Anodizing your paintball markers is the best way to customize them. Although the process is not necessarily pocket-friendly, if you are a passionate Paintball Player like ourselves, we would recommend you to go for it!
Anodizing, in Layman’s terms, is a process that converts metals, such as Aluminium into a decorative and durable anodic oxide finish. Paintball markers are usually made of Aluminium as it is light, hence the most suitable considering the nature of the game.
As a matter of fact, the texture of the aluminum can not be changed, which means that only the color or pattern of the paintball marker will change. If the marker has a matt finish before anodizing, then the final product will also be matt.
Table of Contents
Why anodize your Paintball Marker?
Although it depends on one’s perspective, anodizing your paintball markers has a few notable advantages;
Firstly, the durability of the anodized aluminum is great. It means that the paintball markers will experience little to no wear from rough handling. And we all know that it really does get rough out in the pitch. Therefore, this is a very important advantage to have, as with all the diving, etc during a paintball match, it won’t take long before the paint-job of your marker wears off. Since anodizing your marker embeds the pattern and color in the market, it won’t peel or chip.
2. Color Stability
Secondly, anodized paintball markers maintain good color stability under the Ultra-Violent (UV) rays of the sun, so you don’t have to worry about your paintball marker not standing out. Furthermore, the anodized parts of your paintball marker don’t have a coating that is subject to chipping or peeling. Overall, they maintain a good color constancy and are a very aesthetically pleasing look.
3. Environment Friendly
And thirdly, anodizing Paintball markers are not harmful to the environment. An anodized finish is non-decomposable, non-toxic, and is heat resistant to the melting point of aluminum. As a result, it doesn’t produce any harmful products. And the Chemical baths used in anodizing are reused or recycled, thus it passes all the environmental regulations and is arguably the most environmental-friendly chemical process.
However, there are a few downsides to anodizing your paintball markers,
It costs hundreds of dollars to anodize your paintball marker. An average estimate done by our team confirmed that it took, on average, about 150 to 300 dollars for a unicolor design, and for multi-colored designs, it costs anywhere between 300 dollars to 500 dollars.
2. No definite edge during the game
If you’re interested in a custom pattern, it can cost you up to 800 dollars. This clearly shows, only people with enough disposable income can afford to anodize their paintball, and we really would not recommend you to anodize your paintball markers if you can not afford to do so, as anodizing paintball guns do not give you a competitive advantage in the game. It is merely for aesthetics.
How to anodize your Paintball Gun yourself?
Anodizing Paintball Gun is a pricey job. However, if you wanna do it yourself and want to save some bucks then you should follow these couple of steps.
But, remember that Safety must be your utmost priority. If you are not following the safety precautions or if you even have a single doubt about the process then I strongly recommend getting it done by a professional service. Obviously, it costs more for you but it will ensure your safety.
If you are a newbie to process then a safe tip is not to experiment on your marker. Rather, get a piece of Aluminium and then try on it. This will help you to identify your weaknesses and work upon them while anodizing your paintball gun.
Supplies needed to anodize Paintball gun
- Paintball Gun (Obviously 😉 )
- Glass beaker
- Rubber Bucket
- Sulphuric Acid
- Nitric Acid
- Aluminum Wire
- Aluminum Foil
- Battery Charger (12 V)
- Gloves and Face mask for protection
Out of these things, the most dangerous is Sulphuric Acid and the most expensive is the Battery Charger. However, there are other uses for the Chargers as well. Moreover, about the price, this is a one-time expense. If you spend this amount then you can repeat the process on other paintball guns. Else, you can gain fame by anodizing the paintball guns for your friends as well.
Still, if you are worried about the price then try to be a good convincer and lure your friends into sharing the money to have a common anodizing kit for all of you. In this fashion, you will have a lesser burden on your pocket.
How to anodize a Paintball gun?
First of all, disassemble your Paintball gun to separate Aluminium and Non-Aluminium parts. Remember that only Aluminium parts can be anodized.
Now, clean the Aluminium parts of your marker. For this purpose, Nitric Acid will come in handy. However, if you do not want to use it then soap and water are the easiest solutions. But, never skip this step. Else, you will not be getting a similar tone on your anodized parts. Make sure that all parts are clear of any oil, grease, or dirt particles.
