Do I need an Oven To Powder Coat?
Many DIYers are now using powder coating instead of painting to coat wheels, springs, engine valve covers and other small parts. The process of powder coating is fairly simple: blow statically-charged powder over an item, then cure it to the temperatures required by the powder (usually 250-300 degrees, although some require 350-400 degrees). Once the powder is cured and cooled, it is extremely durable and ready to install. This makes it extremely popular for DIY hobbyists.
The vast majority of enthusiasts use an oven to achieve the consistent high temperatures needed to successfully cure powders. But do you need an oven to powder coat your projects? Not necessarily. We discuss this below.
Alternatives To Powder Coating Ovens
To successfully cure, not only do the powder and substrate have to reach the required temperature, but they have to remain at this temperature for at least 20 minutes without fluctuation to successfully flow out and cure. This eliminates several options, including air drying, forced air heaters and heat guns. These solutions either don’t reach a high enough temperature, can’t maintain that temperature without fluctuating or don’t get heat to a large enough area (or all the above).
However, that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. Remember, the powder and the item you’re powder coating only need to get up to the temperatures required to cure the powder. This means you have another option. Think of a hot car when it sits out in the sun all day. The surface of the vehicle gets very hot to the touch, right? Well, the same idea can be used to cure powder without a dedicated powder coating oven.
Curing Powder Coats with Infrared Heat Lamps
By using infrared heat curing technology, you can heat up large areas on a part until they get hot enough for the powder to flow out and cure. These lamps aim heat directly at the object you want to cure, providing the concentrated power you need to get them up to the proper temperature. If you’re doing a large item, you can move the heat lamp around and cure sections of powder as you go. We suggest getting multiple heat lamps if you plan to do this often as it cuts down on curing time. Most good infrared lamps will heat up extremely fast and heat objects without heating the surrounding air like traditional heaters. (They also help paints and primers cure during cold winter months — view this article for more information.)
If you’re on a budget, our 1,800-watt infrared heat lamp will cure smaller areas and small parts. It’s portable enough you can easily roll it into the corner of the shop when not in use, and you can use multiple lamps to surround larger parts. Pair this lamp with our DIY Dual Voltage Powder Coating Gun and you’re set up to powder coat regardless of your space constraints. Our larger 6,000-watt infrared heat lamp works well for curing powder on large objects like motorcycle chassis, car frames and more!
No matter what you’re powder coating, you can cure powder without an oven — it just requires a different heat source. We suggest pairing a small oven for smaller parts with a heat lamp for large parts to get the most out of a small space in your garage. See all our powder coating guns, powders and supplies here. We’ve also provided a free guide about how to use Eastwood infrared powder coat curing lamps. If you still have questions, call us seven days a week for advice from a DIY expert.