My low budget dipping tank. No heater or pump needed :)

keeweekeewee Posts: 39Member ✭✭
Im a believer that there is more than one way to skin a cat. Personally, I think a $10,000 Stainless steel tank is an incredible waste of money. That is a hell of a lot of work you have to do to recoup that kind of investment! Plus, stainless is not very efficient at holding heat and those massive elements are very expensive to run. Anyway, here is my prototype tank. Its still a work in progress with some kinks that need ironing out but Im happy with the path Im going down :) Any thoughts, suggestions or comments are welcome :)


  • CavemanCaveman Posts: 17Member
    Real Kiwi Innovation love it!
  • keeweekeewee Posts: 39Member ✭✭
    Lol, when you live at the bottom of the world access to genuine items is not always we learn to make stuff and find another way, lol.
  • HardeightHardeight Posts: 584Member ✭✭✭
    Kudos for the DIY engineering.
    Aside from that, some of your statements are a little off the mark.
    First off fiberglass tanks work, that isn't a debate. One of the largest suppliers of film and equipment in the US sells fiberglass tanks.
    Once you go past a certain size however, it's not economical. Casting a fiberglass tank to hold a large amount of water and weight isn't easy or cheap. And you trade off longevity. For a serious processor who does any kind of volume, they will eventually fail. The money you put into that failing piece of equipment could have lasted the life of your business with a stainless tank.
    Second, my tank doesn't cost any more energy to run than a hot water heater, which you still have running your tank. On top of that, you are paying for water, every time you dip. This would skyrocket my costs personally, as I am sure it would most dippers. So I don't think you are saving anything on the utility requirements.
    Also I personally didn't pay 10 grand for my tank. More like 1 thousand total. But I did build it myself so I do really appreciate your desire to do something for yourself. And I am sure it's easier for me to get a hold of my materials for my build than it is for someone in NZ. But my tank isn't as big as the 10 grand ones either. There are smaller tanks that are stainless that cost less. I think it's a big investment but one of the most important ones in the business. So to sat it's a waste of money, I guess only if you don't plan on making a successful run at it.
    I have spent much more than the cost of a big tank in everything else I have to expenditure. I could just be working out of a canvas tent and say a shop is a waste of money.
    But every business is different and what works for you is fine with me. Have fun and keep at it.
  • keeweekeewee Posts: 39Member ✭✭
    While I take your points on board, my comments were not made without a fair amount of research. I have read many comments on forums etc stating that fibreglass tanks are no good, I beg to differ. Im curious as to why you think a FG tank will eventually fail?
    As for cost, I am currently building a 2.4m x 1m tank, so far material costs are at $327.00. I am using glass over foam construction, ie, building the tank out of foam first then glassing over it. A simple process that almost anyone can do. I would expect the insulation properties to significantly lower the cost of heating. I would disagree with your claim that a hot water heater costs the same to run as a tank heater. I have a friend in Melbourne who has installed a hot water service next to his tank rather than use the installed element because of the cost of heating. Im pretty sure Jim has done the same thing? Also, with regard to water cost, I am lucky enough to live in a place where water is free so that is no concern to me.
    Having said all that, I probably shouldn't have said that an expensive stainless tank is a waste of money, more that it is a hell of a lot of money to recoup! You will have to dip a lot of objects to get that money back! Meanwhile I will enjoy higher profit margins.
    I certainly dont think that my design is the answer either, Im just putting it up as an alternative. Maybe someone else will take my ideas and improve on them, plus, I think there is always more than one way to do something :)
  • FWHydroFWHydro Posts: 445Member ✭✭✭
    There is always another way to skin a rabbit. As long as the end result is the same. Good Luck and post a few pics of the build as you go. Id like to see how.
  • keeweekeewee Posts: 39Member ✭✭
    Thanks FW, I guess I could have just gone and bought a tank but that wouldnt be nearly as much fun :)
  • wicked_dipzwicked_dipz Posts: 564Member ✭✭✭
    I guess I look at it differently. I mean if you really wanted you could turn a rubbermaid tote into the same thing. I give an A+ for effort and expense. I think Jim is in cali and said before that he uses ice to cool his tank because of the heat there. Most people put insulation on there tanks if there in colder climates so they hold temp very well. I know the stainless will not only last but if I ever decide to give it up I can recoup more then it cost me to make the stainless one I have. Now paying 10k for a tank when you could build it yourself or hire someone to build one for you at a extremely discounted price to me does seem crazy but for others its easier. Not sure how big the other guys tank is but if he spent 1k building it he could probably make a couple grand by selling it if he decides to big an even bigger tank
  • MasterjqxMasterjqx Posts: 990Member ✭✭✭
    We all started somewhere as time goes on you will start to learn the importance of a stainless tank, i was in the same shoes you were when i started messing around with hydrographics, " screw a big stainless tank there to expensive " But was i sooooo wrong.. Problem with Fiberglass tanks, (1) the activator will start to break down the particles in the resin.. (2) Cleaning the fiberglass is going to whoop your **badword**. (3) Who likes to be ichy all the time :).. As hard8 said, you are currently paying more for your water transfer from your hot water tank then it would cost to heat up the water inside your tank.. Jim does have a hot water heater hooked up to his setup, as do i.. but i do not use it to heat the water in my tank, i use it but because HOT water is a must in this trade between the hot water in your rinse stations or a hot water sink in your shop to clean your guns or parts, ect ect.. A issue i see with your drain is, Activator makes film gummy and sticky, all the wash away will go into your drain and eventually clog up that hose, maybe throw a piece of a AC filter before the drain hole. Im not throwing negative hits at your tank by all means as i said before im sure 90% of the people on this forum started with a plastic or fiberglass tank, my first tank was plastic, about the same size, with another tank as my filter side.

