Microwave Dyeing Nylon Parts

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Microwave Dyeing Nylon Parts

Post by LosiXXkid »

Thought that I'd post this alternative method of dyeing nylon parts using a microwave oven. This is fairly straight forward and has two distinct advantages over using a gas/ electric hob and an open pan/ pot. These are:

1) minimises splash risk
2) allows you to easily store and re-use your dye solution

All you need is a large glass jar with a screw top lid that has an internal neck diameter of around 2.75" (7cm). This will allow you to insert the larger items like wheels into the dye solution.
MWave dye 023.JPG
Glass jar w/ screw2 top lid
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Glass jar w/ screw2 top lid
Glass jar w/ screw2 top lid
MWave dye 023.JPG (107.7 KiB) Viewed 2451 times
First clean the jar of any original contents, and then fill the jar half way with boiling water from a kettle. Then add your dye, like RIT, and in this case I'm using black. For the small quantity of water that you will be using, you only need between a 1/4 and 1/3 of a pack of the powder. Stir well to ensure that all the dye dissolves into the water.

Cover the neck with cling-film and then pierce the surface of the film to allow the solution to vent.
MWave dye 006.JPG
Venting the jar.
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Venting the jar.
Venting the jar.
MWave dye 006.JPG (101.47 KiB) Viewed 2451 times
Then place in the microwave, if not already hot enough from dissolving the powder, and microwave on full power for about 120 seconds. The larger the jar, the longer it'll need in the microwave. I check the temperature by hand, it should be hot but not scalding (time for a bit of care and common sense here :!: ) and then place on a firm surface ready.

I tie dental floss to the parts I want to dye, usually using one of the holes, and then suspend the part(s) in the solution.
MWave dye 003.JPG
Part in solution...
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Part in solution...
Part in solution...
MWave dye 003.JPG (116.28 KiB) Viewed 2451 times
After about 20 minutes, take out the part(s) and check for colour absorption. With black, I want the part(s) to achieve full saturation so I usually repeat this another two or three times. Just re-heat the solution each time using cling-film to cover the neck and pierce to allow venting, and the drop the parts back in for another 20 minutes.

Once you are happy with the colour, rinse in cold water until it runs clear and allow to dry. The Pro-Line wheel below had four 20 minute sessions in the solution to achieve maximum absorption.
MWave dye 004.JPG
Pro-Line XXCR front wheel.
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Pro-Line XXCR front wheel.
Pro-Line XXCR front wheel.
MWave dye 004.JPG (122.24 KiB) Viewed 2451 times
Once your done, allow the jar to cool, screw the lid on and store for next time you need it. Don't forget to give the solution a good stir before you use it again and also, keep an eye on the level of the solution. The level will drop over time with use so you just need to keep it topped by adding more water up to your half way point. (Thanks to GoMachV for the reminder on stirring the solution!)

Obviously, this method does have some downsides like not being able to do a large amount of items all at once and it does take a bit longer but for me at least, it works really well.

Hope you find this useful.
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Re: Microwave Dyeing Nylon Parts

Post by marlo »

Great tip, did the Rit dye have the usual smell from being dyed from the micro wave.

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Re: Microwave Dyeing Nylon Parts

Post by GoMachV »

That smell is what got me banished from kitchen dying. :lol:

I love my deep fryer but always great to hear alternative methods! One tip on the storage, stir stir stir if it's been sitting at all. My dye turned to sludge once and I didn't realize it until my parts had specs all over em. I had stirred but not nearly well enough
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Re: Microwave Dyeing Nylon Parts

Post by marlo »

I hear that Jeff, I do mine in the garage now, God only knows what would happen, if something went wrong in her new kitchen with her new white cabinet doors, and me with a pot full of black Dye......... :?

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Re: Microwave Dyeing Nylon Parts

Post by LosiXXkid »

gomachv wrote:That smell is what got me banished from kitchen dying. :lol:

I love my deep fryer but always great to hear alternative methods! One tip on the storage, stir stir stir if it's been sitting at all. My dye turned to sludge once and I didn't realize it until my parts had specs all over em. I had stirred but not nearly well enough
Edited to include the bit about "stirring" - thanks for that :D
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Re: Microwave Dyeing Nylon Parts

Post by LosiXXkid »

marlo wrote:Great tip, did the Rit dye have the usual smell from being dyed from the micro wave.
It may do but I don't notice it... :mrgreen: ...I'm single again after 12 years so there's no one else to annoy in my man pad!
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Re: Microwave Dyeing Nylon Parts

Post by Y'ernat Al »

