The PPA 571 coating protect metal fencing from corrosion for 15 years

Powder Coating Removal: How to Get the Coating Off

Posted on: February 19th, 2018 by byersbushblog No Comments

Powder Coating Removal: How to Get the Coating Off

The technology behind powder coating is straightforward and effective.  Electrostatic charge ensures that every inch of the item you are coating gets covered.  The curing process is so effective that it can be hard to remove the powder coating, should you choose to do so in the future.  Industrial paints and coatings are a challenge to remove. Powder coating removal can be even harder.  How do you remove powder coatings?  Let’s discuss a few points.

remove powder coating

Source: Pinkbike

Mechanical Solutions

Powder coatings can be removed with a sandblasting machine.  This works good for steel parts as they can withstand the erosive effect of the sandblasting.  If the parts are small enough you can perform this operation in a sandblasting booth.  For larger pieces you may need to set up a tent and use a blasting wand.  There different media that can be utilized for the blasting.  Fine grit sand is the most common, but glass beads can also be used.  You can vary the size of the media and increase the pressure until you achieve the desired results.  Either way powder coatings are hard to get off.  Plan on working at it for a while.

Chemical Solutions

Another option is to melt off the powder coating using chemicals.  Powder coatings are polymer based and like any plastic or acrylic they can be dissolved.  If you are trying to remove a powder coating from a strong substratum like steel, the power of a sandblasting machine shouldn’t damage the unit.  Softer structures like aluminum are not so forgiving.  In that case try using chemicals to dissolve the powder coating.  These are referred to as paint or epoxy strippers and can be purchased in most hardware stores.

chemical coating removal

There are some stripper products that utilize citrus acid as their base.  These are more environmentally friendly but hardly scratch the surface of powder coatings.  Powder coatings were designed and carefully developed to withstand tough environments.  It would be best to purchase the highest strength paint and epoxy stripper on the market.  Some have found the virus based strippers to be useful as a final step.  As they are not as harsh as their industrial counterparts, you can spray them in the morning then leave them out all day.

TIP: read and follow the instructions on the labels of the stripper you purchase.  The manufacturer has an in depth understanding of the chemical composition.

Removing Powder Coating from Aluminum: The Step By Step Process

First Step: Stripper Application

To begin, apply the first coating of chemical stripper.  You will need to administer multiple coats of stripper.  Pour some of the stripper into an aluminum can for easy brush dipping access.  Apply the first coat then wait for the chemical reaction to soften the top layer of powder coating.  After about 15 minutes return and apply another generous coating of paint and epoxy stripper.  After an additional 15 minutes, you can use a plastic scraper and bristled brushes to begin removing the top layer.  There are also brass scrub brushes available.  If you are concerned about damaging the original texture, avoid hard wire brushes and metal scrapers.

TIP: Use a smooth bristled brush and apply the stripper carefully to avoid splattering the chemical.

Another helpful practice is to soak the unit overnight in industrial strength carburetor cleaner. This will start the process of etching the powder coating and make the stripping easier.

Paint and epoxy strippers are powerful chemicals.  Read the safety recommendations on the label of the product carefully.  Wear your safety glasses and gloves.  Just a little bit on your skin will burn you.  If you get it in your eyes it can cause irreversible damage.  Wear long sleeves and be sure to establish good ventilation in the place you are working.

TIP: Purchase a box of disposable latex gloves and throw each pair away when you take them off.

Second Step: Stripping The Under Layers

Now that you have removed the top layers of powder coating, the hard part is done.  Soak the unit over night again in the carburetor cleaner.  Next continue administering stripper coats.  Be sure to keep the unit moist in stripper.  Do not allow it to dry out.  You will now find the powder coating very reactive.  It will bubble and blister.  As this occurs, gently scrape it off.  Some prefer not to brush or scrape at this point.  They just keep applying coats of stripper until the powder coating falls away.  It’s faster if you use a scraper and brush to remove the loosened coating.  The chemical stripper is a liquid and will find its way into abrasions in the powder coating and underneath.  These are the areas you will first notice falling away.  Bare aluminum should begin to show through after approximately four stripping coats.

TIP: Flat smooth areas are pretty easy to strip down.  The creases and crevasses are not so cooperative.  Utilizing a plastic scraping tool helps, but they tend to get worn down quickly.  Regularly take the scraper to a sanding belt and give it a new edge.

