Ok. Thanks for all the positive comments. I did another little test tonight after posting that first batch of pictures. From the first batch, you will remember that it seemed that leaving the sleeve in the dye for longer periods of time....was not making the sleeve any darker. This is not intuitive, so I wanted to push the test even further.
Using the same pot of dye I used to make that very last sleeve in the first update, I decided to leave some sleeve soaking in the dye for an even longer period of time. Results below:
Same result. The sleeve on the left was soaked for 10 minutes. The sleeve on the right was soaked for two hours. They look identical. Leaving the sleeve soaking in the dye for longer periods of time does not have any impact on the color. Weird. It's like the dye is only penetrating so far, or so much, and it doesn't take that long to do. Ten minutes gets the sleeve as dark as its going to get.
More research online, ....and I found a guy that was dyeing motorcyle helmet visors...and he swore you needed to dip the plastic into simmering dye, then bring it out to rinse/cool, before putting it back in. He had to do this about 5 times before he got any coloring to stick on the helmet visor. So....here I go. I used the same piece of sleeve that is shown above on the right, and brought the pot up to a boil, and put the sleeve back in for about 3 minutes. Then I took it and rinsed/cooled for another 2 minutes for so. The I repeated the process. Picture below is after these two successive dips/rinses. It's getting darker!.....
So, I decided to do the same dip/rinse routine for 5 additional cycles, and lo and behold it kept getting darker. Here is what I ended up with (on the right), compared to the same one previously that had only been soaked for 10 minutes:
So it looks like I've learned that just soaking the sleeve in dye that had been brought to a simmer, achieves the maximum results its going to get within 10 minutes. You are wasting your time by leaving it in longer than that. If you want to get it darker after that, it seems like you have to remove/rinse, and then put back into boiling/simmering dye. The ony thing I'm unsure of, is if I would have gotten the same results if I had left the sleeve in the dye the whole time while keeping it boiling/simmering. I had previously turned the heat off the pot after getting it to the initial simmering and putting in the sleeve. For tomorrow's test, I'm going to do two sleeves in the same pot. One will be left in boiling dye for 30 minutes without removing....and one will be removed/rinsed/replaced every 5 minutes. We'll see which one gets more color to adhere to it. Also, I want to do some tests where one sleeve is soaked in denatured alcohol before dyeing, and one is not, to see if it impacts color. Also, at the suggestion of KylePDalton, we'll see if adding some vinegar to the solution impacts color. I've also read somewhere that acetone added to the mix can help color adhesion. Will need two pots going at same time for this test. Getting fun!
Here are pics of the 3 colors I've done now, compared to the original white state of the sleeve. The second from left one is the burnt orange color that took just 10 minutes. The third from left is the next pot of dye that has more purple coloring, but less overall dye,...and the sleeve was only soaked for 10 minutes. The 4th from the left is from the same pot of dye as the 3rd one, but was subjected to the rinse/repeat cycle for 7 additional cycles.
Once I've finalized on a prep process (alcohol?), dyeing process (continued boil or remove/rinse/repeat), and a dyeing additive (vinegar, acetone, etc.), then I'll go back and do several color combinations that I think look cool, and put the dye mixture recipe's online with some pictures. Then.....its on to tackling those ugly Noctua fans!
If anybody has any tips or suggestions on getting better dye adhesion on the sleeve, please pass it on. According to Eric at FTW, the sleeve is made of PET.Edited by cpachris - 4/16/12 at 9:20pm