Powder coating is often used to create a protective surface on metal objects such as tanks or vehicles. However, this kind of coating can also be used to apply finish coats on painted or stained wood products, ceramic tiles, stone and glass objects, and even fabrics. This is because the powder coating process allows the addition of colors and textures to a material without requiring drastic modifications. In fact, the only real limit is the skill of the person doing the coating.
Before any powder coating job begins, you will need to select the appropriate blasting equipment and chemicals. The types of blasting materials that are typically used for powder coating jobs are rubber tube blast mixtures (or 'blast bags'), compressed air blast mixtures (or 'blast cans'), and reciprocating saws with extension handles. In most cases, the entire procedure will be carried out in an area with at least 4 feet of clear room. In order to achieve the best results, it's often necessary to rent or purchase additional equipment. These include a shop vacuum system (for the use of the water spray and the suction power for the abrasive blasting) and a shop sprayer.
First, you will have to decide whether you wish to use a wet paint or dry powder coating. Wet paint finishes typically provide more gloss and durability than dry paint, but they are much more messy. For best results, it's best to work in an area with good ventilation. Dry powder coating provides a wide range of finishes, from mirror-like to glossy and mirror-like. While the former can be applied to painted and stained surfaces, the latter can be used on sheet metal, aluminum foil, stainless steel, and other flat or irregularly shaped materials. If you opt for dry powder coating, it is important to make sure that your coating material is very thin and clean.
Another option is the roll finishing technique. Rolled powder coating has the potential to save you a lot of money. In this process, you apply the coating to a piece of stock, wrap it around, and heat it to a specific temperature. The heat fuses the layers of powder together, resulting in a smooth finish. Although the process requires heat and pressure, it is one of the more consistent finishes and is perfect for interlocking boxes, puzzle pieces, and other rounded objects.
One of the most important steps in the application process is to prepare the desired surface. When working with standard powder coatings, it's important to prepare a basic bare metal surface by sanding with medium grade sandpaper and adding a clear wood sealer. The bare metal should be left in its natural state, so any penetrating water or lubricants should be removed with compressed air. After the bare metal is ready, it should be covered with an appropriate resin, such as epoxy, polyurethane, or acrylic. If the finished product will have moving parts, cover them with insulating materials like fiberglass, to reduce internal friction.
To complete the project, clean and dry the metal thoroughly, then apply the final powder coating. Allow the finish to cure for the recommended amount of time indicated on the package. Once it does, use your orbital sander to smooth the finish and apply test coats if necessary. It's not unusual for applications to last up to two years, though your finish will likely change over the years. Powder coating offers a fast, easy, and durable way to update your home, and you can get consistent, high-quality results that are easy to maintain.