Another test! For this test, my main purpose was to see if the vinegar part of the dye bath solution is required at all. An earlier test showed that when I used a lot more vinegar than the directions indicated, that it kind of browned the color. Now...I want to see if its required at all. I'm also going to show some sleeving and tubing at 3 different time intervals, so you can get a feel for how much darker it gets when you leave it in the dye bath longer. I'm also going to throw a fan blade into one of the pots, for my friend carmas.
Here is a broad view of the setup:
The large pots on the back burners are 8 quart pots and are what the dye bath goes in. I start by adding 4 quarts of water to these, and start heating it up.
While the dye bath water is heating, I add my vinegar. 1/2 cup to the 4 quarts of water. For this test, the dye bath pot on the left got NO vinegar, and the one on the right got the normal 1/2 cup.
The small pot on the right front burner is what I mix the dye carrier solution in. Just put about 1/2 cup water in the pot and bring it to a boil. Then add 2 tbls of dye carrier. The dye carrier is the thick milky white substance that I varied in the last test. It immediately turns the water opaque and white.
After its simmers for a minute, dump the dye carrier solution into the big dye bath pot in the back. This stuff even turns the 4 quarts of water in the dye bath opaque and white. Just 2 table spoons of dye carrier has this impact on 4 quarts of water. Strange stuff.
The small pot on the left front burner is what I mix my dye solution in. Same as the dye carrier, you add about 1/2 cup or 1 cup of water to the pot and bring it to a boil. Then you add you dye to this small pot and simmer it for a minute. Measure your dye carefully and exactly. Small changes can have a large impact if you are trying to create a certain color.
After it has simmered for a minute, go ahead and dump it into the large dye bath pot, that already contains the water, vinegar, and dye carrier solution.
Now after you make sure your dye bath is simmering (you want little percolating bubbles) you can add your items to the dye bath. Here is a picture of what I'll be adding today. 3 lengths of MDPC-X white sleeve, 3 lengths of Tygon 3603 tubing, and I threw some white fan blades from an Effizio fan into one of them, and a couple pieces of heatshrink.
On to the results! Here is a picture of all the items coming out of the dye bath. No vinegar batch on the left, and normal vinegar batch on the right:
There is no discernible difference between the two. So....I won't spend a lot of time with closeups comparing both batches. Instead, I'll focus on showing differences in what the sleeve and tubing look like at different time intervals. The fact that the dye took fine without vinegar in the batch is good. One less variable to worry about when trying to tweak it to get a perfect color. The vinegar may matter for some types of plastic (maybe polyester?) but it doesn't impact sleeving or tubing. I'm going to continue adding the 1/2 cup to 4 quarts of water...but won't stress about it.
Here is a close-up of the 3 lengths of sleeve from one of the pots. The only difference is how long the sleeve was in the dye bath pot with heat. From left to right, we have 30 minutes, 60 minutes, and 90 minutes. Click this one to get up close.
We had already proven previously that the sleeve gets darker the longer you leave it in the pot. You stop getting a lot of change after a couple of hours, but if you are trying this at home, you should start checking your sleeve after 30 or 45 minutes, and continue to simmer it until it reaches the darkness level that you want.
Here is the tubing samples. From left to right, we have 15 minutes, 30 minutes, andn 45 minutes. Tubing doesn't need near as long as sleeving to accept dye.
You can see that it is still farily translucent at 15 minutes, and by the time you get to 45 minutes, its pretty tough to read the writing through the tube. You can decide what type of look you want for your tubing, and make adjustments.
Here is the fan blade I threw in at the insistence of carmas.
It came out real nice. Very even all over. No streaking. Gets every single part of the plastic, without impacting anything else. No worries about getting paint on the spindle and throwing off the balance. Now I like the way my fans came out by painting them (build log in sig), but I would definitely consider this if I ever tackle a change again. Wouldn't be able to do the frames with dye though, because of the motor. And there are some fans where they may be additional sensitive parts in the fan blade that would prohibit you from soaking it in dye for an hour. This was from an Effizio fan.
And finally, here are some pictures of a couple of pieces of heatshrink that I left in the unheated dye bath pot overnight. You don't want heat, or it will activate the shrink. But this MDPC-X heatshrink accepts the dye well even when cool.
I guess that's it! I've covered all of the variables in the dye process, so I'm ready at this point to put together a guide with some good pictures and maybe some video. For those of you that have survived this thread, the guide will be a much shorter and more concise way for someone to tackle a project like this. I'll post a link to it in this thread once its up. Give me a week or so.