Tuesday, August 23, 2011

How to Powder Coat Spinner components with a Powder Spray Gun

Powder painting Spinner Parts with the Badger 260 gun

More lessons updated Post - Hot Drop Powder Coating

Spinner sales for this season are winding down, schools back in session and retailers are starting to think about hunting seasons.

Stop by Fish Creek Spinners Web Store and checkout it's new format and many of these paint jobs!

I decided to invest in some new assets and start building some new skills, so... I bought a Badger 260 powder spray gun, it's a simple little thing. It was designed for spraying abrasives to etch glass, but does a good job with the powder paint. Guess I could even use it to sand blast my old trucks nasty fouled Number 1 spark plug. I also bought some powder paint by the pound and some vinyl paints.

First off, I needed an air compressor and regulator to provide the spray power. I did quite a lot of Googling  and learned a bit about air compressors - PSI and CFM, Regulators, Filters with bayonet bleeds, Piston or Diaphram stuff. Trust me, I'd opened a blast furnace door.

Yikes! I asked questions on forums, The tool guys got quiet. I even asked the paint people, I thought they would know. No help to be found and that was disappointing. The specs listed with the spray gun were not matching up with specs on compressors. All sorts of paint and no air. Luckily, I called Badger and they were helpful straightening out the misleading PSIspecs on the Powder painting documentation.

I rolled the dice and chose a SparMax TC-2000 to run the PSG and any other airbrush painting applications that Ben might have for his hand-carved lures.

With the right accessory tools, this baby will spray you tan. It will decorate cakes. It will run a tattoo gun. Even sand-blast. Finally, in practice, the TC-2000 and Badger 260 will paint spinner parts.

Problem Statement - lumpy bodies

If you've been to the blog before, you know I've been dipping the muskie bodies. Heat, dip in powder paint, and cure. Got my process together in that space. Tried and True.

But I've experienced some amount of difficulty getting the coverage right and ruined a few too many paint jobs coming out of the oven (they drip and end up with lumps). Lumpy bodies, not good. Frustrating waste and time-consuming rework.

It seemed to me that batches of powder paint, coming from the factory, had different properties. Inconsistent mix ratios, milling or something causes different sensitivity to heat and different paint adherence behaviors.

Yeah right, anyways, for me, the differences showed up when I changed to a new color. Either that or this was a liveware problem of mine!

Even though I strove to be consistent with heat, fluffed the paint and whisked the part, some colors coated too thick and others didn't.

Whew, long winded right? Get back to the Pink Parts and Hard bodies. Ok, here's some pictures.

First Hard bodies - brass and nickel

Hard bodies - brass and nickel - various types and weights

Dip painted ancestors

So, now a look at the new Assets

Badger 260 Powder Spray Gun (PSG) - eloquent in its simplicity

Badger 260 Powder Spray Gun

R2D2 - I mean, SparMax TC-2000 compressor
Ok, back to the skills.

My tried and true process needed to evolve to accommodate the new tools. This meant I'd get to solve new problems and hit a few ditches (unfortunately, my learning strategy and the way I learn).

The first was catching the over spray. I did several iterations on this and it's a secret. Let me just say that necessity, is the mother of invention.

Pink and mustard colored clouds coming out of the garage and a mustard colored CRV were frowned on by Marie, so we put our best minds to work and stumbled on a solution.

Pro-Tec Pink Cloud maker
Next was batching the parts. I have plenty of stainless wire, so I strung the hard bodies on 8 inch wires, making some cool spinner kabob looking rigs. I sized these to accommodate the oven and also the makeshift spray booth.

Spinner body kabobs ready for the oven

Paint station - notice the leather glove - kabobs are HOT! 
So there you have it - Heat the kabobs in the oven - take em out with a leather glove - spray on the paint while rolling the wire, using those holes in the base like an axle to rotate the hot parts and let the spray evenly cover them. I had to crank up the oven and let them sit awhile in order to get them hot enough. You'll know they're good, when the paint stops blasting past the parts and adheres.

I found 30 PSI worked best, not the 5-8 PSI the paint doc stated. So I set the regulator to that PSI and concentrated on not breathing for 20 minutes. Just kidding!

