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Home powdercoating setup

4978 Views 33 Replies 21 Participants Last post by  BobAsh
I've never really been a fan of powdercoating, mainly since you have to give up control of the project. But since I got started on my new pre-unit project I've been giving it a hard look. (Robbie, I know we talked about this!)

Anyway, I figured if I could do it myself it might be worthwhile. A fun project if nothing else. SO here goes: First I got a double oven off of CL; figured I could make the thing one large cavity.

Job one is the teardown

After removing the porcelain-on-steel oven boxes, I cut the facing ends like a "T"

Spread the panels and reinstalled

With the original rock wool packing of course

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Then the upper

And start screwing the whole thing together

The door was intimidating but I got lucky. I found some surplus paintbooth sections that were formed sheet metal 24" wide; perfect for what I wanted. All I had to do was bolt in some unistrut for the top and bottom ends. Also, one in the middle for good measure and installed the window from the original oven.

There was a gap at the back wall to be filled, but there was plenty of sheet metal left over from the oven teardown

Then I hung the door.

SO the last issues were to latch and seal the door. Off to Home Depot for some fiberglass rope- they sell this to repair wood-burning stove doors. I started with these shallow channels that are intended for hanging shelf brackets

I put a piece of safety wire every few inches and screwed it down to the oven. Then I twisted the wires, securing the rope to the channel.

Almost ready to go! Last job was to insulate and skin the outside of the door

And build the latch (made from a welding hammer)

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I looked at a lot of the lower-end powder guns. They run from Harbor Freights $60 gun to many thousands of dollars, but I finally settled on the Caswell gun. $140, and it's adjustable from 30-50 kilovolts.

My "spraybooth" is a rolling clothes rack from the attic and a dropcloth. I screwed a wire shelf to the top to give me places to hang the parts.

50 kilovolts in action!

My test piece was this engine mount; pretty manky but I carefully grit-blasted, then sanded it to get it somewhat smooth.

After coating, it looks furry as if flocked; which it has been I suppose.

When the part gets up to temp, the powder flows out and becomes shiny

Then you set the timer for 10 mins and out it comes! Ready to use as soon as it cools.

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I'm very pleased with the results. There's hardly any cleanup; no "overspray". You just sweep up the powder that doesnt stick but there was hardly any.

Powder is about $10 a pound, which they claim will cover 70 sqft. Seems about right, I bought 2 pounds and it looks like more than a quart of paint.
It's big enough to take my pre-unit swingarm frame...somewhere around 20x20x40.


$100 oven
$140 gun
$15 in hardware (hinges, channel, rope)
$6 chipping hammer (a luxury item, but its handy since you can run the door without a glove)

$261 total
Not unusual to find free ovens on CL. As long as you can pick them up. Doubles like this would be more rare.
I saw some free ones and some as low as $20, but I really wanted the flexibility of the large cavity.

It probably would have made more sense to just use free oven and then just throw it away but I do love a project. And it'll do my frame.
If you're just cooking for 10 minutes after the powder flows out, you're undercuring the powder and it won't be as durable as it should be. Get yourself an IR thermometer, and don't start your "time" until the part itself is at cure temp.
That is actually what I do. I wasn't really trying to give instruction, just an overview.

I also preheat the parts before I shoot them.
I love it to but you never did tell the secret ingredient !!
What the hell did you tell your Mrs happened to her oven, and live. LOL
lol my wife is pretty cool about this stuff. After I got the gun she said, "just go ahead and cure it out here in the kitchen"
What did you have to do to mount heating element for upper oven? If I end up with a convection oven, think the air circulation might cause dust blems in finish during curing?

Huge thanks for your post. Just what I need...and can afford!
Charlie, I just mounted one element at the bottom, one at the top and one against the back. For the back one, I just bent it 90 degrees in a vise. I can take pics if you need. As I turned out I get the best performance from the bottom and back ones running; I don't think I'll ever use the top one.

Actually I would have liked a fan, the commercial ovens all have them. If it's a concern you can always cut the wires to it.
Could you use a really old refrigerator and fit a heating element or would that be more work? Obviously you'd remove all the plumbing and any gases
Harry, I don't think a fridge would work- they usually have a lot of plastic parts. A lot of guys just make the box from scratch out of metal framing studs and sheet metal. For ideas you might check out the forum at; it's a very slow forum but there are some oven build threads.
Would the really old fridges have plastic parts? Im fairly sure, but not certain that i used to have an old fridge and it was metal lined on the inside and quite large with a solid door
Without seeing what you have, all I can say is if you have a metal box that can handle heat, it would serve as an oven.

I would take a good look at the door seals though...I don't think I've seen an icebox that didn't have rubber seals. I suppose you could replace them.
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