Instructables
Picture of Powder coat your hand tools
Powder coating is cool.
It's a tough finish that is stronger than paint and looks great. It's a "Green" process since there are no solvents to spray, and the over spray can be swept or vacuumed up.

I thought it would be cool to powder coat my trusty old wrenches for personalization and good looks.
They were getting dirty and the finish was starting to show signs of wear, so I brought them with me to the Tech Shop to get the treatment.

Now is a good time to preheat the oven and think about where to hang your tools in oven before it gets hot.
My powder needed to be baked at 375 degrees.
 
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Step 1: Clean your tool

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First step is to clean your tool.
Wipe off any grease or other grimy residues and then put them in the sand blaster to prep the surface.
Use the sand blaster to roughen up the surface, clean the metal and give the powders a good surface to adhere to.

Warning - the sand will get inside the mechanism and will need to be worked out afterwards. I just wiggled the parts back and forth for a few minutes and the sand started to work it's way out.

A quick spray with de-greaser or TSP and a final water rinse will be sure the powders adhere everywhere.

Dry thoroughly with compressed air.

Step 2: Powder your tool

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Once your tool is cleaned up and blasted, you will want to make a hanger to support it in the spray booth and in the oven. A simple wire with a hook on each ends works great.

You connect your powder coating gun's ground lead to the wire hanger, set your pressure according to the manufacturers recommendation, and apply the powder. The gun I used was set at about 7-10 psi.

The process works with static cling - just like rubbing a balloon in your hair and sticking it to a wall. In this case, your piece is charged up negatively and the powder wants to stick to it after it shoots past the charged electrode in the spray gun.

plantprof10 months ago
I'm still unclear as to why this couldn't be done in a kitchen oven. With a catch tray on a shelf below the suspended tools, and a vent fan running, and then heating the oven to a higher temp after the tools were removed to "outgas" any "vapors" left behind [or "clean cycle" on a self cleaning oven], what would the danger or objection be?

I power coat small parts like this at home with a harbor freight power coating gun and a simple toaster over, dedicated to the process. Is quite simple to do this at home for small parts.

because the by products of the process are toxic and are nearly impossible to remove from an oven. Also, the out gassing is flammable, and thus, why one uses an electric, and never gas oven.

spylock plantprof9 months ago
One could probably use a bar-b-q grill,and just hang the tool sideways,but I dont know for sure.One wouldnt have any problem getting a grill up to temp. so I cant think why one couldnt.
avisser10 months ago
Why not bake it at home? It seems improbable that elements from the paint would stick to the oven and release by subsequent heatings. That would make the paint unusable in any oven?
Actually, paints of this type will leave soot, fine grit, and thin layers of stuff all over the inside of your oven. Its just never a good idea to mix food and non-food, for the same reason you don't use lead pots or have pressure-treated countertops.
aha, thanks for the explanation.
BelloPhil10 months ago
Good advice, I don't think the wife would appreciate me being in the kitchen! This is a great idea if you can pick up old tools and rejuvenate them, but you have to have access to the sand blaster and oven, and many of us haven't.
djsc10 months ago
I like the idea, if we had an equivalent of techshop somewhere near me I might be tempted. I have a load of old chrome-vanadium spanners in the workshop that would benefit from this treatment- could look really smart with a good colour choice too, I like the blue.
sross-110 months ago
I've done a lot of home powder coating, it's not that hard to get into, but in the long run I'm not sure it's worth the effort if you don't have access to a "Tech shop" or perhaps find a friend with the setup.

First, without a decent booth to spray in, the powder eventually gets everywhere and will coat your whole garage/shop. You can use a heat gun for large pieces, you just have to heat it in sections and make sure you don't knock the powder off as you're moving around it. I used a old kitchen stove that was no longer in use for small items, but that's a still a pretty small space to be hanging things.
roballoba (author)  sross-110 months ago
I joined the tech shop just for this reason alone... I'm restoring a 1946 Cushman scooter and there is a lot of blasting to be done - I could have paid a lot more to have someone else do it, or I could pay a monthly fee and use this equipment and so much more! There are three Tech Shops within 30 minutes from me and they have a lot of great stuff between them. I looked at all the gear at Harbor Freight, but too much space and too much stuff.. better to go and use when you need it.
RoeyLeon10 months ago
Great one!