Continue this process until all the bulky parts of the powder coating have cleared off.  Now only a slight stain will be present in the texture of your aluminum.  This is where the bristled brushes come in, keep scrubbing until all the powder coating residue is gone.

Third Step: Use Carburetor Cleaner and a Wire Brush

For a car’s engine to operate correctly, the carburetor sucks air into the combustion chamber.  The cleaners they have formulated to care for this part of the engine are powerful and leave little to no residue.  This makes Carburetor Cleaner perfect for our next step.  Generally people seem to agree that Carburetor Cleaner is the most effective for removing the final stages of a powder coating.

wire brush

TIP: Some have had success using acetone as a cleaning agent, others prefer brake cleaner.  Experiment and see which method works best for you.

When it comes to this final stage in the process, exercise the caution.  You don’t want to scratch the texture of your aluminum part.  Use plastic or brass wire brushes to gently scrub the left over powder coating out.  If you plan on re-coating the unit, then don’t worry so much about scratching the surface.  It may save time to use a steel wire brush instead of brass or plastic.

Carburetor cleaners usually come in spray cans as you need to squirt it into the carburetor.  Spray the unit with the cleaner.  Brushing in gentle circles, wipe the residual off with a clean towel.  This enables you to view clearly where you have made progress and focus your cleaning efforts.  Repeat the process and you will see the aluminum gradually begin to shine.

Fourth Step: Back to Pure Aluminum

So you’ve been working at this for days now what are the results?  Pure clean aluminum.  Even though it’s a lot of effort to remove the powder coating, its well worth it when you see the final product. If the unit is brushed aluminum it will have a soft dull texture.  Polished aluminum shines.  You may need to polish the finished product.

Iron and Steel

How can one strip powder coating from iron and steel?  The process is the same as for aluminum.  Because the substrate is stronger you can use steel wire brushes and scrapers to aid in the powder coating removal.  Something to consider about steel and iron, is rust.  Once the powder coating has been removed the item will begin to rust.  Try to keep it in a dry place.  If rusting does occurs, no sweat.  You can remove the rust with a media blaster or sandblasting setup.

If your looking for a less toxic stripper for powder coating then research the citrus based strippers.  These take longer to work, but with a bit of patience you can do it.

Some have suggested using boiling hot caustic.  This is acceptable for steel and iron but not for aluminum.  The caustic will react with the aluminum, damaging the parts.  Methylene chloride is sometimes used in the aerospace industry for stripping metals.  This chemical doesn’t react with the aluminum, but it is very dangerous.  If you choose to go this route, make safety a primary consideration.

iron and steel

Strippers with a high concentration of methylene chloride work the fastest.  Smaller parts can simply be dipped into the chemical.  Stop by and inspect the parts every five to ten minutes.  When you notice the powder coating starting to separate, pull the item out.  Then you can rinse it in water mixed with tri-sodium phosphate to neutralize the stripper.  To get rid of any stripper residue left over, put the item in an oven for ten minutes or so.  This will evaporate the residual chemical.

TIP: if the item is too large, soak a cloth in the chemical and wrap the unit.

Safe Storage of Powder Coating Stripper

These toxic and potentially dangerous chemicals need to be stored in HDPE containers with a sealable top.  Use a container that is the same size as your oven.  You won’t need to dip items larger than the oven you use.  The larger items will be stripped using rags soaked in the chemical stripper.  These rags need to be stored properly as well.  If you keep them in an appropriate sealable container, they can even be reused.

It is also important to keep these chemical paint and epoxy strippers out of the reach of children.  Always wear the appropriate safety glasses and protective equipment.  Make use of thick neoprene gloves and even a face shield.

Some choose the purchase Overpack Drums.  These drums are specifically designed for storing powder coating stripping chemicals.  Overpack Drums work great for  methylene chloride based strippers.  In fact many professional powder coating and prepping shops utilize these drums for storing stripper.  The design provides a sealing lid that secures tightly and secure.  This is one of the most important aspects of a stripper storage container.  You want to keep the stripper form evaporating and prevent the odor.  The down side is that these Overpack Drums tend to be a bit expensive, but safety is worth investing in.

Often professional shops will purchase at least two of these drums.  They have one they use to store their powder coating stripper chemical.  The other one is used as a rinsing drum.  High quality drums like these used in conjunction with appropriate safety equipment is a good idea.  Safety equipment includes such things as ventilating fans, chemical gloves, and a chemical apron.

