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Clumping dye and re-anodizing

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  • Clumping dye and re-anodizing

    Two things:
    1. My dye is clumping on me. The clumps are smaller than bb's, and they get onto the parts and cause little dark spots. I have to spray like mad to try to get them off before they 'set'. I don't have a pH meter so I have no idea where that's at. Is that the probable cause? I've run maybe 1200-1500 square inches through it in about a dozen runs (meaning a dozen heat-ups and cool-downs). Ambient temperature is in the 60s now. I think we've only had one night when the temp dropped below 32. I heat the dye to 140? to use. Dye quantity is 4oz into 2 gals, and it's blue 4A. I've been using two 300 watt heaters to get it to temp in a little over an hour. I've tried stirring and swishing and they just don't seem to want to re-dissolve. Should I filter them out, or is it imperative that I get hold of a pH meter and make an adjustment? The parts look great when they come out except for the clumps. I have some electric blue mixed up as well so I tried that last night and while there's a bit of a ring around the bucket it doesn't seem to have the clumps - which tends to indicate to me that there's not any damage from possible partial freezing. I haven't run near the number of square inches through it as I have the 4A - it's only seen maybe 200-300 in?. I know I'm going to eventually have to get a pH meter but I'd rather put that off if there's another likely solution to this problem. In reading the posts on this forum it seems like pH generally causes problems in getting the parts to take the dye, and I definitely don't have any problem with that - as a matter of fact I usually only submerge them for a fraction of the 15 minutes (e.g. 30 secs to 5 mins) in order to get a lighter shade.

    2. I had some bleeding on a part that I did last night. At the time I decided it was acceptable so I went ahead and sealed it (it had been a long hard frustrating day and if it had happened two days ago I would have said no way and bleached it off). Today I've looked at it and decided it's too much. The question is, can I strip part of it and re-anodize or do I have to strip the whole thing - in other words, what happens if you've got some anodized & sealed (with the nickel acetate) surface area and you stick it back in to your ano tank? The answer to the obvious question "why would you be so lazy as to only want to strip part of it" is this: I've mixed up a gallon of stripper which is sufficient for 97% of my stripping needs. I keep it in a nice little handy plastic jar so it's easy to store. To strip this part in its entirety I'd have to mix up 4 gallons of stripper and I'd really really hate to have to do that.

  • #2
    Re: Clumping dye and re-anodizing

    #1 I haven't run into that problem yet. Have you tried to heat to 180* to attempt to redissolve the dye lumps.

    #2 you need to strip the whole part. Can you just rotate the part every so often?

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    • #3
      Re: Clumping dye and re-anodizing

      1. I'll give that a try.
      2. I guess that's what I'll have to do. I've also had good success stripping little spots for subsequent epoxying with a q-tip - maybe I'll try using a sponge.

      Thank you for all your responses to my posts. It's good to know that when I have a problem out there that I can't figure out that there's a place I can go to tap into the wisdom of experience.

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      • #4
        Re: Clumping dye and re-anodizing

        Let us know what happens with the dye. Maybe one of the guys has seen that before but hasn't had time to be in the forum lately. SS

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        • #5
          Re: Clumping dye and re-anodizing

          I have had clumping as well (all different colors). I found that they can be desolved back into the solution by heating and agitation. Once you've heated it to 180F (no more than that), and ran it through a sieve afew times, the clumps should desolve back into solution. After that process, filter it through a coffee filter, and it should be good to go.
          Don't just filter out the clumps... they are the pigment in the dye, and loss of those will make your solution weak (my theory).
          I do things.

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          • #6
            Re: Clumping dye and re-anodizing

            That worked. I actually did it several days ago but I wanted to do another run before posting the results, which I did last night.

            Since the thermostat only goes up to 140, I plugged in a heater and stuck it in the dye. I knew it was going to take a while so I walked away. I got involved in doing other stuff and by the time I remembered that I had some dye cooking and went back to it, it had started to boil (not a violent one). The clumps were gone. I stirred it up pretty thoroughly anyway.

            Originally posted by acidrain
            Don't just filter out the clumps... they are the pigment in the dye
            I suspected as much - even with the reasonable price for the dye I'm so cheap it would have driven me nuts to do that

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            • #7
              Re: Clumping dye and re-anodizing

              I spoke to soon. I put my black dye out for a job and it had the lumps. It only dyed charcoal gray. Now it's time to strip and rerun. SS

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