Cheers
stahlsau10 months ago
well...i somehow thought this would be a guide to do it at home with standard-tools.
Anyone who has access to a powder-coating pistol, curing-oven and so on will already know how to use it, so i think this instructable is a bit useless. Sorry.
1111111 stahlsau10 months ago
I agree.
This is not a D.I.Y. project
roballoba (author)  111111110 months ago
DIY or do at home? you could certainly get all of the tools used at a place like harbor freight for under $1000...if you don't have the tools at home, find a collective shop or improvise. This is an inspirational project - look at your tools differently.
neo7166511 months ago
I done some of mine in orange. When ya working on something in the back 40 in 3 foot tall grass bright colors helps. Helps to keep from leaving sockets on the rad shroud or breather of a car before a test drive also.
roballoba (author)  neo7166510 months ago
good idea, but I was restoring a 1940's scooter with the same powders...
neo71665 roballoba10 months ago
I completely understand sneaking stuff in empty spots with a batch. Almost everything on my novas subframe was done while I was doing a customers racing 4wheeler frame "chrome".
Lumpy4410 months ago
How does the powder coating work in the screw part of the tool? Does it make it bind up and does it scrap off?
roballoba (author)  Lumpy4410 months ago
I wasn't really worried about the screw part, part is blue, part is plain. The binding comes in the sand blaster - you need to work it free.
You can brush or blow the powder out if you like before baking - it's just held on by static cling.
Probably easier to dis-assemble the wrench and treat each of the (3) components separately. Wear will be unavoidable where the rack and gear meet in any event.
filtercages10 months ago
I have purchased and can recommend the DIY powder coat kits available on Ebay & elsewhere.
A domestic oven can be used for curing (not to be used for food thereafter!) and I even used a blowtorch to cure small items, although they do need to be held for a while at the top temperature to allow the molecular binding to take place.
dworki10 months ago
Doesn't the heat soften the material of those tools? I don't remember the temperatures but I believe when new knife is finalized it's put to the oven to soften a bit not to break so easily... is it a good idea for a wrench? Again I have no idea what the temperature was so maybe it's nonsense...
Bowtie41 dworki10 months ago
It depends on the alloy,but about the bare minimum to anneal any steel alloy is 500F up to 1200-1400F,so 375F for the paint won't affect it.Some aluminum alloys can be affected by as low as 240F,so you'd have to be careful which alloy you powdercoat with them.
dworki Bowtie4110 months ago
OK, my mistake. Yes, annealing was the term I could not recall. And being from europe I was assuming 375 degrees Celsius. Thanks for clarification.
tcarney57 dworki10 months ago
You are talking about annealing to "temper" hardened steel. This requires heating them to 1500 to 2000 degrees. 350 degrees will have no effect at all.
roballoba (author)  dworki10 months ago
I always thought the temps would be much higher, but I really don't know....
AllenJoe10 months ago
I love the project, unfortunately the only thing I have to do this with is the 2 dirty wrenches
roballoba (author)  AllenJoe10 months ago
maybe there is another way where you could tumble the tools in a laundry mat with a bunch of rocks and then figure a way to get the powder to stick... spray glue and a toaster oven? Let me know how it comes out!
Edgar10 months ago
Nice. Now our abused tools ans stuff can last some more...
Voted and Blogged a description, with a link to here:
http://faz-voce-mesmo.blogspot.pt/2013/10/a-primeira-impressora-3d-made-in.html
roballoba (author)  Edgar10 months ago
sweet! Thanks.
Jugfet10 months ago
Just need to be careful that the temperature doesn't alter the temper of the tool steel, or you could end up with cool looking junk.
Do try at home, I use a toaster oven only used for that purpose.
laxap10 months ago
Do you think it could be possible to do step 3 with a gas torch?
roballoba (author)  laxap10 months ago
I don't think it would be complete in the cooking process, but try it! maybe even a heat gun could work, but if the powder manufacturer asks for a soaking time, it may be hard to hold the heat for that long.
bob303010 months ago
Cool job. I envy you that you have access to a Tech Shop. Thanks for posting .