Introduction: Four Chamber Fluid Bed for Powder Painting

About: My wife and I are custom rod and tackle builders from North Central Wisconsin. We also travel to Fishing/Outdoor Sports shows and find the other cool stuff people make in their basements and garages. We use so…

I recently received a jig making kit as a present and I wanted to powder paint the freshly cast jigs. I looked on line and found the quickest way is powder paint. To get the best results with powder paint, the paint needs to be "fluid' meaning that it should be fluffed up with air to give a thinner more consistent coat of paint.

I looked up the equipment to achieve this and it was very expensive! I found a few videos that explained how they have created their own Fluid Beds. So I decided I wanted a four chamber version and I took bits and pieces and created my own.

Since then I have used this set up a few times and can attest to the working finished product. For someone very new to powder painting, my creations thus far have turned out very professional and I am very excited to put them to use catching fish when the weather warms up.

Although Cliche, I must warn you. This is my first attempt at writing an instructable, but I use the site so much I figured I best start contributing. Who knows... maybe writing instructables will become a new hobby.

Step 1: Step 1: Gather Materials

I first went to Menards and Petco. At Menards I gathered the common PVC Materials listed below. At Petco I got the air valves and the air supply.

You will also need some sort of saw (I used a miter saw with a fine toothed blade), a measuring device, a drill, and a 3/16ths drill bit.

Menards Shopping list: $46.02

1 - 2 in X 2 ft section of PVC - $3.53

4 - 2 in PVC Test cap - $1.20 (@ 0.30 cents per cap)

4 - 2in PVC Unions - $35.32

1 - Small Bottle Gorilla Glue - $5.97

Petco Shopping list; $26.98

1 - 11 piece Air Control Kit - $4.99

1 - Petco 9903 air pump - $21.99

Total Cost: $73.00

These are just prices around my area that do not include tax. Your project may be cheaper or more expensive, All I know is that the cost is about 50% of what one of these units cost put together.

Step 2: Step 2: Cut and Assemble the Bottom Pieces

First, cut 8 - 2 in pieces from the length of PVC. Then mark where the top of the test caps will be on the outside of four of the eight sections of PVC, this will show you where to drill the 3/16th inch holes for your air control valves. After the holes are drilled apply a generous bead of glue around the test cap and insert each of the test caps into the drilled sections of PVC.

Step 3: Step 3: Assemble the Air Control Valves

If you measured correctly the test caps should come fairly close to the bottom of your drilled holes without covering them up. After these sections have dried, insert them into the threaded (male) portion of the union. This will be your bottom half of your fluid beds. In each drilled hole insert one of the air control valves from the kit you bought at Petco. they should be snug, but if you need a little room ream the hole out a little at a time until the snug fit is achieved.

Step 4: Step 4: Assemble the Top

Take the remaining four sections of the PVC that are left from the eight sections cut in step one and insert them into the flat top portion of the PVC union. This will sit on top and the collar will slip over and screw on to the bottom portion of the fluid bed.

With all of the fluid beds assembled, cut four sections of air tubing from the 9930 air pump box (these can be as long or as short as you want just as long as they are all the same size and they allow the fluid beds to sit flat). Attach one section of tube to each fluid bed, then take two "T" pieces from the air control kit and connect the fluid beds in pairs as shown in the second picture.

Cut two more lengths of tubing attach them, one to each of the two "T" pieces. The opposite ends will connect to the air pump and provide you with the air supply. Reference the picture as to what the four chamber fluid bed set up should look like from the front.

Step 5: Tips

In the introduction I mentioned doing some online research about this project. One thing I forgot to include with pictures is the "Diffuser paper". This is a crucial part of the fluid bed as it disperses the air evenly throughout the paint preventing what professionals call a "volcano" effect...(don't worry I didn't know what that meant until I saw it. you'll understand). I saw a very informational video testing different types of media for the diffusers and what was found is that paper grocery bags have the most consistent air dispersal and they are "free"!

What I did was disassemble a paper bag so it was one flat sheet of paper. Then I took the collar off of the fluid bed, and took the top flat portion of the fluid bed laid it on paper bag collar side down traced around it then cut out that circle. Now you should have a round piece of paper that can be sandwiched between the top and bottom portions of the fluid bed. Now screw the collar back on and dump in some powder paint (if pictures are needed I will update, just ask).

play around with the air flow adjustments on the pump and the air valves to get a "rolling' effect (like water at a rolling boil, hence fluid bed).

Thanks for reading, comments and critiques are welcome.

Happy Creating!

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