If you were wondering about the durability and the consistency of your gun’s finish after getting hydro-dipped, then you’re at the right place.
This article will detail the hydro dipping method and evaluate its performance in protecting the cover of your gun.
Hydro dipping has many names: Water transfer printing, fluid imaging, cubic printing, or camo dipping.
It is a process that applies a decorative and protective finish to an object.
Anything with a non-porous surface can be hydro-dipped. Some examples are guns, watches, and locks.
In this article, you will find out how the hydro dipping process is carried out and how durable it actually is.
How Can Hydro Dipping Protect the Cover?
The process of hydro dipping can seem complicated, but with a little help, it’ll be understandable.
- First, you start with the application of the polyvinyl alcoholic film. The film is water-soluble and non-toxic so it acts as a base for dipping.
- To print the patter, you use a rolling drum on the PVA film. That film will then be immersed in water with a chemical to activate the viscous agent and then dissolve the base.
- The activated film will cause the ink to float on the water surface. After that, you’ll have to clean the product to ready it for printing.
- After cleaning, a viscous agent may be used to obtain a proper bond. Before getting the product printed, the film must also first achieve the acceptable level of elasticity with the chosen design.
- When the film is ready, the product will be dipped into the water. The pressure of the water will make the ink wrap around and adhere to the product.
The upward pressure plays a crucial role in making the finish durable and consistent. And when the desired adhesion is achieved, take the product out. You’ll have to clean it and then coat it with either a powder coat or an automotive wet spray clear coat.
This finishing touch is what shows the magic of hydro dipping. It does give not only a cutting-edge appearance for your item but also ensures its durability and high quality.
How Durable Is Hydro Dipping?
As you all may know, hydro dipping has gone far beyond its primary duty of sharpening your item’s appearance. In fact, it has been widely used to give cover protection and to enhance the durability and quality of your item.
It gives any item a powerful coat that is scratch-resistant and UV-resistant.
However, the coat itself has different types. Some coat types can be high gloss, med gloss, or flat. You can choose whichever you want, depending on your desired level of durability.
There are numerous durability tests for the hydro dipping objects that you can find easily on the Internet. For most cases of hydro dipping, the products seem to perform excellently in resisting scratches.
In fact, rubbing a key, a metal brush, or a ball-point pen won’t ruin the pattern of the product design! You won’t find the tiniest scratch at all!
This proves that hydro dipping can easily pass the scratch test. Having your item covered with this kind of paint can ensure the durability of the item in the long run.
In some cases, hydro-dipped products can even pass the pressure test. However, the result is considerably influenced by the quality of the whole process, as well as the quality of the film, ink, and coat being used for hydro dipping.
There are many online videos showing that even a screwdriver and a hammer are unable to scratch or crack the surface of the coated item.
As for the actual testers, they can attest to the durability of the coating too. Hydro dipping can impressively pass the pressure test.
How Consistent Is Hydro Dipping?
Consistency is a whole different thing to the durability. Performance may be excellent during the first few days, but the consistency of the durability may vary from item to item.
And this all depends on how you maintain the pattern, as well as how much you invest in the ink, film, and coat. Some people even double dip the items to enhance the durability of the item.
However, we all know that hydro dipping is not quite cheap at all, especially for those who plan on doing the double-dipping method. But it’s still worth it because it’s a proven economical, decorative, and protective solution for your items in the long run.
Compared to wraps, decals, and airbrushing, this method provides a much more practical solution.
Tips for Durable and Consistent Hydro Dipping Results
- When priming, painting, or clearing your part, it’s always best to apply several light coats rather than one heavy coat to avoid runs.
- When preparing the film for each dip, make sure to have enough to cover the top and the sides of your part, plus one or two extra inches on each side.
- If you forget which side of the film is supposed to go down into the water, you can wet your thumb and forefinger and then touch the film. The sticky side is the side that goes down. Just don’t do this with the film that you’ll dip the item with.
- Some items may be slippery or shaky during dipping. If so, create a handle using masking tape.
- Lay your film in the water carefully in a sling while holding opposite corners of the film.
- Spray an even coat of activator and then dip your item slowly into the ink at a 40-degree angle.
- Always rinse your item immediately after dipping until the slimy residue is completely gone. Don’t touch your item until it is completely rinsed.
In the long run, hydro dipping is a cost-effective way to decorate and protect your items. Also, it can be done at home if you have all the needed products.
For guaranteed quality and durability for the pattern, it is always recommended to seek help from the experts if you have any questions though. For now, we hope that you found this article helpful.
CHANGELOG: April 6, 2022 - Made minor revisions to content September 23, 2021 - Reviewed and updated article links, updated article title