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Dolomite_supafly

How-To: DIY night sights

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So today I decided to use some glow in the dark powder to put some night sights on my AK. Here is a picture of everything I used, except a drill and drill bit.
IMG_0171_zps36b83727.jpg

The powder I am using was bought from here. I bought an ounce and it has lasted a very, very long time. I bet a 1/4 ounce will do 5-10 pistols. The powder is green but there is another seller that sells different colors. And those colors are available here. I have not tried the United Nuclear powder so I have no clue how it compares to the GlowInc powder.

The epoxy I use is 5 minute Gorrilla brand but really any clear two part epoxy will work. Even though it says it sets in 5 minutes the actual cure time is much longer.

So I started out by finding a drill bit close to the size of the white dot that is already there. The holes for most white dots are generally very shallow. And although the epoxy would probably work fine I do drill it out a bit deeper to get more material in as well as to ensure it doesn't come out.

Before drilling, and after removing the white dot, there is not much more than a dimple so I took the drill, drill bit and went a bit deeper. This is a piece of stamped steel so I had to be mindful not to go completely through the metal but with handgun sights this is generally not a concern. Even so it is important to go slow and take your time. Here is how the front sight looked after drilling it.
IMG_0173_zpsbdf963d8.jpg

Next I start working on the epoxy and getting it mixed up. You do not want to use too much but you also do not want to use too little. I normally start with a dollop about the size of a dime.
IMG_0174_zpsdf34a5aa.jpg
And once I get the epoxy thoroughly mixed I split it. Then ensures I have some in reserve in case I have added too much powder to the mixture and it is too dry.

Then once I split the epoxy I pour enough glow in the dark powder onto the mixture to cover it.
IMG_0175_zpsec8532d7.jpg
You can see my reserve epoxy in the background. Then I thoroughly mix the powder and epoxy but before dabbing it into the hole in the sight you must wait first because this is where it gets a little critical because you want enough powder so the sight will glow but not so much that the surface will not smooth. It will look like you have added to much but if you let the mixture set for about 15 seconds the surface should smooth out. If the surface does not go smooth then you add a little more epoxy but if the mixture goes smooth very quickly, like in 5-10 seconds, then add a little more powder. The mixture will smooth out with too much powder but it is too hard to work with and it might start to cure before it smoothes out.

I added the powder to this one and because this one smoothed out too quickly.
IMG_0176_zpsea90effe.jpg
I added a little more powder.
IMG_0177_zpsd3214aaa.jpg
You can tell it smoothed too quickly because the dollop is still nice and round yet the surface is smooth. You want it to take a little longer, longer than 15 seconds, for the surface to smooth out.

Then I began mixing again and after thoroughly mixing it I again let it sit for 15 seconds and this time it took a little longer for the surface to smooth out.
IMG_0178_zps437031de.jpg

Now comes the part where you fill up the hole you created with the drill bit. I normally start out will a lot less than it needs. The reason is I do not want an air pocket in the bottom of the hole. So I grab a little bit.
IMG_0179_zpsc1e82e25.jpg
And I mash it into the hole. You are not wanting to add enough to finish the sight the first go. You want to swish it around in the hole to ensure it completely covers the inside of the hole. Then once that is done you grab the same amount and sort of dab it on the mixture in the hole. The dab will be raised up with a tail but leave it alone and it will slowly settle down to a nice round dot that sticks up from the sight. Here is an example of a dab that is slightly sticking up.
IMG_0180_zps22968943.jpg
And it settled into the picture below.

In this picture it is a bit too big so I wiped it away and took another dap to it.
IMG_0182_zps263c7632.jpg
That is the beauty of this. If you screw up you can wipe it away while it is drying or you can just drill it back out if you don't like it after it has dried. There is about 10 minutes worth of work time for you to get it perfect.

