Is Powder Coating Better Than Paint
There are many methods of applying a coat of paint to whatever it is you would like to make nice and shiny because we all know most people love shiny things that have that new look and feel to it. Often times depending what your trying to accomplish, sometimes a paint can is all you really need. Other times, when you want something more long term that will with stand the element, powder coating is the way to go. Also, you got other paints such as acrylics and ceramics that have their own uses and application as well, but whatever it is that you choose, preparation is key.
So, what is powder coating? Powder coating is a method in which you apply electrostatic power to bare metal with the use of a powder coating gun, air compressor, and electrical source with a grounding unit. The powder coating gun is a two-part unit consisting of the gun itself and an electrical unit charging the power as it is blown through the barrel at 15psi. While powder coating may seem the better path to go, if done yourself, you also need a sandblaster, electrical oven (never a gas over), wire, high temp tape, high temp plugs, and an air filtration system. It may seem like a big setup, usually all you really need is a small air compressor and a medium sized electric oven, dust mask, and a willingness to learn.
When powder coating, there is really no way you can mess up your project other than not preparing the surface correctly. The best way to make sure you get a absolutely clean surface would be to have the part chemically stripped or sandblasted. Usually a small blasting cabinet will due and can be picked up fairly cheap at harbor freight and stores like that. While cleaning parts prior to coating as with any coating you should never touch bare metal with bare hands because you transfer the oils from your hand to the metal creating what called fish-eyes where a small circular unpainted dot appears. If you ever need to handle any parts always wear a fresh set of latex gloves to avoid having to redo the part over again, which can become a huge headache.
Typically, when someone power coats for personal use, parts normally range from A-arms, brackets, fittings, rims, and basically anything that can fit in a conventional oven or something built from a metal cabinet. While spraying out parts, as I specified, you should always make sure the part is clean, this is to make sure that the metal is properly grounded so the powder can stick. If not, what usually happens is that if there is too much residue, the powder slides right off creating a huge unpainted section. Also, you should keep in mind, after the part is coated never touch the powder because it will come right off leaving an uneven finish. Again, after the part is cured you will see your finger prints or whatever it is that touched the part. Also, when spraying the part, you should have about 6 inches of space between the gun and painted area because if it is to close it will produce a spark from the tip and metal, and can possible cause a dust fire. This is why an air ventilation system is required if working in a confined area.
After you have completed the coating process, you then need to transfer the part to an oven making sure it does not touch any sides of the oven. This is to make sure all areas of the surface are properly covered. When curing the power, it is suggested that your oven is 375 degrees Fahrenheit from the time it is placed in the oven to properly bake for about 20 mins, then cooled. Additionally, this all depends on the oven you use and how hot your oven gets, also you may need a longer cure time depending on your set up.
Although it may seem like a lot, but once you have a good set up, you can basically do what powder coating business do for a quarter of the price, were all you need to buy is the powder. Likewise, sometimes it better just to take it to somewhere because they have the proper equipment and they are capable of doing automotive frames and the like. Generally speaking, powder coating is used for any equipment that is going to take abuse from the outdoor elements, such as rain, dust, dirt, rocks, UV, while providing a long lasting finish. Additionally, the powder comes in a huge variety of colors, textures, and basically anything you require for personal and industrial use. My personal experiences are that is extremely long lasting while providing an excellent finish. The upfront cost is a little high but is well worth it. Amazon has a good offer on power coat supplies. Check them out here for pricing. —> Supplies
Although powder coating is a popular method, there are many applications that are just as good. Sometimes when painting something all you need is a high-quality spray paint can and a little elbow grease to strip the part clean of all paint and chemicals it may have. You can also go with acrylics and ceramic paint that can be used from engine parts where high temp paint is needed. In addition, there is a product that is called POR15 that is excellent for outdoor use which is basically used for a marine setting that covers rust and everything that can’t be taken off by hand or power tool. Usually, this rolled or brushed in and when dried will leave a dry hardened finish that is capable of all outdoor weather and abuse.
Furthermore, regular paint products do not require an elaborate setup, but it all depends on what your trying to accomplish. If you’re looking to paint a car, then it is a whole other ball game. This requires paint, reducers, hardeners, body work, primers, and a whole lot of preparation. Like with anything else, if you have the know-how, space, and time, I say go for it. While each has it’s own pro and cons, it all depends on your needs, and how frequently your going to be using it. If you looking to make money each has its own set of requirements and learning curves, but if you a hands-on type person, I’d personally go with powder coating, only because it last so long. Since everyone is different, people will tell you different things, and this is a personal preference. While each has its pro’s and con’s, it really comes down to preparation, no if, and’s, or but’s, just good old fashioned through work.
That’s my take on the topic, If you have any questions, feel free to drop a line.