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Duracoat/cerakote Questions

cparkscparks Posts: 398Member ✭✭✭
Me and my partners have recently looked into doing duracoat/cerakote/gunkote and dipping to them since a large number of what we do is firearms. This would just be an added benefit to the customer if they wanted it. I have a few questions about it;

1) We do not have access to a blast cabinet and are not really looking to invest in one as our compressor would have to be replaced as well. Could we just scuff with 400-600 grit and be good?

2)Does the cerakote (baking kind) really have that much more durability than the air dry duracoat?

3) has anyone used all three; duracoat, cerakote, and gunkote? If so how did you like the three?

I just shot a speed shape with duracoat, dipped, and put the duraclear sealant over top. Going to give it 3 weeks or so and then beat it around to see how it holds up but I'm not sure its going to be the same as a slide, barrel, etc.

Opinions?
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Comments

  • cparkscparks Posts: 398Member ✭✭✭
    edited April 2015
  • SmittySmitty Posts: 731Member ✭✭✭✭
    Duracoat is a joke. If your going to do cerakote then you need to strip down to the bare strata. I strongly recommend blasting your parts. If your going to do duracoat make sure you seal it, unlike Cerakote, which is far superior.
    My normal Hydrographics finish is more durable than duracoat.
  • HardeightHardeight Posts: 584Member ✭✭✭
    Personally, I have had great results from Duracoat. It does get a bad rap for some reason, but I have had to strip jobs that had Duracoat on it before and hated doing it because I knew what type of nightmare it would be.

    It is easiest to dip to out of the three you mentioned. Anything thermal cure is going to be a pain, due to having to find that small little window where it's still able to take the dip.

    You need a blast cabinet. I don't see how a shop that works on guns can realistically continue without it. You'll never get in all of the tiny nooks and crannies of gun parts by scuffing.

    For single colors or custom patterns, I always use Cerakote. It is super easy to work with, and extremely durable. However, like I said earlier, it's still a complete pain to dip to. I'll do it if the customer requests it, but they are paying extra. If you missed that window and your dip slides off, or the paint is still too soft and gets smudged? Guess what, you got to start all the way back over, which means you will HAVE to blast it.

    Gunkote is a good product. It can be tedious to apply though, because it is so thin, you need to preheat the parts in order to prevent runs. Multiple light coats on it, where Cerakote is more like one. I haven't dipped to it, not really interested in trying at this point.