Stripping powder coating is not an easy job.  There are many different strippers for powder coating.  Couple these with sand blasting and paint removal becomes possible. Byers Bush encourages you to give stripping powder coating a try.  Of course if you need any help we are happy to assist.  Give us a call!

Powder Coating Basic Tips & Guide to Perfect Coating

Posted on: February 15th, 2018 by byersbushblog No Comments

The Basics & Beginner’s Guide for Powder Coating

There is more to powder coating than meets the eye.  What is powder coating?  You coat a surface in a dry polymer based powder, curing it with heat, then letting it cool. The actual process is strait forward to learn, but knowing your equipment is always the first step to success. Let’s discuss how powder quality and the right tools can lead us to the perfect coat.

Quality Powders: Your Best Tool

Polyester powder coatings have some key characteristics that make them the preferred choice.  Producing a powder with consistent particle size is fundamental to transfer efficiency.  If the powder has particles that vary too much in size, they attach differently to the surface you are coating.  This also affects the edges, preventing them from holding an even coat.  The surface film will appear uneven as well.

How does that affect the durability of the powder coating?  An even coating enables high performance as the mechanical properties are consistent.  When baking the powder coating, an even smooth coat is key to avoiding “over baking.”  High quality powder coatings boast high rates of adhesion, gloss, impact hardness, and no fracture flexibility.

powder coating tools

There are hundreds of companies producing a wide variety of powder coating colors.  New manufacturers appear on the scene daily.  We work hard to offer every color and texture option out there.  If you locate one that you prefer to use, send us a link and we’ll be happy to look into it.

We are concerned about providing the best quality coating options for our customers.  High performance is important to us and not all the powders being offered meet our requirements.  Allow us to utilize our experience and expertise to ensure your powder coat is up to snuff.

Find The Right Powder Coatings For Your Market

There so many products out there, finding the right powder coating formulation for your market can be a real challenge.  Let us help you.  Custom color matching is an art.  We have trained professionals it’s as experienced eye for matching the colors you need.

There are different requirements placed upon a powder coating depending on the application.  For example, architectural powder coatings.  These coating must stand up against scuffing, scratching, and impact abrasion.  Often performing out in the elements, UV rays, heat and humidity take their toll.

Knowing how all these elements harmonize with each other is key to success full selection of your powder coating.  We’ve done this effectively for thousands of our customers.  Call us today and we will do it for you too!

Powder Coating Equipment

Powder coating The equipment need for powder coating is basic.  You need a booth, spray gun, and controllable heat source.  We’ll look closer at each of these aspects.

Coating Operation Booth

The operation starts by constructing a spray booth.  The booth should be the appropriate size for the job you are opting to complete.  It is important that this booth is well ventilated.

Powder Coating Guns

Chose a gun and accessory setup that meet the job requirements.  There are a few different options when it comes to powder coating guns.  The lesser models are reasonably priced but limited to one voltage setting.  The nozzles are also not as customizable as their higher end counterparts.

For small jobs these work well.  If the surfaces you need to coat are vast and there are many nooks and crannies, then consider purchasing a gun with wider customizability.  Custom coating equipment is also available.  We are happy to advise you.  Drop us a line.

powder coating guns

Powder Coating Ovens and Infrared Lamps

Now that you’ve acquired the proper application gun and perfected your art of coating,  It’s time to turn up the heat. The goal is to heat your unit evenly.  This can be done in an oven or via infrared lamps.  There are even technologies in the works for utilizing LED lights to cure powder coatings.  Read the container that the polymer powder comes in for the correct curing temperatures.  The right sized oven and thermometers are key to getting professional results.

The Actual Process

  • Have a blast sandblasting. Oil and grease films must be removed.  Rust and oxidation needs to be blasted off.  Old paint or coatings should be thoroughly removed. Pure metal corrodes fast in moist environments.  Keep your prepared surfaces dry after sandblasting.
  • Now use the spray gun to apply the powder to your unit.
  • Move the powdered unit into the oven for an initial baking. This caused the coat to gel over.
  • After getting the initial coat to gel, the piece is brought back for a final powder coat. This additional dusting puts an elegant touch on the final product.
  • Last, back into the oven for another cooking and then leave the unit out to dry.

