Customs: help with dye...PLEASE!

Discussion in 'Creative General Discussion' started by gericault, Aug 27, 2008.

  1. gericault

    gericault Well-Known Member

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    Hello to all...I've been trying my hand at dyeing good ol universe Powerglide, thanks to the example of Frenzy_Rumble, and it's been rather spotty, in more ways than one! I could definitely use some help, and maybe the discussion can clarify dyeing problems for others out there...

    I've been trying using acetone in the mix, but am wondering if it's really necessary given how dangerous and toxic the stuff is, especially if one is nuts enough to heat it...My personal experience as an artist says BAD IDEA, but I did it anyway...any opinions out there pro or con the acetone?

    Also, I'm wondering how long to leave pieces in the bath...some people have said that it only took them a few minutes to colour their pieces while others talk about several hours...others still mention dunking for twenty seconds or so at a time, which seem way too short in my experience...And if it is several hours, does the bath have to be reheated repeatedly?

    I should add that I HATE WARPING PLASTIC! It's fixable but a pain in the neck!

    A final lesson to impart; acetone in the dye bath does not destroy the electronics in the toy as long as you let it dry long enough. At first I thought I'd completely ruined my Powerglide, but a few days later the sounds were fine...

    Anyway, I thought I'd throw this out there and see what opinions would come up...
     
  2. REDLINE

    REDLINE longer days, plz? Veteran

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    have you not read our tutorial on dye?? YES use Acetone. There's a reason everyone uses it, it increases the ability of the plastic to absorbe the dye material.
     
  3. gericault

    gericault Well-Known Member

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    yep, read everything I could find, but information differs (such as the question of time, like I mentioned, which effects the problem of warpage...), and I noticed that some don't seem to use acetone. Given the toxicity of acetone, it's an important question to know just how necessary it is, especially given that younger fans may want to try dyeing project themselves.
    It's a matter of clearing up the information to make it safer and easier!
     
  4. REDLINE

    REDLINE longer days, plz? Veteran

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    my method, as outlined in the tutorial, has never warped a part for me.
     
  5. cefuroxx

    cefuroxx Well-Known Member

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    can we get some pics of how the piece looks and of the setup you are working with? Also what type of dye are you using, like what brand, what colors and what quantity?
     
  6. ShadowStitch

    ShadowStitch vectoring the hate plague

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    I used Redline's tutorial, with a little experimentation on some junkers before settling into the main event.

    I use a quart metal pot and strainer from goodwill, a packet of Rit dye, and about two teaspoons of Acetone, per batch. The acetone is VERY necessary to get any kind of thorough results, and at the concentration I use it in, it won't hurt anything... and since it accelerates the dye sublimation process it lessens the chance of heat warping.

    I put all that together in the pot, stir it up well, then set it on my stove and heat it until I see the surface start to bubble...not a high ROLLING boil, just..SLIGHTLY bubbling. Then I take the pot off the heat and immediately put the pieces (in the strainer) in the dye, and submerge them, bobbing them up and down a bit to get all the parts under the dye and release any air trapped in the parts. (ALWAYS put the acetone in BEFORE the dye is heated, and NEVER let it overflow to the burner as it is HIGHLY flammable.)

    Once I have it off the heat, I let the pot sit there and cool, sometimes stirring the pieces around a bit by jostling the strainer. After it's cooled to the point where the dye is no longer steaming and it's warm enough to touch, I take the pot to the sink, take the strainer out, and rinse the parts really well with cold water while the pot re-heats.

    Rinsing them lets me check to see how far the dye has penetrated, and check for warping. Usually on the first run or so, I can see if I've got the parts too hot, and if they'll take many more dunks -- certain plastics warp at much lower temperatures, and PVC plastics tend to accept the dye a LOT easier than the traditional ABS, and hard transparent polyplastics like windshields seem to repel the dye entirely at any temperature I'm comfortable with. The time difference people have reported is likely due to the different plastics. PVC joints suck up the dye in 1-2 dunks, while hard ABS can take 7-8.

    My first couple of attempts had some tragic warping, even with Redline's useful tutorial (Sorry man) but upping the acetone content a bit, and being paranoid about the heat while minimizing consistent time parts spent in the hot water seems to have helped. I let em soak for longer times in less hot water, and that's helped me manage a few more near-perfect dye projects without any significant noticeable warping.

    Also, the only color I've used thus far is Black, since black is pretty uniform. The results I've seen for other colors have been less than satisfactory, with marbling, swirled, uneven colors, and inconsistent tinting. I'm not sure if I want to try any others, but I have some ideas that more or less demand it, so we'll see.

    Like any creative process, you gotta experiment to learn how to best achieve your desired results with the equipment you have. Pick up some junkers and try the individual pieces before you settle on a technique for important stuff...
     
  7. gericault

    gericault Well-Known Member

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    Hi Shadowstitch; thanks for your detailed process. This sounds like a good plan, and I'm going to try my hand at dyeing Animated Lugnut next.

    I redyed Powerglide taking into account your post, and it's working better. I probably had the dye mix too hot, and added a bit more acetone this time. I'll try and post a few pics, because I found that using a mix of red and crimson dyes actually gives the plastic a colour that almost matches the original G1 Powerglides colour; no extra painting xcept for details!