    Air dry Cerakote is garbage. You might as well rattle can it. Great heat resistance, but it sin't going to hold up to any type of abuse.
  • Reaper06Reaper06 Posts: 121Member ✭✭
    Get a blasting cabinet from harbor freight. I can get a barreled action in one. Be versitale, I spray both oven cure and air cure. Air cure for optics and suppressors and oven cure for everything else. Make an oven. There is plenty of videos out there. For dipping I use one hit wonder and clear with PCL26. It is durable and is flat. Hope any of this helps.
  • BIGGAME510BIGGAME510 Posts: 295Member ✭✭
    Smitty gotta ask what you use? I've used all 3Gunkote doesn't dip well or at least I haven't figured it out yet every time I think I have it figured out stuff goes sideways 
    Cerakote is expensive but works great I use there clear on most everything 
    Duracoat dips the best I mostly use it ,,draw back is cure time. Unless using  excellorator 
    go with DuraCoat I was a hater until I started using it. Get a blast cabinet Harbor freight 150 with coupon works better than scuffing. PCL/26 is also a great clear to use here is DuraCoat with Cerakote clear
  • airtimegrafixairtimegrafix Posts: 2,142Member ✭✭✭✭
    don't mix duracoat with cerikote! the don't have the same chemical make up!! ones an epoxy and ones ceramic!!
  • JDebo75JDebo75 Posts: 67Member ✭✭
    Does the hydrodipping adhere well right to cured cerakote? 
  • airtimegrafixairtimegrafix Posts: 2,142Member ✭✭✭✭
    not to cured cerikote or duracoate
  • dipitalldipitall Posts: 1Member
    sir,cerakote and duracoat are good products.both bash each other.its called competition.to answer which is best,try both.use the air cure,you need to let cure 2-4 weeks.heat cure and its done.i would still let it cure a week.with this said.you will need a blast cabinet,and compressor,use aluminum oxide 220 grit.there are steps to follow,or you ll learn the hard way,as I did.take product totally,completely apart,degrease,blast parts.lightly hit product with the coating of your choice.mine,after testing,is duracoat.cera,is more expensive,bottom line applied wrong,they both fail.so,apply light coats,2-4 depending on whats being coated.be careful with innards,and barells.light coat,maybe 2,tops.light clear if you like.i sometimes don't even clear my innard parts.metal against metal,will wear anyway.try different things.speedshapes,time windows to dip.stuff like this.ask more questions.nothing is a stupid question.trust me,you ll thank me,later.good luck.
  • adonis1adonis1 Posts: 186Member ✭✭✭
    cparks said:
    Me and my partners have recently looked into doing duracoat/cerakote/gunkote and dipping to them since a large number of what we do is firearms. This would just be an added benefit to the customer if they wanted it. I have a few questions about it; 1) We do not have access to a blast cabinet and are not really looking to invest in one as our compressor would have to be replaced as well. Could we just scuff with 400-600 grit and be good? 2)Does the cerakote (baking kind) really have that much more durability than the air dry duracoat? 3) has anyone used all three; duracoat, cerakote, and gunkote? If so how did you like the three? I just shot a speed shape with duracoat, dipped, and put the duraclear sealant over top. Going to give it 3 weeks or so and then beat it around to see how it holds up but I'm not sure its going to be the same as a slide, barrel, etc. Opinions?
    I run both kinds, yes the H whatever number last longer and seems to be more scratch resistant.
  • PREGraphicsPREGraphics Posts: 66Member ✭✭
    don't mix duracoat with cerikote! the don't have the same chemical make up!! ones an epoxy and ones ceramic!!
    Cerakote MC160 and MC161 work just fine over Duracoat. I use it all the time with no issues. It does not build like Duracoat clear, works great to keep tolerances down. I also like the ease of use since it's a one part product, and I can pour any unused right back in the jar.
  • BarryBarry Posts: 10Member
    edited December 2016
    I'm new here and trying to dip multiple firearms, all pistols, some with stainless steel, some with polymer, and some with aluminum, and would like to use cerakote as my primer because of the hardness, or else the aluminum will wear at an accelerated rate, unless I can leave the factory anodizing. Any thoughts on using bake on cerakote or the factory anodizing as a primer with a waterborne gray or white paint for the base coat for dipping?

    I know I'll have to tape off the internal sides of the firearm so that I don't make the parts too thick. Not enough room in there to stack finishes, but I can stack several on the exterior.

    Thanks in advance for the help!
  • BarryBarry Posts: 10Member
    Also, is there a good base and primer I can easily resupply with at lowes? What would be the procedure or dip window with these and other recommended bases and primers? Thanks guys.
  • SreynoldsSreynolds Posts: 1,336Member ✭✭✭✭
    No @Barry , cerakote is in no way a primer. And nothing is going to stick to cured cerakote . In my experience with other clears and paints , they will bead up and run off, kinda like rain-x on a windshield !
  • SreynoldsSreynolds Posts: 1,336Member ✭✭✭✭
    I would highly recommend paints from the sponsors on this forum ! Its proven to work well with the process. Use there paint for your base on the guns and cerakotes clear .... if you must have cerakote? I have found big brains clear to do well on fire arms and I do a lot of them, not one has came back.
  • MidOhioHydrographicsMidOhioHydrographics Posts: 9,204Member, Moderator, Business Ninja El Moderator
    Yeah, I am a certified cerakote applicator (though really just starting) and have done hydrographics on a production level for years. Keep them separate. Use paints that are made for hydrographics, and keep Cerakote for what it is.
  • BarryBarry Posts: 10Member
    edited December 2016
    Thanks for the replies. So, with aluminum parts there is no way (or no easy way) to maintain the wear resistance of the anodizing (or comparable like cerakote bake on [the clear is half or less of the bake on]) for hydro dipping? I find the wear resistance of duracoat superior to typical paints. From the above posts it is usable as a base, correct? Any tips on my window or actually using duracoat as my base?

