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Simple, But Fun Fabrication - Would Like Powder Coat Option Tips for Future Jobs

CalgaryPT

Ultra Member
Vendor
Premium Member
Some promo sign frames for a Calgary company I recently did. No complicated machining like many of you can do— just simple cutting, welding, plasma work, sanding, prep paint, and template setup to ensure 2x3 plastic core signs can fit and be removed easily. Signs have a foot plate to set into lawn (and adhere to City shallow utilities/CSA standards for buried underground infrastructure).

What Worked Well?

The up-front work for the welding template, chop-saw cutting, and plasma cutting of the ground spikes was worth every minute. When the customer showed up with a sample sign and went to test-fit it, my heart skipped a beat as I only had specs to build from (but no sample to test against). However, I knew the measurements were bang on and that the template ensured repeatability. When it fit perfectly I was very happy.

What Would I Do Differently?

Given the paint time, I'd get a quote for power coat and adjust tolerances for the thicker finish had I known ahead of time. I'm interested in forum member contacts for powder coating and some tips from members on this so I can use powder coat as an option in future jobs if anyone can help. Most of my jobs are small one-off runs where specific colours are not hills to die on...white and black are my playgrounds.

For the record....I only retired recently from a non-metal working job, even though metal working has been my hobby for 30 years. So I am just now learning now about the business and economics of the hobby.

Pics attached....
 

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PeterT

Ultra Member
Premium Member
Looks good. Yes I can see for metalwork jobs like those powder coat would be advantageous over spraying. I enjoyed painting my RC planes with typical auto paints & was dabbling in airbrushing too. But spraying anything even this size (2m) is such a setup to-do without something resembling even a primitive spray booth. My garage is heated but no way I can do that activity with paint drift. Some of my buddy's who do it more full time built a cheapo partition with lumber & poly but I don't have that kind of room. I thought about sacrificing one of those fast-erect small camping tents with positive air exhaust outside. Probably doable but still a PITA. So I use Mother Natures 'ambient paint booth' technique.. which is wait for a warm, no rain & un-windy day. I think we had 3 of those last year :)

So for powder coating, I understand its like electrostatic attraction & much less airborne overspray equivalent, but do you still need some form of booth-like containment?
 

CalgaryPT

Ultra Member
Vendor
Premium Member
Looks good. Yes I can see for metalwork jobs like those powder coat would be advantageous over spraying. I enjoyed painting my RC planes with typical auto paints & was dabbling in airbrushing too. But spraying anything even this size (2m) is such a setup to-do without something resembling even a primitive spray booth. My garage is heated but no way I can do that activity with paint drift. Some of my buddy's who do it more full time built a cheapo partition with lumber & poly but I don't have that kind of room. I thought about sacrificing one of those fast-erect small camping tents with positive air exhaust outside. Probably doable but still a PITA. So I use Mother Natures 'ambient paint booth' technique.. which is wait for a warm, no rain & un-windy day. I think we had 3 of those last year :)

So for powder coating, I understand its like electrostatic attraction & much less airborne overspray equivalent, but do you still need some form of booth-like containment?
Embarrassed to admit it but I brushed them all. Two days of my life I will never get back. I've got no room in my garage or yard left for any spray setup. I'll be picking everyone's brain for powder coat options and to sub out jobs in the future. Gawd I hate painting. And painting hates me.
 

Jwest7788

Joshua West
Administrator
It seems to me @Kris Jensen had a powder coating supplier here in town, hopefully he will chime in.

So for powder coating, I understand its like electrostatic attraction & much less airborne overspray equivalent, but do you still need some form of booth-like containment?
You got it, electro static. I've never had an issue with contamination to date, which is interesting actually, as paint pics up every little fleck of dust. The major issue most run into is a having an oven large enough to fit the part.
 

Alexander

Ultra Member
Administrator
I have painted a few cars in my garage and I have always painted my machining projects the same way with an HVLP gun in my garage. I like the idea of having things powder coated but sadly the equipment is outside my paint budget. Here is a picture of my last project. I sandblasted the whole thing and shot it with oil based paint.
IMG_20160423_181320.jpg
 

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CalgaryPT

Ultra Member
Vendor
Premium Member
That's beautiful. I'm always so disappointed in my own painting skills...yours looks perfect. Thanks.
 

Janger

(John)
Administrator
Vendor
The powder coating gun is not very expensive $130-$200 at KMS. An old toaster oven. You're good to go. I have two counter top "12 pizza ovens. Got em used. The real problem is what josh said - the oven isn't big enough. You don't want to use your cooking oven or bbq. The fumes are toxic and you'll ruin the oven. My toasters stink even just warming them up. I run them outside in the alley. Some people buy an old beat up stove and use that but it's still not big enough. I was mulling over building a big steel box out of heating panels and using old bbq burner to heat it.
 

Janger

(John)
Administrator
Vendor
I have painted a few cars in my garage and I have always painted my machining projects the same way with an HVLP gun in my garage. I like the idea of having things powder coated but sadly the equipment is outside my paint budget. Here is a picture of my last project. I sandblasted the whole thing and shot it with oil based paint.
View attachment 1013
What is that bike thing? How does it steer? Brakes? Electric? Is that an aerial? Battery box ? Weird... Cool though. Like the colour.
 

Alexander

Ultra Member
Administrator
The bike thing is a late 1950's worksman frontload trike. It was a rusty piece when i started. Now i use it to blast tunes on the bike path. Late at night my friends and i blast club and house music and throw a moving party that slowly shifts across town. As for the handling that stinks. It only has coaster breaks. Pedal power moves it at about 10 or 15kmh
 

PeterT

Ultra Member
Premium Member
Very cool Alex. I love the retro stuff. Especially that old school saddle & the acorn shaped springs. I stumbled on a youtube channel called Pithy bikes. Newby guy, trials & tribulations of frame building, jigs, TIG welding... in pretty limited shop space & tools. Check it out. Looks like he is about to start a new longtail design. A buddy of mine built uber light but strong race frames back in the day with chrome-moly & brazed lugs etc. I came to appreciate how specialized & fiddly this work was to do properly.
 

Janger

(John)
Administrator
Vendor
Oil based paint. What brand? From where Alex? Its really glossy. Did you thin it? With what? It looks great.
 

Alexander

Ultra Member
Administrator
Tremclad! I did have to thin it some. I have a shelf with a few different thinners and i test a tablespoon of paint with a few drops of paint thinner. A pro painter told me to watch if the paint thinner seperates or mixes in. I almost always use acrylic enamel from advanced auto colours but i decided to try something different this time. I have painted 2 cars in my garage with advanced auto colours stuff and the result was good.
383039_10150447851227148_1936133150_n.jpg
 
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