Introduction: DIY Powder Coated Yeti Cups

My wife wanted to buy a powder coated Yeti off Etsy for $65 dollars. I suggested we make our own with a harbor freight powder coating system ($52).

Step 1: Supplies

Powder coating works by electrostatically charging paint particles so they stick to metal objects. I created a base out of an electrical box extension, cover plate, and a piece of wood wrapped in foil. This is what you attach your GROUND wire to.

Step 2: How It Works

The footswitch controls when the tip of the spray nozzle is energized.

Powder coating uses very low air pressure (between 10-20 psi). I read online that a sweet spot is when you blow your hand the skin barley moves in.

Powder coating is extremely forgiving and easy to clean up. A simple cardboard box makes a great spray booth.

Step 3: Apply the Paint

This is my first time ever powder coating and the results were amazing. I found the angle of the sprayer made a huge difference (spray with the top of the hopper parallel to the ground).

The basic process is:

  1. Ground your object with the alligator clip.
  2. Step on the foot pedal to energize the tip.
  3. Point the nozzle of the sprayer about 8-10 inches from the object being coated.
  4. Squeeze the trigger to apply smooth even coats.
  5. When it's completely covered move over to the oven.

Step 4: Bake at 400 Degrees for 15-20 Minutes.

You shouldn’t use your kitchen oven to cook the paint. We got an old toaster oven and turned it on it’s size so the stainless steel cups would fit.

Step 5: Source for Cheap Paint

I called a local powder coating shop and asked to buy a few ounces of hot pink. They ended up giving me this whole bag they had leftover from another job.

Step 6: Finished Results

We had a lot of fun doing this, and with absolutely no experience got very good results. Highly recommended DIY project!

Comments

author
JohnC430 made it!(author)2017-04-27

Great idea! thanks for sharing. how hard is the coating? does it scratch easily? is the coating electrically insulating i.e. can it withstand 120VAC? If so I have a use for it.

author
MakeMeOne2 made it!(author)2017-04-27

Regarding powder-coating as insulation, it is plastic, takes a charge yet it's non-conductive. Metallics are the exception.

An average powder coating layer is .003" thick; once baked. As such several coats "should" provide insulation for 120 volts. I base this solely on 1000 volts ability to "arc" .250" (1/4 inch) to ground at atmospheric pressure. When in doubt/test it out.

author
JohnC430 made it!(author)2017-05-12

you would have to spit at it in order to make 1KV arc over 0.25"

30KV/inch at 1 ATM. so .025" = 30/4= 7.5 KV. I made a few 'stun guns' so i have already gone thru these calcs.

author
JohnC430 made it!(author)2017-05-12

sorry i made an error above so i am correcting it with a quote from

'Journal of Electrical Engineering'

"Normally air medium is widely use as an
insulating medium in different electrical power equipment as
its breakdown strength is 30 kV/cm"

author
xaenon made it!(author)2017-04-27

Powder coating is fairly tough; it CAN be scratched but it takes a bit of effort. As for electrical insulation - I'm not sure I'd trust something as thin as powder coating for 120 volts. You might want to consider Plasti-Dip. I've used Plasti-Dip on tools to insulate the grips, but it's a fair bit 'thicker' coating than powder coating.

author
JohnC430 made it!(author)2017-04-28

I did a search and found that if epoxy is used instead of just paint particles it has a dielectric strength of 1200V/mil using a 10 mil coating. so a 3-5 mil coating would be safe for about 500 Volts. it works up to 150C which is also plenty.

author
Jackh134 made it!(author)2017-04-27

I'm not sure if I should be worried or intrigued by your specifications! Please do a follow up if this crazy project of yours comes to life!

author
JohnC430 made it!(author)2017-04-28

by the way, thanks for the link. it says that epoxy powder coating is a great:
A typical high potential electrical test can be performed if requested, scanning all surfaces at twice the operating voltage plus 1kV. so i suppose this answers my question.

author
JohnC430 made it!(author)2017-04-28

i just used 120V as an example.
i designed a transformer with 30 turns on the primary at 240V which is 8 V/Turn. the wires were made of copper strip. the secondary was for 200 amps also copper strip. i needed to isolate the windings from each other and tried a few layers of paint which did not work. eventually i used mylar tape and it worked. That crazy project of mine was eventually installed in an electric vehicle built for the Marines. I did not know about powder coating when I did it in 1995. it went into production and by now i dont know how many hundreds of this crazy idea were made. so u dont have to worry about anything. None of them ever failed.

author
ManCrafting made it!(author)2017-04-27

Powdercoating is harder to scratch than the stainless. Much more durable than paint.

author
donvukovic made it!(author)2017-04-27

http://www.materialstoday.com/powder-applications/...