Now, make a mixture of Sulphuric Acid and water in your Rubber Bucket. For this, you can use a non-breakable glass beaker inside the rubber bucket. But, this is optional. The important thing is the quantity of liquid and mixing it up. The size of parts defines the quantity of the mixture. You need your marker’s parts completely submerged in the liquid. If we simply put this then it means that bigger parts will need more quantity of mixture.
For the preparation of the mixture, remember that you have to create a weak acid. Therefore, you need two-thirds of water and one-third acid. While mixing it up, ensure that you pour acid into the water and then stir it gently. For those who skipped Chemistry, let me remind you that Sulphuric acid is a very strong acid with a nasty aroma. Therefore, do not splash it while pouring. Moreover, take care that it does not spill down. Else, it will result in damaging your surroundings.
Now, prepare the aluminum wire into a circle shape and then wrap it up with the aluminum foil. It will go to the bottom of the rubber bucket. The other end of this aluminum wire will be attached to the negative end of the battery charger.
Till now, half of the work is done. At this time, connect the gun’s part with the positive terminal of the battery and put it inside the mixture. This aluminum part should not be touching the bottom of the bucket where the aluminum part is placed.
Ensure that both negative and positive terminals are not touching each other. Once you make sure of this thing then you can put the battery charger ON. This will result in the charge flowing through the mixture.
As soon as the process starts, you will observe fizzy bubbles coming out of the Aluminum parts. This is the indication that Anodization has started. If you don’t see any bubbles then re-check the battery connections very carefully.
Normally, this process will take around 10-15 minutes depending upon the size of the parts. After this time, you will see the bubbles dying out. It means that now there is no current flowing. So, you can disconnect the charger and remove the aluminum parts.
Wash off the parts with cold water and now it is ready for the next step.
Mix a coloring dye with water into a pan (maybe a cake pan). You don’t need some high-end coloring dye. A simple fabric coloring dye will do. So, make a solution and put the aluminum part into it. It must be completely dipped into the mixture.
Now, you have to heat the solution. So, put the pan onto the stove at a low-temperature setting. Keep on changing the sides after every few minutes to get an even tone on the part. Keep on doing it till you get the tone of your own choice.
Once, you are satisfied with the color of your choice then put that part inside another pot full of boiling water.
And, this is it. You have successfully done the anodizing of your paintball gun.
Additional Safety Measures to anodize Paintball Gun
As I have mentioned earlier that this is not an easy process. So, if you are not confident enough then do not try this at all. Instead, spend some bucks and get it done by Pros.
Firstly, Sulphuric Acid is a dangerous solution to handle. So, be extra vigilant. Do not spill it at any cost. Moreover, prepare the mixture as per your requirement. If you are left with some extra then make sure to secure it in a very careful fashion.
Secondly, Nitric Acid is another dangerous solution. . As I already said Nitric Acid is optional to use but if you are using it then similar precautions will apply to this one as well.
Ensure that negative and positive charges don’t come in contact with each other.
Once, the current is running through the mixture then Hydrogen is produced. And we all know that Hydrogen is a highly combustible gas. So, double-check that there is no chance of ignition around.
Most importantly, wear protective gear. Use gloves and a mask to protect yourself.
Whenever doing this process, try it at such a place where you can afford spilling acid and dye painting.
Does anodizing damage your Paintball Gun?
As long as you visit a reputable anodizing service provider, you don’t have to worry about damaging your paintball marker. Since anodizing firms only remove about a thousandth of the old anodizing layer, there is no room for damage in the process,
However, if you visit a weak or poor anodizing service, they may remove more of the old anodized layers which harms the paintball marker. This will happen if they leave it in the solvent for too long. This will not only harm the aesthetics of your marker but your overall performance as well. Therefore, choosing a good anodizing service is important. Here is the list of the best anodizing services in the United States.
- Anno work
- Pooty Paintball
- FX anodizing
The aforementioned firms have the best reputation when it comes to anodizing your paintball markers. Spending some bucks is definitely better than getting a bad paint job.
In conclusion, there is a wide variety of patterns available to anodize your paintball guns, and you should get the one that both, expresses you the best and fits your budget. Needless to say, some of the design patterns are very aesthetically pleasing to look at. Just go through Pinterest and other platforms before making the final selection. Then, choose the one that best suits your requirements.