Thursday, October 2, 2008

Powder Coating

My god, I almost feel like I've abandoned you guys in the powder coating blog. I just wanted to pop in and drop a note that I've just been extremely busy at our shop. My rookie (who is also my right hand man) has left and went to school up at wyotech, so I am without the one person I could depend on to take care of some of the load of grunt work. I haven't even had a chance to get around to doing any powder coating lately (since it's not my main business) and have been swamped with 12 volt installs and car audio accessories lately.

I know I have a lot of readers on here in the short time this site has been active, and I'm very glad you guys have made this powder coating blog work. Some time next week I'm going back to the ole garage to do some more powder coating on wheels, so will finally have a full, step by step guide to powder coating wheels.

In the mean time, if anybody stops by the powder coating blog and is remotely good with graphics, it would be a huge help if someone could design an image banner for the site. You'll get due credit for your work, I have just come to the conclusion that while I'm incredible at custom powder coating, I can't make an image look good on a computer to save my life, so I'm at your mercy :).

I'll have some new updates soon though, including a very cheap easy to setup powder coating system for larger items, as well as some tips for preparations on them and all too.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Powder Coating Equipment

Ok, so I've touched on some of the basics of powder coating equipment up until this point. Today I'm going to break down the different models of guns that are available to people getting started with powder coating, their benefits, and drawbacks compared to their competition.

The very first powder coating gun I ever began working with was a Chicago Electric System from Harbor Freight. I was actually really pleased with this unit to start with and it definitely got the job done. Lack of adjustable voltage was it's major downfall, and I wasn't a big fan of the top loading cups, but they worked extremely well. For a beginners powder coating equipment, it's straight forward, easy to use, and cleans up fairly fast. I found the foot pedal to be slightly clunky, and the manufacturer posts no information on it's power output so I decided to try something different.

My next choice was Eastwood's HotCoat Powder Coating Gun. Again, as beginner powder coating equipment, this is a great unit, and Eastwood is a wonderful company to work with. I have never had issues with them. A major drawback of this system is again, the lack of a voltage adjustment, which will really hinder your powder coating equipment with it's ability to apply multiple coats of powder. I did however find this unit easier to work with by mounting the thumb switch to the gun itself so that it was 1-handed operation. While this unit is still in use by me today, I will be upgrading to one of the later units very shortly. Again, powder coating equipment with no voltage adjustment will really hinder your ability to do multiple coats, and will require 'hot flocking' in order to apply top coats and clear coats. This has worked very well for me before, but a few powders need extremely thin application coats. As for the cost of powder coating equipment though, both this powder coating gun and the Chicago Electric powder coating gun both start off at under $80.00

Eastwood also offers a much more expensive unit, called the HotCoat Pro system. Finally, we start getting into some of the stats on the powder coating equipment. This unit works on a 10,000-25,000 volt range, which is adjustable by the user. This means stronger application for multiple coats and larger items. Instead of $80.00 though, we're looking at $600.00 for this gun. I have many friends on powder coating forums that are using this gun and absolutely love it. Powder coating application is smooth, and color changes are just as fast as the hobby unit, but in my personal opinion I feel the next unit is far more powerful and from a company that is only concerned about finishing coats.

Finally, we're at the gun I've become extremely excited about. Looking at the picture, you can see the gun shares striking similarity with the Chicago Electric setup, and that's because it is the same exact gun. While I wasn't a HUGE fan of the top loading setup, I will give it credit in that it was very efficient at powder coating transfer, and easily one of the best low budget powder coating equipment setups. Caswell plating has taken things one step further though, with their high voltage coating system. At a whopping $230.00 (less then half the price of the Eastwood unit) this puppy packs an amazing 30,000-50,000 volts. Furthermore, when you buy this system, you also get their model of the chicago standard gun as well too for free, which will help you when you need to get below that 30,000 range for very small parts. I can't begin to express how powerful this is as far as getting even coverage on larger pieces, as you will no longer need to hot flock your items for powder coating top coats and the such. Stronger voltage also means better adhesion in it's dry form, so the powder is less likely to blow off as the piece is being manuevered for curing.

Overall, any of these 4 options are very good choice to get started with home powder coating, or if you plan on starting a business of it. Later on I will touch on industrial setups like the nord system and all, but for now I think this is enough.... and woohoo for pictures finally :) Guess I should have looked at that compose section instead of just edit html all the time.

