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Thread: How to: Powdercoat

  1. #1
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    Aug 2008
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    Default How to: Powdercoat

    I thought I would throw this out there since it is so ridiculously easy, even Hawley could do it

    FYI I got my entire setup for <$100 including the powder and the curing oven. The only thing not included in that price is an air compressor but even the crappy small pancake compressor for $40 from Harbor Freight would be enough.

    You will need:
    Powder Coat Gun
    latex/nitrile gloves
    powder in whatever colors you want
    Air compressor
    dust mask
    safety glasses
    oven (toaster oven for small parts, get a used cheapo electric from craigslist for bigger)
    Acetone or some other cleaner
    lint-free cloths
    masking tape at the least, powder coat masking tape is much better.

    To start your part to be powder coated needs to conduct electricity (metals) and needs to be able to withstand temperatures of ~400 degrees.

    Put your gloves on. DO NOT touch any part of your body after this as the oils from your skin will find their way onto the part and ruin the finish.

    I start by thoroughly cleaning the parts with acetone and the lint free cloths. Here are the two rear hub pieces I made yesterday. They are freshly bead-blasted but to be sure always clean your parts thoroughly.


    Next bust out your powder coat gun. I picked this up on sale with a 20% off coupon from our friends at Harbor Freight for $50. Eastwood makes a great kit for around $100 that supposedly is better.



    Hook up your air supply to the powder coat gun. You only need between 10-20psi of pressure...very low. It is important that your incoming air is dry so be sure to put a filter inline.

    Powder goes in the hopper. In my case I picked up red, yellow, and black from Harbor Freight for $5 each. I wanted to do the outer hub in RSP orange so a little creative mixing of red/yellow got me the results I wanted.

    Put the pedal on the floor, connect the alligator clip to the part and then switch the unit on. Test the spray pattern before you work on your part. If the hopper is too full you can get large glops of powder that will ruin your part. If this happens, dont worry. The powder is easily removed with compressed air, a brush, or with water.

    You do not want to get the tip of the gun near the part or you can arc it out (you are dealing with a lot of voltage here). Step on the pedal and hold it down. This puts a negative charge on the part that you are coating. The barrel of the gun has doo-dads in it that gives the powder a positive charge. Much like my wife and I, opposites attract and when you squeeze the trigger, the puff of powder will be sucked onto the part with very little waste.

    Repeat this until you have a nice even coat. You do not want to go too heavy, just enough to get the part covered.

    It will look dull and, err, like it is covered in powder


    Once the part is coated, set the part aside on the rack of your toaster oven. Preheat the over to ~400 degrees (depends on the powder). Once heated, put the part in and wait =).


    After a few minutes the dull powder will start to take on a sheen. This is when it is beginning to "flow out" as they say. See how it is beginning to get glossy?

    Once this happens, set your timer for 20 minutes. Ding, fries are done...so is your powder coating.

    Open the oven and let the part cool. Do not pull the part out as it can dull the finish if it cools too quickly. It only takes about 20-30 minutes for aluminum to cool off this way.

    And here we have an ultra shiny, well protected finished part in just around 35 minutes. Another benefit of powder coating is that you can immediately put the part into service. No curing time like conventional paints.




    While the sprocket carrier was cooling I did the intermediate carrier in matte black.




    Cleanup is super easy. You can either use a shop-vac to pick up any stray powder, blow your clothes off with compressed air, or just wash it off.

    In the end you get an excellent, very durable finish for cheap, and it is super easy to boot!

    **EDIT**
    I missed a few things. Wear your safety glasses. Powder in eyes would suck
    Once you use an oven for curing powder, DO NOT use it for food.
    Use masking tape to keep the powder off of any surface you dont want coated. As you may have guessed I masked off the inner bearing surface of the sprocket carrier. Pull the tape off BEFORE you put it in the oven. they make special heat-resistant masking tape which you can leave on but I didnt have any handy...
    Also I should add that I used approximately $.30 of powder in this experiment. It goes a long way and is VERY cheap so although the startup costs are a little higher than picking up a can of spray paint, you get a much better finish from a system that is completely reusable.

    I guess I should add some pics of the finished product.



    Last edited by DucatiMichael; 04-14-2013 at 05:45 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default



    well, if hawley can...

  3. #3
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    Apr 2009
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    Hamden
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    Looks good. I've done some DIY powdercoating, I've got a pics thread on here. I have the craftsman gun, it doesn't need a compressor, it works pretty good. I've been pre-heating my parts in the toaster oven for about 10 minutes. If you do this, it only takes about 15 minutes in the oven after spraying. I bought powder from powderbuythepound, actually bought it from their ebay site, was a little cheaper. I've only got a toaster oven for now, but I've been able to bake some larger stuff at work.