    The best part about a stainless tank, i never wake up and wonder if my tank is going to leak, and if it gets dirty from floating sticky film i just spray it with alcohol and wipe it clean. Personally my stainless tank was made from a dairy tank, it is lined with insulation so it keeps the water warm for days. Other guys on here that have stainless tanks wrap there tank in insulation to help keep the temp up.

    Good start to building a business tho. keep up the engineering.
  • HardeightHardeight Posts: 584Member ✭✭✭
    Fiberglass will eventually fail for the reason Master stated above. The chemicals in your activator are solvents. Resins don't like solvents, in fact, the way you clean fiberglass tools and brushes is with solvents because it destroys the resins. Plus I usually clean my tanks with Acetone or some other strong solvent. This wouldn't be a good idea for your tank. Speaking of cleaning, I am going on about 5 months without changing out my water. I don't really mind that I can't see the bottom of my tank, it dips just as well.
    It's only a problem if I happen to drop something and then I have to roll my sleeves up and feel around like Ray Charles to find the part.
    With a tank the size you are making I would suggest some reinforcements on the exterior. That will be a lot of weight trying to destroy that thing on every square inch.

    I have 2 hot water heat elements in my tank. It takes an hour or so in the morning to get it to temp. Then I can dip for pretty much the rest of the day without cutting them back on. With a hot water heater, your thermostat is going to kick on the second the temp drops, and it is constantly monitoring in the background. Which means even if you don't need to warm your tank, your elements in the WH will cut on. Every time you cycle your water heater will also come on. This means you can't cycle your pump without electricity for heat. I can.
    This coupled with my water not being free means this would eat me alive in utility bills. But hey if your water is free and you have tested your utility requirements for heat and find this cheaper, run with it.

    Also time is money. When I started out, and I built my tank, my time wasn't as valuable as it is now, so this type of thing obviously works better for newcomers getting started.
    At this point, I could probably recoup 10k in about a couple of weeks. Meaning if I stopped to build a tank or anything else at this point, I would drown.
    Some start ups are this way. They need to get money coming in to pay the loans and get the business running. So taking a lot of time to experiment and have fun with projects like this are unfortunately not an option for all of us.

    But I do like your ingenuity and willing to step outside the box and try something.
    The most important thing is finding something that works for your business.
  • K2ConceptsK2Concepts Posts: 13,340Administrator El Jefe
    So now you guys know why your customers come in and beat you down on your got a cheap $50 tank, cheap $12 a liter activator, zero overhead...all in one nice YouTube video for any of your customers who is researching can find...


