Shop / Tools DIY powder coating?

Greg

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Anyone played around with powder coating at home? The powder coating process is pretty simple, I figured I'd give it a try.

I paint a lot of small (and big) parts, I saw that the Harbor Freight powder coating kit (I'm not a HF fan, but...) has great reviews and people have said the quality is pretty good. The HF powder coating kit is $70, but they had a 25% off sale today, so I scored it for $52! I also picked up a used 220v electric oven for $20 that I'll use to finish the process, but need to rewire it to fit my plug. I plan to build a little box that I can shoot the powder into and keep it somewhat contained. I have an adjustable regulator and a air/oil separator that I'll run on the gun so no moisture gets thru.

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Anyone have tips for DIY powder coating? Obviously clean parts are requires, plus a good connection for the electrode. It looks like different powders spec out their needed temperature and time to finish.
 

Greg

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Well, here's my first attempt at home powder coating! It's not perfect, but pretty neat to be able to do yourself. The HF gun is super cheap, I need a better regulator, couldn't dial in 10-20 psi to save my life, so I was spraying powder all over.

I think the bubbles are excess powder that built up, it was smooth before spraying.

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Here's what it looked like before....120154
 

thefirstzukman

Finding Utah
Supporting Member
I have often thought about playing with powder coating, lots of guys coat lead bullets. I set up to do Cerakote at home, stronger and thinner than powder coating. It has been fun playing with the Cerakote, hope you can tune in the Powder coating.
 

bryson

RME Resident Ninja
Supporting Member
Location
West Jordan
What are you doing to clean the piece before coating? I wonder if the bubbles are caused by contaminants in the metal.

At HPC, we used to "burn out" the piece before sand blasting, then coating. The burn out was just a pre-cook at high temp to burn off any contaminants. Some of the PC companies I've dealt with lately use chemical baths of differing types to make sure the metal is clean.
 

Greg

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I have often thought about playing with powder coating, lots of guys coat lead bullets. I set up to do Cerakote at home, stronger and thinner than powder coating. It has been fun playing with the Cerakote, hope you can tune in the Powder coating.
I don't know how cerakote is applied, guess it better learn! I think I'll get considerably better with time, getting the pressure right is most of it.


What are you doing to clean the piece before coating? I wonder if the bubbles are caused by contaminants in the metal.

At HPC, we used to "burn out" the piece before sand blasting, then coating. The burn out was just a pre-cook at high temp to burn off any contaminants. Some of the PC companies I've dealt with lately use chemical baths of differing types to make sure the metal is clean.
I just read about burning the oils out last night, I'll try that from here on out. I didn't do any prep other than a quick wipe down with acetone. Makes sense about burning the oils out of the part before coating.
 

Caleb

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
Supporting Vendor
Location
Riverton
I have often thought about playing with powder coating, lots of guys coat lead bullets. I set up to do Cerakote at home, stronger and thinner than powder coating. It has been fun playing with the Cerakote, hope you can tune in the Powder coating.
I’ve been wanting to get setup to do cerakote for gun parts.
 

spaggyroe

Man Flu Survivor
Location
Lehi
They ran my chassis through the oven once before powder coating to help off-gas the metal, so I guess it's a thing...??

Regarding cerakote, I had a shotgun done a couple of years ago and couldn't be happier with the results. It's been super durable and looks great.
 

Greg

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Alright, at home powder coating is pretty awesome! :D I got my air pressure adjusted to 10 PSI at the compressor for spraying the powder and it works much better.

I swapped out the steering box on my El Camino, the new box was painted and looked good, but I needed to reuse the pitman arm, hose bracket, washer and nut. They were pretty gross, with lots of grease, oil and dirt built up over the years. I didn't put too much effort into cleaning up the parts, but I did brush the grease off them with a wire brush, then tossed them in the oven at 400* to burn off the remaining grease and oil. After they cooled, I wiped them down with acetone and sprayed them with matte black powder, using Harbor Freights product. I've read that the HF powder is pretty cheap, but it's working just fine for now.

These are the 2nd thing I've powder coated and I'm happy with the results! The powder coat should hold up better than paint and resist rusting.










Even after tightening the nut with an impact, the powder coat held up decently well. Better than paint, IMO.



 

gary78bronco

Active Member
Location
elk ridge
Alright, at home powder coating is pretty awesome! :D I got my air pressure adjusted to 10 PSI at the compressor for spraying the powder and it works much better.

I swapped out the steering box on my El Camino, the new box was painted and looked good, but I needed to reuse the pitman arm, hose bracket, washer and nut. They were pretty gross, with lots of grease, oil and dirt built up over the years. I didn't put too much effort into cleaning up the parts, but I did brush the grease off them with a wire brush, then tossed them in the oven at 400* to burn off the remaining grease and oil. After they cooled, I wiped them down with acetone and sprayed them with matte black powder, using Harbor Freights product. I've read that the HF powder is pretty cheap, but it's working just fine for now.

These are the 2nd thing I've powder coated and I'm happy with the results! The powder coat should hold up better than paint and resist rusting.










Even after tightening the nut with an impact, the powder coat held up decently well. Better than paint, IMO.



Greg,


Did you have to clean out the threads on the nut?
 

Greg

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Greg,


Did you have to clean out the threads on the nut?
I didn't, I sprayed those parts pretty thin hoping it wouldn't jam up the threads. I was able to get a few turns on by hand when it was time to assemble, so I think it was good.
 

bryson

RME Resident Ninja
Supporting Member
Location
West Jordan
They look very nice! I do have concerns with the coating inside the splines and taper on the pitman arm, and the threads of the nut. I don't know the science behind it, but I've witnessed first hand a couple of times where powdercoat on surfaces that are supposed to be bare caused issues (wheel mounting surfaces being PC'd causing wheels to come loose - even with torqued and re-torqued lug nuts). All the pitman arms I've seen/sold/used have always been uncoated inside splines and tapers. I'd also be concerned with your nut holding torque because of the PC inside the threads. Of course the arm feels tight now (because they're tapered-fit) but I'd suspect that doesn't last. I am good at playing (not always playing...;)) the devil's advocate, but steering isn't something to mess around with.

A quick googling yielded this posting with some info on the subject:
 

Greg

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I didn't like the colors of the 'Golden Spikes', so I stripped them and applied a different Gold powder. I think they look much better with this color.

120356


Also bought a couple other colors to play with...
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