Powder Coating FAQ
Some members asked for this so I took the time to write this up for you guys. If you would like to see any more questions added to this please let me know and I will add that information
What is powder coating?
-Powder coating is an electrostatically applied coating. This coating comes built off 4 different types of bases: polyurethane, urethane, epoxy, and a hybrid of those. The coating is applied dry then cured in an oven where the particles then melt, bond to the part, then solidify to create an extremely durable and attractive finish.
What is the different between powder coating, anodizing, paint, cerakote/duracoat and hydrographics?
-Powder coating is a dry applied coating that chemically and physically bonds to a part during a cure cycle in an oven
-Anodizing is a layer of hard oxidation built on the substrate that is dyed and sealed
-Paint is a pigment in a liquid suspension carrier that is applied to a part then the carrier evaporates away. This leaves the pigment attached to the part with a weak physical bond.
-Cerakote is a ceramic based liquid coating that is applied with a spray gun and comes in two forms (air cure, and oven cure). The air cure is much like paint with the addition of a heavy ceramic in the coating, the oven cure must go through a heat cycle in an oven to cure correctly. It is more durable than its air cure counterpart.
-Duracoat is much like Cerakote, however it is less durable and does not handle heat the same as it lacks a ceramic insulating component.
-Hydrographics, commonly referred to as hydrodipping or dipping, is a very thin layer of ink that is applied with a water carrier. The ink its self is not durable, its durability is limited specifically by its base and top coats. That may be spray paints, gel coats, or automotive paints; each of which has its own characteristics.
How is powder coating applied?
-Powder coating is applied in a dry form by an electrostatic gun to a part that is grounded. This electrical charge is what attracts the powder to the part and holds the coating to the part until it is moved into the oven for its cure cycle. On average the cure cycle temperature is 400 degrees. Powder coating can also be applied with a fluidizing bed but this is typically reserved only for industrial and military applications demanding a high mil thickness.
How long does powder coating last?
-This is a hard question to answer. It should last forever when applied correctly to a correctly prepared piece. Outside factors such has a sustained salt spray can cause a failure of the coating, however most coatings are rated for 1000+ hours of spray and this can be increased with special primers or additional coats. In regards to heat, the coating can stand spikes past 500 degrees, but any sustained times above its cure temperature can result is a damage to the coating. Aside from those factors the coating will weather fantastically with no flaking, cracking, or failure.
How durable is powder coating?
-Powder coating is outstandingly durable when applied correctly. A proper cure schedule insures that the coating has fully cured. The coating can withstand drops on gravel, concrete, bending, twisting, flexing, abrasion, blunt force impacts, handling, paint hits, etc without failure
-Here is an image of a bottle that had an 80% cure on it that was intentionally abused by my brother, it was throw in gravel, thrown on tar, tossed off a few roofs, and just beat up. There was no failure of the coating, in fact you will see rocks trapped in the dents that we pulled out after
-Abrasive test at 137psi roughly 20cfm of air flowing through 1/2" hose. New 60-80 grit media. Pretty straightforward, make your own conclusions.
In order shown:
20 years of rust
Single stage powder coat (polyurethane based, standard 3mil)
What can powder coating be applied to?
-Powder coating can be applied to any metal surface that can safely go through its cure cycle. Pewter or other very low melting point metals cannot be coated. Some plastics, wood, glass, composites, and in general any substrate that can go through its cure cycle can be done with specialized techniques.
-Can you powder coat brass?
○ Yes, brass can be powder coated
-Can powder coating be applied to cast metals?
○ Powder coating can absolutely be applied to cast metals even powdered metals. In most cases with proper prep work the casting marks and rough surface can be completely smoothed out
How thick is powder coating?
-Powder coating starts at a 3mil thickness (1mil = .001") and can be applied up to 50+ mil for certain industrial and military equipment however this extreme thickness would never be applied to a paintball marker.
-Does it make your marker heavier?
-TECHNICALLY yes, since material is added there will be a negligible difference in weight. It would take highly precise instruments measuring on extremely small scales to measure the different though.
Does powder coating flake off?
-When applied to a correctly prepped surface, and correctly cured powder coating will NOT flake
How does powder coating hold up to drops and falls?
-Powder coating does very well with dropped and falls. It would be nearly impossible to create a complete failure of the coating and get to the metal under it. In most cases you will not see any scratches or scuffs in the coating, because the coating actually has some give to it (cannot be felt) it absorbs a lot of the impact.
Here is an impact test, I used an engineers hammer to beat on a piece of thick walled steel pipe. I use this hammer for a lot of stuff around the shop so it has grease and paint on the head hence the plastic barrier. As you can see that only stopped grease and paint transfer to the part so you could see the impact area clearly.
How does powder coating hold up to paint hits and handling?
-Paint hits and handling will not have an effect on the coating.
Will powder coating effect the markers tolerances?
-Powder coating when applied by an experienced professional with a lot of experience in paintball markers will have no effect on the tolerances of the marker.
Does powder coating effect threads?
-Threads are always masked off to prevent any issues
Can powder coating be applied internally?
-The internals of a marker are always masked off for flawless use.
Does powder get inside the barrel?
-Barrels are plugged and masked to prevent any build up inside the barrel.
