Film doesn't liquefy with 30% Xylene 70% thinner activator recipe

shaushau Posts: 32Member
Title says it all. I'm at a loss. Been trialing for months with numerous films. My films remain a gloppy sheet and don't seem to liquefy like I see in videos. I've tried more or less activator still with the 30% Xylene 70% thinner activator recipe. I don't have access to many activator options and I quite like the idea of home made. Can anybody share activator recipes or suggest how I can make the common 30% Xylene 70% thinner activator recipe work?
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Comments

  • SreynoldsSreynolds Posts: 1,444Member ✭✭✭✭
    Lots of info on here , use the search bar. I would say 95% of us cant help with homemade activator ....
  • shaushau Posts: 32Member
    Sreynolds said:

    I would say 95% of us cant help with homemade activator ....

    Why's that? :o
  • NotSoFastNotSoFast Posts: 3,319Member, Moderator El Moderator
    shau said:

    Sreynolds said:

    I would say 95% of us cant help with homemade activator ....

    Why's that? :o
    Because not every brand of "thinner" is exactly the same, chemically speaking. The same goes for the xylene. If your brand is not the EXACT same as what someone else is using, then you will get different results. Couple that with the fact that over 99% of us do not use home made activator in the first place. We can diagnose and replicate problems with Hydrovator, for example, because it's all made in the same place suing the same recipe, all of which is readily available for the majority of us.
  • shaushau Posts: 32Member
    edited January 3
    NotSoFast said:

    shau said:

    Sreynolds said:

    I would say 95% of us cant help with homemade activator ....

    Why's that? :o
    We can diagnose and replicate problems with Hydrovator, for example, because it's all made in the same place suing the same recipe, all of which is readily available for the majority of us.
    I'm from Australia. We don't have a lot of the brands US folks take for granted, and if we do, it's disproportionately more expensive... :s We also have a lot of lesser known brands such as this.


    I have Diggers Xylene, but I use a very local thinner which is provided by one particular paint shop...
  • NotSoFastNotSoFast Posts: 3,319Member, Moderator El Moderator
    shau said:

    NotSoFast said:

    shau said:

    Sreynolds said:

    I would say 95% of us cant help with homemade activator ....

    Why's that? :o
    We can diagnose and replicate problems with Hydrovator, for example, because it's all made in the same place suing the same recipe, all of which is readily available for the majority of us.
    I'm from Australia. We don't have a lot of the brands US folks take for granted, and if we do, it's disproportionately more expensive... :s

    I have Diggers Xylene, but I use a very local recipe for thinners which is made by one particular paint shop...
    Understandable. But at the same time, the vast majority of us use store-bought activator and have zero experience with the home brew stuff. I hope you can get it figured out. if so, please post back here so people with a similar problem might be able to fix their problems, too.
  • TroubleTrouble Posts: 360Member ✭✭✭
    If home brew is not working you are wasting time and material. That expensive activator may actually be a good deal.
  • K2ConceptsK2Concepts Posts: 13,495Administrator El Jefe
    I was never a fan of the homemade brew...actually got into it with the guy that made that video...unfortunately that's what can happen when you decide to play cocktails with chemicals...I know the appeal of a low price...or the fact that some stuff is hard to get?...But at the same time, there is no consistency or baseline for others to troubleshoot something that is cocktailed up...

    Basically, we have no idea what you are working with nor can we replicate it...wish you the best, my friend...
  • studebakerstudebaker Posts: 3,127Member, Business Ninja ✭✭✭✭✭
    First off... Your "gloppy mess" has nothing to do with the wrongly formulated activator formula of yours. "Gloppy" is from the film being super over hydrated, with or without the activator applied. There are TWO separate processes going on in the hydrographic process. Hydrating the PVA film to make it pliable and stretchy for using the water surface tension to wrap tightly around a 3D object is the first independent process going on. Then, if you want the dry ink that is on the PVA film to stick to your substrate when it is wrapped around your 3D object, you temporarily liquify it back to a sticky state using activator. Then, contrary to some youtube videos, you fully rinse off the residual PVA film that is stuck to your substrate so that it won't interfere with any other (clear) coatings that you might want to protect the ink you have applied from scratching and fading.