    Any thoughts out there about what colour to die the "white" sections that would look good?

    By the way, Redline, I didn't mean to insult your tutorial, it's simply that when someone is first trying this kind of thing, specific questions tend to pop up that might not have been obvious to those with experience. I've done some art teaching in the past, and believe me, you can't take anything for granted when talking to a novice!
     
  8. REDLINE

    REDLINE longer days, plz? Veteran

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    none taken, man. I just wasn't sure you'd read it at all from your first post.
     
  9. TonyzCustomz

    TonyzCustomz Am I doin it rite? TFW2005 Supporter

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    I followed the tutorials just yesterday and I ruined two awesome Animated Figures. Almost wanted to cry, weird thing was I only had them in for like 10 seconds and when they came out it was like molten plastic. Ima stick to good old prep and prime from now on.
     
  10. REDLINE

    REDLINE longer days, plz? Veteran

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    you must've had your water entirely too hot man. the trick is, by the time you mix in the acetone and then dye adn stir, and then add in your parts, the water is nowhere near boiling point anymore.
     
  11. frenzyrumble

    frenzyrumble Banned

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    well, i've read the water/acetone needs to boil in order to dissolve the dye properly.

    the trick that helped me (which isn't in our tutorial) is to do very short periods of submerging, then letting that particular part cool, then repeat process over and over again until desired coloration.
     
  12. TonyzCustomz

    TonyzCustomz Am I doin it rite? TFW2005 Supporter

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    Yeah I figured, but it wasn't boiling. I even used the same dye as you(liquid one) also I wouldn't have to worry about dissolving anything just mixing.

    I think I was to impatient as I wasn't waiting for them to cool, I was just dipping, rinsing, repeating.
     
  13. Terradives

    Terradives Well-Known Member

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    You're using too much acetone, if your parts melted in 10 seconds. I haven't seen too much heat could cause that quick of a reaction.
     
  14. gericault

    gericault Well-Known Member

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    I agree with terradives; just a few capfulls of acetone is more than enough. And dye doesn't need violently boiling water to disolve completely, so no need to overdo it!
     
  15. anovasinn

    anovasinn THE PAINTS MUST FLOW!!!

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    dude you are not alone when i killed soundwave everybody told me i had it to hot this was true on the first soundwave BUT NOT THE SECOND ONE. on the second one the temp was far lower and i still warped not as bad as the first but still very noticeable. even though i have seen members like plowking successfully dye animated i am leary of trying it with my starscream
     
  16. gericault

    gericault Well-Known Member

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    Think I overdid the acetone as well....the colour looks great, but several joints have broken as I tried to reassemble him....plastic must have been weakened by the heat and the acetone...
    Grrrr...Powerglide seems to be a jinxed kitbash!!!
    Now, do I go buy a new one, or try and cobble the little $#?@@ back together...

    Here's a good question, though; at a guess, how many packages of powder dye does one need to equal the strength of the liquid dye? Up here in Canada, I've only found the powdered RIT dye at Walmart...
     
  17. TonyzCustomz

    TonyzCustomz Am I doin it rite? TFW2005 Supporter

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    Me too. I have good enough paint that I don't really need to bother with this process to much of a gamble, for me at least anyway.
     
  18. Terradives

    Terradives Well-Known Member

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    I prefer the powder dye myself. I've seen no differences between liquid and powder. An easy way to store your dye is in mason jars. Wal-mart in the states seels a 16 pack for of jars for 6$. And then next time you want that color popit in the pan add a little acetone then heat it up!
     
  19. SMOG

    SMOG Vocab-champion ArgueTitan

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    I always hear different accounts of toys melting when placed in the boiling dye bath, or how other people put their figures in for long periods of time with no melting at all. The thickness and particular grade of plastic could play a part in this, but nobody ever seems to address this important fact...

    Some of you may remember this from junior high school science class... THE BOILING POINT OF WATER IS NOT A FIXED TEMPERATURE. The melting point of plastic, however, is.

    Water boils at different temperatures, based on the local air pressure, usually a function of elevation. Water boils easily (at lower temperatures) at high altitudes, and needs more heat to boil at low altitudes.

    Hence if you live near sea level, your water will be much hotter once it starts to finally boil... and so your plastic will be more likely to hit it's melting point if you leave it in too long. People who live at higher elevations above sea level will be able to leave their plastics in longer because their boiling water is not necessarily as hot.

    So using the boiling point of the water is not a reliable way of discerning how hot the water is. If you live in New Orleans, you won't be able to rely on the dyeing times of someone who lives in Boulder, Colorado, etc...

    Not sure just how much variation we'd see based on altitude, but those few degrees could make the difference between a good dye job, and a warped hunk of plastic.

    SCIENCE! :) 

    zmog
     
  20. REDLINE

    REDLINE longer days, plz? Veteran

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    the trick is you DON'T place your toys in boiling water!!!!!!!


    You bring it to a boil, then remove the pan from the heat. By the time you add in the acetone, and then the dye, and mix it up good, it will be far below the boiling point.
     

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