t be breathing in concentrated fumes from cleaners like this. Out on the porch, open garage, or back yard is fine. Grab a small rubbermaid or other tupperware type food container with lid. I used an old Gladware sandwich box that had seen its last day in the dishwasher. You’ll also want to use some rubber gloves; this stuff can eat away at your hands a little. Set your pieces in the bottom of the container so that they aren’t touching each other. Touching isn’t a bad thing in this case, its just better to let the fluid flow around the parts. Now slowly pour in the Greased Lightning until it covers the tops of the parts. Don’t dilute with water, it won’t work.

Now comes the fun part! Are you ready? Wait about 10 or 15 minutes for the stuff to do its thing, then grab the brush and start stirring things around. Then wait another 10 or fifteen minutes and do it again. While stirring, you can also pick up each piece and brush the anodize-colored fluid out of the cracks and crevices to make sure its getting in there and stripping all the color. Repeat this process until the fluid is all blue and the metal is not.

At first the Greased Lightning will start to tint blue, then get bluer and bluer. As you stir, you’ll see it coming off of the metal. For me the entire process took about an hour and a half, but it could take longer depending on the parts. You may even decide to pour out blue greased lightning and pour in some fresh out of the jug once or twice during the process. This is entirely up to you. It does help speed up the process, and allows you to get a better idea of how much has been stripped already since you can see the parts better.

The final result is kind of amazing. Once the parts were out of the bath and rinsed off and dried, i sanded them a little to make the edges a little shinier and to add texture to the surfaces. Then I sprayed them with a satin clear coat and bam:

 

bare metal pulleys and motor mount clamps, anodize removed
bare metal pulleys and motor mount clamps, anodize removed

Gorgeous natural aluminum tone pulleys and mount clamps for your fine electric skateboard. What more could you ask for?

bare metal mounts look better on a red board
bare metal mounts look better on a red board

Maybe some day I’ll get the nerve to tear down those motors and give them the same treatment. In the meantime, enjoy your new color free hardware.

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