Is this a bad idea to start??

croberts5651croberts5651 Member Posts: 11
edited March 2019 in DIY Tanks
so I’ve been looking at making my first tank, I’ve read through quite a few of the posts in this section... and I’m pretty sure there are still some things I’m not getting. I’m attaching a VERY rough/simplified sketch of what’s in my head so people have a better idea because I would probably do a terrible job at explaining it. I still have some questions but I’m really just looking to see if I’m even on the right track. Any tips or ideas or comments are very very appreciated I’m really hoping to get dipping soon! 

I would like to go with a 156 gal 72” long trough for this set up. As you will see in this picture I was going to try using 2 wall mounted above ground pool skimmers for my salvage drain that will recycle back in. Is this feasible? I don’t weld and really don’t have anyone I know that welds to set up like I’ve seen most of you do. Also would love some links to heating elements that would work for this build. I wouldn’t be running a 220 to this keep that in mind please. The 2 drains in the bottom that would be piped into the flow of water are for recirculating purposes. And I was going to attach a shower head to the end of the spray bar that has an on/off so I could put a grate over the tank and use it to rinse as well. 

Thoughts?? I’m sure I’m missing stuff. There will be dams just have to figure out how I’m going to do that is all.


  • MidOhioHydrographicsMidOhioHydrographics Member, Moderator, Business Ninja Posts: 10,543 El Moderator
    I think you're thinking too hard. If you're only doing this occasionally, just use a pool skimmer net and scoop out most of the junk, then dip again. No need to get too complicated. Once the tank gets too much activator in it, drain and refill. You should be able to get 15-20 dips before you need to drain. I get what you're doing, and it would work, but your skimmer drains need to be opposite from your jets so it pushes the water into them. Overall it will work, but I think you're making it more complicated than you need. Just use it as practice and save up for a small table top tank from PA Hydro.
  • croberts5651croberts5651 Member Posts: 11
    edited March 2019
    @MidOhioHydrographics thanks a ton for the reply..i agree with you, i was just hoping this would be a somewhat success quickly. (i know thats praying for a lot) im in a paintball league here in NE and theres a good sized paintball community up here, hydro dipping is a semi-popular thing with us and i think its growing due to the relative price points compared to anodizing/laser engraving/ etc. so i didnt want to build a tank i would out grow TOO quickly. i had placed the skimmers there in the sketch because obviously the ends are rounded and thats the only way i could use them, in hopes the junk would find its way there eventually. my other (easier) idea was to cut a slit in the end and rig up some kind of catch there with a filter pitch it and pipe it into the flow of water....i wouldn't mind nixing it all together but this is going to be set up in my basement and draining and refilling is going to be my nemesis as it is. so if i can get a totally recirculating system to avoid it as much as possible that would be assuming you would suggest going with my "easier" idea of the slit in the end??

    but other than that issue....would you say this works?
  • smedlinsmedlin Member, Business Ninja Posts: 2,319 ✭✭✭✭✭
    You going to rinse in the same tank ya dip in?
  • croberts5651croberts5651 Member Posts: 11
    @smedlin ya i was just going to toss a grate over the top for rinsing, no good?? im just dealing with very limited space is all
  • K2ConceptsK2Concepts Administrator Posts: 14,057 El Jefe
    I would not rinse in the same tank you dip in...gonna overflow that real quick...
  • croberts5651croberts5651 Member Posts: 11
    @K2Concepts so that was my thought also, so thats why i put the shower head nozzle at the end of the spray bar on an on/off so the spray nozzles would be closed, the valve to the shower head turned on then start rinsing...its all still tank water just being recirculated so it wouldnt over flow...right?
  • WileECoyoteWileECoyote Member, Moderator, Business Ninja Posts: 7,958 El Moderator
    You guys missed the part where he would be doing this in his basement... Spraying activator in his basement. Please, do not do this.

    These chemicals are nothing to mess with and you don't want this in your house. If you cant do this where there is better ventilation, then don't do it. You are going to have a TON of things you need to learn to do with this process, and a 6 month to 1 year learning curve on products that you should not try to sell. Do you still think there is a vast untapped market that will be available to you next year? and after you spend $5,000-10,000 on the most basic of setups?
  • smedlinsmedlin Member, Business Ninja Posts: 2,319 ✭✭✭✭✭
    @WileECoyote is 100% correct

    I do this part time, out of my garage.. really just for something to do.. and still spent about 40K setting everything up

    however..he is even MORE correct on the activator.

    When I activate, I open my garage door up, have a big fan I turn on to push the air out of the garage, and still have to wear a mask.

