Powder Coating is one of the strongest coatings on the market and is something that started off as an industrial coating that was only available in mass production. Eastwood was the first to bring this industrial coating to the home hobbyist and we’ve been leading the DIY powder coating world ever since. With powder coating guns and supplies becoming more cost effective no longer is powder coating only for automotive related items. We’re seeing everything from fishing lures, ammunition, to glass being powder coated and we often are giving beginners a crash course in powder coating. In this article we go over what causes powder to cure and what you need to cure powder on your next project.
The most important part of the powder coating process is heat. Although Hot Coat powder cures into a hard, smooth finish it comes out as a powder with the consistency of flour or baking soda. This powder needs to be heated so that it can flow out onto the part. When powder flows out it isn’t quite a liquid like traditional paint and is just a little thinner than a caulk or seam sealer. The time where powder goes from solid to liquid, and back to a solid coating is quite quick and happens literally before your eyes. Most times powder is sprayed out of a gun and given a electrostatic charge so that it will stick to the part and then cured with heat. Occasionally we’ve seen items powder coated with out the charge and are heated and dipped in powder which causes the powder to instantly stick and cure. You will need to expose the part and powder to heat again to fully cure it.
So how can you cure powder with heat? The short answer is “however you want”. Powder doesn’t care how you heat it as long as the surface gets to the temperature that is necessary to cure the powder and stays there for the cure time necessary. We offer powder coating ovens made to cure items coated in powder and have a timer built in to help a user cure powder effectively. Ovens come in all sizes and types but we only suggest using electric ovens for safety reasons.
An alternative option for curing powder is to expose it to the heat with radiant heat. A heat lamp that can put off enough heat to get the powder coated surface to the cure temperatures (usually 300-450F degrees depending on powder) needed. Now while these lamps work well and negate the need for an oven, they only heat a focused area and large parts require curing the part in multiple spots to cure the entire item. Imagine a car sitting outside during the day, only the side of the car that is in direct exposure of the sun during that time of the day will be hot to the touch until the angle of the sun changes and heats a different part of the car. So if your heat lamp is the “sun” you will need to move it around the part. This method is good for beginners or those that want to coat and cure large items that you can’t fit in an oven.