Powder Coat Your Hand Tools

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Introduction: Powder Coat Your Hand Tools

About: Trying to learn faster than I forget. It will be cool to make some stuff along the way.

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.

Step 1: Clean Your Tool

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

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.

Step 3: Bake Your Tool

Once the powder is on and it looks even, it's time to bake!

Make sure the oven is set to appropriate temperature and quickly hang your tools so the heat doesn't all escape.

BE CAREFUL not to bump the powder!

Set your timer according to powder type - mine was for 15 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 4: Remove, Cool, & Enjoy Your Tool

Ding!

your timer is done, so be sure to wear your gloves and carefully remove your tools from the oven. The coating is still soft now so don't bump it - you will be sorry.

It's still HOT, so be smart now and don't touch it!

Hang the tools somewhere to cool slowly.

Be Patient, metal holds heat longer than fresh baked cookies.

Sit back and enjoy your pretty new tools.


Remember, don't try this at home! Do not bake powders in an oven used for food.

I did it at Tech Shop!

http://www.techshop.ws

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    39 Discussions

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    MelG9

    2 years ago

    Seriously, if you're going to paint tools, whether powder coat or liquid, you really need to disassemble the tool first. There's a small screw that allows the movable jaw and the adjustment screw to come out. Then you need to plug the screw hole with a silicone plug so it doesn't get filled with powder.

    You can't just paint to whole tool like that.

    1 reply

    Prismatic powders has some GREAT colors, even a "Chrome" process!
    Using an old oven from remodeling of a home would be great! I'd make sure of the temp by using a thermometer & do outdoors!
    You can make a plastic room with higher mil sheet plastic for bigger pieces, drop cloth or even plastic wrap for very small tools.
    The process is fairly simple. If just using for tool handles, you might consider dipping products instead, as it's thicker & can add cushion too.
    Need for a good paint that will last a very long time, perhaps a lifetime, powder coating is a great way to create it.
    Safe handling is crucial! If no idea about handling chemicals, it might be best if you at least take a class. Call company that makes respirator masks to be sure you buy an appropriate one! (Especially when blast medium & paint is airborne!) I've seen a lotta ppl on YouTube handling these things without proper protection, which will eventually lead to it only being sold to shop & certifications, etc. after these people need medical care for silicosis & similar problems!

    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?

    3 replies

    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.

    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.

    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?

    2 replies

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    1 reply

    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.

    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.

    2 replies

    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.

    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.

    1 reply