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Old 11-29-2001, 02:22 PM #1
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homemade annodizing or silver plating?

ive seen some sights that tell you how to do home annodizing jobs, but none are specifically targeted towards paintball or tell you how to do a fade annodize. Also, does anyone know any sites that tell you how to silver plate aluminum? i have a chemstry project and would like to silver plate just a small part of my gun (back block maybe) for the project. thanks
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Old 11-29-2001, 03:42 PM #2
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Anodizing is easy what your seem to be stuck on the dyeing process. It doesn't matter if it's specifically geared towards paintball, it jsut needs to be geared towards aluminium (rather than titanium or coppers but copper anodizing is pretty similar). THe sites should've told you to use between a 15-30% concentrated sulfuric acid aqueous solution. The part you're anodizing is the anode (wow seems obvious huh?) it's the positive electrode in an Redox reaction. USe a lead (or aluminium) electrode for the negative. Don't make it too small. Make sure these electrodes don't touch. Use a glass tank, or rubber bucket to use as a bath. What you're doing is electrolysis. You run electricity through this solution (an electrolyte since it conducts electricity as a result of hte ions present. THe Sulfuric acid splits into 2H+ and SO4-- ions). Now the electricity essetially breaks down water into H+ and 2O-- (THe reaction is actually more complex but I won't go into that). THe H+ (anions since they are positive) are attracted to the cathode and pulls electrons from the cathode and then combine with each other forming H2 gas. THe O-- (cations) are atracted to the positive anode and combines with the CLEAN aluminum (make sure you strip the part and get all of the alumina (aluminum oxide) off). And forms aluminum oxide crystals that are structurally bound to the alumium (thats why it's impossible to chip and hard to remove. A tip lye (sodium hydroxide) can remove anodizing...and flesh . Make sure you can supply enough current to the part. I think that it's 1.4 Amps/sq inch, but I don't know. You don't have to adjust the amps it will draw what it needs. When it's done it won't conduct electrity anymore (you can check this to tell if you've completely anodized your part but you don't have to when the part is fully anodized the reaction won't happen anymore). Get a good battery charger. Now you need to rinse the part with water that is not hot (the surface is left wiht fine pores, hot water will seal them.) When it's well rinsed dying can begin. Alot of hobbyists use Rit dye since it has small particles and can get into the pores. HTe problem with Rit is that it's an organic dye and will fade if left out in direct sunlight (well alot of paints do this too just look at the roof of your car.) TO seal just put it in boiling water.


I told you this jsut to make sure that you have hte correct info. I am not responsible if you **** up or hurt yourself. Fade dying I haave never done. But How I think it's done is by dyeing the part to the darkest color in the fade and place in partially in an oxidizing agent (like bleach) and start pulling it out once it's fading to the rate you want it. I don't know how they do multicolored fades. It's probably the same process but it steps w/ different dyes and masking. Maybe you should find an anodizing book to help you. YOu can't anodize cast aluminium so do even try your Tippmann. Cast aluminium has a high silica content. (I've heard of people actually getting it to take and it looks like ****.)

I've never done electroplating but I knwo hte theory behind it. Most electroplating is done but making the part you want to plate the cathode (the negative, opposite that it is in anodizing). THe metal you want to plate to the part is the solution you use in the bath. Specifially you use a metal salt (I'm not sure but I think that they use silver nitrate [AgNO3)] for silver palting but I maybe wrong). Actually you don't have to use a meatal salt (chrome plating uses chromic acid). THe solution just needs to be an electrolyte. Salts make very good electrolytes. It doesn't matter whath the anode (i think msot people use lead) is unless you plan on plating more than a few mils. THen the anode needs to be the metal you want to plate out. (As you plate the metal ions in the solution are used up to be plated, as plating goes on if the anode dissolves (metal ions are pulled from it) to replace the ions pulled out of hte solution to be plated.

Again I take no responsibility for what you do. For some more words of caution, be careful (duh), where gloves, a rubber apron and goggles. Never mix water into a consentrated acid solution. Get help from your chemistry teacher, he could get you supplies and maybe help you do it.
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Old 11-29-2001, 04:00 PM #3
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nice post man, however, if i am not mistaken.....

cations = positive ions
anions = negative ions

other than that, you know your ****!
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Old 11-29-2001, 05:10 PM #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by brainv58
nice post man, however, if i am not mistaken.....