You'll need a Respirator... or you'll tie dye your kleenex tissues -  Yuk...
Here's some finished parts
Bodies galore - Dinner Bells, AngleIrons, Metal Armadillos and Fireant wings
Here's a couple Dinnerbells with the pink parts! Fun, Fun, Fun! 

Hopefully, someone fishing Pink Salmon on the West Coast will want to get some FCS wet! 

I know the mustard AngleIrons are wanted for Smallies in North Carolina. Propeller FireAnts will find a home in New Jersey!

Time to replenish some low inventory!

Overall, I'm pleased with the outcome and look forward to doing better more frequent small batches as I need them. 

Feel free to comment with your experiences or offer suggestions. My process was kind of a shoot from the hip response and I'll be refining it with iteration and trying more paints.


treerat said...

have you tried doing the blades yet?

John Delaney said...

I did the propeller blades for the fireants and they worked.

I did try a few inlines (in white), but not with the spray gun. I made a sieve with some 40ml screen and couple pieces of PVC and tried sifting the paint on a oven baked blade, didn't work well enough to sell me on my abilities!

The blades burnish when you heat them. Have you done any? It's easier to buy them painted.IMO.

Hagens will sell by hundreds vs thousands and I think Worths or Lakeland is doing that too now.

Anonymous said...

Hi normal you nead - and + for power coating

how this works?

John Delaney said...

This is heat part and spray powder that melts on, vs electronic positive/negative charge powder coating.

Electrostatic is professional for large batches and bigger parts. This method is more for smaller batches and small parts.

Ageless Balance said...

This is exactly what I'm looking to start doing and I hope that you're still monitoring this. I just got into spinner making this year when I needed a hobby to help me quit smoking after almost 40 years. So it's six months later and I still haven't smoked and I'm totally obsessed with my new hobby, and I've spent a lot of time on the FCS website. Beautiful stuff. But what I'm looking for now is how to paint magnum musky blades. Fluid bed? Paint gun? I want to put colored translucent powder on some of the nickel blades and clear coats on the brass and copper blades, but I'm still trying to find the best way to do it. After three years since the original post, any updates? :)

John Delaney said...

Hi Ron, my blogging has slowed down quite a bit, been improving some property I still own up in Marathon County on Lincoln County line. Anyways, thanks for posting. Always glad to meet another wire twisting fool! I haven't spent a lot of time painting blades, when I tried, it was tough to do, and the suppliers cost was not that bad on painted blades. Lakeland Inc is high quality but high priced, Hagens is better prices, but not best quality, best value though. Have you thought about air brush? I was not that impressed with that paint gun and went back to dipping the components, once I bought a heat gun, the fluid bed was not that much difference over just dipping in stirred powder. My best idea for components was that hot drop method, then flipping the wire and seating it in a wooden base to dry. The flip caused gravity to run the part back to wood base and clear the hole. Then I change parts to clean wires for baking. Small batches, but works good for 'paint what you need' work. Been meaning to write another blog post on improved paint process.

John Delaney said...

So if blade painting is your thing, you'll find a technique that works for you. I think the suppliers use pad printing machines. Like I said "Paint, has 'Pain' in it, for a reason! I stayed away from blades, due to cost to learn factor. Magnum blades are pricey. I would suggest learning on cheaper blades to your get technique ironed out. Also, you can buy clear lacquered blades too. Check Worth's, Lakeland Inc. or Hagens online catalogs. If flash is your thing, I bought a few of the jewelry polishing clothes from Fire Mountain Gems to remove tarnish and fingerprints. You can also get a buff wheel for your grinder and jewelers polishing rouge at lowes. Cleans them up good, or a dremmel tool. I started using my dremmel to grind off barbs on spinnerbaits, works great.

Ageless Balance said...

I tried doing some blades and it wasn't going very well. I ended up buying a fluid bed to see if that would help. It helped! Totally made it doable for me. Now I'm learning heat and air rates for different colors and finishes. I've been playing with the flakes and the glitters... Every one seems to be different and I'm having a great time learning them all. I don't normally like really putzy stuff, and this is putzy. But I really like making te lures and the more I do myself the more fun it is. Thanks for the tips you gave me. I really appreciated the input. BTW, you've made some darn nice looking spinners.

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