So after wiping it away I used a smaller dab and it turned out about perfect.
IMG_0185_zpsaff24218.jpg
So after you have the perfect dab you MUST position the gun so the sight is flush with the ground while the mixture cures. If you don't then you end up with an elongated dot rather than a round one. And even though the epoxy says it is 5 minute epoxy it generally takes about 15 minutes to harden enough to take the gun out of a vice but it is still not hard enough to touch, that generally takes an hour or two depending on temperature.

And something else you can do is right after you add the dab, and before it tacks up, is sprinkle more powder onto the dot. This will give you more powder but it will also make the sight have a rough looking, and feeling, texture to it. Personally I like the nice round, shiny dot versus the dull one. The rough texture also gathers dirt quicker and dulls the sight so if this is a carry gun I would not do the rough texture finish.

And although it is hard to judge, this is a picture of the dot after a 1 second charge with a flash light. That is in a room that is completely dark with no other light source other than the camera screen light bouncing off of me.
IMG_0190_zps350d6c17.jpg
I use this on all my guns and they are brighter than tritium sights for a several hours after being charged with a flash light. And even if it does dull out all it takes is a one second blast of your flash light.

And finally, my directions might not exactly fit what you do. Epoxies are different, temperatures are different and what you want is different so it might take a little trial and error to find out what works for you. But even if you screw up you are out pennies.

And one more thing. If you do not want glow in the dark sights but want the whitest sights you have ever seen you can use the same exact instructions except use titanium dioxide. It results in an extremely white dot that is also impervious to 99% of the solvents out there. I would also venture to guess you could also use it to fill in the markings on firearms even though I have not tried it. And it will work with any powder, regard less of color too.

And as always, if you have any questions feel free to ask.

Edited by Dolomite_supafly
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Nice write up, thanks.

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Great write up. I think that anything that you post about (how to) or (DIY) should automatically be pinned to the top of the page.

I will be doing this as soon as I receive the glow in the dark powder that I'm about to order!

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Have you tried mixing some titanium dioxide with the glow powder? Just curious if you can get a sight that is a little brighter white in the day and still glows well at night.

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I bought a kit many years ago (late '80s-early '90s) that purported to do the same thing.  This idea will be much more durable and higher quality than that kit was.  I did maybe 2 or 3 sights.  The paint wore or chipped off rather soon.  Maybe if I had drilled an indention, it may have lasted longer, but I'll never know.  The glow powder mixed in epoxy should last indefinitely.

 

Thanks for the post.

 

Will

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You sir, are a bad mofo Dolo. Thanks for the write up. I'll for sure be doing this to a couple of mine

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Great DIY post .Thanks for the tip.

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On 7/30/2014 at 7:55 PM, Dolomite_supafly said:

So today I decided to use some glow in the dark powder to put some night sights on my AK. Here is a picture of everything I used, except a drill and drill bit.
IMG_0171_zps36b83727.jpg

The powder I am using was bought from here. I bought an ounce and it has lasted a very, very long time. I bet a 1/4 ounce will do 5-10 pistols. The powder is green but there is another seller that sells different colors. And those colors are available here. I have not tried the United Nuclear powder so I have no clue how it compares to the GlowInc powder.

The epoxy I use is 5 minute Gorrilla brand but really any clear two part epoxy will work. Even though it says it sets in 5 minutes the actual cure time is much longer.

So I started out by finding a drill bit close to the size of the white dot that is already there. The holes for most white dots are generally very shallow. And although the epoxy would probably work fine I do drill it out a bit deeper to get more material in as well as to ensure it doesn't come out.

Before drilling, and after removing the white dot, there is not much more than a dimple so I took the drill, drill bit and went a bit deeper. This is a piece of stamped steel so I had to be mindful not to go completely through the metal but with handgun sights this is generally not a concern. Even so it is important to go slow and take your time. Here is how the front sight looked after drilling it.
IMG_0173_zpsbdf963d8.jpg

Next I start working on the epoxy and getting it mixed up. You do not want to use too much but you also do not want to use too little. I normally start with a dollop about the size of a dime.
IMG_0174_zpsdf34a5aa.jpg
And once I get the epoxy thoroughly mixed I split it. Then ensures I have some in reserve in case I have added too much powder to the mixture and it is too dry.

