The stars seemed to align and opportunity presented itself which led to some new shop equipment. I have lots on my to do list and was not actively seeking out any new toys for the shop however there came a knockin’ on the garage door and when I went to check to see who it was they jammed their foot in the door and I had no choice but to invite them in. It turns out that powder coating has now set up shop in the garage. I explained to PC that I had no room and there was no place for him to crash. He didn’t really seem to care. He basically barged in, took one look around, pointed to my set of stacked winter tires and said “There, right there, that spot will do just fine”. When I asked him where he was planning to put the winter tires he responded with “not my problem, I don’t drive”. When I told him that I would have to get a “go ahead” from the rest of the garage family he just tuned up his nose and gave me the “I’m the new guy in town and I could care less what the others think, I work alone”. Well there was certainly tension in the shop. We have always worked as a close knit community and even though we have our differences we have always stayed focus on the job at hand. The garage family has been around for awhile and they can spot attitude a mile away. I think they lined up PC as the young, know it all, punk. I’ve got to hand it to veteran group, especially the TIG, as he is typically the wise one, and the grandfather, of the group. The TIG doesn’t get bent out of shape over much and he, along with the family, was certainly not going to let PC walk in and change the channel. So now I find myself caught in the middle of all this. I typically don’t tolerate attitude in my shop and you are expected work to earn your keep. I am willing to give PC a chance in hopes that his big mouth will result in big results. So for now he is going not going to be allowed in the shop area but instead he can observe from the opposite corner of the garage where he will sit for now.
So with the introduction of PC to the group I was now forced to do something with my stack of winter tires. But before I get to that perhaps a bit of history may be in order. I have always griped about how I struggle with finishing my products. I have been able to learn and progress with anodizing. I am still working on getting set up for HVLP spraying in which my sun project will be the first to benefit from. I have looked, from a distance, at powder coating but have always dismissed getting involved with it because of the oven factor. No space and too much expense.
Well awhile ago a blog follower, by the name of Keven, was able to convince me that powder coating was a viable option for the DIY crowd. If you’re interested in reading about our conversation just check out the comment section of the post located here. Well it turns out the infrared heat lamps can be used to melt the powder instead of ovens. So over the next couple months I would poke around and do what reading I could on the subject of home powder coating and realized that I may be able to pull this off sometime. It also became very evident that powder coating and anodizing have 3 things in common and that is prep, prep, and more prep. After having gone through the process of figuring out anodizing I was aware that powder coating would be very similar and that there would be a fairly steep learning curve involved.
So the day came when a friend of mine who is in the process of building a café racer was in need of powder coating. After some talk we agreed that if I got set up to do powder coating then he would send some work my way to help offset the cost of the equipment. I set out 2 conditions; first one is there can be no deadline and second that the powder coating comes with no quality guarantee. Of course I promise to do my best however I am fairly certain that to turn out quality coatings a fair amount of time, failure, and experience will be required.
So after more research I took the plunge and ordered up some equipment. I set my sights on a Hypersmooth 02 DPW system from Columbia Coatings. I fear cheap equipment as it often comes with more frustration then it’s are worth. The Hypersmooth system appeared to be a good middle ground set up. Hopefully I chose well. So with the system ordered up I then put in an order from Powder365 for some sample powders in order to play with. While I was at it I got my hands on a couple of silicone plug kits and high temp tape.
While I waited for the equipment and supplies to arrive I continued my self directed powder coating 101 education. It started to become clear that an oven would be hugely beneficial for the smaller projects. So I started to dig around on Kijiji (another version of Craig’s List) and was able to get my hands on a working, free, early 1980’s oven. I wanted to find something with no electronics as it would be cheaper to keep going should things break. So with an oven sitting in the middle of my garage I now needed a place to store it.
This is where some garage reorganizing comes in. You know that stack of tires I was forced to do something with? The stack has now turned into a row. A trip to the metal yard got me some 3” x ¼” flat bar and some 1.250 x .065 square tubing. A Saturday afternoon of garage time got traded for a fabricated and painted tire rack.
So with the tires mounted to the wall, the oven sitting in its new home, and the powder coating gun and supplies making its way to my doorstep it is now time to actually get set up to perform some spraying and testing. Only time will tell if I made a mistake getting involved with this. But then again this will result in more garage projects so how can anything really be wrong with that?