What is Custom Powder Coating?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

Custom powder coating is the process of applying powder coating to an object; the color may be custom made or chosen from predetermined swatches, and the process can be done to several types of products or objects. The process of custom powder coating involves applying a colored powder that is bonded to the metal object through an electrostatic bond; the powder is then heated, allowed to run and coat the entire object evenly, and cured solid. Metals are commonly powder coated, and custom powder coating may involve coating an object with a custom color, several different colors, or a particular design.

Many businesses are dedicated specifically to the process of custom powder coating because the process involves the use of some specialized tools and requires a fair amount of practice and thorough knowledge of the process. Larger objects must be heat cured in large, specially designed ovens, making it necessary for companies to invest in the proper equipment. Motorcycle frames, car frames, bicycle frames, and other large metal objects are often colored using custom powder coating, and since these objects tend to be quite large, a large oven is required. Home powder coating can be done, but larger objects such as these will be difficult to coat properly.

The process of custom powder coating starts with preparation of the piece to be powder coated. This means cleaning the part thoroughly to remove dirt, grime, and grease that may prevent the powder from adhering properly to the piece. Once the part is cleaned, it is taped off to prevent powder from applying to areas of the part that should not be powder coated. The part is then hung from a support frame or placed in a protected room with excellent ventilation, as the powder can be caustic and cause some discomfort or illness when inhaled. A special sprayer is used to spray the powder onto the part, which is connected to an electrostatic charge that helps the powder adhere to the piece. Once the part is thoroughly coated, it must be cured properly in an appropriately sized oven.

If the part will be powder coated with more than one color, the process may change. The piece may be coated with two colors at once, or one color may be applied and cured before the second color is applied. Another issue that may alter the process is sandblasting; if the part to be coated was previously powder coated or otherwise painted, the part may need to be sandblasted to bare metal to ensure the new powder coating will be applied properly.

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