Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Tritium paint

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by jrfoxx, Dec 2, 2005.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. jrfoxx

    jrfoxx Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2004
    Messages:
    2,168
    Location:
    Evanston,WY
    Does anyone know of a source for buying tritium paint, or its equivalant? searches on forums and google yield nothing. I'm not looking for the types of paint that need to absorb light for 'recharging' (not practical for a home/selfdefense gun). Is there some regulation on this stuff that makes us not be able to buy it?
     
  2. nfl1990

    nfl1990 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2005
    Messages:
    385
    what would you use tritium paint for?

    I wouldn't think their would regs against it as you can get tritium sights for guns.
     
  3. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Messages:
    48,717
    Location:
    0 hrs east of TN
    junior,

    It's the NRC that says you can't have it because it's, y'know, radioactive.
     
  4. Grape Ape

    Grape Ape Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    Messages:
    65
    Location:
    Bellevue, WA
    Good luck

    The fact that it is used in the triggering mechanism in fusion bombs may cause Uncle Sugar to restrict the sale of half-gallon cans. And the fact that it is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen that behaves similarly to hydrogen probably makes it difficult and dangerous to paint with.
     
  5. jrfoxx

    jrfoxx Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2004
    Messages:
    2,168
    Location:
    Evanston,WY
    I fully understand the responses given, but if it's 'controlled' and/or 'dangerous', how do the companies who make tritium sights get it? Cant be TOO controlled or TOO hard to get, or all these watch, gun, etc companies couldnt get it to put on the products they sell us.
     
  6. Kurush

    Kurush Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2005
    Messages:
    1,078
    It would also be extremely expensive and could kill you if you inhaled paint vapor.
     
  7. Alan Fud

    Alan Fud Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    1,444
    Location:
    Sol-III
    So if I break my night sights, I could die if I inhale the radioactive hydrogen? Am I understanding this correctly?
     
  8. jkswiss

    jkswiss Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2005
    Messages:
    70
    Um no. Probably not. I doubt the amount of tritium in that little sight of yours would do much. Anyone ever put a radiac to their sights?
    A half gallon of tritium "paint" might kill you though. Theoretically, you probably could use some tritium paint on your sights and glaze it over with some kind of clear coat. You do want to be careful. Tritium is what they used to make the dials glow on them old school watches. A lot of the vast majority of the people that used to paint the dials on them watches died later on as a result of exposure. So its not a quick thing, but a gradual thing.
     
  9. 1911_sfca

    1911_sfca Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2005
    Messages:
    47
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    There's a huge difference between a very small capsule, placed inside a steel sight, and PAINT....
     
  10. Joejojoba111

    Joejojoba111 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2005
    Messages:
    1,056
    Not that bad, but there's still special procedures to be used. It's a liquid in glass bubbles, so you break it there will be a bit of liquid. Put the unit in a plastic bag, and ask for further instruction. Avoid touching as much as possible, and definately don't touch your face or anything like that until you are definately clean. Maybe mark the area so they can bag up that area of dirt and dispose of it too.

    Might be a bit of an extreme reaction, but it's feasible so go ahead and be safe to the extreme, the only excuse not to is laziness.
     
  11. Technosavant

    Technosavant Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2005
    Messages:
    2,011
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    Tritium is radioactive, but it isn't THAT nasty. Not all kinds of radioactivity are alike, and if tritium were that ugly, you can bet it wouldn't be in watches or gunsights. However, in the past, people have gotten nasty mouth cancers because as they painted with tritium-laced paint, they licked the painbrushes.

    Oops.

    However, any radioactive product is subject to certain specific regulations and controls. I don't know exactly what is required for tritium, but the average joe isn't able to deal with it.

    And the one big dealbreaker: It is frighteningly expensive in any significant quantity. Tritium is very unstable (half-life of 12.3 years, IIRC- after 12.3 years, half of it is tritium, half is an isotope of helium), so you can't exactly stockpile it and it isn't found in nature. I am no expert, but I would think that the only way to make it is by neutron bombardment (getting hydrogen to accept 2 more neutrons isn't something done in your basement), and equipment for that sort of thing is also VERY tightly controlled (ask Iran and North Korea).

    All in all, you are better off just buying the sights already made. You don't want to deal with this stuff at home.

    I should probably also mention that tritium is a major component in thermonuclear weapons (used for the fusion part), so if you were trying to stock up on it, I would expect a lot of guys in black suits showing up with long lists of questions.
     
  12. Futuristic

    Futuristic Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2004
    Messages:
    109
    Location:
    Baton Rouge, LA
    Tritium is Not Dangerous (Really)

    Well, if that was the case then I seriously doubt they would allow the sale of those Tritium Gas-Filled Safety Markers. You know, the ones with 3-3/4" by 1/6" tubes of Tritium? Those honkers are used for marking Stage Edges in Theaters and Oxygen Supplies in Halon-Drop equipped Server Rooms. Think how much tritium is in those guys!

