How to anodize a paintball gun

Written by adam smith
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How to anodize a paintball gun
Anodising your paintball gun can leave a nice finish. (paintball image by terex from Fotolia.com)

Many paintball players take pride in the design and look of their gun. Anodising paintball guns is a cheap way to customise 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. Anodising your gun at home is a much quicker and cheaper process. Remember to use extreme caution when anodising, as this can be a dangerous process if done improperly.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

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

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Instructions

    Disassemble Your Paintball Gun

  1. 1

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

  2. 2

    Separate the parts into piles of aluminium parts and non-aluminium parts. Only aluminium can be anodised.

  3. 3

    Clean the parts you wish to anodise. The anodising finish will not come out properly if there is any dirt, grime or grease on the aluminium parts.

    Apply Electric Current to Paintball Gun Parts

  1. 1

    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 spilt.

  2. 2

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

  3. 3

    Attach the aluminium 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.

  4. 4

    Mix up an anodising solution by combining one part water to two parts sulphuric 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.

  5. 5

    Attach the battery charger's positive lead to the aluminium piece with a clamp. Make sure the clamp firmly grasps the aluminium 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 aluminium piece to sit in the mixture for 10 to 15 minutes. The piece of aluminium will create bubbles. Once the aluminium piece stops bubbling, turn off the battery charger and disconnect all parts. Remove the paintball gun part and rinse off with COLD water.

    Colouring the Paintball Gun

  1. 1

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

  2. 2

    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 colouring. Remove the part when the colour becomes slightly darker than you want it to be.

  3. 3

    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 anodising process and will seal the colour onto the aluminium. This process lightens the aluminium piece slightly.

Tips and warnings

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

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