cations = positive ions
anions = negative ions

other than that, you know your ****!
I think that you're right. Cations are attracted tothe cathode and anions are attracted to the anode. You what I hate? THe anode is positive in redox electrochemistry reactions but is negative in votaic systems. I guess it's negative in voltaic systems since that is where the the electrons are coming from but positive in electrochemistry because the anode has a lack of electrons. But doesn't electrical energy flow the opposite direction (positive to negative) of actual electron flow?
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Old 11-29-2001, 05:25 PM #5
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thanks

alright thanks ive never tried to annodize something before. It sounds really hard...is it?
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Old 11-29-2001, 06:29 PM #6
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nah, im pretty sure electricity goes from neg. to pos.

not sure about all that crazy $hit youre talking about tho

u in college?
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Old 11-29-2001, 07:52 PM #7
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The first thing to do is to get the following things together: First on the list is the most expensive item: a 6 to 12 volt battery charger. This item is what might make this too expensive for some paintballers. I (and most other hot rodders) already have one, for my car. If you don-t, then you will need to pick one up. They run from $45.00 to $110.00 depending on model, functions, etc. While it may seem like a lot, it does have other uses. (You could charge a battery, for example.) =) The next item, though not that expensive, will take some effort to find: battery electrolyte, a.k.a. sulfuric acid. This should be available at a battery wholesaler for about $2.00/gal. To make the negative ground, you will need some aluminum ground wire and aluminum-foil. The wire can be found at an electronics store for about $35/spool, and you should have the foil in the kitchen. If you happen to be out of foil, you can pick up some more at the store when you go to buy the last item for this project.

No super-special chemicals or solutions necessary to make the colors; just plain-old fabric dye. (Something like Rit dye, for about $5.00.) Rit offers something like 30-40 different colors, so you have quite a number of choices for what color you want your parts to be. An optional item is nitric acid: about $25.00/2.5 L. (This is used to clean parts prior to anodizing, but there are some cheaper alternatives. See end notes.) This is available at chemical supply stores. Should you not be able to find any, you can try to get on the good side of the high school science teacher. He may help you out since you only need a few ounces.

Safety Precautions:
There are a few precautions I want to go over to help keep you from blowing up the house or trashing the garage. First of all, do not mix or store your anodizing solution in a glass container. Something could happen to make it break, and most households are not equipped to deal with that kind of spill. You also don't want to knock over the container, so a stable, rubber bucket makes a good choice. You will also need to be certain that the part you want to color will fit in the container without sticking out of the solution, and without touching the negative ground in the bottom of the container. Any acid that you don't use, keep in what it came in, or an old plastic bottle, like a bleach bottle. You can also store your used solution this way for doing more parts later. (Make sure that there is absolutely no bleach left in the bottle. Acid and bleach make chlorine gas. Very bad. Don't breath. Poisonous.) Safety also applies to the nitric acid, but in a different way. It is imperative that you label and keep track of this stuff, as it is a stronger acid than sulfuric, and more dangerous. The breakage/spill problem is not as likely since you won't have that much around. (Unless you bought more than a few ounces from the chem store.) The last note about the acids is to mix properly when adding acid and water. Always pour acid into water, never the other way, and do so slowly, being sure to mix in well. There is a reaction taking place and it releases a lot of energy. During the anodizing process, you will be running electricity through a weak acid solution. This creates hydrogen (just like charging a battery) which is very flammable. This stuff burns at the speed of thought when ignited, so do be careful. (Read as Remember the Hindenburg?) Make certain that there is some way to ventilate the project area, and DO NOT let any sources of ignition near the project area. Other precautions you should take include safety glasses, rubber gloves, and maybe some sort of drop sheet under the area.

(Editor's Note: While Mr. Bowes recommends not using a glass container, we highly recommend use of glass within a plastic container to help keep the acid from eating through plastic, but keeping the glass less breakable in the event the container falls over.)

Preparations:
One of the most essential things you need to do in order to get even color over the whole part is to be sure that the part is absolutely clean. You want it free of all contaminates, from dirt to the oils in your skin. This is where the nitric acid and some rubber gloves will help. A solution of 1-2 ounces of nitric acid in a gallon of distilled water will allow you to clean the surface in preparation for the anodizing. Aluminum oxidizes very quickly when exposed to air, so the easiest way to keep it clean is to clean it just before you are ready to start working on the piece. (You should rinse the part with distilled water before you put it in the next acid solution.) Other options are carburetor or brakes cleaners, or other similar degreasers. Soap and water will work also, or cleaners like Simple Green. These are cheaper, a nitric acid wash is the best. (You decide, it's your money.) =) Make your negative ground with the aluminum wire and foil. Shape the end of the wire into a paddle shape and cover the round part with the foil. What you want to do is create a flat, round shape to sit on the bottom of the bucket, with a lead that comes up out of the bucket. You will clip the battery charger's negative lead to the wire that comes out of the bucket. When you are ready to start, you will want to mix up your immersion solution. In your rubber bucket, combine the sulfuric acid and water to come up with a solution that is about 30% water. (1 part water to 2 parts acid.) Place the paddle in the bucket and attach the negative lead. Then attach the positive lead to the part, making it an anode, and immerse it in the solution. (Remember that the two leads the paddle (cathode), and the part (anode) should not touch.) This is the best time to turn on the charger: once the part begins to fizz, leave it in there for about 10-15 minutes. After about this time the part should no longer conduct electricity. (You can also use an ohmmeter to check conductivity, but this is not needed.) Turn off and disconnect everything, and rinse the part in cold water. DonĀ Āt use hot water! YouĀ Āll find out why in the next section.

