Powdercoating is the process of applying a dry pigmented powder to a surface via air pressure and a light electrostatic charge and bonding that powder to said surface with the aid of heat to melt the powder so that it creates a hard, durable shell.

But you don't really care about that, and to be honest, neither do we. At Circle Track, we're all about helping you have success on the racetrack, not having science class. So let's get to the point.

Powdercoating is an excellent technology when it comes to protecting metal. And that is why it has become quite popular with both racers and chassis builders, who will have a new racing chassis sent out for powdercoating instead of paint. Compared to a traditional paintjob, powdercoat is stronger, more durable, resistant to solvents, is easier to clean, and just plain looks good longer. In the world of stock car racing where the chassis is constantly being blasted by sand and grit blown up off the track, having your chassis powdercoated-if you can afford it-is almost a no-brainer.

But we all know that race teams rarely go more than a week without changing chassis components. Whether replacing damaged lower control arms or updating the car with newer parts, the race car is always evolving. This often means that by midseason a team has many new parts on the car that it either didn't have time to send out for a matching powdercoat or just didn't bother and now have several components with poorly matching paint.

The good news is powdercoating smaller parts is actually a very simple and easy process. The big guys have lots of money invested in powdercoating equipment and wall-in ovens which are necessary if you are going to be coating entire chassis, but for smaller components it's overkill.

There are several different powdercoating options out there, but Eastwood has some of the most affordable and easy-to-use kits for the race team that wants to do some of its own powdercoating work. For this article, we got our grubby mitts on Eastwood's newest offering, the Dual Voltage HotCoat Powder Gun (PN 11676).

This newest gun adds a feature which allows you to choose between 15kv for smaller parts and 25kv for big jobs. The electricity ratings are used because most powdercoating systems, including this one, use electricity to put a small electric charge on the metal components being coated. This causes the powder to be attracted to the metal, resulting in a consistent coating even in hard to reach areas.

In addition to the gun, Eastwood also offers a multitude of different colors, including clear and chrome. All you need is an air compressor with a regulator capable of maintaining 5 to 10 psi and an oven for baking the powder onto the material after it has been applied.

As you will see from the included photos, we experimented on several different components and largely had good success. But, just like painting, the end result from any powdercoating project greatly depends on the prep work you put in. All components must be stripped to their metal, have any rust removed, and be clean of oils or other contaminants.

The process requires heating the powder to between 375 and 450 degrees (depending on the type) in order to get it to "flow out" or go into a liquid state, any parts you wish to powdercoat can't have rubber or other heat-sensitive materials on them.

Still, if you can lay your hands on an old electric oven at a yard sale or flea market, you will have exactly what you need to powdercoat your own suspension components, brackets, pulleys, or just about anything else you can think of. It only requires a little more time than fogging the part with a rattle-can paintjob, and the finished surface will be much easier to clean, which will save you time in the long run.

In this article, we'll hit most of the important points for powdercoating your own components, but if you want more information, Eastwood has an excellent resource available in the Powdercoater's Handbook. The book is a quick read and presents all the information in an easy-to-understand manner.

SOURCE
Eastwood
800-343-9352
http://www.eastwood.com
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