Ok, so I figured I'd take some time and share my anodizing experiences with you guys here. I've had markers anodized by five different companies now: lasermygun.com, F/X, Atmf, Tonsixers, and Caustic Customs. While I know all these companies have been reviewed before, I wanted to share my personal experiences with each.
- Project: CCM Mini Works
- Date: 2011, I forgot the month.
- Theme: Solid Gloss Black
- Total Time: 3 weeks
- Cost: $120 - 8 pieces
- Score: (B-) Overall good ano, some parts were not polished enough leaving a mixed gloss/matte finish. Cheap price, but I'd rather pay more for a better gloss finish.
- Conclusion: They specialize in lasering guns, not anodizing. I'd only use them if I was going for a solid color. For more unique patterns, go with another shop.
- Project: AKA Revenge V2LE
- Theme: Cosmos
- Total Time: 1 month
- Cost: $350 - 16 pieces
- Score: (A-) Beautiful anodizing job. Fantastic polishing/prep work. A bit expensive. Overall theme did not quite match what I had in mind. We had discussed something a little more space like with more black. Anodizing was sealed before final OK, so we couldn't re-ano or add to make a darker theme. But as you can see, it came out amazingly anyways. High marks for quality and skill.
- Conclusion - Would work with again. Cosmos and splatters are his strong point.
- Project: BPS clamshell mini twister
- Theme: 5 color rainbow fade w/ black acid wash
- Total Time: 3 months
- Cost: $260 - 13 pieces
- Score: (A-) Overall an amazing job. Excellent prep work on delicate parts. Excellent polish work. Quality of ano is top notch. Reasonable price. Points deduced for mis-communication in ano process. I had asked for a black marker with a rainbow splash fade and received the opposite. This project kind of took on a life of its own, and even with the mistake, I think the results are great.
- Conclusion: I'm a fan of ATMF. They have produced some of the nicest designs around, but have also had some issues as well. I believe the problem is now solved, but unsure if they are accepting paintball work anymore.
*Update 06/13/13. I've been told they are 100% back up and running. Some of the newer projects posted up on Facebook look great.
- Project: Karta Mag
- Theme: gloss pewter w/ three color splash fade
- Time: 1 month
- Cost: $280 - 11 pieces
- Score: (A+) excellent prep work. High gloss polish. Refined splashes and an amazing fade. Superb return packaging...very well protected. First anodizer to give me exactly what I asked for down to the letter. Good communication, fast work, and reasonable price.
- Conclusion: Best for splashes. I may have found my "go to" guy for future projects. Just keep in mind they are based in Canada. So make sure you factor in additional shipping costs and time.
Project - Infection Chord Mag
Theme - Infection splatter - match anodize w/ gloss red accents
Cost - $235, 8 pieces
Time - 2 weeks
Score - (A+) Fastest turn around (he didn't have any jobs at the time). Great communication. Very responsive. High marks for prep work, polishing, and ano matching. Absolutely no issues. A complete pleasure to work with.
Conclusion - Caustic Customs is obviously skilled at polishing & anodizing. Strong points are acid washes & fades, but he can pretty much do anything.
Caustic Customs: (Round 2 - First full marker)
Project - XMT Mini Mag w/ Luke's frame
Theme - Gloss Copper/Black acid wash + Gloss Black accent parts
Cost - $425 - 21 pieces
Time - 1 month
Score - (A+) Once again, no issues, great communication, amazing quality of work. Just look at it.
Caustic Customs - Round 3
Project: PTP 2013 FX Cocker #11
Theme: Custom cherry blossom (3 layers of masking) on top of a yellow/brown acid wash to look like a faded scroll. 100% Anodizing.
Cost: $480 - 21 pieces
Time: 3 weeks (one week down time was my fault)
Score: (A+) This is probably the most intricate job I've sent out so far. Caustic came through in fine style once again. We had been tossing around the idea of doing something really unique a while back. I sent him some photos of a yoyo I saw on someone's anodizing website. They had a very simple cherry blossom design, on a clear backing. I asked Stephen if he could try it, and needless to say he did a fantastic job taking this design up a notch.
Edit - Someone asked me a question about who to go with. Honestly, I would not have any problem working with any of the last three. ATMF, F/X, or Tonsixers. They are all great for particular styles. This is only my personal opinion of their work, but here is was why I chose each.
- Tonsixers does amazing splash work. Thin, refined, classy splashes. Not thick, messy, or too much. Too much hurts the eyes. It takes experience to get the right touch.
- ATMF does good splashes and fades. You should check out Skinnyfatguy's Banzai evo in the picture gallery here. They stopped taking work for now, so they may be out of the question.
- F/X is the only one that can pull off nice cosmos or multi-color splatters imo. I don't really like his early splash work, but his recent work is really good.
One more that I haven't tried is Caustic Customs. He has some amazing acid wash examples on his facebook page.
I was looking at caustic as well. Just need to make a for sale thread to afford the cost.
I've got a pump on its way there right now. I'm a first time customer but I almost can't wait. From what I've seen I'm very confident I've sent it to the right place. I'll post pics the day I open the box