Do-It-Yourself Powder Coating.
First, the legal stuff :
DISCLAIMER: ALL THE INFORMATION IN THIS WEB SITE IS PRESENTED AS A REFERENCE AND THE OWNERS OF THIS WEB SITE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ACTIONS TAKEN OR RESULTS OBTAINED BY USING THIS INFORMATION. In other words we want you to use common sense, take safety precautions, and not hurt yourself in the process. Also remember that this is the internet and just because you find information on a web page it does not mean that it is correct. We will make every effort to make this information as correct as we can but YOU (yes, this means YOU) must do research and double check what you read. If you don't feel comfortable with this process then DON'T DO IT!
Now, the good stuff!
Several people have asked if they can powder coat at home. Do-it-yourself powder coating is possible and will save you money in the long run if you are doing a lot of small parts all of the time or just want a hobby. We have collected a few links and some information to help you along. If you know what you are doing and just need supplies click here or on the "Supplies" button on the left side of this web page to order powder and other supplies.
UPDATE: I made some updates to the page since a few things were out of date, spelled wrong or a grammatic disaster (and some things probably still are). Please contact Steve if you see anything that looks wrong or want to add information.
UPDATE: A big thanks to Clinton C. who suggested you get the powder from e-Bay!!! Expanding on that idea I placed a bunch of search boxes on the page for other items and other places. Just click the SEARCH button below to find powder or anything else you are looking for. I would like to get feedback on your experiences with getting powder and powder coating supplies. I'll make a list of companies that are good and bad to deal with.
UPDATE: In my quest to find sources for all things powder (and not cost a ton) I have added this Google suggestion box. So far it's not that good as it suggests things that are far from powder coating related. Maybe it just needs to sit on the site for a few days before it figures out what to suggest. Please contact me if you like or dislike the box.
What do I need?
UPDATE: Recently Eastwood created a nice page that basically says the same thing as I have here (all the junk below). Of course they lay it out nicer and include some more information. Please click here and give it a read. I always try to support companies that really do try to help people out and based on Eastwood's DIY page I think it's fair to purchase something from them so everybody wins.
The basic items you need to powder coat are a well-lit and well-ventilated area to work in, an oven, a powder coating gun, an air compressor and the powder. Of course you need something to powder coat but I'm sure you have that already. You also need some space. Depending on how you do things you can probably get away with an empty corner and a work bench but you will get a better feel for it after you read this page.
The oven you want is the same type you buy in the store to cook with in your home. Of course you don't want to use the same one you have in your kitchen because your food will taste terrible and cooking apple pies in the same space as brake calipers is not a good idea. Get the local paper and look in the for-sale section and find an electric for $50 or free if you get lucky. I know you can get one for free if you sign up at http://www.freecycle.org. The burners on the top of the stove don't need to function, just the oven part.
UPDATE: One of our readers suggested old traded in ovens can be picked up FREE from appliance stores. You would probably have better luck at the mom and pop stores then big retailers simply because you have to talk to 5 managers before you get to someone who can help you. You might also get a deal at the Sears scratch and dent stores. I believe Sears has at least 2 of those stores in the Chicagoland area. Please contact Steve and let us know what you find if you do try this.
We didn't have a lot of places to get guns but now we have a few. They are:
A 20 PSI compressor should do the trick. Again, you may be able to buy this in the want ads of your local paper or http://www.freecycle.org. If you plan to sandblast your own parts then you may want to get something bigger that can push out at least 80 psi. The bigger the better when sand blasting.
Getting powder is getting easier than before but most companies won't look at you unless you are setting up a shop or buying in large amounts. You can buy powder in our supplies area or try your luck with the search and see if you can find the color you want. Much like paint stores you can find a lot of new powder that business purchased too much of for cheap. Only problem is you might have seach a bit for the right color..
If you are in the process of setting up a shop contact us and we can refer you to some people who will help you get setup.
Sand blasting Gun
Eastwood has two systems you can look at. The first one is cheap and a good way to start. It's called "BLAST OUT OF A BUCKET ABRASIVE GUN" and is now located in the supplies area. You still need an area to work in but you can make that by reading below.
The search I created below includes sand blasters and sand blasting cabinets. If you bid on anything make sure you know that a cabinet does not always come with a gun.
Sand blasting Area
If you plan to sand blast your parts then you need to create an area large enough to blast your part and contain the sand that falls to the floor. The area only needs to be slightly bigger than what your oven can handle. If it doesn't fit in the oven then a large sand blasting pit does nothing for you.
We have two pits at Powder Perfect. The first one is a small unit 4' wide, 40" deep and 3' tall. This gives us enough room to blast small parts and easily reclaim the sand. The second pit is a room 18' long and 8' wide. You won't need this but it gives you an idea of how big you can make your pit.
I have seen sand blasting pits that are just a wooden box made out of 2x4 lumber with sheet metal on 3 sides and heavy plastic above the sheet metal to contain the sand and dust. If you elevate the box a few feet you can cut a hole in the bottom and funnel the sand into a bucket. This allows easy re-use of the sand but is not needed. Speaking of dust, plan on a ton of it. You probably want to do this outside to reduce dust in your garage and help with ventilation.
You can also buy (of course) a sandblasting pit. We have three pits in the supplies area, either one will do the job. They are really nice systems because you can easily reclaim the sand, beads or whatever you use to blast the parts.
Life is no fun if you're dead so take the basic steps to protect yourself. Powder coating produces a lot of dust so get a dusk mask and eye goggles. Also, do not smoke while your doing this. If you don't have adequate ventilation it's possible that the powder could ignite and explode. Have you ever heard of grain bins exploding because of the corn dust? Any type of dust that is confined and suspended in air has the potential for an explosion so MAKE SURE you have good ventilation.
High Voltage!!! That's right, electricity is used in the powder gun to apply the powder. Make sure the area you are working in is dry because standing in a puddle of water barefoot while powder coating will probably lead to your death so don't do it.
How do I do it?
This is the fun part of the process and your life will be easier if you take time to prepare a work area and READ THE DIRECTIONS. I'm the worst when it comes to new toys and reading directions but reading them will save you a lot of grief. Eastwood sent us a link to a video on how this is done as well. You can review it here, but then read the directions anyway.
UPDATE: Eastwood has expanded the video and it's very informative. If you have seen it already please review it again.
After you have read the instructions suspend your clean part by a wire hanger. Once the gun is setup per the instructions that came with it, fill the gun with powder, turn on the air source and start spraying the part. This will be tough at first. If the gun is too far away the powder won't stick. If it's too close then the powder will blow off the part. The good news is that if you mess up just blow the powder off the part with an air hose and start again. Practice is the only way to get better at applying the powder. When everything is covered and looks good then move the part to the pre-heated oven and bake per the powder manufacture's instructions. Let the part cool and your done!
There are instructional videos and handbooks in the supplies area.
We wish you good luck on your project and hope this page helps you accompilsh your goals. Feel free to contact Steve with your progress. We want to post pictures and stories of your experiences with powder coating.
We also want to know if you find better products or methods so we can pass it on to others. Why? It helps both of us. You may be able to save some money doing the parts yourself and (here comes the sales pitch) we hope you will ask us to powder the parts you can't do such as car frames, furniture, and all that is metal.
Of course, you could just Click here to get a FREE estimate and 2 -3 day turnaround time. It's up to you! :)