The trouble with some paintball guns is that they tend to look alike. Someone that you play with regularly may even own the same model and it’s difficult to tell them apart.
Almost everyone wants to be distinctive. When you have an aluminum paintball gun, it’s possible to use paintball gun anodizing to permanently alter its appearance. And if your unique design or inspired coloration stands out, it can strike fear in your opponents!
There are different methods to modify your paintball gun’s visual aesthetic without damaging its functionality.
Anodizing is popular on aluminum PB weaponry, but so too is hydro dipping. Hydro dipping handles complex or intricate designs with ease. There is also spray-painted (like with autos), vinyl wraps (seen on the side of vans), and powder-coating (used on gym equipment for weathering) to consider too.
Our focus with this article is paintball gun anodizing. We explain all about what it is, whether it’ll enhance your enjoyment of paintballing, examine the costs, and show some examples.
Table of Contents
What is Anodizing a Paintball Gun?
The anodizing process changes the external aluminum layer to allow it to receive a snazzy design.
Dipping aluminum parts into an electrolyte liquid while adding electrical current begins the process. It creates an oxidized layer over the original metal that’s more durable. The anodizing method works on non-ferrous metals, but aluminum is the most popular type to use.
When the aluminum is being treated, the metal’s pores remain open. Because of this, it allows the introduction of color dyes before sealing the surface of the anodized paintball gun. This way, the metal is altered to incorporate the new design and colors, but it’s locked in afterward.
Since it is not painted on it is much more durable and won’t flake off from extended use on the battlefield!
When wanting to add custom paintball guns to your growing arsenal, it isn’t an insignificant investment. You may need to shell out a few hundred bucks for exactly what you’re looking for. But when you have a team that needs a consistent look from uniforms to weaponry, or you want to make a bold statement, then anodizing can be an excellent way to stand out and make a statement to your enemies.
Is it Worth Anodizing your Paintball Gun?
Paintball gun anodizing is not for the beginner. Or the timid…
It makes a big statement.
You’re here to win. No backing down. No surrender. You’re bringing it…
My Personal Experience with Anodizing my Marker
When I first started playing paintball, I was a newbie. I barely knew what direction to point my paintball marker. I didn’t understand what a hopper was. Or the difference between compressed air and CO2 paintball guns. I only wanted in on the action.
Soon enough though, I got into it. I wanted to up my game and make my mark. I didn’t want to walk onto the battlefield with the same make and model of weapon as the next guy or gal. I needed to be someone. So, just like how you pick clothes because you love how they look and feel, an anodized PB gun with a unique design was essential.
Protect Your Paintball Gear
There are other aspects to think about too. If you’re value conscious, then know that aluminum is somewhat flimsy, scratches easily, and while it’s light, it’s not robust. Your gear will break down when you don’t take care of it.
Anodizing turns it into something more formidable. The anodic layer protects the aluminum from corrosion, so playing outdoors in questionable weather is sometimes possible.
Sure, outdoor play may cause some players difficulties as the temperature of their weapon drops too low. But for them, that’s a “you-problem,” not a “me-problem.”
Here are some balanced pros and cons to consider with anodizing PB weapons:
- Looks awesome!
- Super corrosion resistant.
- Many colorful designs to use with anodizing.
- No worries with paint or vinyl transfers peeling off mid-game.
- Doesn’t change the weight or feel of it in your hands.
- Easy to clean with mild soapy suds.
- It’ll cost a few hundred bucks.
- Designs cannot include white as it doesn’t work with anodizing.
- Requires several weeks so you won’t have access to your gone for a bit.
How Much does it Cost to Anodize a Paintball Gun
Anything custom made doesn’t come cheap and you should spend the time and money on a proper anodizing job to ensure your marker doesn’t get damaged and you get the result you’re looking for.. A company can suggest some designs and color effects to use. Or if you have some high-resolution graphical ideas, a paintball workshop may use those.
Take Control of the Costs
Some paintball guns that are partially used need to be cleaned and dismantled to be able to start the process. Otherwise, the anodizing process will seal in the dirt or dust within the new oxide layer. This will increase the cost because it adds additional, necessary steps.
What Does Custom Mean...?
How custom is custom going to be? With custom paintball guns, they may need some parts treated while others can skip the process.
A more colorful design could make it a longer process as well. This is the same reason why you have single-color, two-color, and three-color print jobs with scaled-up pricing when getting a brochure print run completed. It’s the same kind of deal here.
Price Depends on Your Design Choices
Your paintball marker anodizing will likely start at $150 or so and could rise to $600+. When the parts need disassembling for cleaning first, it adds up to $100 extra too. Anodizing a new product often leads to better results.
Coming back to color choices, a single-color design is the least expensive. It may start at $150 and could rise to $350, but not more. A design that you love but has a few colors in it? Then it could easily get up to $400-500.
Want to go the whole hog? Want a cool fade design or a splash effect? Well… now then. That’s edging closer to four figures, so be careful how creative you want to be.
Don’t Waste Time Removing Emblems, etc.
Don’t worry if there’s a team logo emblazoned on the marker. The acid bath treatments are excellent at removing those unwanted extras before the anodizing phase. A specialized provider knows what they’re doing.
Different Types of Anodized Gun Designs
Anodized weapons can have unique designs. But why not stick with the most popular ones?
Just know that the coloring method isn’t like manufacturing widgets where they all turn out identically. There will be subtle differences in hues and finishes when adopting the same design even on an identical model of a paintball gun. No one anodized paintball gun will be the same, so you can rest assured yours will be unique.
Also, photos have saturation and contrast variances when viewed on a digital display. The appearance in person will be a little different. So, bear this in mind if you have seen a cool design online.
Here are the most common design selections chosen:
Sponge with Splash
Source: Pooty Paintball
Unique Poocasso Splash Design
Source: Pooty Paintball
Acid Wash with Splash
Source: Aesthetic Anodizing
Sponge with Splash
Will Anodizing Damage Your Gear?
As long as the people who perform the work have the proper equipment and processes in place, then it should only improve your paintball gun. There is minimal risk anodizing your gun.
How Many Times can you Anodize a Paintball Gun?
Yet, the reality is that attempting it more than a few times on the same PB marker may lead to inferior results at some stage. It’s useful to know that some metal is lost with each iteration of anodizing. Also, the parts may shrink if it’s done to excess too.
There are some vulnerabilities with certain equipment, such as DLX Luxu models where they have screws to contend with. Magnets also can be problematic too. This is where hiring the right people for the anodizing is best because they’ll mask troublesome spots to avoid leakage concerns.
Are There Parts That Cannot Be Anodized?
Any parts on paintball weaponry that are made from plastic (or another type of polymer), chrome, steel, or titanium are all incompatible.
The paintball gun would need to be disassembled and the part removed, so the remaining ones can go through the anodizing procedure. In this situation, you should consider how any mix-and-match parts will look in the end. Some visual compromises may need to be made.
Other Ways to Customize your Paintball Gun
We’ve already mentioned that there are other options for changing your paintball gun’s aesthetic. This includes paint spraying, vinyl wrapping, hydro dipping, and powder coating.
Here are a couple of other ways to customize your paintball gun:
Source: CK Fight Life
Hand engraving – It makes the weapon unique to you. Either you can do it yourself when you’ve been successful in the past with engraving knives or other objects or hire a specialist engraver.
Laser etching – The use of laser etching to add lettering, or a wireframe graphic is another approach. Some paintball teams do this.
James has traveled all over the US looking for the perfect field to lay it all down and show off his skills. He is driven to win with his team no matter what. With 5 years of tournaments, he shares his extensive knowledge with other players!