What is the difference between professional custom coating industrial coating (like the axe and tippmanns)
-The easiest way to start this would be to explain that in an industrial setting it is a production line. Parts are hung on a rail with little masking involved, no prep work other than an air dusting and if you are lucking a chemical pretreatment. This means contamination to the surface and a poorly prepped surface. Parts are sent through an automated process where it is bombarded with powder (always too thick which causes a poor finish), never checked for full coverage, then sent through batch ovens. The parts do not get checked for temperate to ensure a correct and full cure. With a quality professional custom coater, parts are always blasted for a correct surface prep (unless the finish is going over a polished surface another technique is used here instead), air dusted, chemically wiped to remove any residue off, then depending on the part outgassed to push out any air bubbles in the substrate, masked, sprayed, checked for coverage, then put in the oven. A quality professional coater will have equipment to accurately measure the temperature of the part to ensure it is cured correctly. Equipment is extensively cleaned between color changes to ensure no cross contamination.
Can fades be done with powder coating?
-Yes, fades are possible.
Can splashes be done with powder coating?
-With special techniques a splash or a splatter is possible.
What colors are available?
-Nearly any color that one could imagine.
What types of finishes are available?
-Solid (glossy, satin, or flat), candy (transparent color: glossy, satin, or flat), texture, wrinkle, vein, river, metallic, pearl, chameleon (changes colors), and custom finishes (like custom flakes, pearls, holographic flakes, etc)
-Pearl (the blue tint in the white)
-Chameleon (Flake and pigment)
-Glow in the dark
Can powder coating produce a true white?
-Yes, powder coating can produce a true bright white.
Can colors be matched exactly after a marker or part is done?
-Yes parts can be 100% exactly matched later on. If you had a marker done then got a new barrel for it later that barrel can be matched 100%
Can you match anodizing colors exactly?
-Matching exact anodized colors that have already been produced is nearly impossible as a number of factors go into determining the exact shade anodizing will come out to.
Can you powder coat something to look like it was anodized?
-Finishes can be produced to look like anodizing, but matching an already applied color is very difficult.
How many times can a piece be recoated without damaging the tolerances of the part?
-Powder coating can be applied, removed, and reapplied nearly indefinitely when proper techniques are applied without an effect on the tolerances.
How does powder coating feel?
-Powder coating can have a different feel based on the finish applied. It is difficult to explain its feel. However anything that is not a texture feels very smooth and silky.
Can a loader be matched to a marker?
-Yes with proper and specialized techniques I have developed, certain hoppers can be powder coated to match a marker.
Can the body bolts or nuts be done to match?
-Some bolts can be done to match, however it depends on the size of the allen socket in the bolt. All nuts can be coated
Can powder coating be applied over chrome?
-Yes when applied properly powder coating can be applied over chrome.
Will powder coat hide scratches and milling marks?
-Powder coating can hide some milling marks and light scratching. Any deep marks can filled in with a special primer and sanded down so the coating can start with a fresh clean finish.
-Here are pictures that show the type of milling marks that can be covered up cleanly with powder coating
What are some of the most interesting finishes?
-Some of the most interesting finishes are chameleon finishes (change color), reverse 3d splashes, custom pearls and holographic flake, custom candy colors than shift in shade.
Examples of powder coated markers
-Chameleon phoenix stormwalk emag with a custom milled frame and body
-Custom deep purple metallic karta mag
-Custom blue pearl axe
-Flat texture brown mag
-Custom candy wine and a custom pearl bronze dsp phantom
-Satin black sydarm
-Wrinkle black with a orange/green chameleon flake, metallic forest green, and custom red chameleon barrel on a dspv2
-Custom chameleon DM14 for TBD player Dan Holliday
-Bright white with a large silver flake cocker
-Chameleon black magic cocker
-Shade shifting candy lemon lime and wrinkle black with orange/green chameleon flake
-Wrinkle purple pearl mag
-Tiffany blue and metallic bronze mag
-Gloss black holographic mag
-Chameleon and satin orange metallic ego11
-Black holographic shocker
-Chameleon Ripper Mag
Last edited by PrecisionPowder; 06-05-2014 at 05:52 PM.
Just a heads up on the Automag, you can powdercoat the top of the grip frame and the bottom of the rail, that will save you some taping time. The two areas you need to tape is the rail top and the mirrored surface on the bottom of the body.
I know but I prefer to do them. Especially the top of the grip. Then powder does not get into the trigger area or threaded areas on top. Plus sometimes I use textured powder so it wouldn't fit right if I didn't tape those areas. Thank you though, I appreciate it.
Originally Posted by luke
That was informative, thanks for posting it.
Thanks for the information.
I gotta admit, this has me intrigued. I may have to hit you up, sometime.
I feel like a red/gold chameleon would look insanely good.
I got a local place to do a powder coat of my last project mag, just a plain sharp silver. It looks fantastic. Don't mean to infringe on your own thread, just reinforcing that it does work great.
Doing this color this week. Orange, copper, red, gold, green
Originally Posted by Tryfan
Please post pictures when you're done with that marker!
I will, it wont be here til next week though. Its going on a ripper mag
Originally Posted by Dayspring
I updated the FAQ
Dayspring at the bottom you will find that chameleon you were interested in on a ripper mag
Last edited by PrecisionPowder; 10-15-2014 at 03:19 PM.