Tuesday dye bath with disperse dye!
Spoiler alert. This was by far the best test yet, and was done with the disperse dye I received in the mail today. Let me walk you through the process since its a little more involved that what I had ended up doing with Rit dye. Here are some shots of the disperse dye stuff I ordered from Pro Chemical & Dye. Its fairly inexpenisve, and available online from their website
I ordered 4 different colors of dye:
And some of the dye carrier that is used with disperse dyes:
I feel like a mad scientist with all these bottles now. Here is how the process works. First, I boiled about a cup of water, and then added 3 teaspoons of scarlet dye to the boiling water, like this:
Right away, it was clear that this was a different type of dye. It was totally opaque in the bowl, and the color was readily identifiable. With the Rit dyes I've been using, they remain clear....but dark, ...and you can not really tell what color the dye is in the bowl. The blues, greens, scarlets, etc....all look almost identical when they are in the dye bath. But not this one. Look at it. Now that is different.
Next, you boil another cup of water, and then add in 2 tablespoons of the dye carrier (the liquid bottles that came with the dye).
Now even though the dye carrier was clear while still in the bottle, it became immediately a white opaque liquid when put into the boiling water. My excitement level was growing. This felt very different than previous stuff.
Next, it was time to combine the two mixtures I'd just made into a dye bath. I heated up about 5 quarts of water in the big pot and brought it to a boil.
Then I added 11 tablespoons of vinegar, and stirred. Then I added the dye carrier mixture (white opaque) from above, and stirred. Then I added the dye mixture (scarlet opaque) from above, and stirred. Left me with a nice big pot of scarlet opaque dye bath. I'm intrigued.
Then I cut my typical 3 lengths of different sleeve. I used some FTW, some MDPC-X, and some paracord.
I threw all 3 sleeves in the dye bath, and let it simmer, while stirring occasionally. I really started to geek out a little when it was clearly turning the fork scarlet just from dipping it in occasionally to stir! The fork had never absorbed dye in the past. This disperse dye stuff was made for plastics, and it was clearly going to do a better job than Rit.
Lets get on to the result pictures. After simmering them for 45 minutes, I took them out, and look how dark they got! And the right shade of scarlet! From left to right, 1) FTW 2.0, 2) MDPC-X, and 3) Paracord:
I know that pictures sometimes end up looking a little different tint than real life, but all of the sleeves came out a beautiful rich scarlet color. None of the washed out 1/2 done versions I was getting from some of the Rit dyes. It really matched the color of the dye from the dye bath. Even the FTW sleeve, which the Rit dye had failed to adequately color in the past, readily absorbed this dye and looked fantastic. And because the sleeve closely matched the color of the dye bath....and I could actually SEE the color of the dye bath (unlike Rit), I think it would be MUCH MUCH easier to play with dye mixtures BEFORE you ever start dyeing your sleeve. I could have tinkered away with the dye mixture during that very first step. I can't wait to try some.
Now here is a shot I haven't showed you before. This is some actual purchased colored MDPC-X, versus the white MDPC-X that I just dyed. From left to right, here are the following:
1) Red MDPC-X -- Purchased
2) Color X MDPC-X -- Purchased
3) My custom color white MDPC-X dyed scarlet.
Looks to me like if I mixed a little bit of red into the scarlet, that I'd be pretty close to the MDPC-X Color X sleeve. The Color-X is fairly close to the ultimate color I'm trying to do for my build (will be a tribute to my alma mater...the University of Oklahoma). The Color-X is more of a deep blood red, and my color needs to be closer to crimson (a tad more purple in it).
I've had several people question why you would ever dye your own sleeve, when MDPC-X has so many options available now. Well....you would do it for the same reason you do lots of stuff in your computer....you want it to look absolutely perfect. And as powder coating becomes more prevalent (which I believe it will), there are going to be lots of custom colored cases out there...absolutely screaming to have some custom colored sleeving to match it. And even if the color you want is pretty close to one that is already offered by MDPC-X, just think how great it would be to know that you could dye your connectors to match that color if you wanted. Or a piece of acrylic that you are using in the build could be dyed to match the same color. Even aluminum, once anodized, is readily accepting of dye. Once you can dye something the color of your build, you are no longer limited to what vendors offer. You can do anything you want. And to top it off, its kind of fun.
Many more upcoming tests with the new disperse dye over the next couple of weeks. After I feel like I've tied down the process fairly tight, I'm going to put together a How-To Guide in a new thread. I'll link to it from here, so sub this thread if you want to make sure and see the final guide. Also, I'm going to do a review of FTW vs MDPC-X vs Paracord, and I'll post a new thread for that. Rep+ to show me some love, and keep your dogs out of the dye bath.