Whether you are new to powder coating or a seasoned professional, an intimate understanding of these steps enables quality.  That is what we do.  Contact us for a competitive quote.  We would love to be your go to powder coating company!

New Technology for Plastic Powder Coating

Posted on: February 12th, 2018 by byersbushblog No Comments

Powder Coating Plastic

The art of powder coating is fast becoming the best way to coat high wear products and industrial equipment.  There are more and more powder coating services out there offering powder coating advantages.  Powder coating metals is relatively straightforward but what about plastics and polymers?  It is not so commonly known that alternative surface materials may be covered effectively in powder coating.  This enables the same high quality attractive finishes to be applied to just about anything.

powder coating plastic

Electrically Conductive

The question is how can you coat an item that is not electrically conductive.  Electrostatic charge is a fundamental part of the powder coating process. Non-metallic substrate can not be grounded as it doesn’t conduct electricity. When we perform the  traditional powder coating process, they rely on the metal substrate to draw electro-statically charged particles of polymer based powder onto the unit.  The unit is grounded in order to complete the circuit.  But what about objects like wood and plastic that are not conductive?  You can spray the powder on them but it will all end up falling on the floor.

Preheating

One technique that has proven effective involves preheating the piece you want to powder coat.  Put the item in the oven so that the surface becomes hot.  When you spray the polymer based powder at the item, these micro sized beads will slightly melt on impact adhering to the surface.  This enables powder build up on the piece.  You can repeat the process by returning the item to the oven shortly.  This will cause the powder coating to gel and an additional coating can attach itself to the surface.  Once you reach the desired thickness, the piece may be cured in the oven the same way you would normally set the powder coating.

spray-coating

Source: Yenra

Actually, it is usually the case that people put on too thick of a coating using this technique.  This happens because it’s hard to see clearly how much powder you have already put on the item.  The powder melts into itself like a gel coating making it hard to judge.  This is a concern because if a coating is too thick in some places it may begin to sag or run before the curing process can solidify the coating.  The coating may develop small craters that will effect the chip resistant properties of the powder coating.

Hot-Flocking

There is another method referred to as hot-flocking.  The concept behind this technique is instant coating.  You place the item into the oven and then preheat it to exactly the melting point of the powder coating material you will be using.  When you spray the unit polymer beads melt as soon as they touch the surface of the unit.  To accomplish this, you must spray coat the piece immediately after removing it from the oven.  This method takes quite a bit of skill and coordination.  The chances of running and sagging are greater when you do it this way.

Plastics That Can Be Coated

There are a variety of plastics out there that can be successfully powder coated.  These different plastics all have slightly different properties.  Some will be easier to coat in a powder coating than others.  Some can be preheated in the oven, but others require UV-cured polymers.  The UV lights do not generate the same amount of heat energy as an oven.

UV-curable polymers are a great solution for powder coating plastics.  The time it takes to melt these polymer particles is very short.  Since they melt quickly you don’t need much heat to push them into their gel-state.  As plastics are not generally conductive to electricity, an undercoat must be formulated for the powder coating process to work.  This primer will need to be customized so that is adheres to the plastic and works with the electro-static powder coating procedure.  We are happy to help you with this step of the process.  Please provide us with as much information as you can about the plastic based item you wish to powder coat.

nylon plastic powder coating

Source: Swagelok

Nylon reinforced plastic products require a specific coating technique.  To successfully establish protective coatings that improve the function and decorative properties of these items takes skill.  Products that rely upon nylon reinforced plastics are office chairs and appliances.  The interiors of our automobiles and some medical equipment utilize nylon reinforced plastic.  Consumer goods like personal computers and salon products also use nylon reinforced plastics.  Providing multiple colors and protective textures for these products is an important part of sales and branding.  These products often consist of both metal and plastic elements within their design.  The ability to coat then with the same polymer based powder coating is important.