    Topics like this are so full of rubbish? Makes me want to shut them down...however this being a open forum?...Everyone is entitled to their opinion...I'll keep mine to myself...
  • FWHydroFWHydro Posts: 445Member ✭✭✭


    Topics like this are so full of rubbish? Makes me want to shut them down...however this being a open forum?...Everyone is entitled to their opinion...I'll keep mine to myself...

    Amen. Testify brother. It is a no win subject. Like someone told me, "I know what I think".
  • K2ConceptsK2Concepts Posts: 13,340Administrator El Jefe
    Really sucks when I have to take my own advice...
  • keeweekeewee Posts: 39Member ✭✭
    So Jim, you are saying that because I have the ability to build my own tank system that works for me in order to save 8 to 10 thousand dollars and use an effective activator that costs 15% of what suppliers are charging for effectivly the same thing, my business somehow has less credibility than yours?? Now THATS a load of rubbish! To me its just good business! Besides, if you lived where I live you may think differently. Access to formula and equipment is not as easy as it is in the States and sometimes we have to find other ways to do things. I live on an island and freight kills us! Also, while I may have only been doing hydrographics for 6 months, I have been in business as a custom car painter/ restorer and air brush artist for 15 years! This is not my first rodeo and one thing I have learned is overheads will kill you! I still have a workshop to pay for, staff to pay, a professional spray booth to maintain and operate and all the other expenses to pay for. I dont have to justify my costs to anyone! For the record, I didnt build my own tank because I cant afford to buy one, I built it because I think a Chinese built tank for 8 to 10 grand is a rip off for something that is essentially a tub of warm water! Plus I like the challenge of building something myself. At the end of the day, I am happy to put the quality of my work up against anyone elses and THAT is what customers pay for!
    What I dont understand is if home built tanks offend you so much, why did you include a section on them in your forum??
  • wicked_dipzwicked_dipz Posts: 564Member ✭✭✭
    I guess you didnt take in anything he said. Everybody said congrats on finding something that works for you. You are saying that stainless is stupid and in turn basically saying people that have high dollar equipment are stupid. Theres a reason there are stainless tanks they last forever and even a used one is still worth money. You could dip out of a toilet and flush the water down after each dip thats up to you. What Jim said is that You are making videos and basically telling people that there is nothing to what we do and that there is no reason for anybody to charge more then pennies for what we do. Hydro Graphics gets a bad name to alot of consumers already from people using dip kits. Why? because it doesnt last even if it turns out flawless it will not hold up against heat or sun because of the materials used. Im sure we have all started with something similar to what you have and the people that are staying in for the long haul upgraded to stainless
  • airtimegrafixairtimegrafix Posts: 2,144Member ✭✭✭✭
  • FWHydroFWHydro Posts: 445Member ✭✭✭
    OH YEAH. Done Poked The Tiger.
  • RBurressRBurress Posts: 1,553Member, Moderator, Business Ninja El Moderator
    If I was going to make a video of my tank to throw dirt at others, I would at least fix everything I didn't like about it. Leaks on lines, jets that don't work, can't fit everything into it, my duct taped thermometer that is 3 degrees off of optimum temp, etc. etc. Just saying.
  • airtimegrafixairtimegrafix Posts: 2,144Member ✭✭✭✭
    im not showin anyone my tank till I get a real one!!
  • SingleAction52SingleAction52 Posts: 703Member, Business Ninja ✭✭✭
    Good job peewee, I mean keewee.
  • keeweekeewee Posts: 39Member ✭✭
    Lol, haters gonna hate...meanwhile, I'll just get on with saving and making money. Like I said, its a prototype and Im building a larger one, during which, I will Iron out any minor issues.
    From what I can understand here, the biggest objection the so called "pros" have to self built tanks is the impression it gives customers. If thats the case, I ask again, why put a section in this forum for people to share their ideas, then attack those people because their opinion is different to yours??
    First off, let me address that concern. My customers never see my tank, my spray booth, my equipment or anything else. I wouldnt have even put the video on youtube except that kts the only way to share it here! For insurance reasons, customers are simply not allowed in my workshop (or almost any ẃorkshop in Australia. Its law!) Besides, its the finished product thats important to them, not the process! Also, its a load of crap anyway (in my opinion) as I believe far too much emphasis is put on the dipping process in these forums. It is simply one step in a chain of very important steps required to achieve a quality finished product. If anything, people see thousands of videos on youtube that only show the dipping process and they think "that looks easy, why is it so expensive?" or "I'll do it myself". Where are all the videos on the other important steps? Preparation, priming, painting and polishing?
    You seem to be upset that I am not impressed with over priced stainless steel tanks...all I am saying is there are always other ways to do things and the tank I built has served me well to this point and saved me 10 grand! What offends me is when I see a tank on a Chinese site and am quoted a price of $2800 AU...then see a supplier offering the exact same unit for $10,500! Profit is not a dirty word but greed is!
    I live in a city of only 200,000 people, most of whom have never even heard of hydrographic printing. To drop big money on equipment when youre not even sure if there is a viable market in your area is just madness and bad business!
    Sure, it may not be able to handle a days work in Jims shop, but it certainly handles a day in mine as I clearly dont do nearly as much volume and probably never will...but my business and city is different! There is very little, if any manufacturing here so production work is pretty much out, we have tough gun laws so the gun market is virtually non exsistant, so that means the biggest market is probably one off custom jobs on bikes and cars...which probably wont stretch my capacity too much.
    Finally, every trade always has an element of operators that work outside the normal shop front. Mechanics, builders, painters upholstery guys...I know at least one of each that works from home, saves on overheads and charges less...hydrographics is no different, so get usēd to it! Also, there will always be guys that watch youtube videos and think they can save money by doing something themselves. Weather it be building a fence, painting their car or dipping a part, there will always be those who want to try it themselves. Who cares?? Conversely, there will always be those that lack the skill or cant be bothered doing it themselves, and they are the customers I want. I care less about what others are doing and more about what I am doing! There are plenty more fish in the sea and plenty more customers, as long as you put out a quality finished product that they struggle to achieve at home. If anything, the dozens of "how to" vids on the net have perpetuated the myth that you can do this job yourself!
    Anyway, despite what has ben said, I hope someone else can take my ideas and improve on em. Meanwhile, Im gonna have a beer for the haters and get back to work :)

