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Closest color to white?

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  • Closest color to white?

    Hi there,

    I've read that pure white dye is unachievable. I was wondering what the closest thing was.

    I've attached two pictures of paintball guns that are anodized and dyed aluminum. These paintball guns seem more of a white than silver (even more in person). Does Caswell sell anything that would achieve this color, or close? Any other thoughts or input is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks for the help!

  • #2
    It’s important to understand that not all dye molecules are created equal, and some colors are bigger than others. Blue molecules have no problem filling in the holes.
    blue dye filling anodized aluminum pores

    Red molecules are bigger than the blue ones, but they still fit, no problem.
    red dye filling anodized aluminum pores

    Unfortunately, when we get to white molecules, they are so large that they do not fit into the holes created by the anodizing process! There’s no way to squeeze a white molecule into the pore!
    white dye unable to fill anodized aluminum pores

    Another way to look at the size comparison of molecules:
    Imagine a pore the size of a basketball net.
    A gold dye molecule is the size of a golf ball.
    Blue dye is about the size of a tennis ball.
    Red and black dyes are about the size of a baseball.
    Scientists haven’t been able to get white dye molecules smaller than beach ball size, which is too large to fit.

    And that, is why there is no white anodized aluminum.

    Now some of you may think that you’ve seen white anodized aluminum. It’s true that anodizers can get a color fairly close to white, by etching the aluminum and then sealing the surface just as would be done after dyeing colored anodized aluminum. But the color most definitely is not a pure white, and can vary from a muted grey to a dirty off-white. If you see someone selling “white” aluminum, they have most likely used this acid-etched process. Blue, red and white molecule illustrations by Artie Keefe and Erik Watson.

    Jason Vanderbroek
    315 946 1213 x116


    • #3
      White is best achieved by simply soda blasting the parts prior to anodizing. It leaves the parts with a matte finish that looks very white. I use that technique all the time.


      • #4
        Thanks guys. I've seen the picture that Jason posted. That's why I made this post, and why I was asking for what was the closest thing available.

        I didn't know about blasting though. Do you think that is how the color in the pictures were achieved?
        Last edited by brwn253; 02-21-2017, 11:17 AM.


        • #5
          Originally posted by brwn253 View Post
          Do you think that is how the color in the pictures were achieved?
          While the pictures you posted are way to small to determine for sure it does appear to has a soft blasted finish which is casting a more white hue than silver. Either way soda blasting is the best bet to look like white.