Keep coming back for more information on powder coating equipment and full details and pics for powder coating wheels

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Powder Coating Wheels and Rims, part 2

In my previous article, we discussed various situations with powder coating wheels and how they affected the wheel after it was cured. It dawned on me today that while yes, many people have been wondering if it was safe or not, many others are simply trying to decide which style and what powder coating system or powder coating equipment to actually do their wheels with.

Powder coating wheels is pretty simple in the terms of application and curing, but where the real skill comes in is... what design are we going for with the wheels. This will largely depend on the wheel itself just as much as the equipment, but various performance wheels and standard alloy rims will give a much broader range of ideas.

At this point, I'm really kicking myself for not knowing how to crop images and all and put them in here... I swear I will figure this out soon and upload some, but for now, you're going to take a visual journey with me as we start powder coating wheels.

The very first part is to look at the wheel you're actually working with. Is it a forged alloy, a 3 piece modular rim, or a steel rim. Starting with the steel rims, there really isn't much we can do to make these bad boys look beautiful, as they're generally just stamped steel, and for the most part painted or powder coated black. You could give it some flare, by giving it a red edge around the exterior of the rim. This is where powder coating wheels can make the so so and drab wheel turn into something beautiful... and still be extremely cheap.

Stepping into the forged alloys or even cast alloys, we have a few different setups we can work with now. Depending on your powder coating equipment, you may be able to do in upwards of 4-5 colors on a single rim. This can take a very basic, $60 each alloy wheel and make them look like a set of rims costing well over $1000.00 for the set. Picture this one with me in regards to powder coating wheels. You have a standard split 5 star rim (meaning 10 spokes, but each spoke is paired with another one and running parallel). There is also a damaged but visible 2" lip going across the wheel, and a machined inset for the lug holes. Powder coating wheels like this will seriously take some time, but lets say we're working with a black car with blue and silver accents. The front of the spokes can be done in a super jet black, and then masked off. Spray the sides of the spokes in a royal blue so that straight on it is completely not noticeable, but as the rims are view from an angle you now have blue highlights on them. The pronounced lip on the wheel can be powder coated in a almost chrome like finish, and you can toss any color you want, or leave it black, on the machined inset section in the center of the rim. You now have up to 4 colors on a single rim, and the key to making them look good like this was in the preparation. If done correctly, people that see your set of wheels will have an entirely different outlook on powder coating wheels.

Getting into actually the easiest of the 3 styles to powder coat is the 3 piece rim. These wheels generally have a center section which includes the design and the hub, an exterior rim which goes outwards, and an interior rim which goes inwards. All 3 pieces bolt together around the edge of the center section, and similarly, they unbolt as well too. These individual screws give many more opportunities with powder coating wheels, in the fact that we can easily powder coat them as well too. With roughly the same example as above, and now the added screws, we have an option for a 5th color on a rim. (this doesn't necessarily mean 5 different colors, just 5 sections to apply different colors too, 2 might be black and 3 might be blue, or however you wish to do it).

Whether you decide on 1 color or 5, powder coating wheels can breath new life into old and worn out, tarnished and beat up wheels. I promise you guys I'll have some pics of some of them I have done in my time up on here soon :)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Powder Coating Wheels

Lately in my online research to see what some of the most common questions and misconceptions about powder coating are, I have come across many people inquiring whether or not powder coating wheels was safe and reliable. Unfortunately, while I like to make most things as simple as possible for people to understand, since after all, this is a beginner/intermediate introduction to powder coating, this is a not so clear cut answer on this one.

By now everybody should be aware of how powder coating works and how to properly use powder coating equipment. Furthermore, people must really understand how the curing process works.

To start with, and a very important detail in powder coating wheels, a manufacturers powder coating cure time is not simply bake for 20 minutes like that turkey you bought from the grocery store is. The powder coating is not bonding to the air inside of the oven, but rather the piece that it is sprayed on, and therefore it is this part that must reach, and maintain the temperature for the manufacturers cure time, for the powder coating to really flow out nicely and attach to it. Obviously for small thing parts, you're not going to be far from that 20 minutes the manufacturer stated, however when getting into larger items, like when powder coating wheels, you will really have to pay attention to the part you're working with before you start the timer on that cure time. This is a very key part of this powder coating system, but really not the most important job either in this setup.