Neat idea. Yeah I've had success (for awkward frp chassis/towers) putting a thin dye bath in a pyrex baking dish and putting it in the regular oven at about 175 (under the boiling point). The wife was out shopping that day.
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Re: Microwave Dyeing Nylon Parts

Post by LosiXXkid »

Y'ernat Al wrote:Neat idea. Yeah I've had success (for awkward frp chassis/towers) putting a thin dye bath in a pyrex baking dish and putting it in the regular oven at about 175 (under the boiling point). The wife was out shopping that day.
My guess is that she wouldn't have been happy to arrive home to find you "cooking" something in the oven that can't be eaten! :wink:
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Re: Microwave Dyeing Nylon Parts

Post by GoMachV »

LosiXXkid wrote:
Y'ernat Al wrote:Neat idea. Yeah I've had success (for awkward frp chassis/towers) putting a thin dye bath in a pyrex baking dish and putting it in the regular oven at about 175 (under the boiling point). The wife was out shopping that day.
My guess is that she wouldn't have been happy to arrive home to find you "cooking" something in the oven that can't be eaten! :wink:
That was the response I got when I forgot to take my tires out of the dishwasher :mrgreen:

I don't see the big deal, I had it on Sani rinse lol
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Re: Microwave Dyeing Nylon Parts

Post by Coelacanth »

Thanks for sharing the tip. A few things that would make me hesitate is various microwave ovens' tendency to overheat in some places, and not enough in others, which might cause inconsistent coloring or perhaps damage the parts...I'm not sure how much heat nylon can handle, mind you. It also seems to be a lot more time-consuming than the big cheap pot with boiling water/dye solution, which (as you mentioned) can do a lot more parts at once, all the same color, without repeating the process multiple times and again possibly resulting in inconsistencies.

Being able to re-use your dye and reduce the smell are nice advantages to your method. 8)

I use a big, cheap, deep soup pot and a couple utensils that are only designated for dyeing. The pot is deep enough that splattering or colored steam isn't an issue, and has a lid anyway. I turn on the oven fan above to reduce the fumes. The pot can hold a large pile of parts and as long as I dunk them all together, I'm assured of a consistent color without watching a clock. I dyed a bunch of white Proline wheels black this way, and kept stirring the parts to make sure they wouldn't settle to the hot bottom of the pot and burn. Probably 20 minutes for the whole process and I was done. I rinsed them with water as already mentioned.

Note: Make sure the towel or paper towels where you place the rinsed parts is thick enough and won't be used for anything else, as the dye will drip through onto your counter top. :oops: I had to use acetone to remove the dye spots when that happened to me. :mrgreen:
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Re: Microwave Dyeing Nylon Parts

Post by LosiXXkid »

I just need to point out that the nylon parts go in the solution after it has been heated in the microwave - not at the same time as heating the solution! :mrgreen:
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Re: Microwave Dyeing Nylon Parts

Post by Coelacanth »

LosiXXkid wrote:I just need to point out that the nylon parts go in the solution after it has been heated in the microwave - not at the same time as heating the solution! :mrgreen:
Cool, same as for boiling, then. I heat the water in the pot until it just begins to boil, add the dye, then put it to simmer, and toss in the parts. Your wheels turned out very nice.
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Re: Microwave Dyeing Nylon Parts

Post by REMJ666 »

I am actually going to try the cold water method...Melt the dye in cold water and drop the parts...Cold water opens pours just like hot...It might take longer but it should still work...That stuff will stain pretty much anything it touches...
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Re: Microwave Dyeing Nylon Parts

Post by Coelacanth »

REMJ666 wrote:I am actually going to try the cold water method...Melt the dye in cold water and drop the parts...Cold water opens pours just like hot...It might take longer but it should still work...That stuff will stain pretty much anything it touches...
The boiling water is necessary for the dye to "take" to nylon...as per the directions. Boiling nylon parts is good as it actually rejuvenates and strengthens old, brittle nylon. Feel free to try cold water dyeing, but I don't think you'll get the same results.

http://www.ritdye.com/dyeing-techniques/stovetop

"Q. Are there any special techniques to get rich, dark colors?
A. The three keys to getting deep rich colors are 1) using the right amount of dye, 2) maintaining a hot water temperature, and 3) allowing adequate time for fabric in the dyebath. Follow our Tips for True Colors to get the best results for your projects."


The heat is needed to set the dye. I don't believe I've heard of a cold water method...where did you hear about this?
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Re: Microwave Dyeing Nylon Parts

Post by LosiXXkid »

The water definitely needs to be hot.... :mrgreen:
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