Are you thinking about changing the color of your paintball gun?
Maybe you want a whole new custom design?
If so, then you need to decide whether you want your paintball gun to be anodized, hydro-dipped, powder-coated, spray-painted, or wrapped in vinyl. Anodizing is typically the best option for paintball guns made from aluminum, but hydro dipping can be a great option as well, especially if you want a particular image or design on your marker.
Anodizing, on the other hand, is better suited for players who want to change the color (or colors) of their paintball gun but have no desire for an actual design or complicated pattern (such as camouflage).
Anodizing is also a great option for players who want the “paint job” on their marker to be highly durable and virtually immune to imperfections. At least imperfections that are common to painted metal.
The reason the anodizing process makes aluminum so durable is that anodizing doesn’t actually involve paint at all. Instead, anodizing is the process of transforming metal (mainly aluminum) into a porous surface, letting dye seep into that porous surface, and then boiling the metal in water to seal off the pores and effectively trap the dye inside.
This makes aluminum highly resistant to corrosion and ensures that the color does not chip, peel, or fade as normal paint does.
To learn more about the process of anodizing a paintball gun simply continue reading below. This guide will teach you everything you need to know.
What is Anodizing?
So if anodizing isn’t paint, what exactly is it?
Anodizing is an electrochemical process that transforms the outside layer of aluminum and other nonferrous metals into a highly durable and corrosion-resistant finish. This anodized finish can be made up of one, or multiple colors, and have a cool design such as a splash, sponge, fade, or metallic effect.
Unfortunately, you can’t change the actual finish of metal by simply anodizing it. If a piece of metal has a gloss or dust finish before being anodized, it’s still going to have a gloss or dust finish after being anodized.
The process of anodizing is only used for changing the color of nonferrous metals such as aluminum, magnesium, and titanium. Although, it works much better on aluminum than titanium or magnesium.
This is fortunate as many paintball guns are made from aluminum. Since it’s a light and durable metal it’s the perfect material to create paintball guns with.
If you’ve ever used an Apple device before (such as an iPod, iPhone, etc.) then you’ve seen anodized aluminum first-hand.
Should You Anodize Your Paintball Gun?
If you want to change the color (or colors) of your paintball gun, then anodizing is always a great solution. But only if your paintball gun is made from aluminum.
If it’s made from any other type of material then you’re going to have to find another way to change the color of your paintball gun.
Fair warning though, anodizing a paintball gun isn’t going to be cheap, but if you truly care about the appearance of your marker then you’re going to have to spend some money. Even if you decide you would rather hydro dip your paintball gun, it’s still going to cost you a few hundred dollars, if not more.
Here are the pros and cons of anodizing an aluminum paintball gun.
How Much Does It Cost to Anodize a Paintball Gun?
How much does it cost to anodize a paintball gun?
This answer varies greatly depending on how many parts you want anodized, how many colors you want anodized, and if you want any type of special design.
For an average-sized paintball gun, you should expect to pay anywhere between $150 to $500 to anodize your marker, and $50 to $100 more if they have to disassemble and clean it for you as well. A single-color design should typically cost you around $150 to 300, a multi-color design around $300 to $500, and a custom design such as a splash, sponge, or fade effect should cost in the range of $300 to $800.
All depending on the service used and how well of a job they perform.
Of course, you can always reduce the price of your paintball anodizing job by simply cleaning and disassembling the marker yourself. However, if you have any emblems on your paintball gun then I would just leave them alone as they can sometimes be difficult to remove. Most anodizing services will have special tools to remove these for you.
Design Options for Anodized Paintball Guns
There are many cool design options you can choose from when anodizing a paintball gun. The most popular design options are fades, sponge, splash, sponge with splash, acid wash, acid wash with splash, and galaxy (or nebula). My favorite style of anodizing though would have to be the unique Poocasso design from Pooty Paintball.
Here’s an image of each design option listed below.
Acid Wash With Splash
Sponge With Splash
Poocasso With Splash
And remember, no two anodized paintball guns are going to look the same. Even if they were both done by the same anodizing service.
Can Your Paintball Gun Be Damaged From Anodizing?
As long as you use a reputable anodizing service then you shouldn’t have to worry about your paintball gun being damaged from being anodized. However, if you use a lousy anodizing service, then it’s certainly possible for your paintball gun to be damaged if they don’t know what they’re doing.
So what causes the damage?
Believe it or not, it’s not the anodizing process itself that causes the damage to paintball guns, it’s the removing of the old layer of anodized surface. Even though the anodizing process only removes a thousandth of an inch at a time, it can remove far more if you accidentally leave the aluminum in the solvent for longer than required.
This is why you want a professional anodizing service that’s experienced with paintball guns, not some random local company that has never even seen a paintball marker before.
How Many Times Can a Paintball Gun Be Anodized?
How many times can you anodize a paintball gun?
To find out the answer to this question I contacted a professional anodizing service. And not just any professional anodizing service either, but one that’s experienced with anodizing paintball guns.
Here’s what they had to say.
“How many times have we anodized a paintball gun and it still worked? 5-6 times! And that was a Luxe with set screws that will leak for sure. After 5-6 Anno jobs you’ll eventually start to see metal shrinkage. Paintball guns that don’t use set screws like PE [Planet Eclipse] can be Anno’d more, but we can also mask magnets and set screw holes to help prevent issues that we’ve had with past Anno jobs.”
Best Service for Anodizing Paintball Guns
Here’s a list of the best services for anodizing paintball guns.
- Pooty Paintball (California)
- Precision Color Techniques (Maryland)
- Arc Anodizing (Texas)
- Blizzard Anodizing (New York)
- Caustic Customs Anodizing (Texas)
- FX Anodizing (Texas)
- ATMF Anotech Metal Finishing (California)
- Aesthetic Anodizing (Canada, eh)
Choose any of the reputable services listed above and you’ll be certain to receive a good deal and a sweet-looking paintball marker. The only thing I can’t guarantee is a fast turn-around time. However, I would much rather have to wait a little while longer than to receive a poorly anodized paintball gun.
So which anodizing service is the best for anodizing paintball guns?
I would have to recommend Pooty Paintball and PCT Anodizing as they were both exceedingly helpful when I went asking questions. And not only were they helpful, but they were also quick to answer my questions and didn’t mind wasting their own time to do so.
10/10 Would Recommend