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Old 05-23-2013, 11:25 AM   #1
sailah OP
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Powder coating my junk

Figured I would start a thread about the actual process of powder coating. I have this in my build thread but figured it would have appeal to a much wider audience.

First off, I am not a professional in even the loosest sense of the word. In fact, today was the first time I had ever done it other than the 2 hours class I took 2 nights ago.

I've done a bunch of reading, listening and watching youtube videos so I dove in today to coat the swingarm from a KTM that is going on my project bike. I'm doing this at Tech Shop so I understand most people don't have a 6' tall oven and spray booth, all the more reason to check them out if you live in an area that has one. They have some sweet tools other than powdercoating like the waterjet...

Started off with some industrial degreaser the stuff you aren't supposed to use on aluminum because it etches. Purple power or similar.



Then I used EZ OFF oven cleaner (lye) in case there was anodizing, not sure that there was. Or even if it makes a difference.



Cleaned thoroughly and then it went into the oven for a degassing session. I read that cast aluminum parts need to be degassed which basically means you up the temp 25% over the baking temp, so I went to 500 degrees for the degassing, it's supposed to bake at 380 for 23 minutes.



Nice



Then it went back into the sandblaster to clean anything else off, then degreased again and back in the oven to dry. It's now cooling off and I will mask the surfaces and shoot it.

I'm using Harley Davidson textured black which is a matte wrinkle finish. I tested some panels of aluminum and it comes out awesome. It feels like the rough black on a keyboard for example. Here's my test piece with one coat



The booth



The swinger with powder on it



I had a bit of a scare when the oven timer shut the oven off just as I put the part in. By the time I realized it, the oven temp had dropped to 325. I cranked it back up and started frantically calling the powder supplier to ask for advice. They explained that the PART temp needs to be 380, not the oven temp. So I cranked the oven to 425, used an infrared thermometer to check the part and started the countdown timer once I hit 380.

Out of the oven and cooling





It looks great I have to say, nice and uniform. Since the swingarm already had texture and the sandblasting also roughed up the surface I wanted to keep it textured and I think it looks killer.

I plan to experiment with some more colors as the project goes along hopefully doing a full frame with a candy orange or maybe a copper.



So if anyone has any comments or suggestions, I'm all ears I'll update as I do more parts or different colors.
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Old 05-23-2013, 11:55 AM   #2
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I want my shop to look like yours . . . .very nicely done!

THe Powder coating turn out aces, too!
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Old 05-23-2013, 12:19 PM   #3
sailah OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bomber60015 View Post
I want my shop to look like yours . . . .very nicely done!

The Powder coating turn out aces, too!
That's not my shop, it's Tech Shop!! www.techshop.ws if you want more info

Thanks for the compliments, I'm doing my dashboard right now I love this stuff.
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Old 05-23-2013, 12:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailah View Post
That's not my shop, it's Tech Shop!! www.techshop.ws if you want more info

Thanks for the compliments, I'm doing my dashboard right now I love this stuff.
Got it -- I've admired the concept from a distance, and hope it proves to have legs . . . . . look like a great place to work . ..... thanks!
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Old 05-23-2013, 01:27 PM   #5
sailah OP
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Did my dashboard. This was 5052 plate and I sandblasted after a degrease. One more degrease after the drying bake and then shot and baked again. Came out nice.

It looks grey in the pics but it's just the flash.

From this



To this



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Old 05-23-2013, 03:14 PM   #6
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Cool !

What TS are you playing in?

I'm in Detroit, teach a few classes there at the shop here.
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Old 05-23-2013, 03:24 PM   #7
sailah OP
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Chuck I'm in pittsburgh, I do a few classes as well.
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Old 05-23-2013, 03:32 PM   #8
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Hello from Tech Shop San Jose !, though your's looks shiney new compared to the west coast locations :-)

P/Coating is great fun once you have the right equipment !.
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Old 05-23-2013, 03:40 PM   #9
sailah OP
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Coming out of the woodwork they are!! Cool now how about some tips
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Old 05-23-2013, 03:49 PM   #10
MotorradMike
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Got no tips but thanks for posting.
Very nice job you've done!

