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  1. #1
    Mod Squad SDDuc996's Avatar
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    My Experience Hydrodipping With A DIY Kit. (Long Read So Pee Now And Grab A Sixer.)

    123
    First of all, I wish I had documented this by taking pics as I went along. I was fighting for time however and was lucky to dip almost all the pieces I wanted to.

    (Sorry Tommy, no pics)

    I bought a kit from http://www.hydraphics.com/catalog/ and they were great to deal with. It was just under $100 and they even took my calls (I believe one was even on a sunday) when I initially couldn't get it to work. Included in the kit was everything one would need to dip whatever parts you desired to dip including a DVD which I HIGHLY ENCOURAGE you to watch. The only thing it didn't include was a bin to dip your stuff, and a hose to wash the activator off and some other small items listed below.

    WATCH the DVD! He goes over how to do everything you will need from taping the parts, prepping your tank/bin, even the proper "rolling" technique for optics and other round items.

    Extra parts needed:
    -Thermometer
    -Fish Net (No Dana your fishnets will not work.) One for an aquarium and I already feel I spent too much time elaborating this.
    -Kitchen Timer
    -Masking Tape
    -Respirator Masks
    -Paintbrushes
    -Testors Modeling Paint (that match the colors you will use.)
    -Enamel Thinner

    The Process

    Stencil Sheets:
    Before doing anything, lay out all your parts and cut the amount of stencil out that will be needed to cover the part, and then some. The last thing you want to do is be stingy with the sheet, and dip your stuff and have blank, empty spots. The sheet does expand in the water a bit, but do yourself the favor of giving yourself just a little more stencil. I placed masking tape on the edges and marked which side was up and what part that sheet went to. Do NOT get these wet as they will start coming apart! Set these aside.

    Roughing Up:
    Strap your blindfolded parts naked and into a chair in a dark room, with a single source light hanging above. Beat and repeatedly ask questions. Deprive the parts of food and water for awhile and make fun of the parts' small penis. Afterwards, take the included green scrub pad and scuff all parts needing to be painted. After holding alcohol soaked rag to your face and breathing deeply for 5 minutes, wipe excess dust off with rag. Do this with gloves as you want to limit the amount of oils left on the parts.

    Painting:
    The kit included a small can of paint (approx 4-5oz) that you poured into an included jar and mixed with an activator which was also included. The ratio escapes me (3 parts paint:1 part activator?) but it's on the can, and repeated on the DVD. There is a plastic housing the jar will screw in to, but first you have to set the spray nozzle. I don't want to mangle the instructions, so watch the DVD for exactly how to do it. Though simple, I found I couldn't screw my air can all the way up without it automatically spraying so I backed it down a few turns and there was play/wobble with the can. No big deal, but a little annoying. Before screwing the paint jar onto the housing, there is a plastic tube will have to be attached to a brass nipple underneath the housing, and the jar then screws in to the housing with the tube hanging down inside the jar.
    Have hanging hooks already set up with your parts hanging and ready for the basecoat. The kit includes nitrile gloves, but it's better to have more on hand. Spray your parts with the basecoat, adding more paint to the jar if needed for more parts. Keep in mind, don't pour too much paint as once you mix it with the activator, it'll harden and be wasted (much like your wife before marrying you). Save the hanging hooks as you will be using them at least two more times. Let dry 24hours.

