In today's post, we will discuss the fast growing trend of using DuraCoat Firearm Finishes with hydrographics, also known as "water transfer" or "dipping". Hydrographics can add artistic value, unique patterns, or camouflage to a firearm in a relatively simple and inexpensive way. This process can of course also be used on basically anything, not just guns. In case you are unfamiliar with the process I will briefly explain. An item, be it a firearm or something else, will first be coated with some type of sprayed on finish or paint that will act as a base coat. The color of this base coat will be determined by the pattern chosen as it will show through. The item is then "dipped" into a tank that contains a liquid with a thin film floating on top. This film is the pattern that will be transferred onto the item. A clear topcoat is then applied to protect and seal the film.
Now, this all sounds simple enough but there is a drawback to most factory or aftermarket processes. And that drawback is the type of paint or coating that is used as the base coat and top coat. Many finishers will use automotive type paints and some others use urethane coatings originally designed for other industries. Since these coatings were not designed to be used on firearms, they will not stand up the use, and sometimes abuse, that can be expected. Firearm coatings need to withstand wear, abrasion, heat, and chemicals found in many cleaning products and oils as well as protect against rust. The coatings commonly used with hydrographics tend to fall short on many of these requirements.This can lead to damage to not just the graphics but also to the firearm itself.
That's where DuraCoat comes in. DuraCoat was designed specifically for guns, another post about that later, and has unmatched resistance to scratches, wear, and abrasion. It withstands all known gun cleaning products, oils, and solvents. DuraCoat also protects against rust and corrosion. Since DuraCoat is available in over 300 colors, finding a match for the base coat is relatively simple. The process of dipping over DuraCoat is simple as well. Just apply DuraCoat following standard application instructions and allow to dry for about 15 minutes, then dip. Dipping should be done between 15 minutes and 1 hour after coating. The film will bond with the DuraCoat so that there is no need to worry about it peeling or lifting off.
Now, for that topcoat. We have developed a clear coat specifically for use over hydrographics. This product is called DuraClear Sealant. This clear coat was formulated to soak into the film, seal it, and bond the three layers (base coat, film, topcoat) into one. Application is very similar to the DuraCoat base coat and should be done shortly after dipping.
DuraClear Sealant can also be used alone over factory or aftermarket hydrographics for better protection. Best results are seen when applying DuraClear Sealant over a two-part urethane coating. A test spot should always be done to ensure compatibility between DuraClear and the existing finish.
DuraCoat and DuraClear Sealant are quickly being discovered in the hydrographics industry. If you currently offer hydrographics services or are considering doing so, we highly recommend trying DuraCoat and DuraClear Sealant. If you are planning to have a firearm dipped by an applicator, request DuraCoat and DuraClear Sealant be used on your project!