Powder Coating Plastics: The Advantages

There are significant advantages to powder coating plastics rather than traditional painting techniques.  For one, the powder coatings emit little to no VOC or volatile organic compounds.  Traditional paints contain thinners that evaporate as the pain coating dries.  Additionally, over-sprayed powder can be recycled within the system.  This makes them better for the environment.  When you coat with polymer powders, you are able to achieve a thicker coating than liquid paints without the negatives associated with sagging or running paint coatings.  The coating is even.  Traditional paints show differences between the horizontal spray passes and the vertical spray passes.  Powder coating is able to create a variety of extrudes and effects.  Small items will hold a powder coat effectively letting you cover very small parts.

powder-coating-samples

Source: Inovoc Solutions

Technical Information

The performance properties of these coating technologies are interesting.  Different coatings hold different performance advantages.  Some are focused on being a protective coating.  Epoxy based powder coatings are generally used for the application. Polymer based can be formulated to provide UV protection for items exposed to the sun. Vinyl based powders are good for decorative purposes.

Application Methods

These powders can be applied using the typical powder coating process.  The item is hung in the middle of your spray booth and a pneumatic spray gun is used to cover the pieces with powder.   Plastic items may require a primer for the powder to adhere properly.  This system relies on the natural law of electro-static attraction.  The item will be grounded and the powder particles are electro-statically charged by the Corona spray gun.  The coating is applied and the powder is drawn to the grounded unit naturally establishing and even coat.  After the powder is cured, the item will have a strong plastic coating.  This type of coating resists chipping and scratching, preserving the items integrity.  The result is a durable coating that is soft to touch.

An alternative method involves building a tank that the part can be dipped into, then cured in an oven.  This process is also very effective and is generally used in an assembly line fashion.

Have A Question? Get In Touch With Us

Whether you need to powder coat industrial products or consumer goods, Byers Bush ready to help you.  We invite you to get in touch with us.  Powder coating is the best protection for many substrates.  Powder coating metal works well.  You can also powder coat plastics as well.  If you have any questions about the process or the item you wish to coat, tell us about it.

Different Types and Methods of Powder Coating Metal – What You Should Know

Posted on: February 8th, 2018 by byersbushblog

How does Powder Coating Metal Works

The remarkable plant we live on is called Earth.  This planet is primarily made up of minerals and heavy metals.  We build and design structures, electronics, appliances and vehicles with these processed metals.  But what about powder coating?  How can we utilize this technology to protect and beautify the things we create with these metals?  Different metals need to be prepared using different methods before powder coating materials can adhere successfully.  We offer powder coating methods for all substrates including various metals.  Let’s consider some of the differences and methods for powder coating metal.

Plain Carbon Steel Powder Coats

Steel is one of the most common elements of our planet that we utilize for design and innovation.  Superman was referred to as “the man of steel” because of his strength and indestructibility.  Plain carbon steel however, has a vulnerable side.  Rust!  Industrial equipment that spend its time exposed to the environment must be properly coated.  95% pure carbon and steel, if you want the powder coating to stay, this metal needs to be cleaned and sandblasted until there is absolutely no sign of rust.  Since corrosion is the primary concern, an epoxy polyester formula is your best choice.  We can deliver the powder coating formulation that meets your specific needs.  Contact us.

plain carbon powder coats

Stainless Steel Powder Coats

Who doesn’t love stainless steel?  A superb manifestation of the possibilities steel affords.  This metal responds well to powder coating.  Since corrosion by the elements is not a serious concern, a basic polyester powder coat formulation does the job.  In the preparation phase of the coating process, the unit can be clean blasted with Corundum beads.  After the initial blasting though, we recommend using glass beads as well.  This creates an anti-glare effect that cuts down some of the shine instinctive to stainless steel.  Products made from this metal are almost literally indestructible and provide years of unrestrained service.

Aluminum Powder Coats

Americans know this word is pronounced “aluminum”, but for those of British orientation we are discussing the metal “aluminum”.

Powder coating this lightweight and malleable metal is a bit more challenging than coating steel.  Metals like copper and aluminum oxidize quickly when exposed to air.  The thin, sometimes almost invisible patina, interferes with the adhesion of a powder coating.  Prior to coating, aluminum oxide must be completely removed for the powder coating process to work.  Only pure metal will provide the substrate needed for a successful coating.

Aluminum can be coated in polyester powders, epoxy powders, or epoxy-poly blends.  All these options will suffice, providing a lasting colorfast shell for the aluminum.

Galvanized Steel Powder Coats

What is galvanized steel?  When exposed to moisture and oxygen, steel is prone to rust.  To protect this metal a process was designed to modify these properties.  The steel is dipped in a hot chemical solution that coats the metal making it less likely to rust.  This process is called galvanization.

