Powder coating metal can produce a finish on the material that is hard to reproduce with paint or other coatings. It has unique properties, and the way it is applied contributes to the overall look for the finish, but when the application is done wrong, removing the finish and starting again might be the only option.
What Is Powder Coating?
Powder coat is a free-flowing powder that is applied to metal parts with a spray gun and is positively charged. The metal that the powder is being applied to is grounded, and the powder is attracted to the metal. Once the entire part is coated, the part is put in an oven and baked, fusing the powder into an epoxy or polyester coating that bonds to the metal. The result is a high gloss finish that looks like it was applied as a liquid and is bonded to the base metal.
The Durability of Powder Coat
The durability of the finished powder coat is one reason it is chosen for things like motorcycle frames, custom car parts, and metal parts that see a lot of wear and tear. Often a custom car may be stripped down so that the entire frame can be powder coated after it has been smoothed and repaired because it looks great but will also stand up to small rocks or other debris that gets kicked up under the car. The finished product must be sandblasted or ground off if you need to remove it from the part it was applied to.
Colors and Combinations
Mixing colors is possible with powder coat, and like paint, you can even get a custom color if you need it. The trick is to get the combinations of powder right to produce the color you want and not a mix of the two colors swirled together. If you want a custom color, it is best to have it mixed by the vendor or powder supplier that you use. They have the experience to know how to get the powders to blend into one even color for you. If you want a base color with a swirl or streaks of another color in it, it can be done as well, but the mixing method is different for that.
Home Powdercoating Setups
Getting into powder coating at home is not difficult, but you do need to buy some equipment. You will need the powder coating gun, some racks to hang parts on, and an oven to cure the powder coat. For small pieces, an old kitchen range works for curing parts, but larger parts are going to be a problem. Starting small and increasing the work size when you are ready is the best option.