Powder is a process which has gain considerable popularity over the past years and for good reason. Instead of using a paint like we are all so used to, powder coating actually uses finely ground plastic to cover the part. Then once introduced to heat to cure, the plastic softens to completely engulf the part which has been coated. The old phrase used to be “plastic makes it possible”. This still holds extremely true to this day as the scratch and impact resistance of powder coat blows paint out of the hypothetical water. Another huge reason to use powder coat instead of paint is that it emits near zero VOC’s and has minimal waste. Over spray from Powder coat is as simple as sweeping it up and throwing away.
Let’s talk about how the powder is applied for a quick minute. We’ll use the Eastwood Powder coating gun as the example. This powder gun is a Corona style powder gun, which means the gun itself creates the electrical charge which causes the powder to stick to the part. As the powder is fluidized in the bottle and sent through the barrel it picks up a positive charge. The part on the other hand is negatively charged. This difference causes the powder to act like a magnet and stick quickly to the part being covered. This means more consistent coverage and stronger resulting finishes.
Now that the part is covered in powder you need to heat it up to cure the powder. That is where the Eastwood Bench top Powder Coating Oven comes into play. Powders need to reach temps ranging from approximately 340F all the way up to 400F for 20 min to “set” the powder. This oven fits perfectly in the shop and offers generous internal dimensions for all kinds of projects like brackets, covers etc. If you need something larger we use an oven from an home range. One thing to keep in mind is you need a dedicated oven as you cannot cure powder in an oven you also prepare food. Used ranges are usually picked up pretty easily to cure items such as wheels and valve covers. Another option for odd shaped parts that are very large is to cure a section at a time with an Infrared Curing System. These heat up the area in which the light is focused and are useful on big items such as axles or frames.
Now that the cure timer has gone off and the part is cooling down you may ask yourself, “when can I put this part into service”. Unlike paint where you could wait anywhere between 24-72 hours to start using the part powder is ready to go as soon as the part cools down to room temperature. Think of how much time you can save if you’re not waiting days to put something back together. Hopefully this article has peaked your interest to look into powder coating. For a more visual experience click here to see another great video by Randy and the video team.