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DrCaustic
24-01-2019, 04:48 PM
Hi all! My name is Stephen and I do custom anodizing. I've been working on sublimating to anodize off and on for a few years now.(which might be a cool new medium for yall?) My trouble is that I often need to sub on very complex 3d shapes and paper just doesn't conform. I have tried two kinds of 3d films and even various fabrics. All provide me with the result in the attached picture. Also attached is the picture I'm trying to sub without the black skulls. It's almost like the dye reverses and goes even deeper into the transfer film. I suppose my question is what is it about the sub paper that seems to encourage the dye to transfer rather than to reverse coarse? Any and all input would be much appreciated!

Thank you so much!
Stephen

5564 5565

Andrew
24-01-2019, 07:17 PM
Hi. From the information given (and possibly not fully understanding), it looks like the is not enough of the polymer coating to hold the ink. I tried similar-ish cross process a few years back and it comes down to achieving enough polymer on of close to the surface where the ink holds securely.

What have you used as the coating to hold the subli ink?

DrCaustic
24-01-2019, 08:33 PM
Hi. From the information given (and possibly not fully understanding), it looks like the is not enough of the polymer coating to hold the ink. I tried similar-ish cross process a few years back and it comes down to achieving enough polymer on of close to the surface where the ink holds securely.

What have you used as the coating to hold the subli ink?

Howdy Andrew! I'm using unsealed anodizing to hold the sublimated ink. This is a microporous structure of aluminum oxide. It's essentially a sponge. Also I can get the substrate to take perfect sublimation if I'm using sublimation transfer paper. The problem is only only when I try to use the sublimation transfer films that will actually conform to the part.

Andrew
25-01-2019, 09:21 AM
As long as it is of a decent polymer content it should be okay as a coating (I don't know what the coating is). What are you using to create the pressure to make sure good contact with transfer media and substrate. On the cylinders is there any reason you can't just use paper. Not sure what complex shape you are trying to transfer to. Sounds interesting though if it opens up a new range of items.

Andrew
25-01-2019, 09:31 AM
What colour anodising are you working with? Just read you can't have white which is a pity. Interesting subject though.

DrCaustic
25-01-2019, 06:28 PM
As long as it is of a decent polymer content it should be okay as a coating (I don't know what the coating is). What are you using to create the pressure to make sure good contact with transfer media and substrate. On the cylinders is there any reason you can't just use paper. Not sure what complex shape you are trying to transfer to. Sounds interesting though if it opens up a new range of items.

The coating has no polymer content. Instead it is highly porous. Any kind of polymer coating would defeat the purpose of anodizing unfortunately. Paint is for things that you use, anodizing is for things that you abuse. Silicone bags that get are under vacuum is what i'm using to apply pressure.

I'd like to do this on paintball guns and firearms. Think ar15 receivers.

webtrekker
25-01-2019, 07:17 PM
In sublimation, the polymer pores open under high temperature and the gases from the inks enter the pores (under pressure). Once cooled, the pores close, trapping the inks permanently in the polymer coating.

Question: Do the pores of the anodised coating close after sublimation? Maybe you'd be better off exploring other techniques, such as hydro-dipping, for the paintball gun parts. Just a suggestion though as I'm no expert, and know virtually nothing about anodising.

Andrew
25-01-2019, 08:40 PM
I had a look at how anodising holds the dye in the porous surface but don't see how sublimation would get a permanent transfer unless it is of a polymer nature. It might be the anodised dye itself that the sublimation takes to. Something only I could guess at currently. Is there a finishing lacquer or anything else used on some of these parts?

If it is straight tubing then would think paper can be used and pressure through shrink wrap or silicone type rubber sheeting wrapped around firmly. I have some anodised objects here I can have a play with but to use sublimation you are limited when it is a strong coloured object.

I think the first thing to tick off is are you getting a true permanent transfer. As has been mentioned above, sublimation ink needs to be held in a polymer. If it doesn't exist on the substrate it will not take. Is there a way to add a polymer without hindering the intended use.

pisquee
25-01-2019, 09:01 PM
As mentioned, there is no polymer coating on anodised metals - the surface of the metal has a pourous surface (created from the anodising process), which is sealed after dying.

The pores on anodised metals are closed with heat and water - by either by boiling in water, or steaming. Water seals is better/quicker, but also washes the ink out of the pores more before the sealing is finished.
The metal needs to be boiled for the same time that the metal was originally anodised - as the length of time the anodising process happens, the thicker the coating. Different thicknesses of coating take different colours better, so there needs to be some compromise here too, along with the colour shift from boiling/steaming.

It's a more time consuming process than normal sublimation, more messy, and needs more space for the addition of a boiling or steaming tank, along with more risk assessments/safety conssiderations due to steam and water being around high wattage electrical equipment (heat presses) and the risk of employee slippage on wet floors.

DrCaustic
25-01-2019, 10:28 PM
As mentioned, there is no polymer coating on anodised metals - the surface of the metal has a pourous surface (created from the anodising process), which is sealed after dying.

The pores on anodised metals are closed with heat and water - by either by boiling in water, or steaming. Water seals is better/quicker, but also washes the ink out of the pores more before the sealing is finished.
The metal needs to be boiled for the same time that the metal was originally anodised - as the length of time the anodising process happens, the thicker the coating. Different thicknesses of coating take different colours better, so there needs to be some compromise here too, along with the colour shift from boiling/steaming.

It's a more time consuming process than normal sublimation, more messy, and needs more space for the addition of a boiling or steaming tank, along with more risk assessments/safety conssiderations due to steam and water being around high wattage electrical equipment (heat presses) and the risk of employee slippage on wet floors.

He gets it. Hahaha Anodizing is tricky to get color right on for sure. It tends to take too much magenta so I'm in the process of trimming down the magenta content, but other than that I'm getting good relatively proper color transfers using paper. It's just that paper is not even remotely flexible and really only works where I can keep it flat/straight. Which is not always an option.

You won't be able to sub to anodizing if it is sealed unfortunately. It needs to be fresh out of the anodizing process in the unsealed condition.

It's almost like the dye has some sort of attraction to polymers. Because having a choice between the anodizing and the poly backer on the transfer films it chooses the backer every time. Even if the part is wrapped with printed paper, then a polymer cloth or shrink wrap it will reverse through the paper and go into the polymer rather than going into the anodize. If I could just figure out what it's attraction was I could maybe saturate the pores with a solution before sublimating. I just can't seem to find a commercially available nano polyester solution. Anybody know if you can sublimate to PTFE??? That I can get in a nanoparticle solution.

OH boy you would flip out if you saw what I work with. Hahaha! Strong and sometimes concentrated acids in custom built tanks, running on custom built electrical components. I even built my own 100a rectifier out of a server power supply and some ebay pwms. Can't be afraid to try things is what I always say! Only question I ask is how likely is this to kill me? I work alone so I can get away with a lot I suppose.

Andrew
26-01-2019, 09:29 AM
So is the ink you are trying to transfer sublimation ink or the correct ink for anodising? The papers and films used in sublimation are acting as carriers only and wouldn't absorb large amounts of ink during the heat process.