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Finally used the powder coating setup today...


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#1 Tennblue59 OFFLINE  

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Posted March 20, 2016 - 08:36 PM

 I had bought one of those Harbor Freight powder coating machines a while back and finally got a chance to use it today. 

 

I made a pin hitch lift for my deere 110 a while back, and never got around to painting it. Recently got an old oven and set it up in my shop to cook the powdercoating. AND it was raining today, sooooooo.....

 

Turned out ok. Like anything else, it takes some practice and learning to use the equipment.

 

I had salvaged the plastic inner shell from an old dish washer and use it as my powdercoat hood. Turned upside down, the throat and  heater braces make good places to hang stuff. And the plastic "top" (now the bottom of my powdercoat booth) collects the unused powder and keeps it from getting all over the place - what doesn't get used can be collected and re-used.

 

Old ovens are all over the place, UNLESS you are looking for one! I bought one off craigslist for $10 and wired it up in a corner of my shop. DO NOT try to use the wife's good oven to powdercoat!. I have heard that small stuff can be done in a toaster oven, but haven't tried it...Mine came with 2 racks, so I put one at the top to hang parts from and the other at the bottom "just in case". The full pin hitch assembly fit with no problem in my full sized oven. You only need 400 degrees or so @ 15 minutes - maybe more for bigger stuff.

 

Stuff has to be CLEAN and paint free - basically it has to conduct electricity to have the static charge that attracts the powder. A little powder goes a long way! Harbor Freight has 3-4 basic colors, but Eastwoods (and several other companies) have all sorts of colors and shades - including deere green, case and cub yellow, etc...

 

The gun doesn't need much air pressure or flow - pretty much any compressor that can supply 25-30 psi will work. Low pressure is definitely your friend here...And the neat thing is, if you mess up, you can take an air gun, blow all the dust off your part and start again! I practice painted (sprayed?) my first couple parts a few times before I cooked them for practice. Clean-p, when you finish is basically taking the air gun and blowing all the equipment clean! No fuss, no muss, no chemicals! They say wear a dust mask when you spray, and that's probably a god idea...

 

Fair warning, this stuff STINKs when you cook it! I set the stove up in the back of the shop and had to put a fan in front of the oven shooting the stink out the open doors. In retrospect, I should have put the oven by the doors where it would vent outside instead of into the main shop...

 

First couple efforts came out ok. The gun doesn't like curves and bends - things that deflect the air path (hard to coat the inner edge of a piece of angle iron for example...) leave inconsistent coating - solved by shooting from many different angles to better coat surfaces.

Im still playing with it, but I recommend the setup for the adventurous.

 

Finally - I know some folks don't like buying from Harbor Freight (Chinese?). Eastwoods appears to sell the same setup (they also have a MUCH better setup, but more $$$), as do several other vendors - probably still comes from the same factory, but its not HF.....

 

 


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#2 HANKG ONLINE  

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Posted March 20, 2016 - 08:48 PM

Very informative and interesting I've heard that if it chips its a problem is that true ?
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#3 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted March 20, 2016 - 09:41 PM

Would have some advantages over spray bombing.
I've heard the chip thing as well, any input on that?
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#4 Tennblue59 OFFLINE  

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Posted March 20, 2016 - 10:39 PM

not yet. My stuff was still cooling so I haven't been able to test it yet. I did make a few pieces with various conditions - one over rusty metal, one not degreased, galvanized, etc Ill let you know...

 

From what I have read, its a lot like paint - poor prep yields poor adhesion. The coating itself is much tougher than paint. With good adhesion it is a lot more chip resistant than paint would be.

 

Since it is not solvent based upon application, the layer can be thicker than sprayed paint. There is a lot of variation in paint consistency due to solvent evaporation (what makes paint dry), and none of this chemistry affects powdercoat. Since powdercoat melts together to cover/bond to the object surface, it forms a skin that is tougher than paint. Also, powdercoat is plastic based, so it is less likely to shatter (like paint does) when struck.

 

I've had stuff commercially coated before (motorcycle rims and such) - never had trouble with chipping - was a much tougher coating than paint.


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#5 Bmerf ONLINE  

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Posted March 21, 2016 - 04:48 AM

I've been thinking of trying this; but either not enough time or lack of ambition, and no oven. Any pictures? Keep us informed as to how it holds up.

 

Thanks for being adventurous.


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#6 Tennblue59 OFFLINE  

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Posted March 23, 2016 - 09:32 AM

Follow up... and a few pictures
Here's my setup - the powdercoating machine, the spray hood I setup, and a few parts hanging in the oven
20160321_110839.jpg 20160321_110829.jpg 20160321_110917.jpg

Here is the finished sleeve hitch. Once it cooled, there were a couple spots where there was some unevenness in the finish. But looks good from a working distance. And is all covered to prevent rust. From what I understand you can sand the finish (think real fine grain wet paper) to remove minor blemishes and thickness issues. The lift bar came out really good!
20160321_110907.jpg 20160321_111440.jpg

And, did a little testing.
Galvanized vs straight carbon steel didn't seem to be any difference. Cleaning and prep did. I took an old rusty hinge and wire brushed one side to clear, shiny metal, the other side I just knocked loose rust off to a decent surface. Also did a section where I left the rusty metal "as is". The rusty section (just to right of hinge) didn't pick up and hold much powder. It is very sparse. The left section is the part that was cleaned to shiny metal - it came out good. The right section is the lightly cleaned section - you can see the difference in coating!
20160321_111842.jpg

Finally, I did an impact test;
Scraping a nail across the finish lightly didn't cause any issues chipping. Hard to be analytic, but seems to be better than effects on similar spray painted metal surface, which would scratch. Then I impacted an edge of the coated surface against the edge of my welding table (again, not really scientific...). These would be two edges against each other to maximize force on a small area....
20160321_111504.jpg 20160321_111532.jpg
The bottom mark was from dropping the piece onto the edge from about 3 feet up. Simulating falling off a table onto the floor or such. Small dimple, but did not chip or peel around impact area. The higher mark (the larger one) was striking it "hard" against the edge of the table. Bigger dimple, but again, no pealing or lifting of edge. I don't think the first impact would rust, the second probably would show a small spot eventually.
So there you have it! Not exactly "Consumer Reports" level testing, but might give you some idea on how it held up.....
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#7 olds45512 OFFLINE  

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Posted March 25, 2016 - 02:01 PM

We just got a big powder coating setup at work, the oven is 6x6x8 so it big enough to do a whole GT if I wanted. I just got back from there training class and the one thing they stress is cleanliness, sandblast the parts if you can or wipe them down with acetone. Chipping shouldn't be and issue, they told use you could powder coat a flat piece of steel and the put it in a metal break without hurting it provided the powder coating was done properly.
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