    Dipping prep:
    Set up your dipping area outdoors or your wife will murder your face. The reason is because the activator fumes are pretty bad, so even if you're using the included mask (I bought two respirators from HD) the fumes do build up. Be sure to chew gum so you don't smell Soy Sauce the whole time wearing your mask and dipping parts.
    Ideally you want to be able to fully submerge (with a little room on the sides) the largest part you will dip, and make sure it's deep enough to fully submerge it as well. Buy yourself a thermometer so you can gauge the water temp. YES THIS IS IMPORTANT! I believe they said the optimal dipping temp was approx 90-100 degrees F. Ensure there are no water bubbles sticking to the inside of the bin. These have a nasty habit of coming up under the stencil.
    You will also need to be able to hose off the acitvator on the dipped part and want the gentlest stream as possible as the stencil is still delicate and will come off if the water pressure is too high. You will feel the slick finish of the activator while you are gently rubbing the water into the parts to remove that slick activator. I actually did this in the closest bathroom as our rental house doesn't have a garage sink (Obviously not designed by a man.) This is also a good time to reuse those hooks used to air dry the painted parts. You might also want to invest in a fish food net to remove the stencil debris. The bigger the better as this stuff comes apart easily and you don't want the debris to mess up your dipping process.

    Dipping The Parts:
    I grabbed all the parts and stencils, and put them on boxes in my garage with each part being on top of the stencil sheet. Prep the bottle/sprayer for use with the activator and test to ensure a good spray is coming out. The correct way is also on the DVD so I will not attempt to remember it and recite it here.
    After checking the water temp, crossing myself, and decapitating a chicken while pantsless, I began.
    I don't feel you really need to wear gloves for this parts, but attach a rag to your belt loop as you will be using it to remove the activator off your hands if you need to open doors to go inside as I did. It's so slick that you will not be able to open the door, and you will cry until you wife opens it for you. Here's how my process began, I placed the part next to the bin, and gently laid the stencil in with one side first, then laying the rest onto the water ensuring the correct side was down. Start the kitchen timer as you should wait a minute before spraying the activator and dipping the part. Laying it down one side first limits the amount of bubbles that will be underneath the stencil. WARNING!!! If you are sloppy and water gets on top of the stencil, YOU HAVE FAILED! The water will cause the stencil to rapidly deteriorate before it's ready for the activator. Grab another piece, and try not to let water get on top.
    When the timer goes off, spray the activator onto the sheet. Not too much, but definitely not too little. Here's a good way I found that I was actually using the correct amount of activator. I was looking at the stencil in the bin at a little above eye level, from the inside of the garage and looking to the outside. This let me see the matte finish of the stencil turn glossy because of the backlighting from the sun outside. (Does this make sense, or should you pour yourself another three fingers of "that makes sense honey" juice?) When it turns glossy, it's ready.
    Stop farting around, and dip your part at an angle and slowly. After you fully submerge the part, swirl it around in the water to remove excess stencil, remove from water, (you can carefully remove the masking at this point too) and go to the rinsing area to remove the activator. Remember not to be too rough while rubbing the activator off with water and your fingers. When the part no longer feels slick, hang it to dry. You will probably notice airbubbles on your parts which mean either you didn't blow the airbubbles out from underneath the stencil sheet, you didn't roll the parts at an angle to minimize the airbubbles, or too much activator was sprayed on. The airbubbles will burst as you are rinsing the activator off, leaving little round circles. We will address that later.

    !!!Important!!! Try and dip your parts no more than 24hours after you painted them!!! 24hours later is the ideal time to dip as the porousity of the base coat begins to harden and become resistant to stencil adhesion. After your parts are all dipped, and hung to dry, wait until dry and proceed to the next phase. Fixing the imperfections of your dipped parts as well as your broken childhood.

    The DVD will tell you to keep a small piece of stencil sheet as you can wet an area with a paintbrush, swirl around and get that color on the brush and apply to the hole's in the stencil on your parts. This isn't a bad idea, and that's what I did. I wish I had the forethought to have bought the Testors Model paint found at Hobby shops like Michaels or wherever you buy your silk floral bouquets. Though I haven't done it, it would seem easier than going the route I did, as well as covering those areas up better.

    Clear Coat:
    The included clear coat is an automotive grade so it's supposed to be pretty robust. You mix it and the activator in the jar, and then it's very straightforward and much like the coating of the parts for basecoat. Unfortunately prior to this stage, I had dropped the jar/housing shattering it and spilling almost all of the rest of the activator prohibiting the finishing of the last of the parts I had to dip. This also limited how many parts I could clear coat with the included jar and activator.

