View Full Version: Powder coating fumes = brain damage?

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Title: Powder coating fumes = brain damage?

JT Metalworks - July 4, 2006 04:55 AM (GMT)
I was talking to a guy who has a decorative iron railings business and also does powder coating for outside work with his 8x8' oven...

He tells me his minimum job rate is $75 (which is fine), but then starts saying that his actual rate is $5 a linear foot. So I mentioned that I was looking into making some jeep bumpers and they would be a little under 5' but only measure 2x4" across, and I could fixture them 5-6 high and still equate to about one section of railing (which was how he'd been explaining what his fee structure was based on up until this point in our conversation). His response was "Oh, we'll do that here. We have all that stuff." So to seal a deal and set a price, I ask "How many bumpers do I get for $75?" the answer = 3!!!!

Is this guy f'ing NUTS???

A whole bag of powder cost's $5. The oven has to be just as hot regardless of how much is in it (yes, there is a certain degree of energy consumed in raising the items temps to oven "ambient" for the process, but that's minuscule in comparison to getting the cooker up to temp to begin with). Wouldn't this jackhole be interested in making the job reasonable rather than being so insanely overpriced as to run people off? I could do 18 bumpers in the space occupied by 3-4 railings. If it was more like $10 a unit, instead of 25 - we'd have a hand shake and I'd be getting stuff coated there. Shooting a few racks of bumpers wouldn't take more than 10 mins. Electricity ain't that expensive!

Franzę - July 4, 2006 05:23 AM (GMT)
Can't say about the Dain Bramage JT, but I can damn well tell you burnin thru powder coating emits fumes that will gag a maggot. First time I learned that was cuttin up some frames from IBM.

Now, if you could just find a small cooler or freezer box, and set it up, you could do your own powder, although I fail to see the fascination with the process. The coating ain't all that superior to paint, just highly touted as the NEW process.

I have a hunch the pricing structure for people doing it is set by the market. If he can get it, why the hell not.

JT Metalworks - July 4, 2006 05:45 AM (GMT)
Oh, I know what you mean about that stench! I've been forced out of my shop for not having cleaned it far enough back on some repairs. I've got a bike rack that needs to be modified that I think is also coated. I'm not looking forward to it!

As for the process - it's cleaner, and faster. I do think paints have the edge on quality though.

Overspray can be reclaimed (if you keep the shooting room clean enough), and the coating is hard when the part returns to room temp. Enamels and the like take several days to attain the same hardness. The chemical bond of a good etching primer sealed with a good enamel is probably a superior coating. I know the alkyd paints are a whole lot tougher than any powder I've encountered. The preparation, needed environment and equipment for applying (booth, fans, guns, etc), and subsequent occupation of that area for curing is where paint loses to powder's efficiency.

I'm not saying you can shoot powder on crap and make it come out beautiful, but there's less chances of flaking with powder than there is with paint and sub-optimal surface prep. Powder needs metal, so that does limit the over all applications it can be utilized in. No filling dents with bondo and baking them.

Right now, the issue I have with making an oven (simple, and cheap, using readily available oven elements from your favorite curb side suppliers) is space. I was looking at a couple buildings over the weekend. Rent is a bit steep and they don't want to sell. Not even entertaining a lease to buy-out agreement. It's a catch-22. I need the space to do the stuff, and I need the stuff done to pay for the space. Subcontracting is the only option at the moment, and if it means sucking all the profits from the product, there's nothing to be gained in even doing them. I have more than enough of my suspension work still driving around on the streets from 10 years ago to satisfy my ego. Now its about how many dollars are left when the bills are paid.

There's a couple body shops down the road from me. I need to see what they'd charge for a rack of parts they wouldn't have to touch short of hooking it to the rotisserie and squirting a couple passes over. Or maybe I should just buy a big tent and make a pop-up paint booth out of it.

Franzę - July 4, 2006 06:01 AM (GMT)
JT, look at electrostatic painting. There was a scaffold rental outfit here in the 70s that set up one for doing scaffold frames. Painting those things was brutal, but with electrostatic all they had to do was hang all the frames on a rack, charge it, and spray paint into both ends of the room.
The whole setup was in a fibrglass building in the storage lot.

