Last Summer we decided that it was time to explore the possibility of offering our customers an alternative to Nylon SLS in white only. Without the demand to print with coloured powder, the only commercially viable way to offer coloured Nylon SLS is to dye parts after they have been printed.
Feedback we received from customers who had either obtained dyed SLS from other sources or attempted dyeing parts themselves, was that there were 3 key characteristics that had to be achieved.
1. Consistency of colour across the individual parts. 2. Repeatability across batches, so that customers will receive the same colour time after time. 3. Surface penetration, so when the surface is nicked or worn, the white does not show through.
One of the real beauties of Nylon SLS is it’s robustness and durability. Therefore the dyeing process had to be equally robust and durable.
As a starting point we collaborated with the person we know who has the most experience of dyeing Nylon SLS, this being Mark Bloomfield of Electrobloom. Having been dyeing his exquisite Nylon SLS jewellery for several years, Mark knows all of the pitfalls and the development of our dyeing process would have taken significantly longer had we not been privilege to his great experience.
His advice was that a good deep and consistent black was the hardest colour to achieve. Therefore based on this and along with it being the opposite of white and the colour that we have had most enquiries about, this was the colour to start with.
We then took on Andrew Hyams to work under the guidance of Mark to develop our own best dyeing recipe. Andrew then started a couple of months worth of intense testing, using different equipment and techniques which were all carefully catalogued.
Just before Christmas, after 200 test batches and having worked around everything from natural fluctuations in water quality to the nuances of captive parts, we felt that Andrew had achieved a lovely deep black that absolutely met our 3 criteria. Since then, we have been testing it’s repeatability and penetration across all types and sizes of parts. Having achieved this (getting a consistent 0.25mm colour penetration below the surface,) we’re now proud to offer it to our customers.
Detailed pricing information on black dyed Nylon SLS will be displayed on our new website which is going live soon. In the meantime, if you’d like to get a quote for black Nylon SLS, just send us your files as usual and we’ll quote on the dyeing for you.
If you would like samples of the black, Tom Mallinson’s Nylon SLS bracelet designs are all available in black in our Shop.
The exciting thing about having cracked black first, is that other colours are proving more straightforward. We have a lovely tomato red coming soon and then we’ll be working on a mid grey.
So confident are we with our colour mixing and replication process, that we may well start offering a bespoke colour service, so that you can request us to develop colours of your very own!