    I understand waterborne is easiest to work with for a base. Is there a big difference in working with the sponsored products or can I just pick practically any product and be happy?
  • MidOhioHydrographicsMidOhioHydrographics Posts: 9,204Member, Moderator, Business Ninja El Moderator
    Nah, probably not going to be as durable as anodizing. Yes, you can dip to Duracoat. Would likely be more durable than most other coatings. Not sure on window. OHW, DTP, and LCHP are also good. I use waterborne (Aqualac) and NanoChem zero gloss clear on my production firearms and most custom jobs. Does just fine. I just inform customers it will be as durable as any OEM Camo job out there, and similar to the durability of their car's exterior coatings.
  • BarryBarry Posts: 10Member
    Alright. Thanks.

    I'm going to see if I can find out more about dipping using duracoat as a base and ceracoat clear as a finish, since those are what I have on hand.

    If anyone has any info on dip window or tips on using those 2 for hydrographics I'm all ears. I used the search function for this site before posting. I didn't get much :(. I'd bet it's been discussed in detail here before though.

    Thanks again for the help guys.
  • WileECoyoteWileECoyote Posts: 6,162Member, Moderator, Business Ninja El Moderator
    @Barry When using the search bar, use minimal words and see what you find. Do it a few times using different words and I suspect you will get more.

    Overall I guess your line of thinking is confusing. You want the durability of Duracoat or Ceracoat, but then put paint over that... The paint and print would wear away very quickly, then you would see the original coating below if your guns are seeing that much abuse. People have been coating guns with Aqualac, OHW and other 2K bases for a long time with success and very happy customers.

    Then you are looking for an "affordable" paint/base at Lowes, but now want to use exclusively MUCH more expensive coatings... Why are you trying to reinvent the wheel here? Use the quality products available from the sponsors and get your feet under you. Then you can experiment from there.
  • BarryBarry Posts: 10Member
    I found this on dipping with duracoat as a base. 15 minutes to 1 hours is the dip window. http://www.thedurablog.com/2015/05/duracoat-and-hydrographics-match-made.html
  • BarryBarry Posts: 10Member
    edited December 2016

    @Barry When using the search bar, use minimal words and see what you find. Do it a few times using different words and I suspect you will get more.

    Overall I guess your line of thinking is confusing. You want the durability of Duracoat or Ceracoat, but then put paint over that... The paint and print would wear away very quickly, then you would see the original coating below if your guns are seeing that much abuse. People have been coating guns with Aqualac, OHW and other 2K bases for a long time with success and very happy customers.

    Then you are looking for an "affordable" paint/base at Lowes, but now want to use exclusively MUCH more expensive coatings... Why are you trying to reinvent the wheel here? Use the quality products available from the sponsors and get your feet under you. Then you can experiment from there.

    All very solid advice, and where I should have started. I have a horrible tendency to jump into anything trying to reinvent the wheel. I always have demands on the process that are a bit unreasonable. I started with experimentation, and I don't have to explain that it didn't go well. With cerakote, duracoat, or something cheap at lowes, Trying to come back to a finish I know and have or else one that I can run out and get TODAY.