Galvanized Steel Powder Coats

Since galvanized steel is already rust resistant some believe powder coating it is unnecessary.  However, once galvanized steel has been given a powder coating, it’s practically invincible.  Many industries operate their gear in highly corrosive environments.  Adding an extra layer of protection to your galvanized steel is well worth it.

Galvanized steel is one of the most common metals utilized industrially due to its properties and price point.  All of the various powder coating resins agree with this metal.  Contact us for an estimate.

Chrome Powder Coats

Chromed surfaces can also be powder coated.  You can apply a clear layer to protect the chrome.  Chrome-Like finishes can be achieved with powder coating as well.  Imagine the shine of chrome tinted is the color of your choice.  As chromed surfaces are generally decorative, powder coating can be especially challenging.  Leave it up to the professionals.  Call us and we’ll give you a reasonable and competitive quote.

Stainless Steel Powder Coating for Food Service 

Utilizing powder coating for the food service industry is becoming increasingly common.  Stainless steel in itself creates a food safe surface for prepping and cooking, but when you augment its profile with a powder coating its usefulness and durability skyrocket.  The primary advantage is that corrosion becomes practically nonexistent.

Since stainless still typically posses a shiny and smooth surface, getting a powder coat to adhere properly takes some preparation.  You can blast the surface to establish a pitting effect that helps the powder coating stick.  Some have had success using acid to etch the surface.

This creates a durable finish.  Scratch and chip resistance will be at a premium.  Your metal products and equipment will stand out.

Why Is Powder Coating Superior to Traditional Paint

Powder coating wins over wet paint.  There are four main reasons this is true.  First, powder coating is more economical.  Traditional wet paint is resource intensive.  The over spray and fumes generated can’t be recovered.  Powder coating on the other hand, is very efficient.  The  transfer rate averages at 65%.  The over-sprayed powder can be collected and reused as it is a solid not a liquid.  With traditional wet paints, the transfer rate is about 35% and over spray cannot be reused.  In addition, the product itself costs more that the powder coating material.

The second concern is safety.   Powder coating is safer than wet paint.  Traditional wet paints contain hazardous elements like volatile organic compounds (VOC) and solvents to aid in the curing process.  When inhaled these incite serious health problems.  While it is not recommended that you breath powder coating materials, this is much easier to manage.  The powders are a solid, and simple respiratory protecting equipment will suffice.  This is the case if the paint is inhaled or makes contact with skin.

Another aspect has to do with our environment.  The solvents in traditional wet paints, damage the ozone layer.  The left over product must be stored and reprocessed due to the volatile organic compounds.  Powder coating materials can easily be reused or sent to landfills without harming the environment like wet solvent based paints do.

Finally, The mechanical advantage delivered by powder coatings is substantial.  Spraying a unit with powder produces a thicker initial coat.  The coating is also flexible.  As your materials flex and torch, the coating moves with them.  In the vehicular transportation industry this has been a real game changer.  Their vehicles stand up better to vibrations and grinding wear and tear.  Polyester powder coatings also test out better against chipping and scratching.

Why would you chose a “less than the best” option?  Give us the privilege of powder coating your next project!

Powder Coating Colors & Quality

Matching the colors you need for your project is important to the visibility of your brand and the way your product or service in perceived. We can help match any color you need. If the color is not already in our data base, we can match it by eye. Send us a sample of the color you are hoping to match and our experts will go to work formulating the matching powder coat.

When it comes to powder coating metals we are the company for you.  Base coatings, duplex coating, chrome and textured finishes are all aspects we have experience with.

Contact us today and see what powder coating can do for you!

DIY Tips: 6 Steps to Powder Coat Aluminum Wheels

Posted on: February 1st, 2018 by byersbushblog

How to Powder Coat Aluminum Wheels: You-Do-It HomeShop

There are no shortage of custom rims out there.  Everyone loves beautiful rims.  Wheel rims make your ride all about you.  Supplying aftermarket car wheel rims is a huge business.  Getting that awesome personalized look is not as hard as one might think.  In this post we will discuss how to powder coat car wheel rims.

Powder coating is an effective option.  Professional finishes are not hard to come by when you do it yourself, even for beginners.  As long as you take your time and use the right tools, you can come up with a great finished product!  But you will need the right equipment including a powder coating set up and sandblasting gear.

sandblasting gear

To start, you need to take this one wheel at a time.  No rush, no fuss.  Errors happen and we don’t need to multiply them by four.  If you take your time and follow these simple steps you’ll be cruising the strip in slow-mo with the envy of all your friends starring at your custom powder coated rims.  Let’s break down how to Powder Coat Aluminum Wheels.

