Powder coating provides a durable, attractive finish for many items. This coating is thicker than wet paint finishing methods, allowing the coated items to withstand hard use for many years to come. It is the leading industrial finishing method and can be found in many applications, including automotive, manufacturing, agricultural, and outdoor equipment production.
Powder coating tools can have many benefits. Powder coating can add corrosion protection as well as providing a non-slip grip to hand tools. Plus, powder coated hand tools can add a measure of personalization with a wide choice of colors, textures, and gloss levels. To coat tools properly, there are several steps involved. Here is a guide to powder coating hand tools, resulting in durable, attractive finishes that last.
Step 1 – Preparation is Key
To ensure a durable, lasting finish, items to be powder coated must be prepared carefully. This means removing old coatings, debris, scale, and oils from all surfaces. Hand tools often have embedded grease and oil in addition to rust or corrosion. Professional powder coating services often use media blasting to remove the scale and corrosion that can harm new finishes. Sandblasting tools before coating is a great way to ensure good adherence of the new finish – it offers a bit of roughness that helps the powder stick to the surfaces of the tool better. Once the tools are blasted, a quick dip into a solvent is a good idea. This removes fingerprints, oil, and grease that can affect the quality of the powder coat.
At this time, it is beneficial to pre-heat the curing oven. Achieving the proper curing temperature is critical; consult the powder manufacturer’s documentation for the right temperature.
Step 2 – Coat the Tool with Powder
In the powder coating process, electrical charges are applied to the powder spray gun (positive charge) and the item to be coated (negative charge). Adjusting the voltage applied to the gun and the item to be coated can affect the adherence of the powder, resulting in a thicker finish if desired. The spray gun may also have pressure adjustments – consult the gun manufacturer and the powder documentation for appropriate PSI settings. The two charges work to attract the powder to the tool surfaces; powder particles will adhere to every crevice and nook if the charge voltage is set properly.
Single-pass spraying generally achieves the best coating. Start the spray to one side of the tool and move smoothly, releasing the gun’s trigger once the spray coats the entire tool surface.
Step 3 – Curing the Tool
Once the tool is coated with the powder of your choice, the next step is curing in a hot oven. As mentioned earlier, there is an ideal temperature range to ensure a good cure. Consult the powder manufacturer’s documentation for this temperature. Too hot of an oven, or too long of a curing time, may result in scorching of the tool surfaces, leaving unsightly marks in the powder coated finish. Too low of a temperature or too short of a curing period may result in an undercure and a coating that isn’t uniform.
By following these steps, a professional-level powder coat can transform old tools into clean, personalized items that are protected from corrosion. Professional powder coating services can help you find the right powders, colors, and textures to suit your specific tool needs.
This article was brought to you by PowderCoat Services, an Orange-County based firm with over 40 years of providing exceptional services to local businesses.