    With wear resistance I'm not concerned about the graphic. Compared to anodizing or cerakote it will have to be babied. That's obvious. What I'm concerned with is the wear of the aluminum. The hard anodizing or cerakote, or gunkote, adds to the service life of the firearm by several thousand rounds. If I can help it, I don't want to shorten the service life of these firearms. I'm not sure there is a way around it, but thankfully the anodizing on the aluminum has already begun to wear on the interior of the firearm I am currently working on, so I won't be reducing the service life of that particular gun.

    Still I wanted to be able to maintain the hardness or come close to factory for the interior parts. I am still considering masking the interior, leaving the original finish on future firearms, but this one needs a refinish on the interior anyway.

    Given that I have a dip window expressed by duracoat, and I have the satisfactory colors on hand. I'll probably try that today. If that does not work right off, I'll order the right stuff from the sponsors here. I would still like to know how to dip onto cerakote for future aluminum jobs, if anyone has that figured out. I would think that some method of flash heating the exterior then dipping would work, but I don't have the patience to keep playing with cerakote right now. I haven't given up on it, but since duracoat should be easier, that's my next thing to try.

    Thanks again for all of the help.
  • MidOhioHydrographicsMidOhioHydrographics Posts: 9,204Member, Moderator, Business Ninja El Moderator
    edited December 2016
    @Barry For what it's worth, at the Ohio Remote training last year I took a metal firearm shroud coated with Aqualac and NanoChem zero gloss (just our standard process) and scraped it multiple times (very hard) against the corner edge of a wooden table. It held just fine. The table was dirty w paint residue. The only thing that happened was some paint residue transferred from the table to the shroud. I forget who I did this in front of.

    Understand that I have coated many, many firearms with this method. In the thousands. (Actaully, I just checked the numbers... In 2016, we coated over 21,000 firearms and over 7,000 pair of accessory grips. Wow, I didn't even realize it was that many...) We tested our process thoroughly. I can't have thousands of parts coming back due to an issue on my end.

    All that being said, this is our process, our parts, and it works well for us. Your mileage may vary.
    Aqualac + Clear will be thicker than other coatings you mentioned and I would avoid tight tolerances. Aqualac applies at about 0.001" to 0.0015" from my testing. The clear will add about another 0.001" to 0.0015". So you could be upward of 0.003" on some areas.
  • BarryBarry Posts: 10Member

    @Barry For what it's worth, at the Ohio Remote training last year I took a metal firearm shroud coated with Aqualac and NanoChem zero gloss (just our standard process) and scraped it multiple times (very hard) against the corner edge of a wooden table. It held just fine. The table was dirty w paint residue. The only thing that happened was some paint residue transferred from the table to the shroud. I forget who I did this in front of.

    Understand that I have coated many, many firearms with this method. In the thousands. (Actaully, I just checked the numbers... In 2016, we coated over 21,000 firearms and over 7,000 pair of accessory grips. Wow, I didn't even realize it was that many...) We tested our process thoroughly. I can't have thousands of parts coming back due to an issue on my end.

    All that being said, this is our process, our parts, and it works well for us. Your mileage may vary.
    Aqualac + Clear will be thicker than other coatings you mentioned and I would avoid tight tolerances. Aqualac applies at about 0.001" to 0.0015" from my testing. The clear will add about another 0.001" to 0.0015". So you could be upward of 0.003" on some areas.

    Thanks for the technical review. This is actually very encouraging. I'm very encouraged by these numbers. I may go ahead and order these products after all and try them out. They can't be more challenging than what I have been trying. :p
  • MidOhioHydrographicsMidOhioHydrographics Posts: 9,204Member, Moderator, Business Ninja El Moderator
    @Barry as I said, be warned. Test everything. We dialed in a process that works very well for us. We primarily coat polypropylene, lightly blasted e-coated metal, and sandblasted acetal plastic. I can only vouch for those substrates. When using aqualac, you will need an adhesion promoter for most plastics. Test everything. We have great using aqualac direct to blasted stainless and blasted aluminum. Again, test everything...

