Powder Coating

Powder selection is very important and just as important is metal cleaning, as well as proper application and well monitored curing.

To start we have to select a type of powder based on what it is we're coating and what sort of environment it will be in. So for example say we're going to be doing an old patio furniture set made from steel, it's been at you're cabin for decades and its starting to look pretty rough. Well we want something that's going to be durable, doesn't show dirt, is easy to clean, and looks nice. Let's say we've chosen copper vein, it looks great, it can take a beating, and because it's a thermoset plastic you can use harsh chemicals to clean it.

So now we've picked out our powder but before even thinking about spraying we have to consider cleaning the base metal, our preferred method is sandblasting because it leaves a more textured surface for the powder to bind to, strips off all rust, moisture and oil, and is very versatile. After we clean the metal we clean it again, getting sand and dust off the piece before applying the coating. Now we can start painting some metal.

Applying powder coating is where things get technical because depending on the shape and surface of the part and the heat and humidity in our building, we must make adjustments on our powder coating unit regarding micro amps, voltage, service air, fluidization and other factors that can affect finish quality. Once it's dialed in we get to apply the powder, which is sooo easy, it sticks like wet paint, it wraps around tight corners, fills gaps and it's done before you know it. Then it's time to let it bake.
Curing times and temperatures vary depending on the type of powder, generally the part temperature is between 350-385 degrees Fahrenheit and the curing time is between 10-45 minutes. Once the piece gets 'up to temp' we start the clock and let the powder cure to the base metal, melting into the porous surface of the metal and then hardening. But in this case let's say we want to use two coats of powder on that old patio furniture. This is something we do particularly efficiently because of our large batch oven. Once Copper Vein we picked is sufficiently 'gelled out' we can bring it out of the oven and back into the booth, after allowing it to cool a little while we can apply the clear coat, which is both added protection you can see and glossy which gives it a great looking sheen. After applied we pop it back into the oven monitor the metal temperature and once it's been at the correct temperature for 15-20 minutes we roll it out to cool and it's done.

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It's a very technical process, takes a lot of specialty equipment and it's a process that's at your disposal at Naylors Custom Metal Cutting.