  • RyanHeathRyanHeath Posts: 770Member ✭✭✭
    Dude you so dont get it at all. Nobady is bashing you about the tank. Its the attitude you gave during the video. You claim stainless is a big waste of money and basically are dishing those that have stainless tanks saying all we did is waste money. I like my stainless tank and would never wanna use anything different. Did i invest but still... If you woulda shot the video without such a negative condescending attitude all would be fine. All you woulda had to do is say something like...... For those of you who cant or dont wanna invest in stainless heres a solution... heres my tank blah blah blah and it woulda never came to this. This thread is just for that. Everyone has their own opinions but you shoulda just kept that 1 to yourself. Now if theres ever a time when you might actually need advice or a bit of help and you cant find the answer by searching nobody is gonna be wanting to help. Unfortunately you have just set your reputation in stone on this forum. You will always be remembered by this post
  • HardeightHardeight Posts: 584Member ✭✭✭
    You say in the same comment that your tank wouldn't survive a high production environment that stainless tanks are a waste of money.

    Sorry but you are seriously mental.

    Everyone has tried to tell you "good job I hope you have fun with it but it won't hold up to professional equipment doing mass work". And you agree but then say we wasted our money because we have nicer tanks.

    Then you say that there is too much emphasis on hydrographics in a HYDROGRAPHICS FORUM. Seriously dude?

    We all know there is more to the process, but this is a hydro group so that is the focus.