Secondly, preparing the part is crucial and many people overlook this with "You can't see the outer edge of the rim so I don't need to mask it" syndrome. Fact is, powder coatings strength comes in the fact that is a shell, completely encompassing the part and sealing it within. The catch here is that powder coating the entire outside of the rim can make tire sealing problematic, and also add significant weight while powder coating wheels. The item should be properly masked just past the area of the rim the tire bead sits up against, but not the entire outside rim of it. Furthermore, detail must be placed inside of the lug holes as well too, leaving the base, or conical section clean while powder coating wheels, otherwise the lug nuts will damage it during installation and can lead to flaking of the powder coat in the effected area. You would then proceed further with masking off or plugging the item in areas like the valve stem hole, or possibly the lip of the rim if it were to stay polished and not have powder coating applied to the rest of it.

Now that we have tackled those two problems, this is where the key, and the heavy debates come in on powder coating wheels. Does the heat from the curing process effect the integrity of the alloys in the wheel. Long story short, and sparing you of all the nitty gritty metallurgy aspects of it all, yes it can and it's possible to be quite detrimental to the part. This is where the main ingredient comes in to success in powder coating wheels, and it can be a long and time consuming setup.

One of the most important things to remember is that metal just simply doesn't like to change temperature fast. While powder coating wheels, it is very important that you slowly and steadily raise the temperature of the part to it's curing temperature, and furthermore, that part needs to come back to ambient temperature very slowly as well too. Quick flashing of heat can make the metal brittle, and can result in powder coated wheels cracking under stress. This is not only very detrimental to your reputation as a powder coating professional, but it is also a big safety concern and potentially deadly. If you found this site while just searching about powder coating, I only hope you read this and take the moment to speak with whoever will be completing your work to make sure proper procedures are followed to insure the structural integrity of your rim. If you merely mention this to them and they laugh and say it will be fine, do yourself a favor and take your work elsewhere. It's not worth risking a harmful situation because some idiots are powder coating wheels and have no clue what they're doing.

This sites activity is picking up, so if you have any questions, please leave a comment and I will reply within a day or so. I'm always happy to help out, and frankly, powder coating wheels is a beautiful modification for any car, I just want you guys to make sure it is done right :)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Expanding my powder coating system with a new oven

I touched on it in my last powder coating article, about stepping up my powder coating services by expanding to a larger powder coat oven. The benefits of this are great, as it will allow me to step away from the smaller, low income pieces, and get into the larger profits of motorcycle powder coating, more automotive powder coating, and plenty of other opportunities.

Eventually, I will be upgrading my powder coating gun, but for the time being it and my sandblast cabinet should suffice, and in a worst case scenario, I can easily chemically strip and clean anything larger needing some powder coat paint applied to it.

So lets get into building a powder coating system beyond your standard home powder coating kit.

To begin with, I will be building a 4' x 4' x 8' structure out of structural steel framing available at most hardware stores like Lowes or Home Depot. The studs can be bought in either 8' or 10' sections, so naturally I will be going for the 8' pieces, which I priced at $4.97 a piece. I will definitely be going with the 4" metal studs so that I can apply plenty of insulation to the inside of the powder coat oven. Eventually I would like to be able to cure ceramic coatings in it as well for turbo manifolds, headers, and items like that which powder coating generally will not withstand. Anything over 450 degrees is kind of overkill for aluminum powder coating and most automotive powder coating, but the overhead will be nice so that I don't need to build another one down the road.

Utilizing the metal studs, the walls will be built with studs every 24 inches. Roughly 16 studs will be used in total, accumulating a whopping $84.29, and probably about $10-15 bucks for self tapping screws to assemble it all. Once the frame is built (with one side being the door naturally... so it's not attached yet) I'll get some quotes for all of my sheet metal. This will probably be the most expensive part of the project, as I want to use at least 20ga sheet metal for the inner and exterior walls. The powder coat oven needs to be fully skinned, so that it will hold the insulation and keep energy costs down while I'm curing the powder coating. I have figured in about $700 for sheet metal work, which will include some recesses for the heater elements in the bottom. By far, the most expensive portion of the powder coat oven, but, well you can't avoid it.

