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Do It Yourself Powder Coating System - Home Cookin

Posted in How To on December 1, 2006 Comment (0)
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Do It Yourself Powder Coating System - Home Cookin

Have you put an oven in your garage yet? You may want to when you see what you can cook up at home now. Powder coating has long been recognized as the first choice in finishes for many four-wheeler parts. The powder coating process allows metals to be coated with a type of plastic that not only changes the color but also provides an excellent protective covering. Because powder coating resists most chemicals, grease, corrosion, UV rays, and scratches, it is an ideal material for automotive applications.

Historically, powder coating has been done by professionals using highly specialized equipment. All that has changed with the introduction of a new tool by Craftsman that makes powder coating possible in your own garage and, uh--kitchen. The kit sells for about $200 and is pretty easy to use.

Powder coating can be applied to aluminum, steel, cast iron, copper, gold, brass, bronze, nickel, stainless steel, and chrome-plated metals. The process involves electrostatically applying dry plastic powder to a metal surface and then heat-curing it. The application process eliminates runs and sags usually associated with liquid paint.

Powdercoating, like most part surfacing, is 90 percent preparation. Anything that cannot handle the 400-degree curing process must be removed. So be sure to check for O-rings, gaskets, seals, and hose ends.

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The part to be powder coated must be clean and free of grease. You don't necessarily have to strip everything you powder coat, but loose paint must be removed. Paint can be removed with liquid paint stripper. Corrosion must also be removed with a wire wheel, sandpaper, or abrasive blasting. After cleaning, a final wipedown with paint thinner or mineral spirits is recommended.

Areas that should not be powder coated require masking. Powder coating is quite durable, so make sure you are thorough with what needs masking. Craftsman supplies high-temperature tape to aid in the masking process. Aluminum foil can be taped into place for large areas. The masking must be left on during the curing process in the oven.Craftsman also supplies tapered reusable high-temperature silicone plugs of various diameters to fill holes so they won't get filled with powder coating. Like the masking, the plugs should be left in place until the curing process is completed. Parts can be placed on the oven rack or suspended from the rack with wire.

A word about your power source: this unit needs to be grounded to work. You must use a grounded (three prong) outlet. If you use an extension cord, it can't be that old one with the missing ground post. The extension cord must also be three-prong with all the parts intact.

Make sure the part you coat is on the list of accepted metals and that it doesn't contain components that will be destroyed by the heat of the oven. Check the piece in the cool oven before hanging it from the rack to assure clearance. Make sure the part you coat is on the list of accepted metals and that it doesn't contain components that will be destroyed by the heat of the oven. Check the piece in the cool oven before hanging it from the rack to assure clearance.

While Craftsman thinks we're all going to buy an oven for our garages, the truth is, a lot of us will be cooking parts right in the kitchen. Here are a few tips to keep the head cook from using a meat cleaver on the head mechanic:* Make sure the oven is not scheduled for use during the time you want to use it. The garage is your domain, but you are on different turf in the kitchen.* Make sure that the not-for-powder coat surface of the part is completely free of grease and oil as well. Four hundred degrees is hot enough to get motor oil smoking, and it's pretty much the same smell you get when oil is spilled on your headers.* Clean extra powder off of the oven rack before the curing process. Powder coating does not stick permanently until it is cured at high temperature, so now's your chance to save your neck by saving the oven rack.

We recently tested the Craftsman kit on a Jeep front differential cover and diff guard. Here are the steps you can take to complete a similar job.

Any number of methods can be used to clean loose paint and corrosion. A random-orbit sander with a flexible sanding pad makes a good choice for some steel parts. Any number of methods can be used to clean loose paint and corrosion. A random-orbit sander with a flexible sanding pad makes a good choice for some steel parts.
Compressed air helps keep the work area clean during the cleaning process. Compressed air helps keep the work area clean during the cleaning process.
A sanding sponge with a foam core is a good choice for those hard-to-reach areas. A final wipedown with a quality paint thinner or mineral sprits helps remove residual contaminants. A sanding sponge with a foam core is a good choice for those hard-to-reach areas. A final wipedown with a quality paint thinner or mineral sprits helps remove residual contaminants.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. After filling the detachable powder cup, put on the lid and mount it on the gun. Extra powder cups are available to hold different colors and textures of finish. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. After filling the detachable powder cup, put on the lid and mount it on the gun. Extra powder cups are available to hold different colors and textures of finish.
Evenly coat the part with powder. Gun handling is simply moving the gun back and forth around the part. You may notice the gun coats quicker by gently shaking as you spray. Forget about runs, drips, and sags; powdercoating is not liquid, so it's not an issue. Gloss finishes go on flat, but turn shiny during the curing process. Evenly coat the part with powder. Gun handling is simply moving the gun back and forth around the part. You may notice the gun coats quicker by gently shaking as you spray. Forget about runs, drips, and sags; powdercoating is not liquid, so it's not an issue. Gloss finishes go on flat, but turn shiny during the curing process.
Craftsman supplies reusable high-temperature silicone plugs, which are designed to be inserted in threaded or non-threaded holes where you do not want powder. A larger hole, such as a drain plug hole, can be masked by wrapping a socket with the provided high-temp masking tape. Craftsman supplies reusable high-temperature silicone plugs, which are designed to be inserted in threaded or non-threaded holes where you do not want powder. A larger hole, such as a drain plug hole, can be masked by wrapping a socket with the provided high-temp masking tape.
We masked the threads of the drain plug and touched the ground clip to the back of it as it was being coated. We masked the threads of the drain plug and touched the ground clip to the back of it as it was being coated.
After putting the coated piece in the preheated oven, wait for the powder to "flow out" or turn from a flat, dry look to a shiny or gel look. After the entire piece flows out, set a timer for 20 minutes. After putting the coated piece in the preheated oven, wait for the powder to "flow out" or turn from a flat, dry look to a shiny or gel look. After the entire piece flows out, set a timer for 20 minutes.
The Craftsman Powder Coat System delivers prolike results for a finish that is more flexible and durable than most liquid paint--and it's relatively inexpensive. The Craftsman Powder Coat System delivers prolike results for a finish that is more flexible and durable than most liquid paint--and it's relatively inexpensive.

Sources

Craftsman Tools
www.sears.com

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