    If I dip a "larger" item, it can get strong in there...even WITH one of the big garage (car size) doors open and a fan to push air out.

    My next step is to get a vent system above the dip tank.

    I could not even imagine doing this in a non-vented area... MAYBE if I had a brain pot.
  • croberts5651croberts5651 Member Posts: 11
    @WileECoyote 5k-10k? for what exactly? im aware the basement isnt ideal...i will be using an extractor fan in the door next to where im setting up, there are also 2 small basement windows right above the tank that will be set w/ fans and a friend of mine is giving me a ductless exhaust fan that goes into a filter system...i had figured that to be adequate ventilation. The basement location is very temporary plan on building a large shed this spring and now im figuring to make it bigger to be able to do this work in there.

    as far as the market these paintball leagues in new england arent going any where any time soon. I didnt mean to sound like im going to start dipping and selling immediately, but with my career i have a lot of time on my hands and will be devoting alot to dipping...its better than playing xbox on all my days off.
  • K2ConceptsK2Concepts Administrator Posts: 14,057 El Jefe
    Ahh...yea maybe...we always give the part a fresh water rinse off after the regular rinse so yea you could do that as well...

    The biggest problem I see with all these homemade do it yourself tanks is...the guys that build them seem to think that just building one is some kind of "right of passage" now you got the hardest part of the equation out of the way and it's just smooth going after that...when it's exactly the opposite...the tank is just a tool...everyone owns a hammer but not too many guys want to build one...and now you gotta go beat together a bunch of boards to build a house that you can sell to make money...

    See what I am getting at?
  • croberts5651croberts5651 Member Posts: 11
    the ductless exhaust was going to get set up over the tank itself. how im going to that i havnt figured out but thats the plan
  • croberts5651croberts5651 Member Posts: 11
    @K2Concepts i understand what you mean. Mostly for me, doing it this way is for me to A: see if im capable of it B: practicing C: saving for a real tank after i figure it out.
  • K2ConceptsK2Concepts Administrator Posts: 14,057 El Jefe
    OK as long as you have a plan...
  • croberts5651croberts5651 Member Posts: 11
    @K2Concepts as far as a heating element? are there any drop ins that would work for a tank like this?
  • K2ConceptsK2Concepts Administrator Posts: 14,057 El Jefe
    Dreop in?...Like a fish tank?...Youu need to think a little bigger...Like a jacuzzi...
  • croberts5651croberts5651 Member Posts: 11
    @K2Concepts ahhh ok, got it...ill try to look something up
  • smedlinsmedlin Member, Business Ninja Posts: 2,319 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @WileECoyote 5k-10k? for what exactly?

    Being honest, if you REALLY get into this (even part time), 5k is a drop. I've got.. I dont' know.. 4K? invested just into my "air system". And this is in my garage

    with my career i have a lot of time on my hands and will be devoting alot to dipping...its better than playing xbox on all my days off.

    I hear you on that. It's exactly why I started into it. I was bored.

    I have an acquaintance that has been doing it full time for years and I kept seeing the ART he was creating. I then spent about 6 months just researching into it before I decided to give it a go.

    I'm probably a bit different than most.. I'm blessed enough to have a full time job that pays well enough to fund the creation of my dip shop.

    I went into it "eyes wide open".. knowing it would take years to generate enough income to pay for the initial investment.

    Some advice? Two things...


    This isn't what YouTube makes it out to be. You really wanna know if you want to do this? There are several places around the U.S. that does quality training (key word being quality). Spend a day or 3 at one. Learn what this is all about. The wife and I did that.. went to two training sessions actually.


    Every single week people get into this business. Some as a hobby.. some going full-bore business. They buy everything they need to create a full shop.

    The vast majority don't last a year.

    So.. every week or so we see entire shops being sold off... at a huge loss (it IS used at this point).

    Start looking for some of those.. shoot, i think it was just last week I saw a little 4ft PA Hydrographic tank for sale.


    Anyways, find yourself some good used equipment. Hopefully get some training.

    I WILL say, I've been doing this for a few years now.. those who go get training are the ones who seem to last..
  • croberts5651croberts5651 Member Posts: 11
    @smedlin thank you for the input, unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any training facilities for hydrographics anywhere near least per my google searching haha. i definitely wouldn't shy away from a training course though if it were offered even some what near me.

    i mostly figured because of the small size of things i would be dipping that it wouldn't be much of an initial investment if i could make my tank idea work and totally doable in the space available to me. Mostly paintball hoppers, air tanks, barrels, etc. would probably get into dipping yeti tumblers and such too.
  • MidOhioHydrographicsMidOhioHydrographics Member, Moderator, Business Ninja Posts: 10,543 El Moderator
    edited March 2019
    I get what you're saying. I really do. Is there a shed or anything outdoors you could use instead of your basement? These chemicals (Activator, paints, clear coats) aren't safe to be around unprotected.