    I have tried to go out of my way to be nice but you are starting to make yourself look foolish.
  • wicked_dipzwicked_dipz Posts: 564Member ✭✭✭
    Man if where you live they charge 10k for a meter tank thats crazy.
  • MachinesUnlimitedMachinesUnlimited Posts: 196Member ✭✭
    First off the build is not whats argued here. It's very much supported here. To help other se and understand the operations and versatility of different tanks. Its the were all idiots for preferring stainless. To some time is money. And to buy a prebuilt, pretested, warranted tank, and not have any downtime. Is a big factor to most money making companies. If they spend 40 hours building a tank. And have lost the price of the tank in business they had to push back. No brainer.

    Ill tell you what. You build an average size tank that can handle 1 meter wide and 5.5 feet long. Waist high. All out of fiberglass. Fill it with cold water. If it withstands the water pressure against walls. Then use your hot water heater that holds 40-80 gallons and show me how it heats the 500 gal tank up. So for that fact. Your heater theory is flawed. Then lets se receipts for parts, ill track mine down. Then well have a poll. As to for dollar to dollar. Who's tank is preferred as an everyday user. Well leave all controls out of this. Just tank for tank cost. I bet if your using new fiberglass and foam. You'll catch up fast.

    We have a build section for the people that have the skills and tools to build the tanks. Those who have no experience in that will buy a flawlessly working tank from PA Hydrographics and have no worries or downtime.
  • keeweekeewee Posts: 39Member ✭✭
    You see, here is the problem. You are in America, I am in Australia. The ONLY so called professional tanks I can source in this country are made in China. After many many hours of research and speaking to people who had layed down their cash, I didn't talk to one satisfied customer. One guy turned his tank on and after 4 hours of use his pump failed and the importer he bought it from didnt want to know about it, he told him to go buy all new electrical systems as the Chinese ones were crap! Another guy told me his tank was so expensive to run he had installed an instant hot water service to heat it up as it was significantly cheaper (thats where I got my idea from) Yet another had put his tank in the corner of the shop and given up on it as the heater, pump AND control box had shorted out! So I ask you, faced with this information, would you hand over $9800 for a product you have no confidence in or would you find another solution? Oh, and another thing, I live in Tasmania. For those that dont know, Tasmania is an island and its very expensive to freight anything here...adding another $1800 to the cost!
    My attitude toward expensive, imported tanks with zero backup and no warrantee is what is due to this. There is a huge market in this part of the world for anyone who can sell a quality product at a fair price!
    I built my tank purposely small as it is a prototype and I want to see if my theories and ideas would work before I built one on a larger scale. I believe I can build a 2.4x1m tank that will last the distance and do the job efficiently for around $4000, still a significant saving!
    Anyway, hate me, help me, dont help me, I dont care, Ive gotten this far on my own and will continue to work out any issues I have. We dont have any training courses here that I can find anyway because this is a baby industry in this country and most operators dont have much more experience than I have!
    If Ive offended anyone, I humbly apologize but I stand by a lot of the comments Ive made based on MY situation. Peace.
  • EvilBunnyEvilBunny Posts: 13Member
    edited May 2014
    Yeah but that $10k is for a 10 foot tank for the size you have it would be 2 maybe 3 grand max.
  • keeweekeewee Posts: 39Member ✭✭
    Yes but if Im going to buy a tank, Im going to get the biggest one I can!
  • MachinesUnlimitedMachinesUnlimited Posts: 196Member ✭✭
    We're here to help if you approach it the right way (without calling people out on there work). I'm glad to se you've calmed down now. Originally your statements were about all stainless tanks. And those that paid money for ones. Quality or not. I actually liked the simplicity of your build. And yes it is a solution for some. But it's the attitude you had coming towards it that got this started. Ill have 900 in everything to build my tank excluding electronics. All new parts. It's a 4x6' tank. It's a dang good tank in my eyes but I know better and you won't se me boasting on how it's better than anyone elses tank. Cause I'm sure it's not. This site is an information site. And to help guide people in the direction in which ever way there funds and capabilities have. Not a judging site. You can share your recommendation or your situation. Just don't call people out. Or you'll find out that you was wrong Im sure. I've been wrong on here before. I just stepped back. And was like oops. Just keep it clean!!
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