How to Anodize a Paintball Gun

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Many paintball players take pride in the design and look of their gun. Anodizing paintball guns is a cheap way to customize your paintball gun and make it unique. You can send your gun away to a company, but it can be expensive and take several weeks to get it back. Anodizing your gun at home is a much quicker and cheaper process. Remember to use extreme caution when anodizing, as this can be a dangerous process if done improperly.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Goggles
  • Large pot for boiling water
  • Cake pan
  • Stove top
  • Rubber bucket
  • Aluminum paintball gun parts
  • Rubber gloves
  • Fabric dye
  • Aluminum foil
  • Paintball gun tool kit
  • Aluminum ground wire
  • Sulfuric acid
  • 6-to-12 volt battery charger

Disassemble Your Paintball Gun

  • Disassemble your paintball gun. Every paintball gun is different, so consult the manufacturer's directions.

  • Separate the parts into piles of aluminum parts and non-aluminum parts. Only aluminum can be anodized.

  • Clean the parts you wish to anodize. The anodizing finish will not come out properly if there is any dirt, grime or grease on the aluminum parts.

Apply Electric Current to Paintball Gun Parts

  • Place the rubber bucket on a sturdy surface such as a kitchen or garage floor or kitchen countertop and place some towels around the bucket. The mixture that will be placed into the bucket can stain and damage flooring or countertops if spilled.

  • Create a negative ground with the aluminum foil and aluminum wire. Strip a six-inch segment of the aluminum wire and form it into a round shape. Cover this round wire shape with aluminum foil. Place the round shape into the bottom of the rubber bucket and leave the other end of the aluminum wire hanging out of the bucket.

  • Attach the aluminum wire to the negative terminal of the battery charger. While every charger is different, this can usually be done by clamping it onto the terminal.

  • Mix up an anodizing solution by combining one part water to two parts sulfuric acid. Pour this into the bucket, being careful to not splash. The amount of solution you use depends on the size of the paintball gun pieces. The mixture must be deep enough to cover the part placed in the bucket.

  • Attach the battery charger's positive lead to the aluminum piece with a clamp. Make sure the clamp firmly grasps the aluminum piece. Submerge this piece in the acid solution and do not allow the positive and negative leads to touch. Turn on the charger and allow the aluminum piece to sit in the mixture for 10 to 15 minutes. The piece of aluminum will create bubbles. Once the aluminum piece stops bubbling, turn off the battery charger and disconnect all parts. Remove the paintball gun part and rinse off with COLD water.

Coloring the Paintball Gun

  • Mix together your fabric dye and some water inside of the cake pan. Consult the fabric dye manufacturer's recommendations for mixture proportions.

  • Place the paintball gun piece in the cake pan and make sure it's completely covered by the dye solution. Turn on the stove to a low setting and turn the part every few minutes to ensure even coloring. Remove the part when the color becomes slightly darker than you want it to be.

  • Remove the paintball gun part from the cake pan and place it into a clean pot full of boiling water. This is the final step of the anodizing process and will seal the color onto the aluminum. This process lightens the aluminum piece slightly.

Tips & Warnings

  • Try anodizing a piece of scrap aluminum first to ensure that you are able to follow the steps properly.
  • Only aluminum can be anodized.
  • Anodizing can cause fires and serious burns if done improperly. Never attempt to anodize an object if you do not feel comfortable.
  • Always wear eye and hand protection.

References

  • Photo Credit paintball image by terex from Fotolia.com
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