    Definitely wear a dust mask or respirator when doing it. I was playing around when I first bought it coating a couple washers, I didn't think I was breathing much in until later that night when I was coughing up black loogies.

    You can buy some high-temp masking tape and silicone plugs for masking off small holes from www.mcmaster.com. If you try to use regular masking tape, you risk disturbing the powder before you put it in the oven.

  4. #4
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    Never done it myself but had a neighbor who did it. Dont hold yourself to thinking you can only do small parts because your stuck using a toaster oven. He had a 220v in the garage for a table saw and bought a used beater full size oven for under $50 and used that.
    A meal without beer is called breakfast

  5. #5
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    May 2008
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    Is there a size limit to the parts the HF kit can do? The wiring makes me think it's for small parts only, but I'm not really sure if more voltage is really needed for bigger things (like wheels).

    Speaking of which, I need some levers powdercoated...

  6. #6
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    my world is about to become much more colorful

    new hobby, thanks mike

  7. #7
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    I had that same gun. I hope it works better for you than it did for me. Crapped out after about 10 parts sprayed. I ended up getting the Summit one. Parts look great though!


  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattr302 View Post
    I've been pre-heating my parts in the toaster oven for about 10 minutes. If you do this, it only takes about 15 minutes in the oven after spraying. I bought powder from powderbuythepound, actually bought it from their ebay site, was a little cheaper. I've only got a toaster oven for now, but I've been able to bake some larger stuff at work.

    You can buy some high-temp masking tape and silicone plugs for masking off small holes from www.mcmaster.com. If you try to use regular masking tape, you risk disturbing the powder before you put it in the oven.
    Pre-heating definitely has advantages, it also helps to purge any impurities from the surface however this was intended as just a basic overview to get the job done.

    I bought a bunch of different powders from prismaticpowders as well as the silicone plug kit and powder masking tape. I just didnt want to wait for the good stuff which is why I just made do with what I had on parts that are not so critical. As I mentioned it is better to use the correct tape but in lieu of having it, taking the tape off before baking gets the job done.

    Quote Originally Posted by Just_Jeff View Post
    Never done it myself but had a neighbor who did it. Dont hold yourself to thinking you can only do small parts because your stuck using a toaster oven. He had a 220v in the garage for a table saw and bought a used beater full size oven for under $50 and used that.
    Yep. I am just scouring craigslist waiting for a good oven to come up for cheap. I also have access to a full blown cerakote oven work so size really isnt a limiting factor for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by weld View Post
    Is there a size limit to the parts the HF kit can do? The wiring makes me think it's for small parts only, but I'm not really sure if more voltage is really needed for bigger things (like wheels).

    Speaking of which, I need some levers powdercoated...
    As far as I know, there is not a different size/power gun available. There are plenty of accounts of people using this gun (or the eastwood equivalent) on car wheels so I would think it is capable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Unsane125 View Post
    my world is about to become much more colorful

    new hobby, thanks mike
    Glad you enjoyed =) it is definitely fun and very easy to do. Considering this knocks off all the drying time, I think I will be powder coating a lot rather than rattle can.

    Quote Originally Posted by BikeInBlack View Post
    I had that same gun. I hope it works better for you than it did for me. Crapped out after about 10 parts sprayed. I ended up getting the Summit one. Parts look great though!
    Yeah mixed reviews on the gun. I figured I would give it a shot, see how it goes and if it breaks I will just take it back and get a refund to pick up the Eastwood gun.

  9. #9
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    This is a great write up. Very well done. There are two things I would add:

    1. prismaticpowders.com has great powder. Its very easy to work with, very forgiving, very inexpensive, and there are tons of colors to choose from.

    2. If anyone is doing this as a hobby, check out some of the pc forums throughout the web. I suggest powder365.com/forum, caswellplating.com, and the eastwood forum(not as good as the other two). These forums are great to for building ovens and blast cabinets.

    Hope this helps !!!

  10. #10
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    This is a great write up. Very well done. There are two things I would add:

    1. prismaticpowders.com has great powder. Its very easy to work with, very forgiving, very inexpensive, and there are tons of colors to choose from.

    2. If anyone is doing this as a hobby, check out some of the pc forums throughout the web. I suggest powder365.com/forum, caswellplating.com, and the eastwood forum(not as good as the other two). These forums are great to for building ovens and blast cabinets.

    Hope this helps !!!

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