A couple of notes:
I have read some other procedures that say it is important that the copper lead from the charger does not enter the acid solution. The article says nothing about this, and shows a picture with the lead right in there. It may take some trial and error to find out if this is a problem. It wouldn't be a bad idea to get some scrap aluminum and play with it before you start anodizing your paintgunĀ Ās parts. You can check out the above, as well as pick the colors you like best. If you test out some colors, youĀ Āll also learn just how long or short you need to work with the color solution.

Color:
So now it doesn't conduct electricity, and is ready for color. It's been rinsed and waits eagerly to change to a new look. Don't wait too long to do the color, due to that oxidizing thing again. You want to mix up a strong solution of dye and water, in a container that can be heated. The solution needs to be at low heat, such as on the stove, so bread and cake pans work well. Again, you need something that will fit the whole part, but it's okay if it touches the bottom this time. I would recommend turning parts every few minutes just to make sure that you get all-over color. Inform your mom or wife that the pan can (and will be) washed out. It is important that the heat be low enough. If the solution gets too hot, you will seal the surface, and it will no longer take any color. (See, told you to rinse it in cold water!) Leave it in the dye until the part is slightly darker than you want it. The next step is to seal the surface of the metal in clean, boiling water. This will leech a bit of color from it, thus the slightly darker color in the previous step.

End Notes:
It is important to realize that the process described above will yield only one color on your part. At this time, I haven't found out how to do any of the splash type of anodizing. (That's okay though, it looks really ugly anyways.) =) Should anyone happen to figure it out, I suggest you submit it to Warpig so they can put it up for others who like it.

Also, this process is for aluminum. I don't know how, or if, it will work on other metals. (I doubt it.) Anodizing only works well on rock metal like bar or sheet stock, as opposed to castings. If it was forged or machined, it should have the density to take color through this process. I figure this shouldn't be too big a problem with the guns, but just thought I should let you know about it.

Something to consider when looking for a charger, is how many amperes it puts out. Without getting into any mumbo-jumbo, anodizing relies on 10 to 40 amperes per square foot. For small brackets and such, this is no problem. The larger parts in a gun however, may need the higher levels of amperes. The other note about part size, has to do with how long you leave it in the solution. Above it said 10-15 minutes, but that is for a smaller part. The larger parts may not only need higher amperes, but more time as well. I would recommend an ohmmeter, but again, I have one already.

So there you have it. Quick, fairly easy, and not too expensive. If you don't have the charger, then your first anodizing session could cost as much as sending your gun out to be done. But, then you can do it again for much less. Or do your buddies stuff. Or talk them into chipping in on a setup for all of you to use. We all know ways to help make things cheaper.

HOLY CHRIST IT WAS A FILE ON MY COMP TOO BIG TO UPLOAD AND MY COMP IS SCREWED SO THERE IT IS.
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Old 11-29-2001, 07:55 PM #8
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nice reply youngster.....you know your stuff....keep up them AP classes ;-)
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Old 11-29-2001, 09:43 PM #9
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That looks like the anodizing info from warpig to me. You don't need 60% sulfuric acid solution. I think after about 15% the sulfuric acid starts to ionize in the water. Anyway I use about 25-30% and it comes out fine. I'm not in college, I'm a junior in high school. I actually haven't taken any AP classes yet. I plan on taking AP Physics, AP Chemistry and AP Calculus BC next year though (I move around alot so I'm a little behind most of hte other smart kids, a lot of them are talking hald their classes at the comunity college, like Calc 3). I made up for some of it by doubling up on Physics and CHemistry, skipping Algebra 2 and going straight to Honors Precalculus. All that anodizing and plating stuff I learned on my own though.
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Old 11-29-2001, 09:51 PM #10
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Re: thanks