Once the sheet metal is fabricated, I will attach the interior walls of the powder coat oven but not the exterior. This will allow me to mount the 3 burner elements, which will run about $45 for the elements, the 2 light fixtures in the ceiling, which are about $10 total, and I'm also going to fabricate some rack trails and 3 overhead channels to hang from. The rack trails and channel will all be made out of 90 degree angle iron, or c-channel if it's not strong enough. The top channels on the powder coat oven will allow me to hang parts from the top like a frame for motorcycle powder coating, or a rear end for automotive powder coating, and the 3 removable racks in the middle of the oven will allow me to use it for valve covers, suspend intake manifolds below it, or any various small items I'll need to apply powder coat paint too. Also a small recirculation fan will be installed near the top of the powder coat oven to give it more of a convection type heating and will allow the powder coat to warm up evenly across the piece.

After the interior options are added to the oven, I will be installing the power supply and doing all of my wiring. Other then the lights, all control will be ran through the control unit. I found a guy on ebay that sells power control units for custom oven setups (I forget his name at the moment, just leave a comment if you really need to find him). I'll test all electronic connections and make sure that it's working correctly before I button up this new puppy. The control unit was about $400.00 so figure that into the costs.

My next supply site is I found a few small casters capable of holding this weight, for $2.00 a piece, $8.00 total. They also have a 3 pack of cam style latches (to lock the door when not in use) for $4.52, and fiberglass oven rope (to seal the door to the front of the powder coat oven) for $0.75/foot, which will cost $18.00. The most important piece they carry for my new powder coating system though is the roxul mineral wool. I'm waiting to hear back if the price is per sheet or not, but they come in 24" x 48" sheets, and 2" thick. I will need to double this up to insulate the 4" thickness of the new powder coat oven, so I will need 42 pieces total. The site lists @ 10.67, but from what I've heard they come 4 to a pack. Even on the high side of things, the insulation for my powder coat oven will costs $448.14, but probably quite less then that. Also a piano style hinge for the right side of the door, at $18.00, and a handle at $2.00 will finish off most of the perceived costs of this build.

So in my endeavor of expanding my powder coating services, I'm looking at about $1,680 total. I definitely think this will be a good investment, and will keep you guys updated as I go further along my process. I haven't even lifted a finger to start working on it yet, just planning right now. Hopefully by that time I will figure out how to add pictures to this powder coating blog... I mean hey... I'm good at coating, not a web junkie :)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A new powdercoating oven

So I've been thinking lately while doing this blog. Why not pursue something I absolutely enjoy, and take it to the next level. It's fun, I'm very creative, and it's good money once you have enough of it. At this point, all I've ever used for powder coating was a cheap oven I bought off of e-bay.

Sure it's gotten the job done, and I've been able to do tons of small brackets, control arms, and such like that, but I'm ready to go bigger. I want to be powder coating motorcycle frames, chairs, entire tables, not just the random parts on my project cars.

With that, over the next few months, I will be building a home-made powder coating batch oven. I will probably end up building 2, as the amount of power required to power an oven that would hold say a car-frame is ridiculous, and that isn't needed at the moment.

My plan at the moment is simple. I'm going to build a powder coating oven, 4' wide, 4' deep, and 6' tall. This should be enough to hold a motorcycle or atv frame suspended. I've been over at the caswell forums recently with their oven building forum and reading up, and it really doesn't seem hard for someone of my skill level to put it together. I'm going to take it one step further though, and have a sectional divide that I can place inside of it, so that for smaller items I can run at half power, and only worry about a 4' x 4' x 4' oven, and remove the expansion when I need to go larger.

Building this oven won't be incredibly cheap, I've estimated having at least $1,500 into this, but I feel the benefits far outweigh the cost. If I can get 2-3 bike frame jobs, at $500 a piece, I will have covered my costs with ease, and everything after that will be profit for me. It's an investment I'm willing to make though as I feel the returns will be easily made back on it. Hell even if I never do a frame, at my standard rate, I could pay for it in a year.

