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"Hand Painted Anodizing"

November 28, 2017

Q. Hello to all,
I am a gun engraver/artist who specializes in Custom Paintball Guns which are 6061 Aluminum. In the past 25 years everything has been anodized with solid colors, fades, or splashes which is cool, but I am looking to branch out into "Hand Painted Anodizing" my art on the guns. Abel Reels hand paints their stuff and I was hoping that somebody can point me in the right direction. My friend has a small basic Anodizing Shop along with a Powder Coating Facility so I can paint my items there after prep but I need info on the pigments used, type, and how to prep them. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Mark Davis
Hobbyist - Las Vegas Nevada

"Rainbow Trout" pattern by Abel Reels
December 2017

A. Hi Mark. Yes, Abel Reels does amazing work. I'm sure artistic talent, experience, and a few trade secrets acquired from that experience are involved.

Colors on anodizing are achieved with what we usually call "dyes" for immersion or "inks" for silk screening and hand painting, rather than paints. The parts are anodized, then the dye/ink is absorbed into the microscopic "drill hole" pores of the anodizing, then the anodizing is sealed to hydrate and swell the aluminum oxide compounds to seal off the tops of the pores. These aluminum oxide compounds are almost transparent so you see the dyes even though they are sealed away.

In conventional dyed anodizing, the components are dipped into a dye tank, but for artistic dying like this it seems that the dye would have to be applied either with brushes and air brushes or via a water transfer process. I am aware of water transfer being applied to other materials, and you can see youtube videos about it, but whether water transfer sheets are available or can be made with anodizing gel dyes instead of paints, I don't know. Good luck.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

December 2, 2017

A. Try to find special anodising ink. These inks are excellent, suited for use with brushes, rollers, airbrushing, screen and pad printing.Hope it helps and good luck!

Goran Budija
- Zagreb, Croatia

December 3, 2017

A. German company, anodising ink seller:

Hope it helps and good luck!

Goran Budija
- Zagreb, Croatia

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