Sorry its been so long since last post everyone. I've gotten started on my summer build, and it has been monopolizing some time. But I've gotten to the point in the build where I'm going to actually do some dyeing, so I need to finish up this little experiment. I had an epic fail last weekend doing another dye bath test. I was trying to test three things as part of the test:
1) Is high heat really needed?
2) Can we dye heatshrink?
3) Can we dye other items that are more heat sensitive?
So to do the test, I prepared my dye bath the same way I've been documenting in this thread. But instead of putting in the sleeve (and other items) right away and keeping the pot simmering, I turned the heat off and let it cool slightly, and THEN put in the items. To make it fun, I threw in some pieces of white heatshrink. It wasn't shriveling up right away, so I was hopeful that this might work. I also took off the fan blades on one of my Noiseblocker fans. These blades are made of the semi-transparent plastic, kind of like a plastic spoon. I use a lot of plastic spoons in my dye bath testing, and I already knew that they could easily start getting soft and changing shape under the heat I am using. So, if the dye will take under much less heat, this will expand the number of items I could use with my dyeing.
After 15 minutes it became pretty clear that this wasn't going well with the sleeve. They were still fairly white. At this same point under higher heat, they would have been taking the dye already. After 30 minutes, not much more change. I finally gave up after an hour. The sleeves were still fairly white (they had a crimson tint to them, but nothing very dark). Since the heatshrink was at the bottom of the dye bath, I really couldn't phish it out to see if it was taking the dye. But I could phish out one of the molex connectors I threw in, and it was taking the dye well under the low heat. The Tygon tubing was also taking the dye well. It was just the sleeve, and the fan blades that were not taking the dye under low heat.
I went ahead and turned on the burners underneath the dye baths to heat the liquid. It got pretty hot, but this started to soften the plastic on the fan blades, and the finish bubbled in a few places. I simmered everything for an hour or so, and took the items out. The heatshrink, of couse, had tightened up completely, and was unusable. Sleeve looked ok....but that wasn't really the purpose of this test.
So even though I don't have anything cool to show you, I did learn that you MUST keep your dye bath simmering if you want plastic sleeve to accept the dye. Live and learn.
I've got two dye baths going right now, where I'm varying the volume of dye I add to each dye bath. I should have pictures and results posted by tomorrow. See you then! And you'll find my build log link in my signature. Hope you'll follow along and see the results of all this dye work I've done over the last two months. I've got my case, and the sleeve samples I've done look fantastic inside of it. Here is a teaser pic of the case!