I will definitely be using this blog to chart my progress on my new powder coating oven. I'll even have some pictures and the plans I used in order to get the job done, and also post any of the contact I come across that make this job easier. I will show how to build the overhead trolley system I want, plus removable racks for holding media on a horizontal surface. This should be alot of fun overall, and I hope you guys stick through for it ;)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Preparing your part for Powder Coating

The most important thing to learn as a beginner and starting out with powder coating is a phrase coined from the auto body industry.

"Any monkey can spray a car, but preparing it correctly so the job comes out right is the hard part"

That's never been more true then when it comes to powder coating. Your piece must be meticulous, absolutely spotless, and free of any contamination for the best job possible. As you start working with different objects you will spot problem areas that arise with hobby systems and work around them so that it looks professional. Don't be disheartened if your first one or two jobs have flaws in them, just see what caused it, and fix them. That's really all there is to powder coating!

So lets get started shall we?

Obviously, the first thing you want to do is clean the piece your powder coating up. If it's greasy, oily, grimey, dirty, you name it, it needs to be cleaned. Be careful of using anything too agresive at this point, as leaving an acidic film or something of that nature on the part can leave you with problems during the coating process. I generally spray all my parts off with regular water to remove the big stuff.

At this point, the part may look clean, but you're really not ready for powder coating yet. Many prepping agents are good at removing surface impurities you cannot see with your eye, but in my personal opinion, I prefer sandblasting every piece before coating. Even areas that look spotless, I go over at least once or twice so that I'm 100% positive there are no contaminants on the surface. Sand Blasting is the process of using abrasive sand to basically strip away the top layer of material, much like sand paper would. If you do not have a sand blasting setup, you can either purchase a very cheap setup from a company like harbor freight, or hand sand the piece, but that is quite often difficult as you're not working on flat surfaces.

After that, masking and covering any areas that you do not want powder coated is up. Eastwood sells a very nice system of high temp silicone plugs and caps that you can use on hose barbs, bolt threads, and even bolt holes. They also sell specialized high temperature tape that you can use to mask off gasket areas such as the flange of an intake manifold being powder coated. A major tip that I've learned along the way is not to worry about masking off things like lettering on a valve cover or small raised edges you do not want powder coating applied to. It's extremely easy to come back once it's finished and use an orbital sander or something to remove the powder coat from the raised edges and leave the powder underneath it perfectly fine.

My next part of the process is a burn-off and pre-heating system I've been using all along while powder coating. To further purify the piece, I will place it uncoated in the oven at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes. This will generally burn off all contaminants, and also warms the piece up for the coating process. Care must be taken to slowly raise and lower the temperature of the piece you're working on so that the sudden changes do not effect the metallurgy of the part being powder coated. A inexpensive thermal temperature reader should be used to verify the temperature of the part.

This is where the spraying finally happens! After it's burn-off session, I remove the part from the oven and let it cool down to roughly 150-200 degrees. On the inexpensive hobby systems, no amperage adjustment has given me troubles getting powder to stick evenly and issues with faraday cage effects. I use this slightly higher temperature to help adhesion with the powder and the part that I'm working on. Using this technique while powder coating is commonly referred to as a hot flash, and that is basically stating the temperature isn't high enough for the powder to melt, however it starts to gel just a bit and helps stick to the part. Spray very evenly, in broad strokes and paying attention to the hard to reach spots and doing them first. Once your piece is fully coated, remove the ground strap, and stick it in the oven. Using your infrared temperature probe, wait for the part to reach the powders optimal flowout temp and set your timer.

For the highest gloss, smoothest finishes, when the curing process has completed, turn off the oven and crack the door but not remove the part. Let the part slowly, over 20-30 minutes come back down to room temperature. Cooling down too fast I have found lead to cloudy finishes, or I've also had dust and debris fall into a freshly coated piece leaving the oven. Inside there's little turbulence, and the temperature drops a few degrees every minute, instead of every few seconds.

That's one of your first powder coated pieces step by step right there. Pick up a powder coating kit and give it a try, it really is so easy an idiot like me can do it!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Powder Coating equipment for beginners.

You're going to hear me talk about a few companies on this site that have been extremely good to me as I was starting out. First and fore-most, Eastwood Company is the entire reason I got into this after stumbling across their very cheap powder-coating gun, and I've used many of their powders with great success. Another company I have been extremely happy with in regards to supply is Columbia Coatings, who lately have been my #1 powder supplier due to a vast selection of colors and great customer service.

