Powder Coat

When we moved into our house I noticed two outlet boxes in the garage with wires sticking out.  I didn't give them much thought until I started thinking about installing a powder coat oven in the garage.  An oven needs a 220v outlet.  Four element wire like this is common for 220v wiring, but there were no 220v breakers in the panel.  When I went up into the attic I could tell that the wire from these boxes went in the direction of the breaker panel, but it wasn't going into the box.  Curious.

Then I pulled off the wood above the breaker panel.  Aha, the previous owner ran wire for 220v, but stopped short of pulling it in the box and wiring in a breaker.  Thank you "Sparky".  All I had to do was pull the wire into the box, wire up the breaker, and wire up the outlets.  Sweetage.

I needed 220v to install this.  The free oven I scored from someone at work.  Why was it free?

The story is that a drunken roommate came home hungry for pizza, and during the process of making it managed to crack the glass top range.  But the oven still worked.  When they heard I was on the lookout for a cheap oven, they hooked me up for free.

It was free, but it did need a good cleaning.  It might have been fine for baking edibles but I am going to be putting my motorcycle parts in there.

Is it bad that the only oven I've ever cleaned in my life is the one in my garage?

The 220v outlet is awkwardly high on the wall so I had to modify the oven's plug to come out higher in order to reach.  Once my oven was squared away it was time to get a gun and some powder.

Powder coating works by applying dry paint to the part and then baking it with high heat to cure the finish.  The paint gets an electrical charge as it leaves the tip of the gun while a wire lead from the gun gives the part an opposite charge.  This causes the paint to "cling" to the part prior to baking.  The resulting finish is really hard and durable.  Most powder coat guns require an external air compressor to shoot the paint, but I found one, the Craftsman Powder Coating System that has the required air compressor built in.  People online say that it works pretty well and I was able to score one for a decent price on eBay.

Eastwood is basically the go-to place for powder.  I ordered one pound of their gloss black.

Eastwood sent a free sample of Five Hour Energy with my powder.  Thats weird.

I used a washer as my first test piece.

Here it is hanging in my super high tech paint booth.

Here is the washer after its been sprayed.  It goes on looking matte black and becomes glossy after baking.  You can see the alligator clip hooked onto the hanger.  This is what charges the part, causing the powder to stick.

After spraying it goes in the oven for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Not bad at all.  After this success I stripped the parts that I had already spray painted and started powder coating them.  I used high heat masking tape, silicon plugs, and tin foil to protect the surfaces and threads that I didn't want to get powder coat on.

The parts look awesome.  It seems like a lot of trouble to get the 220v outlets, the oven, and the gun but after seeing the finish I think it was totally worth it.

1 comment:

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