Step 1: Prepare Beforehand

The key to any good paint job is in preparing the surfaces.  This is especially true when powder coating.  Traditional paints use acetone thinners to cure and dry the paint.  These types of coatings are a bit more forgiving when it come to dings and scratches.  They tend to fill these like thick molasses, covering over the imperfections.  Powder coating on the other hand is very precise, adhering evenly to all surfaces.  So take your time on this step to ensure that the surfaces are clean and smooth.  Get debris out of corners and clean edges thoroughly.

TIP: You can use a light grade sand paper to even out any “curb-rash”.

If the rim you are working on is particularly marked up, consider using a blast media cabinet.  These cabinets contain sand or glass beads that can be sprayed at high velocity across the unit.  This approach typically produces the most desirable results.

This is the step that separates the competition.  Spray coating is the fastest and easiest part of the job.  It takes patience and focus, but the results are rewarding.  It’s ok to be a perfectionist.

Step 2: Have a Blast Sandblasting

Now that the rim is clean of dirt and debris, the next important step is sandblasting.  The initial cleaning will rid your wheel of loose debris, but only a good sandblasting can prepare a surface that will adhere properly with the paint.  Don’t skip this step!  Blast every part of the rim, not just the face.  Take the time to remove all the old coatings or the new powder coat will not fix itself to the wheel.  It will attach to the old paint.

TIP: Clear coatings blast off faster than parts of the old rim that were previously painted, note the difference and sand blast thoroughly.

At this stage of the project some choose to modify the structure of their wheel rim.  Holes can be cut into the face of the rim or shapes can be carved in the surface.  This can be done by hand or programmed into a cutting machine like a water jet cutter.  Lay out your pattern and make the desired modifications.

Step 3: Hang the Wheel

Finally we are starting to get to the fun part!  The application of our desired powder coat.

You will need to coat the entire wheel rim.  This means you will need to hang the rim so you have free access to all sides of the unit.  Steel hooks or steel bailing wire can be useful.  Remember all the pieces you use must conduct electricity as the powder coating technique relies upon electrostatic transfer.  Then attach the grounding lead to your setup.  Powder coating is generally done in a booth setup.  If you don’t have a spray booth, a makeshift tent will work.  You can build one with roll plastic and duct tape.  This booth must be well ventilated.

TIP: All wheel rims will have a hole for the tire air stem to come through.  Put a bolt through this opening to attach the rim to your hanging device.

wheel rims

Step 4: Get Your Coat On

Now use the Corona Gun to spray the powder onto the rim.  Coat all the surfaces evenly by holding the gun horizontally and approximately 8 inches from the wheel.  Don’t bother applying a powder coating to the inside of your rim as this area is covered by the tire.  As they say “no waste, no want”.

Choosing a reliable powder coating supplier is also important to quality powder coating.  The powders must be stored in the correct environmental conditions to perform properly.  Typically, storing product under 80F and 50-60% RH is sufficient.  The powders should not be stored longer than one year.  When the environment of the unit to be coated and the storage conditions are different, wait 24 hours for the powder to adjust to the environment.  This protects you from condensation in humid environments.  Heat is another issue that must be taken into consideration when making an application of powder coatings.

TIP: when you begin setting up for the spray coating, Use this time to preheat your curing oven to around 400F

Step 5: Let it Cure

Now your powder coating is ready to be solidified.  Place the wheel rim into your preheated oven.  The oven should be preheated to 400F prior to the heat curing process.  This is important because the powder must reach a liquefied stage completely if it is to cure properly.  Depending on the formulation and binding agent different cure times are required.

TIP: Read the label of your powder coating product thoroughly before application.  Take note of the cure and dry times.

Step 6: Drying

After cooking the coated rim for the appropriate amount of time in the oven, let it cool down before handling the rim.  Just like baking cookies, they need to cool down to solidify.

People claim that “the clothes make the man”.  If you dress nice, people take notice.  The same is true for our automobiles, “The rims make the car”.

Follow this simple step by step guide and tell the world who you are.  Enjoy the beauty and precision of powder coated wheel rims! Let Byers Bush help you apply this to your car.