Dipping clear Lexan/Polycarbonate RC car body shells

Hello all,
I have been home dipping for around 5 years and know how the normal process all works or at least should work.

I am into RC speed running as another one of my hobbies and as such have the occasional polycarbonate clear body shell to paint.
Lately though I have been thinking about hydro dipping my next one as I have seen some others do it.

Have any of you ever done this?

From what I have found out from someone else who did it they did basically the reverse of normal dipping because when you do an RC car body shell it is the inside you normally paint so that if the car/truck rolls over the paint finish is protected.

So the body shell is cleaned/washed/dried, then dipped in the desired hydro film, then base coat colour painted and sealed with a backing colour to further protect it.

I'm wondering whether I should lay down clear lacquer first inside the body shell, then dip afterwards because from what I understand the dipping film/activator usually eats into the paint is that true?

Had a practice on a plastic tub lid as pictured below (believe I suffered underactivation on that attempt hence the piece of film pattern missing).

The body I was hoping to do is a 1/7th scale and costs £70 so not something I want to mess up when I try it. Can't really sand back a clear body shell either you see.
Any tips or ideas appreciated.


  • loochlooch Member Posts: 2,054 ✭✭✭✭✭
    People do them from underneath get a clear intercoat spray the inside then dip and put base coat over it
  • studebakerstudebaker Member, Business Ninja Posts: 4,056 ✭✭✭✭✭
    To add to looch's experience, the dip will be a "scooping" action, so buy some cheap bodies to experiment with. The first try WILL be a failure. At the very least, dip the inside of speed shapes first.
  • GMballisticGMballistic Member Posts: 9
    Thanks @looch @studebaker for the replies.
    The body shell as it will be for speed running has the back cut out to allow for better air flow so there should be less chance of trapping any air bubbles.

    As I mentioned I know someone who has done this but he didn't use any clear coat first, ....just dipped straight onto the lexan/polycarbonate.

    I'm not 100% that is the right way to do it so as I mentioned and @looch too I was considering clear coating it first.
    I'll definitely be doing some practicing before I consider whether to go ahead or not. Worst case I'll just scrap the idea as not worth wrecking the body shell especially as it's being imported from Italy so not exactly easy to get hold of.

    Any more tips or input appreciated all.
  • PagesHydroDippingPagesHydroDipping Member Posts: 836 ✭✭✭✭
    Use a intercoat on the inside, it is clear paint that can be dipped to.after you dip the put you base coat down for the color. You are basically doing the process in reverse order. Since you are dipping the inside there is no need for clear. The clear body is your clear coat.
  • GMballisticGMballistic Member Posts: 9
    Is "intercoat" just another name for a lacquer of sorts then?

    I know you said it's a "clear paint"so just wondering if there is a difference because I already have clear lacquer. Thank you and appreciate your input.
  • loochlooch Member Posts: 2,054 ✭✭✭✭✭
    @GMballistic it's not the same as clear coat it is basically a clear version of basecoat. 
  • WileECoyoteWileECoyote Member, Moderator, Business Ninja Posts: 7,903 El Moderator
    You need to use intercoat (paint without pigment) to get the benefits of the longer dip window that comes with the paint you choose. (One Hit Wonder stays open almost indefinitely) If you are in the window (dipping within 8-12 hours of painting) there is no benefit to using intercoat over clear. Keep in mind, aerosol paints and clears do not work well for this process, so you take chances when you use them.
  • GMballisticGMballistic Member Posts: 9
    Thank you all.
    I know I'm up against it trying to use "rattle cans" but currently that's what I have to work with.

    I guess I'll have to practice a lot to see if it goes okay and I am willing to risk it. If I go for it then I'll report back how it goes. ;)
  • studebakerstudebaker Member, Business Ninja Posts: 4,056 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Okey Dokey @GMballistic it's been a couple of months... Time for a progress report. :-)
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