    I forgot to mention the NanoChem clear is very chemical resistant. I have tested Hoppe's #9, Butch's Bore Shine, Sweets 7.62 Copper Solvent, Gun Scrubber aerosol, and Rem Oil with no adverse affect s at all. I was very happy with this. We did have one issue with an Outer's Degreaser/Cleaner that specifically says to no apply to coated/painted surfaces, and the gentleman was aware before it happened. It started to lift. But one small issue out of that many guns? I'll take it.

    There are other great clears out there that work very well. Big Brain's Dead Flat is just as good, just as dead flat, and just as chemical resistant. We don't use it becuase it's slightly more expensive in drum quantities and we like the dry "Grippy" texture the NanoChem leaves.
  • BarryBarry Posts: 10Member
    If I go ahead and order aqualac and nanochem and use pyramid activator (what I have on hand, relabeled as southern hydrograpics) what do I need to know about the dip window, and process in general? If there is a link to "just follow these instructions" that would be superb.

    Thanks again.



  • BarryBarry Posts: 10Member

    @Barry as I said, be warned. Test everything. We dialed in a process that works very well for us. We primarily coat polypropylene, lightly blasted e-coated metal, and sandblasted acetal plastic. I can only vouch for those substrates. When using aqualac, you will need an adhesion promoter for most plastics. Test everything. We have great using aqualac direct to blasted stainless and blasted aluminum. Again, test everything...

    I forgot to mention the NanoChem clear is very chemical resistant. I have tested Hoppe's #9, Butch's Bore Shine, Sweets 7.62 Copper Solvent, Gun Scrubber aerosol, and Rem Oil with no adverse affect s at all. I was very happy with this. We did have one issue with an Outer's Degreaser/Cleaner that specifically says to no apply to coated/painted surfaces, and the gentleman was aware before it happened. It started to lift. But one small issue out of that many guns? I'll take it.

    There are other great clears out there that work very well. Big Brain's Dead Flat is just as good, just as dead flat, and just as chemical resistant. We don't use it becuase it's slightly more expensive in drum quantities and we like the dry "Grippy" texture the NanoChem leaves.

    Thanks. Blasting and one coating metals sounds excellent. I'll have to remember the adhesion promoter for polymer frames.
  • MidOhioHydrographicsMidOhioHydrographics Posts: 9,204Member, Moderator, Business Ninja El Moderator
    Aqualac has no dip window. It's a wonderful thing :-) You can dip a year later if you'd like (I should mention it's the same with solvent based DTP, OHW, and LCHP). Remember the longer you wait, the more of a chance of contamination settling on the part.

    Aqualac is normally dry in 15-20 minutes under normal conditions (70 deg, 50% humidity). You can dip right after. The other paints will dry the same or sometimes a little quicker since they're solvent.
  • BarryBarry Posts: 10Member

    Aqualac has no dip window. It's a wonderful thing :-) You can dip a year later if you'd like (I should mention it's the same with solvent based DTP, OHW, and LCHP). Remember the longer you wait, the more of a chance of contamination settling on the part.

    Aqualac is normally dry in 15-20 minutes under normal conditions (70 deg, 50% humidity). You can dip right after. The other paints will dry the same or sometimes a little quicker since they're solvent.

    Thanks.
  • WileECoyoteWileECoyote Posts: 6,162Member, Moderator, Business Ninja El Moderator
    @Barry The tendency is for ALOT of new guys to assume the THOUSANDS of people doing this, who are smart business owners in their own right, MUST have overlooked some mass produced readily available component that someone with no experience is going to step in and revolutionize the industry. I don't know why, but it happens way more than you would think, after I lay it out like that. You sound like an intelligent person, (and in my experience with gunsmiths and related fields) meticulous to a fault (that is pronounced "pain in the @$$") You (along with everyone else on this forum) will be best served by assuming the products made for this industry don't need much improvement, and turn your attention to detail to the application. Collect THAT data and make it available to others on this forum. Then when you have a good grasp on the variety of products available... then reinvent that portion.
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