Part Dyeing

This article contains dangerous actions that should only be taken with adult supervision. Purdue SIGBots do not recommend the following actions are taken without proper training.

Items Needed


Be very careful around heat and chemicals. Only use acetone and dye in a well-ventilated area and avoid inhaling fumes. When dealing with dye, be careful as the dye is permanent and can easily stain surfaces, clothes, and skin.

  1. Clean parts thoroughly with dish soap to remove dirt or oils.

  2. Add roughly 3 parts water along with 1 part dye and 1 part acetone to a stainless-steel bowl. Have enough liquid to cover the desired parts. (Additional water, acetone, and dye will be needed to have more on hand)

  3. Place the bowl on the stove over Medium/Low heat until the mixture reaches 160°F.

  4. Add desired parts to mixture slowly and carefully. Beware of splashing as mixture should be coming to a low boil.

  5. Monitor mixture's temperature and volume. The goal is to keep the mixture between 160°F and 190°F with all parts consistently submerged. Stir occasionally and add more water, acetone, and dye as needed to keep volume consistent. When adding acetone, always pre mix with water.

  6. After 10-15 minutes (when parts are dyed to satisfaction), let bowl cool and rinse parts thoroughly until water runs clear.

Additional Notes / Recommendations

  • The best color to aim for is black. Anything lighter is difficult to produce with green parts especially. Colors such as purple and orange are possible with basic color combinations however will take more practice and tuning to get right.

  • When working with smaller parts such as nylon spacers, stir more often as the dye tends to settle and parts may come out cloudy or inconsistent.

  • Dyeing of wheel rollers (omni / mecanum) is possible but tend to wear out over time. Assure that no residue is left behind in testing as damage to field or game elements can be cause for disqualification from a tournament.

  • If a part is heated too high or for too long, it can alter the physical attributes of the part which would render the part illegal for use in VRC and IQ competition.

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