Quote:
Originally posted by Sealpointman
alright thanks ive never tried to annodize something before. It sounds really hard...is it?
Anodizing isn't hard. It's easier and cheaper than plating. You just need to get a hold of the supplies. ANd remeber the aluminium must be cleaned, stripped, and don't even touch it with your hands, wear gloves. Make sure the anode connection is good, I've seen this at some anodizers websites and I do it too. Get some aluminium welding rods or wire, tap a hole (or use an already tapped hole) and screw the welding rod into it. Safety is number one while using this corosive and caustic chemicals. If it seems like a big undertaking go buy a book on anodizing for amatures/hobbyists. Don't practice on your gun right away go buy or "get a hold of" some aluminium for practice. 6016 is supposed to be ideal for anodizing (I don't know, I don't actually know what kind of aluminium I have or have anodized).
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Last edited by Schaden : 11-29-2001 at 09:53 PM.
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Old 11-30-2001, 12:01 PM #11
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One part concerns me, keeping the two connections seperated, what about putting a plastic screen between the part and the bottom connection? just to be safe. otherwise Im fired up, i already have the charger (Somewhere) im gonna try it on my maverick, hell i got 6 bodies for it if i screw it up. A black and red maverick pump would look kick arse.

Of course you guys know the part needs to be polished before or it will not have a glossy finish, right?
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Old 11-30-2001, 02:00 PM #12
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haha that gives me an idea, how many of you have worked with scanning electron microscopes and have used gold plated stubs/specimens? why not gold plate gun parts too?! wouldnt be too hard to do with the smaller parts in the machine (its name escapes me at the moment).. only thing bad is, after a few games the gold plating rubs off and it's time to repeat the process.

would make for a nice "showcase" gun though
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Old 11-30-2001, 02:25 PM #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by -=DFOX=-
One part concerns me, keeping the two connections seperated, what about putting a plastic screen between the part and the bottom connection? just to be safe. otherwise Im fired up, i already have the charger (Somewhere) im gonna try it on my maverick, hell i got 6 bodies for it if i screw it up. A black and red maverick pump would look kick arse.

Of course you guys know the part needs to be polished before or it will not have a glossy finish, right?
THe finish is has is the finish you'll get. If you want it shiny you need to get to work on it and polish away (just make sure to rinse it clean.). About the plastic screen, i wouldn't cuz platic doesn't hold up well in acid. Put the cathode on the wall/walls of the bath container if you're that worried. ANd I suspend the part anyway so I don't worry about that.
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Old 11-30-2001, 10:02 PM #14
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thanks

thanks for the informative replies, but has annyone ever done a FADE anodize? Thats what im really trying to accomplish, thanks again.
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Old 12-01-2001, 07:56 PM #15
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Re: thanks

Quote:
Originally posted by Sealpointman
thanks for the informative replies, but has annyone ever done a FADE anodize? Thats what im really trying to accomplish, thanks again.
Experiment with my idea first, I think it would work for fades. If it doesn't try to find a book on decorative anodizing.
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Old 12-01-2001, 09:51 PM #16
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sorry

bear with me, but what idea are u talking about? your first post? i dont see how that directly relates to fades, can u elaborate?
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Old 01-06-2004, 09:04 PM #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by meanelvis
haha that gives me an idea, how many of you have worked with scanning electron microscopes and have used gold plated stubs/specimens? why not gold plate gun parts too?! wouldnt be too hard to do with the smaller parts in the machine (its name escapes me at the moment).. only thing bad is, after a few games the gold plating rubs off and it's time to repeat the process.

would make for a nice "showcase" gun though

Gold plating is harder than you might think. Silver is very easy to plate in comparison. First off, just to dissolve gold (VERY UNREACTIVE) you need aqua regia, which if I remember correctly is two parts nitric acid and one part sulfuric. This must be used in a pretty high concentration and is very dangerous, not the kind of stuff you want to be messing with even in a lab (without someone with you for safety reasons) unless youre really sure about what you're doing. In addition, when actually electroplating, I think you need potassium cyanide (again serious poison) to help it go smoothly. Maybe some of the buffs can help me out where im wrong... but the main point to take from what im saying is that gold plating isnt easy.


That isnt to say that I havnt wanted to try myself, it would look pretty cool.



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Old 01-07-2004, 04:32 PM #18
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Look at my how-to, fades you simply need a stepper motor, I have one but these things are so f-ing complicated that I have not hooked mit up yet.
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Old 01-07-2004, 04:44 PM #19
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um any moor with a speed controll will work.
steppers require a controll board (wich i custom made)
and have holding torque that is a bit different then a normal motor.

doing it by hand works very well, just kinda a pain if your doing more then one gun at a time .
its .1 amp per sq in, look in the post on the top somthing like anodizing questions or somthing,, i posted the exact specs of what needs to be ther for quality ano, the info is from books i listed, experience, and advice from several industrial ano companies
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