How to Start Powder Coating At Home

Posted: December 24, 2020 By: MattM

Powder Coating started out as an extremely tough coating used in industrial and military settings but over the years thanks to Eastwood we’ve brought this process down to the DIY level and offer affordable powder coating setups to get you up and running at home with only a few supplies. We decided to show you the basic steps of how to use our Original DIY Powder Coating Gun for the first time and see how easy the steps are!

PREPARING THE PART

As with normal refinishing, powder can only be applied to clean, bare metal surfaces. Properly clean the part to be coated by removing all traces of old paint, rust, grease, oil, etc. You can use anything from a wire wheel, wire brush, sandpaper, chemical stripper or a media blaster to remove old coatings, rust, and grease. No matter what the cleaner the part the better the results when you powder coat.

MASKING THE PART

Once the part is thoroughly dry the powder can be applied. Handle the cleaned part with vinyl or Nitrile Disposable Gloves to avoid contamination. Finger prints can affect adhesion! Determine how the part should be positioned in the oven before coating. Use the High Temperature Plugs and/or High Temperature Tape to protect critical tolerance areas. Both should be left on the part during the coating and curing process. Since the powder will coat around corners, be sure to mask all appropriate areas. TECH TIP: Use aluminum foil to mask areas or intricate parts

PREPARING FOR CURING

Hanging or Placing the Part for Coating Bend wire hooks to hold the part during powder application and curing. Our .041 Stainless Steel Safety Wire works well for this application. Don’t use a coated wire as debris from the wire coating may fall on the part during the curing process. High Temperature Plugs can often be used to support the parts above the trays, and plug bolt holes.

Preheat the oven for most powders to 450°F (232°C). Always check your powder color bottle curing instructions as some clear coats and other colors can require a lower cure temp to avoid yellowing or discoloration. Check temperature with an oven thermometer or the Non-Contact Infrared Thermometer. Use of Oven Tray Make sure the oven is clean. Use aluminum foil to keep racks clean. Practice moving part from area where powder will be applied to inside the oven to avoid damaging the uncured powder you will soon apply. TECH TIP: To minimize bumping the piece after its been coated: hang the piece from the oven rack, clamp it to a bench, apply the powder, and insert the rack with the piece hanging back into the oven to cure.

Application of Powder

  1. Plug the power supply into a grounded outlet.
  2. Maintain approximately 4 inches between the gun tip and part being coated and depress the activation switch while triggering the gun. Depressing the activation switch energizes the gun, charging the powder. Releasing the switch turns the power off.
  3. Move the gun in slightly different angles and in a circular motion to ensure that all areas of the part are covered. Be sure to coat deeper crevices and inside corners first to prevent uneven coating. The coated surface will have a dull opaque coating of powder. Make sure all areas of the part are coated evenly. Bare metal should no longer be seen. Powder is difficult to apply in deep recessed areas or into corners. Try repositioning the part to allow gravity to help assure coverage in corners and reposition the gun. Practice on some scrap pieces of metal to obtain a uniform coating.
  4. If you accidentally knock some powder off the part, it is usually best to blow all the powder off and start over. This is particularly important for the translucent colors which easily show blemishes. • Inspect part with a high intensity light to make sure you didn’t miss any areas. Touch up as necessary.

CURING THE POWDER

Powder coatings cure with heat. The high temperature changes the powder from it’s dry solid state to a “glossy” liquid state. This is called the “flow out” or “gloss over”. The time the powder is in this liquid state and “flows” is called the gel time. To help maximize chip resistance and produce a smooth coating, the substrate (piece you are coating) must be brought up to the cure temperature quickly and allowed to stay at that temperature for the specified cure time. To properly cure the HotCoat powders and achieve full chemical, heat (up to 350°F), and chip resistance, along with the smoothest possible finish follow the steps below. NOTE: Most powders inherently have a slight orange peel (the surface condition and preparation will affect smoothness).

  1. Always preheat the oven to a minimum of 350F but some powders may require 450F. All ovens vary; this may take 5-10 minutes to achieve 450°F.
  2. Carefully place the coated piece into the correctly preheated oven and close the door.
  3. Check the piece every 5 minutes until the entire piece has flowed out or glossed over. Some edges or thinner cast sections of the piece may flow out or gloss over early, but wait until the entire piece has flowed out.
  4. At this point, set oven temperature to the lower curing temperature as listed by your powder bottle/bag and set your timer to 20 minutes. Always read powder instructions for specific cure temperatures.
  5. Allow the piece to cure with the oven on for the entire 20 minutes. After the 20 minute cure, remove the part from the oven or turn the oven off, crack the door open and allow the piece to slowly cool.
  6. Once cool, the piece can be second coated, or the tape, plugs, and other masking material can be removed, and the part returned to service. NOTE: Larger and/or heavy cast pieces may take 10-30 minutes to flow out or gloss over – this in normal. Simply continue to check the piece until complete flow has been achieved, then set your temperature and timer as described above for curing.

As you can see the process for powder coating for the first time is pretty simple! The powder coating hobby can be as in depth or simple as you make it and also can be quite affordable to get into. You can find our full line of powder coating guns and supplies HERE

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