    As far as your formula goes... the thinner you keep referring to is what kind of thinner? you never mentioned what it was. Some folks are having success with 2K enamel reducer formulated for hot weather with no added Xylene. The xylene is to slow down the evaporation process only. NOT as a solvent. Too much causes radical problems with the ink melting process. Never use more than 10% Xylene for reducing the evaporation rate of your chosen solvent. You want the ink to remain liquid ONLY long enough for the object to be dipped, and then to evaporate away rather quickly so the ink will dry (stick). To much xylene will cause the ink to rinse off with the PVA....
  • midnight_dippermidnight_dipper Posts: 65Member ✭✭
    @studebaker, excellent and educational answer.
  • studebakerstudebaker Posts: 3,127Member, Business Ninja ✭✭✭✭✭
    Thank you for acknowledging that @midnight_dipper I cringe whenever a newbie assumes that the activator is reacting with the PVA film when it's ONLY the water slowly dissolving the film. The reason we wait 60 seconds at 90 degrees to apply the "ink melting activator" is so that the PVA carrier film is at the correct stage of dissolution to react correctly when the object get dipped through it at around 90 seconds.

    As a experiment for newbies, try this. Apply a little activator to the printed PVA film laying on the table. Not on the water. You will notice that it melts the ink and not the PVA film carrier. The PVA can actually contain a solvent indefinately without dissolving. Just like "Wash Pods" do. PS, when you do that little table experiment you will get correctly colored wet ink that you can use in your touch ups! Either by using a air brush or a paint brush.... A common technique for touch up is to dip you paint brush in activator, rub it on an area of the printed film that has the color you want and Voila! the ability to transfer ink in small touch up sized doses.
  • shaushau Posts: 32Member


    As far as your formula goes... the thinner you keep referring to is what kind of thinner? you never mentioned what it was. S

    Until now I have been using this 5L can of thinner:



    When my first can of thinner runs out, I'll be rolling out this 20L drum of thinner:

  • K2ConceptsK2Concepts Posts: 13,495Administrator El Jefe
    @shau Dude...that is NOT paint reducer...that is THINNER...the petroleum will NEVER evaporate...leaving you with a gooey mess...go get the proper paint reducer...
  • shaushau Posts: 32Member
    @K2Concepts Oh jeez, maybe that's the answer then... Going to the paint shop on Monday to sort this out.

    I've been confused about the difference between reducer and thinner. I thought they were interchangeable... I've also heard that the terminology isn't used consistently between different countries, further compounding my confusions... :s I've read a few articles which attempt to clarify the difference but somehow I'm still foggy bout it...
  • WileECoyoteWileECoyote Posts: 6,638Member, Moderator, Business Ninja El Moderator
    We viewed products like "thinner" and "reducer" like scrap solvents and would NEVER use them in a process we were trying to keep consistent for exactly that reason. Here are 2 recipes that I found online that sound MUCH more exacting.

    Xylene – 42%
    Isobutanol – 5%
    Butyl – 17%
    Methyl acetate – 28%
    MEK – 8%


    Xylene – 52.94%
    Methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK) – 25.88%
    Methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) – 11.18%
    Isophorone – 5%
    Cyclohexanone – 5%

    If you have to make a homebrew, then I would try ones that were this detailed instead.
  • studebakerstudebaker Posts: 3,127Member, Business Ninja ✭✭✭✭✭
    Do NOT use this formula, it has too much ketones and Xylene. It will seriously mess up you lungs, dip project and marriage.

    Xylene – 52.94%
    Methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK) – 25.88%
    Methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) – 11.18%
    Isophorone – 5%
    Cyclohexanone – 5%
  • shaushau Posts: 32Member

    Do NOT use this formula, it has too much ketones and Xylene. It will seriously mess up you lungs, dip project and marriage.

    Xylene – 52.94%
    Methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK) – 25.88%
    Methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) – 11.18%
    Isophorone – 5%
    Cyclohexanone – 5%

    @studebaker I shall be wary! You're not a chemist by any chance are you? Seems to almost take a chemist to grapple in this terrain...
  • studebakerstudebaker Posts: 3,127Member, Business Ninja ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 5
    No, I'm not a chemist, I just play one on TV.

    Seriously, find the highest quality 2k Reducer and start there with your formulation. And if you can, find one that is formulated in your country and not China.