First and fore-most, you're most important piece in powder coating is the gun itself. Me personally, I started out with Chicago Electric's powder coating system available from Harbor Freight. This unit worked well for me over about 2 months before I started having some issues, and browsing a few other powder coating communities and forums I was turned onto Eastwood's hot-coat system, and have never looked back. Both of these guns can be had for under $100 + shipping, and both will be perfect for the beginners hobby setup. The Eastwood gun hasn't been perfect, in the past 3 years I've replaced it twice, but both times were absolutely hassle free and timely thanks to Eastwood's amazing customer service.

You will also need a compressed air source to run the gun. These guns spray at an amazingly low pressure, so a large compressor isn't required. Generally 5-10psi is ideal for powder coating, though a few times I have had to turn that up a bit and blast a part for extra coverage. If you already have a large compressor in your garage for air tools, that will work fine. In my personal setup, I installed another regulator at my gun itself, so that I could use a blow-gun to clean off my work and area before hand, and then only get 7psi through the gun w/o having to go back to the compressor.

Curing the piece simply needs some heat. Eastwood also offers a very nice, portable propane heat lamp type thing-a-majig, but this should only be used for pieces you couldn't fit in your oven. Using an open source heat to cure your pieces is not ideal, as #1, it doesn't cure the entire piece at once, so you have to constantly move the heat along it, which for the beginner will prove to be some costly mistakes, and #2, the piece becomes far more likely to get contaminants in the powder, which will leave blemishes in the finish. These 2 factors are extremely important in regards to powder coating. This stuff is not easy to get off by any means, all that durability and toughness I already mentioned before is true. Sand-blasting, sanding, it all takes a lot more work to strip powder coating, so bad in fact some companies have developed chemicals just for removing it.

As for curing, a simple old house-hold oven will work wonders. I use a 30" oven I picked up off of e-bay for about 30 bucks. Currently I'm going to finish building a much larger custom oven I have made to do motorcycle frames and the such. It is very important to use a dedicated oven for this, as the chemicals released during burn-off on certain pieces that may have oil contamination have been known by the state of California to produce cancer... like everything else they've tested. Seriously though, do not share an oven between powder-coating and food. It's no bueno, I'm positive you'll get terribly sick, and after all it's just pretty disgusting that 2 days ago you had a 10 year old valve cover in there baking and today it's a chocolate cake... c'mon now.

That's it. Seriously, that's all you need to actually apply the powder coat and cure it. It's not all there is to the equation though, nor is it all the equipment you need to do a top-notch professional quality job. The majority of the work is in the preparation of the piece, which is covered on a different page.

How Powder Coating Works!

It's a lot like painting, with half the mess! Powder Coating has a few very distinct advantages over conventional paint aside from it's toughness and durability factors.

The powder particles are a dry, almost dust like consistency compared to the liquid based paints which have pigments suspended in a solution that has to dry out. In a clean setup using only one color, powder coating over spray can actually be recycled and used again and again until 100% of the powder is used up. In contrast, once paint is sprayed, it's pretty much there for good, and there's no looking back.

Powder Coating also supplies the piece with a far thicker coating then conventional paint, which is a key to it's durability. In fact, powder coating a piece compared to painting it will result in it's finish being approximately 10x thicker, and with it's baking process, or flow out as some call it, it comes out smooth as glass with absolutely no orange-peel. In some instances though, a person may want a thinner application on their piece, which a hobby system will fail to give, but this is where your major corporations with fluid transfer tanks come in.

Enough about why powder coating is so much better then painting, lets get into how it really works.

Your specialized powder coating gun has a polarized rod running through the center of it, which basically charges the powder particles running past it. The piece that you're working with will have a ground strap running of it, to basically complete this 'static charge' type situation it's looking for. It's not exactly static charge, but since this site is built for beginners, I'm sparing you all the technical jargon in the beginning, we'll get into that stuff later on once you're up and running. Since the powder is now positively charged from the gun, and the piece is holding a slight negative charge from the unit, the powder actually clings to the piece you're working on. At low air pressures, you can actually see the powder make turns in mid air to find the path of least resistance to the ground (i.e. the parts of the piece you're making with the lightest coating). This significantly reduces the amount of powder over spray by utilizing up to 95% of the powder exiting the gun on some systems and settings.