Google found lots of interesting articles on the dielectric strength of power coating. Power coating is a simple process, getting it right ( read safe) is another matter.

author
gravityisweak made it!(author)2017-04-29

Nice! This would be great for re-coating stuff like a paintball gun. I wonder if you could solar bake the bigger stuff by using a large fresnel lens in the back yard.

author
cnaughtin made it!(author)2017-04-30

Not sure if you realize - you would have to strip the original paint off first. You must have bare, clean metal for the powder to adhere cleanly. Even tiny amounts of dirt and imperfections will mar the final finish.

author
gravityisweak made it!(author)2017-05-04

Yes, that's true. I've heard soaking it in acetone may do the trick. Since I have quite an old one, the original finish is in bad shape. Not sure if it was originally painted or powder coated.

author
GiuseppeV8 made it!(author)2017-05-02

Great project! One question: when you said 400 degrees, you mean °F, right?

author
BG_INS made it!(author)2017-05-02

This is simply great. Can you maybe add a sketch of your complete set up, i used to work for a car brand in their paint factory. Yet i never ever thought of doing this myself.

So you applied about 6KV, how many amps?

author
Jooks made it!(author)2017-04-27

From your experience, if you wanted to scale this up to be able to do car wheels or something of that size would the biggest cost/challenge be finding a bigger oven to accommodate?

author
bruce.desertrat made it!(author)2017-04-27

I saw (a long time ago, possibly here on instructables) where someone made a powder coating booth/oven out of an old metal filing cabinet and some electric oven heater elements. IIRC they were using it to do bike frames.

author
Jooks made it!(author)2017-04-28

Oh cool. Thanks for letting me know.

If I'm going to take this on I'll see if I can track that down too

author
bruce.desertrat made it!(author)2017-04-28

I found my old link it was on Hack-A-Day

author
skrubol made it!(author)2017-04-28

Old working ovens can be found on Craigslist for pretty cheap (or roadsides for free.) Biggest cost would probably be getting the 30A 240V electric service where you need the oven.

author
jessyratfink made it!(author)2017-04-28

The toaster oven bit is clever :D

author
beer20 made it!(author)2017-04-28

if this were entered in a contest, you'd get my vote! Thanks for sharing

author
xaenon made it!(author)2017-04-27

Learning something new is never a waste of time. Perhaps it wasn't cost- or time-effective for one particular project, but now the author can use the experience and materials to powder coat other things, or make as many Yeti cups as he wishes, perhaps even sell them himself. After all, they're all knockoffs, right?

author
Fezder made it!(author)2017-04-27

I second this, experience can't be bought. Sadly, since china has all junk so cheaply, people mostly just go to ebay and won't bother doing themselves.

author
ItsGraGra made it!(author)2017-04-27

and your "junk" and very expensive iPhone is made in China, ironic ain't it.

author
Fezder made it!(author)2017-04-28

For me it doesn't matter in what country item is made, build quality matters, which is accomplished by factory quality standards and quality control. Mostly, made in china gives product bad name, but there is good build quailty too there. I don't own iPhone, nokia 700. Which is/was probadly made in china too, no Idea. Not that it would really matter. I buy lot of stuff from ebay. I would buy locally, but local markets for say electronics are way overpriced and scarce. If I need item quickly, then I buy locally. And since I'm unemployed student, I like to keep eye on "my" money. Not sure if this comment was relevant for any extent, I mean this mine comment....

author
mtbike2+ made it!(author)2017-04-27

very ironic. And strangely iconic.

author
pmcclay made it!(author)2017-04-27

About having junk so cheaply: yes to some extent. At the same time, they also have $50 powder coating systems that apparently enable people to gain experience doing hobby scale larks themselves that a real paint shop wouldn't bother with.