    Here's some more scientific info:

    Futuristic

    P.S. Those big tritium markers are available here: http://www.labsafety.com/search/product_group.asp?dept_id=27293
     
  13. slopemeno

    slopemeno Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Messages:
    285
    The mouth cancers were caused by Radium paint.
     
  14. PromptCritical

    PromptCritical Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2003
    Messages:
    382
    Location:
    The State of the Beaver
    Radium and tritium are significantly different. I'll put it this way, I would probably eat the sights of my Glock on a dare. You couldn't pay me to ingest radium.

    Tritium water, like that used in sights, is chemically identical to regular water. If it was mixed with glow in the dark paint, it would probalby glow untill the paint dried. Then it would be like regular glow in the dark paint.

    I think what you are really thinking of is radium paint, like they used on clocks until the fifties. Good luck finding any of that stuff. I'm sure it's illegal.
     
  15. MNgoldenbear

    MNgoldenbear Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2005
    Messages:
    395
    Location:
    West Central Minnesota
    Found another reference from Idaho State Univ. that noted the low danger. Noted that though it is POSSIBLE to be harmed, you'd have to be exposed to very large quantities to amount to a significant risk. They noted that absorbing all of the radiation from a tritium sight would expose you to about the equivalent of two years of background radiation exposure.

    The radium materials were a different story. That a gamma emitter, and releases higher energy radiation than tritium does. Nasty stuff. Eventually led to the death of its discoverer.
     
  16. chris in va

    chris in va Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Messages:
    6,097
    Location:
    Louisville KY
    You will give me all your tritium.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Mad Chemist

    Mad Chemist Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2005
    Messages:
    1,197
    Location:
    OR

    That was radium paint, a much earlier invention than tritium capsules.

    Tritium hobby paint? Bad idea.
     
  18. Mad Chemist

    Mad Chemist Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2005
    Messages:
    1,197
    Location:
    OR
    Bioluminescent paints generally are safe, but thet still require some light exposure.
     
  19. BRASSM

    BRASSM Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2005
    Messages:
    145
    Re: Tritium Sights

    I have a set of tritium sights on my SIG.:cool: Tritium comes encapsulated in small units. Which are inserted in sights and other low light devices. You can obtain these capsules commercially. Tritium is a beta emitter and has a half-life of 12.4 years. If you carry tritium sights on your hardware everyday in an out of the shower to church and the movies, the radiation from old sol will kill you first. Why go through the difficulty of fabrication I'm sure you can locate commercial tritium sights. Good Luck
     
  20. Spiggy

    Spiggy Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2005
    Messages:
    651
    Location:
    The Sunny PR of Kalifornistanichevolakia, Right be
    Actually it was radium paint... which was bad for the watchmakers since they tended to lick the brush to make it finer when painting...

    Well, the other job that was as bad was the hatter, who made hats... the brim of the hat had to be made stiff, so it was dipped in mercury. Many hatters went nuts and that's where the Mad hatter came from...

    Tritium was later discovered in the 20's I think... a little longer after becterrel(SP?) and Curie's discoveries of radioactivity
     
  21. chopinbloc

    chopinbloc Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2005
    Messages:
    2,242
    Location:
    sweet home arizona
    a few more notes: at room temperature, tritium is a gas - just like deuterium (one extra neutron) and plain old hydrogen. it is also harmless and reacts with the bodie in the same way as hydrogen except when exposed to extreme heat or burned, in which case it can be toxic but the quantities involved in sights and watch dials still aren't likely to be enough to hurt you. tritium does not glow. it emits beta particles which excite a phosphorus layer between the glass tritium vial and the user. most sights also have a saphire lens.

    i cannot imagine how one could make a paint out of tritium and cause it to glow.
     
  22. geekWithA.45

    geekWithA.45 Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2003
    Messages:
    9,056
    Location:
    SouthEast PA
    FWIW, I remember reading a US regulation that stated that tritium may not be used for "trivial applications", IIRC.

    Emergency Exit signs, gunsights: non trivial

    glowing keychains, skulls, etc: trivial (the UK had these cool tritium keyfobs)

    I would suspect that paint, even if safe and feasible, would not be generally available to the public on those grounds.
     
  23. ceetee

    ceetee Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2003
    Messages:
    1,998
    Two of my handguns have milled front sights. There's no separate blade to replace. Would it be possible to buy one of those "capsules", drill out the existing white dot, and epoxy the capsule in place?
     
  24. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2002
    Messages:
    8,584
    Location:
    Down East in NC
    Yes. I think I've seen reference to doing just that (maybe at the Trijicon web site, I'm not sure).
     
  25. NukemJim

    NukemJim Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Messages:
    1,201
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page