Anything capable of holding a small electrical charge can have powder applied to it. Some pieces will conduct far better then others, and more advanced methods such as hot flashing are needed. You will also un-doubtably run into the dreaded faraday cage effect eventually with a hobby unit, and later articles will help you with fixing that.

The act of curing the powder is done by raising the temperature of the powder coated piece past the flow out temperate of the powder you're using. This will vary depending on the different types of powder available, but basically what it boils down to, is melting that dry powder that is clinging to the part. As the temperature comes up, the powder melts, and some powders actually re-align their chemical makeup to add further strength properties to it. After the part has been heated up for the powder to flow out, it is removed from it's heat source (often an oven, but can also be heat lamps) and cooled to room temperature slowly so that the powder and the piece come down to room temp at the same time.

That's really all there is to how it works, well the basics at least. There is still a ton of information to learn on different techniques and applications, as well as different equipment setups to get you started.

Introduction to Powder Coating

Currently, I've been having a blast powder coating for the past 3 years. I am not a professional shop, nor do I own big money equipment, but frankly, people love my work. Patience and preparation are 2 of the things I have learned in my endeavors with powder coating, but I have picked up so many different tricks by... well... simply trying them.

Powder Coating has been around for years, and with new hobby style equipment from companies like EastWood producing very affortable, extremely versitle products. Couple that with some great distributors such as Columbia Coatings who are just as happy to send you half a pound of powder to your house as they are 50 to a manufacturer, and you too can be on your way to a fun, rewarding, and often profitable hobby.

Turning this hobby into a profit is quite easy once you've gotten the hang of it, and start up costs are extremely low with very good returns. You will need some 'equipment' to begin powder coating, and I use that term very loosely as to what it actually entails.

Powder Coating has a TON of uses too, which you will probably figure out after reading some of the benefits later on. Personally, I use this mainly for automotive parts, as the finish is highly more durable and will withstand aging, abrasion, and chemicals. In the engine bay of my vehicles, I'm constantly tinkering with them, and years ago when paint was my preferred method, it would get trashed within months, if not weeks from being put together. Optionally though, you could use it for hundreds of other items as well too. Powder Coat your tools to give them a more unique look, older metal lawn furniture that has seen the ages rusting away in your backyard will look good as new with a fresh coat of powder on them. Even some woods can be powder coated with traditional setups. All it takes is a static charge and some heat :)

After we get you through some of the basics, we will get into some of the equipment that makes powder coating happen. I will even show you how the big companies do this and turn it around incredibly fast, plus all the tricks to a proper prep job for the best results. If you stick with me, you should be having professional looking pieces, and eventually some pretty damn unique designs with a low cost, easy to use hobby style powder coating kit, or who knows, may want to turn this into a business yourself.

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I respect your privacy and I am committed to safeguarding your privacy while online at this site. The following discloses how I gather and disseminate information for this Blog.

RSS Feeds and Email Updates

If a user wishes to subscribe to my RSS Feeds or Email Updates (powered by Feedburner), I ask for contact information such as name and email address. Users may opt-out of these communications at any time. Your personal information will never be sold or given to a third party. (You will never be spammed by me - ever)

Log Files and Stats

Like most blogging platforms I use log files, in this case Statcounter. This stores information such as internet protocol (IP) addresses, browser type, internet service provider (ISP), referring, exit and visited pages, platform used, date/time stamp, track user’s movement in the whole, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses etc. are not linked to personally identifiable information.


A cookie is a piece of data stored on the user’s computer tied to information about the user. This blog doesn't use cookies. However, some of my business partners use cookies on this site (for example - advertisers). I can't access or control these cookies once the advertisers have set them.


This Blog contains links to other sites. Please be aware that I am not responsible for the privacy practices of these other sites. I suggest my users to be aware of this when they leave this blog and to read the privacy statements of each and every site that collects personally identifiable information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Blog.


I use outside ad companies to display ads on this blog. These ads may contain cookies and are collected by the advertising companies and I do not have access to this information. I work with the following advertising companies: Google Adsense and Amazon Affiliates. Please check the advertisers websites for respective privacy policies.

Contact Information

If you have any questions or concerns please contact Dr. J at dread240 at This privacy policy updated August 2008