  2. #2
    Mod Squad SDDuc996's Avatar
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    Things I Learned:

    Masking
    -It's a good idea to tape over serial numbers. Very important so the aholes from LOGSU don't complain to their WEPS. I also used pinstripe tape to tape over the numbering inside the rail slots (T12, R8, L14, B10 etc...) After the initial dip, I removed (ALL) the tape before rinsing the part off.

    Stencil Sheets
    -Make sure after taping all the edges, you mark the correct side up, as well as the correct stencil for the correct part. DO NOT LET IT GET WET UNTIL READY!

    Dipping And Prep
    -Make sure you have all day to do this. Do NOT try and attempt it two hours before the movie. It will not happen. Have all the stuff you need, because it sucks when you run out of something and your trip to the store will be longer and include more than what you needed.
    -Practice on something you don't need to be perfect. Though funny and tacticool, your wife's favorite shoes are not a good candidate.
    -When spraying the stencil sheet with the activator, not enough will cause the sheet to "resist" the parts and make smooth adhesion difficult. Too much activator will cause the stencil sheet to slide right off the part, as well as little bubbles. There's a fine line, and unfortunately one that will have to be learned.
    -This is probably the most important part of all: I felt REALLY confident I could get a part in "one roll/dip". That means, I thought all it would take is one masterful dip performed by me. I'm a competent guy, no problem. Bullcrap! There's a reason why the pros get paid to do this. They've done so many, that they know how to do it, how much activator to use, how long to wait, how to dip so no bubbles appear, how to roll it correctly, etc... There are parts I wished that I took the time to tape one side, dip, let dry, then tape the other side and dip. If you have an item that is at least three sided or roundish, do yourself a favor and tape one side, dip, dry, then tape and dip the other. Yeah it may kinda come out in one dip, but you will know. And it will mock you. Take the time, don't rush, and do it right.



    When I go home, I will try and dip more parts. I will also take pics of the parts I did (mangled) before redipping.

    All in all, this was fun to do, and gratifying when I saw my stuff in Desert Digi. If you don't have the time, equipment, don't feel competent, and just have an excess of money, by all means, send it to the pros. If you're a do-it-yourselfer, a cheapskate, or you're just bored and have $130 burning a hole in your pocket, give it a shot.

    I hope this helps.

    Disclaimer: Do NOT hold the alcohol soaked rag up to your face and breathe it in. I was being facetious.

  3. #3
    Senior Member cjt50's Avatar
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    Wow DUC, nice write up. Good read!!
    "Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt." - Pres. A. Lincoln

  4. #4
    Mod Squad oif0709's Avatar
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    Excellent thread. What pattern did you go with? Since there is no pics we will just have to assume its some type of pink camouflage or something. Thanks for taking the time for the write up. Ill refer to it if I ever take on that project. Im sure it'll help others.

  5. #5
    Junior Member Bossfoss's Avatar
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    Thanks, I like DIY, but for something like this I think I would opt to pay the extra jinglees to have a pro do it. Loved the part about the closet lol, well written.
    Psalm 127: Unless the Lord builds the house its builders labor in vain.

  6. #6
    Wise Member Warpdrv's Avatar
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    Now Post Some Pics....
    I am Rick from Pawn Stars.....

  7. #7
    Administrator Tommys229's Avatar
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    This is clearly a fabrication of the truth. Your lies will not be tolerated Francis! I say this because there are no pics and thus it did not happen!
    ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

    Team A.P.W.R. - Tactics and Training Chief

    I'm an idealist, with an assault rifle

  8. #8
    I like Turtles bigdog2003_99's Avatar
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    nice man, good write up! and +1 pix or it didnt happen

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  9. #9
    Mod Squad oif0709's Avatar
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    I think he's to embarrassed to show us his pink camouflage.

  10. #10
    Mod Squad SDDuc996's Avatar
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    Man I hate you guys.

    Sabah.

    (Dari for "tomorrow")


 
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