author
mtbike2+ made it!(author)2017-04-27

I completely agree. Isn't it quite ironic that the cheap china product from harbor freight allows you to make an expensive product that is cheaply available.

author
Johnt007871 made it!(author)2017-04-26

can this be done over a stencil or is it all or nothing?

author
MakeMeOne2 made it!(author)2017-04-27

The stenci.

l should be made from high-temp green tape. Make sure you have a tab of sorts to remove it (after) baking. Leave it on during the bake cycle. If you remove it right after applying the powder, static will lift the paint off the part.

DoctArrgh Jon

author
ManCrafting made it!(author)2017-04-27

I actually have several youtube videos on this very subject. Check them out.

author
Fezder made it!(author)2017-04-27

Yeah, stencil should work. Just make sure stencil is very well done, since any defects in it will transfer to work.

author
mtbike2+ made it!(author)2017-04-26

cover everything with something and only the open area will be coated then you can bake it.

author
cmolinel made it!(author)2017-04-27

Very, very interesting.

Showing my ignorance, where the live wire is connected?

Thanks

author
MakeMeOne2 made it!(author)2017-04-27

The only wire with an alligator clip is the "ground wire. It should be connected to the part being painted. The air ( and powdered paint) is charged positively with about six thousand volts if you use the HF gun. The charge wants to go to "ground" so the paint (finely-ground pigmented plastic) sticks to the part!

DoctArrgh Jon

author
CPUDOCTHE1. made it!(author)2017-04-27

We have done anodizing with mixed results. I guess the next step may be powder coating.

author
ClemW made it!(author)2017-04-27

Great instructable! Looking forward to trying this, thanks!
Two questions:
- Is it really impossible to use a kitchen oven? Why?
- Can I use regular pigments, or are there coating-specific powders to look out for?

author
CPUDOCTHE1. made it!(author)2017-04-27

The pigments has to have the correct binders in them to fuse together when heating. The baking of the coating gives off toxic fumes that you probably don't want in your house and obviously not on your food. They are also explosive, so you should not use a gas oven, only electric or some other heat source that is not a source of ignition.

author
mtbike2+ made it!(author)2017-04-27

there are specific ping,nets you have to us. The pigment has to be able to be statically charged and attracted to the product then baked to a durable finish. That said, to be clear, I have no clue about the pigment itself. There is a specific carrier of said pigment that is a must. The color itself...I am not sure

author
bruce.desertrat made it!(author)2017-04-27

"Waste of time and waste of money"

Well sure, if the only thing you could do with this was powder coat a Yeti cup...this is Q&D intro to doing something really frigging useful.

author
mtbike2+ made it!(author)2017-04-27

so true. Just substitute "yeti" for tools, or tool rack or ..... that's why I love this ible, seriously, its great.

author
EricS100 made it!(author)2017-04-27

You're exactly right. This setup for a Yeti cup is a waste of time and money. But, as you said, the cup could be a stepping stone to other things. I have the same setup and do some custom work and some restorations with it.

author
Datawolf made it!(author)2017-04-27

I first said "Hey, I don't have such a vertical oven". lol

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marcosjdl made it!(author)2017-04-27

XD . . .I thought the same!

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EricS100 made it!(author)2017-04-27

LoL. I was watching intently to find out what kind of oven it was and then *ding* the light came on. I'd never thought of that... it's so simple it's stupid but genius in it's own right.

author
IcepickTony made it!(author)2017-04-27

Excellent Instructable. I have been thinking of giving this a try, and now I think I am going to have to do it. next stop will likely be a thrift shop for a cheap used toaster oven. Thank you.

author
wonderkid64 made it!(author)2017-04-27

I LOVE YOU GUYS!!! :) so positive, so fun and a great video. Now I must admit that powder coating is not really something that interests me but you two made me interested anyway. Thanks so much and keep up the good work! Cheers

author
scorpio957 made it!(author)2017-04-27

The object of this exercise was the DIY "Powder coating" Not the cups - great job..!

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Bio: We are Mike and Lauren. We make videos on YouTube about money, travel, homesteading, and DIY.
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