One of the things that bankrupted Troy Bilt rototiller and forced them to sell to MTD was entering into powder coating way too soon in the game. It sure sounded good whan the salesman sold them the system, but it proved to be pure shyt.

The other way to go is with a body shop. The way those places are going around here, they should be glad to see any paying work come thru the door.

JT Metalworks - July 4, 2006 06:08 AM (GMT)
The issue I have with the lowest bidder, is that it's my rep on the line when it rust blooms after one season of salt here. I don't have the experience to determine a coatings longevity in our weather and chemical baths these things get exposed to. I know the paint I shot last fall sure went to crap when it froze before curing. I'll be getting a burner head for the grill bottle if nothing else this winter if I'm not in commercial space by then.

Frankly, Alkyd paint sounds rather appealing at the moment. Just a matter of getting someone who can shoot it right. That stuff is $50 a gallon, and is sold in two parts (2 gallon minimum buy-in).

Jpill - August 10, 2006 10:32 PM (GMT)
Jim if you do shoot any of the alkyd paints just be careful with the stuff and wear the proper respirator, that stuff will kill over time and exposures if the proper precautions are not taken.
Also look at cup times on certain brands, that should figure into the cost. Dow spec'd a paint on a compressor skid my company put together for them, after the reactant (sp) was mixed in it had a 5 minute cup time. Our painter went through 4 cheap spray guns before the job was over with. I would have hated to see the job cost if he had been using the Binks guns he normally prefers.

JT Metalworks - August 11, 2006 12:13 AM (GMT)
Thanks for the warning J.

I've decided to eat the cost (swallow hard and smile) and get these powder coated for the first few units till I get a feel for the market and see how well they move. After that, I'll either be moving on or gearing up to do the process here.

For the hours involved in my painting them, it actually makes more sense for the bottom line even at $25 per copy. I'll figure it into expenses and write it off.

Cup times with alkyd is a major problem. I was talking to the sherwin williams commercial applications folks about using it on my band saw and they had the same problems your painter did.

I've got materials for two more bumpers right now and should be having them coated next week. I'll shop around and see what people down here want to add them into a batch of other parts when they get around to it. It's not like I need next day service. If the rates are worse than up north, I'll just take the trip and have the guy I spoke with do them.

Another factor with painting is the wild humidity swings we've been having. I have the bass guitar stand covered in primer and it's too damn wet to color coat. If I only had a booth...

Franzę - August 11, 2006 03:27 AM (GMT)
JT, look at the RustOleum line of industrial products. They make a 2 part coating with long enough time to brush paint, that has excellent wear propertys. It's used a lot on industrial machinery.

Many of the binary coatings actually depend on the humidity in the surrounding atmousphere to kick the reaction off, just like RTV calk.

harcosparky - November 5, 2006 03:49 AM (GMT)
JT ....

Ya got 3 bumpers ... each 5 foot long ... his rate is $5 per linear foot. Yeah $75 is how they do it.

I mean ya could turn a bumper sideways and say it is 12" long and 5 feet high :lol:

Sure the powder is cheap and the oven has to run regardless of if there is 1 bumper in there or 10.
But it is his oven and he is in business to make a profit.

I dont think your getting ripped off at those rates.

harcosparky - November 5, 2006 03:52 AM (GMT)
JT -

Yeah look into 'two-part' or epoxy paints.

I use a 2 part epoxy primer. That stuff is so hard even acetone wont attack it.

Where I used to work we had to disassemble epoxy sealed units .... would soak them in acetone overnight and everything would come off except this primer.

I have no clue what the stuff I use is called .... it is yellow in color and my buddy brings it two me in quart sized jars.

I ask him no questions but offer him thanks!

JT Metalworks - November 5, 2006 04:15 AM (GMT)
Thanks for the advise about the paint.

5 linear feet would still apply if I rigged them up to a jig and made it take the same space as a railing - that's all I was saying.

I found some other single part paint I like the durability of, so I'm holding off on using anything more troublesome for the time being. I've put that whole bumper deal on the back burner to get some other seasonal stuff out of the way and filling the bank.

Welcome to the forum btw.

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