News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Area Agency on Aging 10B, Inc.

Greater Akron Chamber


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Economy and Business




Exploradio: Plug-in paint
A Medina start-up's unique electro-luminescent paint process puts a glow on custom hot-rods, cycles, and guitars
by WKSU's JEFF ST. CLAIR
This story is part of a special series.


Reporter / Host
Jeff St. Clair
 
A guitar body glows with electro-luminescent paint developed by Darkside Scientific in Medina. The start-up is developing a paint process that can be applied to any solid surface. They'll roll out their light-up paint process for hot-rods and custom motorcycles this spring.
Courtesy of Darkside Scientific
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

A Northeast Ohio startup has developed a plug-in paint that can light up any solid surface.  It’s being tested now for the growing custom hot-rod and motorcycle market.

In this week’s Exploradio, WKSU’s Jeff St.Clair looks at how a local inventor’s determination brought his dream of electro-luminescent paint to light.

Exploradio: Plug-in paint

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (4:04)


(Click image for larger view.)

Applying the top electrode

Custom paint artist Jason Gray sprays the final coat on a test panel inside the downtown Medina garage/slash/ laboratory of Darkside Scientific.

Next, Gray waves a heat gun over the wet paint as inventor Andy Zsinko describes the final step. 

He says as the clear electrode sets, it begins to conduct electricity, the field develops between the two electrodes and … "Let there be light.’”

And the small plastic panel begins to glow with a warm light. 

Zsinko hopes to soon license his electroluminescent paint process to custom shops around the country. 

He says one of the foundational ideas behind the technology was, "to make it simple enough to apply  that a body-shop rat could apply it.”

Gray says though he might not like the term 'shop rat', he and his co-owner at Sleeper Customs in Euclid don’t mind being the first shop to test Zsinko’s new glowing paint.

A new custom paint process

Gray recognizes that there's enormous potential in custom paint for higher end hot rods and muscle cars, "I think it’s going take off.”

Gray and the team at Darkside envision flames painted on hot rods that glow red and pulse in animated sequence down the side of the car.

He says pulsing paint could be controlled by an app, "where you can plug it into your iPhone or Droid and control your paint job.”

Darkside founder Andy Zsinko says the idea for electroluminescent paint came to him three years ago, born out of disappointment in a friend’s challenge to make a Yamaha glow.

Zsinko says inspiration struck while drowning his sorrows on his friend’s porch, where he developed the base concept, "in about 15 minutes over the second six-pack.”

He lays out the principles behind his invention on the workshop drawing board.

How to make electroluminescent paint in four not so easy steps

According to Zsinko, an electroluminescent device is actually a capacitor with four layers.  On the solid surface there's a back-plane, then a dielectric layer, a Phosphor layer that contains the glowing material, and finally a top electrode, which we saw being applied earlier.  Generally, a sealing coat is then applied to protect the ensemble.

Two tiny wires with a plug are soldered in to complete the circuit. 

It took more than a year of trial and error, and presumably plenty of beer, until Zsinko had a workable, water-based, flexible, electroluminescent paint product.

He says, “once I honed in on what I called the secret sauce, the development went pretty rapidly from there.”  It's a patent-pending process that he continues to hone through experimentation.

From flames to glowing chrome

Zsinkio holds up a shiny chrome fender from a mini-bike and asks, “Have you ever seen chrome glow before?”

Darkside business manager Shawn Mastrian says glowing chrome, once the kinks are worked out, could point the way to a lucrative market beyond custom-car enthusiasts. 

He says from wood paneling to glowing cup holders, today’s car designers are paying a lot of attention on interior mood lighting.  He says any surface inside a vehicle can have, "a premium look and feel to it, which has manufacturers all throughout the supply chain fairly excited about the possibilities there.”

Scattered about the garage are glowing prototypes --  a light-up electric guitar, lighted chopper gas tanks and an eerily glowing plug-in bike helmet.

But Mastrian says the target for now is to tap into the nearly $40 million people spend each year on custom hot-rod paint jobs. 

Darkside will lay out its patent-pending product this spring in Daytona by displaying the world’s first fully illuminated motorcycle.

Local venture partner Jumpstart is behind the company.  This summer it awarded Darkside Scientific a seed grant plus ongoing advice on how to build a business beyond the beer-fueled inspiration and development stage into the glowing prospect of profitability.
Listener Comments:

I am interested in a building application with painted ceilings rather than lighting.
How far has this progressed.would be interested in new zealand rights
graeme


Posted by: graeme sissons (new zealand) on April 28, 2013 4:04AM
might be fun for an exhibit treatment


Posted by: mitch on December 17, 2012 9:12AM
Good work


Posted by: Anonymous on December 17, 2012 3:12AM
Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook



Support for Exploradio
provided by:








Stories with Recent Comments

Lordstown GM plant plans to install 8,500 solar panels
How much will this solar array cost? How is it being funded, and who is really paying for it? How much real useful electricity will it actually produce in MEh p...

Local Ebola concerns cause officials to pay more attention to West Africa
I have a better idea, let's secure our borders and spend those billions of dollars on our own first.

HUD and Cuyahoga Land Bank extend a housing deal for another year
Need to sale lot, and would like to know how to contact someone to see if they may be interested in the property that sat between two lots. If you can give me...

Akron Beacon Journal details abuse claims against televangelist Angley
In the early 90's I went forth for pray. And the man was anointed by the hand of God. Just a fact I will never forget

Lawmaker questions why a million voters didn't get absentee applications
He's a damn lie! I vote n all elections. I missed 1. Haven't gotten my absentee ballot and their making it hard to get one.

Thirsty Dog Brewery warns it might have to leave Akron
Why is it the city's responsibility to find this guy a location? There are a hundred realestate companies that could help him.

Kent State sends home three after contact with second Ebola-stricken nurse
Why weren't all health workers who were around Duncan quaranteened for 21 days and tested for Ebola? That's a no-brainer. Why was Vinson allowed to travel right...

New book says Willoughby Coal is haunted...and that's good for business
Would love to see a series of books that would just thrill me. I cannot wait to visit some of the locations. And revisit some of the locations I have already vi...

Cleveland Indians to continue with 'dynamic pricing'
pricing is too high for a family as well as people like me who are on a fixed income. Bleacher seats are cheaper but concessions are rediculous.

Kasich talks about faith, drugs and education -- but never FitzGerald
The idea that you can learn more by talking to a 90 year old person than from a history book is just another example of how the GOP hates education and knowledg...

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University