Then once I split the epoxy I pour enough glow in the dark powder onto the mixture to cover it.
IMG_0175_zpsec8532d7.jpg
You can see my reserve epoxy in the background. Then I thoroughly mix the powder and epoxy but before dabbing it into the hole in the sight you must wait first because this is where it gets a little critical because you want enough powder so the sight will glow but not so much that the surface will not smooth. It will look like you have added to much but if you let the mixture set for about 15 seconds the surface should smooth out. If the surface does not go smooth then you add a little more epoxy but if the mixture goes smooth very quickly, like in 5-10 seconds, then add a little more powder. The mixture will smooth out with too much powder but it is too hard to work with and it might start to cure before it smoothes out.

I added the powder to this one and because this one smoothed out too quickly.
IMG_0176_zpsea90effe.jpg
I added a little more powder.
IMG_0177_zpsd3214aaa.jpg
You can tell it smoothed too quickly because the dollop is still nice and round yet the surface is smooth. You want it to take a little longer, longer than 15 seconds, for the surface to smooth out.

Then I began mixing again and after thoroughly mixing it I again let it sit for 15 seconds and this time it took a little longer for the surface to smooth out.
IMG_0178_zps437031de.jpg

Now comes the part where you fill up the hole you created with the drill bit. I normally start out will a lot less than it needs. The reason is I do not want an air pocket in the bottom of the hole. So I grab a little bit.
IMG_0179_zpsc1e82e25.jpg
And I mash it into the hole. You are not wanting to add enough to finish the sight the first go. You want to swish it around in the hole to ensure it completely covers the inside of the hole. Then once that is done you grab the same amount and sort of dab it on the mixture in the hole. The dab will be raised up with a tail but leave it alone and it will slowly settle down to a nice round dot that sticks up from the sight. Here is an example of a dab that is slightly sticking up.
IMG_0180_zps22968943.jpg
And it settled into the picture below.

In this picture it is a bit too big so I wiped it away and took another dap to it.
IMG_0182_zps263c7632.jpg
That is the beauty of this. If you screw up you can wipe it away while it is drying or you can just drill it back out if you don't like it after it has dried. There is about 10 minutes worth of work time for you to get it perfect.

So after wiping it away I used a smaller dab and it turned out about perfect.
IMG_0185_zpsaff24218.jpg
So after you have the perfect dab you MUST position the gun so the sight is flush with the ground while the mixture cures. If you don't then you end up with an elongated dot rather than a round one. And even though the epoxy says it is 5 minute epoxy it generally takes about 15 minutes to harden enough to take the gun out of a vice but it is still not hard enough to touch, that generally takes an hour or two depending on temperature.

And something else you can do is right after you add the dab, and before it tacks up, is sprinkle more powder onto the dot. This will give you more powder but it will also make the sight have a rough looking, and feeling, texture to it. Personally I like the nice round, shiny dot versus the dull one. The rough texture also gathers dirt quicker and dulls the sight so if this is a carry gun I would not do the rough texture finish.

And although it is hard to judge, this is a picture of the dot after a 1 second charge with a flash light. That is in a room that is completely dark with no other light source other than the camera screen light bouncing off of me.
IMG_0190_zps350d6c17.jpg
I use this on all my guns and they are brighter than tritium sights for a several hours after being charged with a flash light. And even if it does dull out all it takes is a one second blast of your flash light.

And finally, my directions might not exactly fit what you do. Epoxies are different, temperatures are different and what you want is different so it might take a little trial and error to find out what works for you. But even if you screw up you are out pennies.

And one more thing. If you do not want glow in the dark sights but want the whitest sights you have ever seen you can use the same exact instructions except use titanium dioxide. It results in an extremely white dot that is also impervious to 99% of the solvents out there. I would also venture to guess you could also use it to fill in the markings on firearms even though I have not tried it. And it will work with any powder, regard less of color too.

And as always, if you have any questions feel free to ask.

I would love for OP to repost this with pictures!

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