    Realize that we are trying to help, save you money, and make sure you don't shoot yourself in the foot here. Overall, you can take the advice or not. Jim and I do this full time for a living, Trevor (WileECoyote) is a painting/process engineer. You have decades of painting/coating/hydrographic experience trying to help you out. Just take what we are saying seriously.

    I like the idea of used equipment better than DIY. As far as the $ that was mentioned above, be aware that this process is expensive and $5k will go by quick. People want to test the waters with this process by building/buying/using inferior products and equipment. I like to equate this to using aerosol cans on your car in your driveway to "test the waters" of opening an autobody repair/paint shop. You can have fun, dip in your spare time, etc. but don't use it to determine what you want to do for a business. And we will be here to help diagnose as you move forward.
  • croberts5651croberts5651 Member Posts: 11
    Oh no no no I’m taking in everything you guys are saying. I’m not trying sound like I’m blowing off what you’re all saying. All of you that have responded are the people i wanted to hear from after reading a lot of your posts on here and I appreciate and respect everything you have all said and I totally understand. 

    Theres nothing outside YET, I’m going to be building a shed this spring so it’s time to alter the plans and make it bigger to fit what I need. I’m looking forward to sharing the progress. And I will totally be getting into a real tank in the future. 
  • MidOhioHydrographicsMidOhioHydrographics Member, Moderator, Business Ninja Posts: 10,543 El Moderator
    Good plan! Yeah You're good, Just wanted to be sure we were getting through. I understand you're in a tough spot starting, but just try to be safe, and use as good of quality materials as you can.
  • WileECoyoteWileECoyote Member, Moderator, Business Ninja Posts: 7,958 El Moderator

    @WileECoyote 5k-10k? for what exactly?

    Honestly, if I sat down and figured it out, I could tell you... but money flies out the door EVERYWHERE in this process. You need multiple guns at a cost of $300-500 each. You need practice films at a few hundred dollars every time you order. A few activators, and you are going to need to try some different paints at a few hundred each time you order.

    You will need to travel to find training it won't come to you (unless you wait till a remote gets scheduled, but even then still traveling).

    Jim is right, most guys like the idea of making a tank cause they think that they can do it and it might be fun. In the long run, you will have a MUCH better return on your investment of time by using that time to get trained, or learning spraying (paint and activator)

    Not trying to kill your dream here, but we have seen this happen a few hundred times. Honestly @smedlin has summarized in a few different threads pretty well. He is the anomaly (truly a hobby that he doesn't NEED a return on his investment to be able to pay the bills), but he sees where the pitfalls are for others. If you paid for training from any number of places across the US before starting anything, you would see what you need to make this work for equipment, and the amount of skill you need to do the basic operation. It will be the best money you have spent, and will open your eyes right up.
  • ForsiForsi Member Posts: 399 ✭✭✭
    What has been said above is sound advice and feedback and very relevant/true. Take it from someone who researched the business for over 2 years before deciding to actually launch my business, and by that I mean a professional business and not a hobby-based business. Thankfully we are getting ready to celebrate three years in business, in an actual professional shop and not a home-based business and we invested properly up front where it was smart to do so and built our own equipment where that was smart to do so as well. Where we were unwilling to compromise and risk was in securing a professionally made dip tank, chemicals, paint, films, paint booth materials, and paint/activator guns, safety equipment, etc. We did fabricate our own rinse tank and built the paint booth framework ourselves to save on costs, but we put in the proper duct work and ventilation system inside the paint booth we built as that was one of the areas not worth trying to skimp as the risk was far greater than the reward to save a few dollars there. The same holds true for the paints, activators, spray equipment, and safety equipment in my opinion. If you are going to do it, do it right and save yourself the stress and headaches of fighting inferior equipment and the mistakes that can come from that. Lord knows there are enough stressors in this process without adding more by using equipment not made for this process, etc. Having said this I can also attest that you won't be surprised to see how quickly you can go through $5k - $10k especially when you are starting out and getting set up. All the best to you as you move forward with this process, but I wanted to share my personal experience as well. @K2Concepts , @MidOhioHydrographics , @WileECoyote and many others on this forum offer a wealth of knowledge and experience and there are answers to a plethora of questions and situations on here so do yourself a favor and dive into the posts and threads on here and soak up everything you can - you won't regret your time spent on this forum!
  • K2ConceptsK2Concepts Administrator Posts: 14,057 El Jefe
    @Forsi Thank you for that write up!...
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