I want to dye a clear canopy on my new Sig 4 Star 40 a dark grey or almost black tint. I understand that using Rit Dye is the way to go, which I went out and bought this evening. Other than that, are there any tricks to using this stuff? Any input you may have would be appreciated.
I recently dyed a SIG canopy for my Super Kaos 180. I mixed one box black and one box dark blue, about 3 cups of white vinegar, and about 2 1/2 gallons of hot water. I put it in an old beat up pot and heated it to almost a boil on the stove ( make sure you use the vent fan over the stove as this is a bit smelly from the vinegar.) I then turned off the heat and let the mixture cool until it was at 145 deg F ( checked it with a cheap $4.00 meat thermometer). After stirring well I dunked the canopy for about
8-10 minutes. Rinsed well in cold water. It came out a very dark gray/black.
If you use just black dye it always seems to come out more a greenish grey than black.
I found that the dye doesn't seem to "activate" unless the mixture is first heated to at least 180 deg F. for a few minutes. Just don't immerse the canopy until the mix cools to 145 deg F or it will soften too much and distort. If you let the mix cool below 135 deg F before putting in the canopy it doesn't get very dark. Start at 145 deg F and it should work well.
This has worked well for the material in Sig brand canopies - if you use another brand of canopy you will need to experiment.
Make sure to have an extra canopy or two on hand before starting- dying plastic like this is always a bit hit-or-miss and it may take one or two tries to get the result you want. If you get good results on the first try, dye your spares while you have all the equipment set up and store them away
Yep, as a plastic scale modeller that is one way to do it (not that I have personally done it). Don't get the dye too hot and build up with successive dips.
If you have access to an airbrush or a small touch up spray gun, get some Tamiya acyrlic smoke in the small jar. Thin it slightly (Windex is often used as a thinner) and lay it on in fine coats until you build up the level of tint you need. Don't slather it on as it will run.
If a disaster occurs wash it off immediately. If it dries with a bad finish, use some low fume-low/no caustic spray on oven cleaner. Take common sense precautions and scrub it off with a toothbrush under running water. The stuff should basically wash off.
Warning: Test the Rite Dye on a scrap first. Way back in the good old days Rite used Indian Ink for their black clothes dye and the result was a nice smokey grey canopy. Rite then changed the formula to use a cheap blue base for their black clothes dye and the result is one very blue tinted canopy! They changed the formula some 20 years ago and after finding out the hard way I never used it again for tinting a canopy. So they may have changed back since my last experiance, but I doubt it since India Ink costs more. In any event Rite etches into the plastic so if it turns blue you are stuck with it or buy a new canopy, so test first! There are now airbrush tints available from shops dealing in plastic scale kits or there is the old method of getting a bottle of india black ink and adding it to a water based gloss clear coat or future floor polish and air brusing it. Spray this on the inside of the canopy for R/C. These methods should be used on a scrap or junk canopy so you can experiment to get the results you want before doing it on the real thing.
I normally dye my canopies with Rit Dye, but I built a Four-Star 120 several years ago and the canopy (heavier than the usual material) would not accept the dye after a week in the bucket. This is my only such experience, otherwise no problems.