    You don't have to put the film on the water to test your activator formula. Do it on the table. All you need for it to do is totally liquify the ink for 30 seconds and the completely evaporate leaving the ink solid and dry again. Period. Nothing more....
  • WileECoyoteWileECoyote Posts: 6,638Member, Moderator, Business Ninja El Moderator
    @studebaker you have way more experience with home brew than I do, I was just pointing to the way the recipe should look
  • studebakerstudebaker Posts: 3,127Member, Business Ninja ✭✭✭✭✭
    Absolutely @WileECoyote I completely understand that. The best part is that you are willing to scour the internet for obscure information to help a newbie! I sincerely applaud the amount of work you and the other moderators put into this forum to make it the world's very best place for the hydrographic enthusiast. Thank you for all that you do for us all!
  • shaushau Posts: 32Member
    edited January 7
    Hey guys, can you please check the data sheet for the reducer that I have? There seems to be an issue in my local area (Sydney, Australia) where painters refer to and understand 2K thinners to mean 2K reducers. I'm not sure if it's a regional thing, or if universally 2K thinners are also referred to as reducers. Best way to check is for someone knowledgeable to look at the attached chemical spec sheet (.pdf) and tell me if this it refers to a reducer or is it strictly a thinner. Appreciate it!
  • studebakerstudebaker Posts: 3,127Member, Business Ninja ✭✭✭✭✭
    Ok, this will work if you use the slow dry version of the thinner. It already has 40% trimethylbenzene (aka Xylene) which the Chinese manufacturer is listing in the MSDS as COMOBENZYL... Weird. I suspect that China is strategically gonna take over Australia by shipping mind-numbing chemicals down under. And the Aussie Government is complicit in the takeover by making it illegal to make good chemicals in the country. Was it Australia's idea to put RFID chips in the 100 and 50 dollar bills, or was it China's? Hmmmm...

    Now, do your tabletop test of the thinner for the criteria we previously mentioned.

    PS, that Chinese MSDS Also lists Naptha as being "Solvent 150". Be sure to NOT use that version.
  • shaushau Posts: 32Member
    @studebaker so just to be clear which version do you suggest I use? I've shown you 3 above in total. Thanks
  • studebakerstudebaker Posts: 3,127Member, Business Ninja ✭✭✭✭✭
    Ok... If I must choose between the lesser of two evils, I will choose Onwings A734 fist choice and Onwings A736 as second choice. But you must still run the table top test!
  • shaushau Posts: 32Member
    edited January 12
    Nothing works as intended. What I do is 60 seconds to hydrate, 30-60 seconds to activate. Shiny side down. No matter what I do, the film doesn't completely liquefy, but rather remains a stretchy, gloppy sheet. It can eventually stick and serve as a hydrofilm, but it retains a sheet-like quality and doesn't conform to the surface in a liquefied manner. I'm so demoralised. I've tried for months, nothing works. I used all 3 of the 2K thinners mentioned above, and that's what the paint shop gives me when I ask for a high quality reducer. They equate those two things - reducer and thinner, for whatever reason and they are a professional paint shop. Maybe it's the film that's at fault - but I've tried dozens - all from China. And no way I'm paying $30-50+ for a 1x0.5m sheet of film which can easily go wrong and be cast aside. American and Australian hydrofilms are extortionate and from what I understand many of them come from China anyway. Or maybe it needs some special X ingredient, like cyclohexane or something.
  • WileECoyoteWileECoyote Posts: 6,638Member, Moderator, Business Ninja El Moderator
    It sounds like you are doing something simple wrong and we are being lead down the wrong path looking at the activator. Take a step back and stat watching @K2Concepts videos and see if you can figure out what you might be doing wrong
  • studebakerstudebaker Posts: 3,127Member, Business Ninja ✭✭✭✭✭
    @shau If EVERY FILM THAT YOU HAVE TRIED doesn't work, then it's not the film.... or activator. The film is upside down! If you will do a tabletop test of your intended activator, you will see which side is up. Because it won't melt the ink if you are spraying the wrong side. The phrase "remains a stretchy, gloppy sheet" is indicative that you have laid it on the water upside down.
  • shaushau Posts: 32Member
    edited January 12
    @studebaker I've always done it shiny/sticky side down. There can be no doubt I've done it the right way, that being the case, no?
  • shaushau Posts: 32Member
    @studebaker Also, whenever I watch Jim's videos, his film is has a crunchy quality/sound to it, whereas mine is soft and mushy even before use. I'm not sure if improper storage has resulted in the film taking up moisture from the air, but that shouldn't in and of itself stymie the whole process, right?
  • studebakerstudebaker Posts: 3,127Member, Business Ninja ✭✭✭✭✭
    You know what happens when we assume..... I apologize for implying that it was upside down... But I still advocate you trying you activator on the ink side on the table for your own edification.

    Thank you for being a member of the forum. We learn so much when we help others.
  • studebakerstudebaker Posts: 3,127Member, Business Ninja ✭✭✭✭✭
    Yes, humidity "pre-hydrated" film will indeed make a mess like you described earlier.
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