No Tech Shops around here, gotta say I'm jealous.
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Old 05-23-2013, 04:47 PM   #11
PineyMountainRacing
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Very nice!

So when you're working in the TS, are you there by yourself? Or do you need to "reserve" a piece of equipment? Any instructors? Do you get checked out on the equipment? Is it open certain hours or can you come and go? It's an awesome opportunity, wish there was one by me.
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Old 05-23-2013, 05:11 PM   #12
sailah OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PineyMountainRacing View Post
Very nice!

So when you're working in the TS, are you there by yourself? Or do you need to "reserve" a piece of equipment? Any instructors? Do you get checked out on the equipment? Is it open certain hours or can you come and go? It's an awesome opportunity, wish there was one by me.

Wasn't supposed to be a Tech Shop ad but...

No the tech shop is open from 9am-midnight every day. You roll in whenever.

There are usually 3-20 members there depending on the day and time.

You can reserve a piece of equipment for a few hours, just call ahead. Or you can typically just use it, as most equipment is open. The exception I would say are the lasers, they are very popular and are usually a reserve ahead of time unit. I've never used one though.

Yes there are instructors. We get a few perks which makes it well worth our time. I typically teach 2 classes a week in the evenings. In order to use much of the equipment, you need to take a "Safety and basic use or SBU" class that goes over exactly what you think it goes over. Assuming you are reasonably competent and don't do anything dangerous in my class, you pass and can use the equipment anytime. The classes have a reasonable fee associated with them and vary depending on length and cost of the machine.

There are also "DC's" that are employees that help with a lot of the running of the place. There are usually a few roaming around and they are super helpful.

Most tools are free to use but you would need to bring your own consumables. The welders have gas and wire, but if you are using the TIG you need to bring in filler and tungstens or buy them up front. The 3D printer has a charge for so many grams of plastic. The waterjet has a charge per minute of cut time due to the expense of the sand and the power to run it. The use of the powdercoating for me is free though, I just supply my own powder. Which is very reasonable.

To be a member, you pay the dues, and take classes and go over there and make stuff. Honestly I have many of the tools they have, but they have such a nice place to work I'd rather use their stuff. But I find it's helpful to bring your own cutting tools. Like endmills, drill bits, lathe tools, handtools etc. They have stuff there and a lot of it, but being a public shop it is often hammered on so I'd just as soon use my own lathe bits in their lathe.

I think they sell lifetime memberships for $7500 say. I have that tied up in my lathe and welding setups. Add in some of the machines they have like the powdercoat booth, waterjet, ShopBot, lasers, CNC mill, 3D printer, full AutoCAD, Adobe workstations (30+) with $20k of software each it's a bargain at twice the price.

Alright so enough about that, let's get into some powdercoating talk...
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Old 05-23-2013, 06:27 PM   #13
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nice setup!
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Old 05-23-2013, 07:13 PM   #14
qkenf4u
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Cool2

little overboard with the prep work but to each their own.. worked in a PC shop in lake havapoo for a year back in 2010.. was a cool job... well not really since the oven is 400* and it gets to 115* there in the summer... real fun sandblasting in the enclosed trailer they used as a mobile sanb blaster setup...

anyways nice job....
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Old 05-24-2013, 04:59 AM   #15
sailah OP
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Curious about what you would have done differently on prep as I'm doing what I gleaned off reading internet forums

I just figured with the amount of time I have invested, a little extra prep wouldn't hurt but if there are steps I can take to eliminate unnecessary cleaning I'm all ears..

I used to sand blast heavy equipment outside and it was seriously dirty work. That stuff would go everywhere and I mean everywhere...
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