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Diy Fluid Bed Trouble Shooting!

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I just built my first fluid bed however I can't get the paint to "fluidize". I keep getting little geysers in my paint. I have no air leaks, I'm using a 20 gallon top fin aquarium pump, my cup and base are 2" in dia and epoxied to a lexan base so there are NO leaks there. However I am using an industrial grade powder paint that seems to be much more fine than the pro-tec type paints. This paint difference may be the only culprit I can think of as it may not "fluidize". Any thoughts or suggestions before I scrap this bed and go back to pp airbrushing my heads?

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What are you using as filters? I use brown paper bags, coffee filters, and vacuum cleaner bags.

Have you tried stirring the paint and turning down the air?

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What are you using as filters? I use brown paper bags, coffee filters, and vacuum cleaner bags.

Have you tried stirring the paint and turning down the air?

I have used coffee filters (multiple ones) and cannot seem to prevent the "volcanoes" either. I will stir the powder and it bubbles for awhile but stops shortly thereafter. I cannot seem to get mine to consistently "boil" either. I may try brown paper bags today. Anyone have any other suggestions?

Edited by piratefishing

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Jig Man...I've used coffee filters and brown paper shopping bags. When i stir I get a little boil but it quickly stops. When I first turn on the air and start to slowly open the valve I see the power begin to rise. Then all of a sudden it is like the air finds one hole then it all stops. Some times when the air valve is slightly open the powder looks as if I just fluffed it but I can not get the full suspended fluid effect. I will say that most of the eruptions occur on the sides of the powder and not in the middle.

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what you're experiencing happens with certain colors. For me, green pumpkin, and watermelon are two that will do that, what I do is exactly what you do. When I'm painting I'll heat my jig and before I dip I give the fluid bed a little swirl and then dip, no problem. I think it may have something to do with density because it seems some powders feel heavier than others and coincidentally those heavier paints are the ones that end up with volcanos. Colors like black, chartreuse, and yellow work great and "boil" with no problem so I know it isn't the fluid bed. I think the only thing you can really do is make the most of it, even though it doesn't look like it, it still gets fluffed up pretty good which you know because a quick swirl and the powder is fluid again instantly, it may take an extra two seconds to paint a jig but the important part is that the paint still goes on really well and if it takes a quick swirl to get it that way then I'll do it because right now there doesn't seem to be any other fix.

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Thanks smallijaw...I'm going to give it a shot again tonight. Yes I'm using a paint that seems to be denser than most of the pro-tec paints I've purchased in the past. If it works then rock and roll!

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Thanks smallijaw...I'm going to give it a shot again tonight. Yes I'm using a paint that seems to be denser than most of the pro-tec paints I've purchased in the past. If it works then rock and roll!

Outlaw, just from what I read I'd say that you shouldn't have any trouble, just about everybody that has used a fluid bed has run into a color that produced the volcanos and all you need to do is give it the quick swirl as I said and dip, trust me it will work like normal with the only difference is the swirl before you dip. Good Luck and let us know how it turns out.

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I to, am having the same problem with the color, green pumpkin,Iv'e just started using a fluid bed ,when you talk about swirling before you paint,do you mean swirl the bait through the paint,or take something and stir or swirl around in the paint before dipping?

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I to, am having the same problem with the color, green pumpkin,Iv'e just started using a fluid bed ,when you talk about swirling before you paint,do you mean swirl the bait through the paint,or take something and stir or swirl around in the paint before dipping?

I think he is talking about lifting the fluid bed up in the air and give it a quick swirl to loosen the powder then dip your jig.

That's what works for me :yes:

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I to, am having the same problem with the color, green pumpkin,Iv'e just started using a fluid bed ,when you talk about swirling before you paint,do you mean swirl the bait through the paint,or take something and stir or swirl around in the paint before dipping?

Exactly what sdsaw said! Just pick up the fluid bed and swirl it and the paint will instantly fluidize and then dip but you need to be quick about it, you can gice the bed a swirl and put it down and then go to your oven and take out a jig, that isn't the way. What you do is take your jig out of the oven and right before you dip give the bed a swirl and then dip and your done, perfect.

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Do you guys have your aerator mounted to the base of the fluid bed I found the vibration from the aerator to help.

What kind of aerator are you talking about?

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SmalliJaw,

You were right it worked perfectly. It was much better than dipping in the can. I can tell you this however. hamertone paint is not meant for dipping. It actually goes on too thick and you do not get the hammertone effect. You will get a thick coat of the toughest paint with a cool calico look but you will not get the textured effect. Solid colors are much better in the fluid bed. Thanks to all for the help!

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My Pink and Pearl are my issue paints. I don't pick up the fluid bed though, I just use a plastic fork and give it a quick swirl, then dip.

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What kind of aerator are you talking about?

An aerator for an aquarium. I have mine mounted to the piece of wood that the fluid bed is built on. I tried it with and without it mounted and it seem to works better with it mounted I also think a small motor mounted to the base of the fluid bed with a off balanced wieght that would vibrate the fluid bed cup would solve all the valcano problems. This is just a theory but if I have some sparetime I might give it a try I was also thinking of a small speaker mounted inside a piece of pvc would cause the powder to float without any air pump or compressor .

Edited by ROWINGADUBAY

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An aerator for an aquarium. I have mine mounted to the piece of wood that the fluid bed is built on. I tried it with and without it mounted and it seem to works better with it mounted I also think a small motor mounted to the base of the fluid bed with a off balanced wieght that would vibrate the fluid bed cup would solve all the valcano problems. This is just a theory... .

You are dead on the money! I have a CSI single dip bed & it has a vibe motor in it, my DIY fluid bed gave me fits til I realized the ONLY difference was vibration. Set me DIY on my scroll saw, turned them both on......PERFECTION!!!!!! No more volcanoes with any color!

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I have now built 6 of these trying different combinations. Still cannot seem to get any flow. So I was wondering if anyone has used plastic wrap? I tied coffee filters, ink jet paper, still no volcanoes or evidence of any fluid like. I purchased another duel pump, still nothing. I feel air coming out of the air lines. So I open the brass valve and it still doesn’t seem like any movements. Plz help (pink paint)

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Welcome to TU. So you have no air pushing any powder up? If so post pics of your unit. This way we can see what may be the problem. I've built many with my plans and they all work. Things I would check:

1. Before you put any powder in the cup, turn on the air pump open the valve and see if the coffee filter, or whatever you used on the bottom of your cup pops up a bit. If not then you don't have:

             a) enough air to move your membrane. Buy a bigger air pump.

             b) you don't have a good seal around the base or you don't have a good seal around the bottom of the cup.

You should have powder moving. You may not get an even boiling effect, but you at least should get volcanoes. Also try Tyvec on the bottom of your cups. You can get it from the Post Office. They are the bigger 8.5 x 11 envelopes that look like stranded fiberglass.

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Carman, thank you for your response. I have purchased 2 duel pumps (tried both), sealed the pvc pieces with glue. I remade the fluid beds and lowered the holes to see if that had and effect. I can hear and feel the air from the pump but it just doesn’t seem like it’s enough pressure. I tested again today and open new jar of red paint. I have read pink is tough. But absolutely no different. I’m using the water in line valve (ice maker) I can feel little vibration on filter. I’m perplexed to say the least. I will get some tyvec, ASAP. 

Edited by Hnoleff

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It seems something is inhibiting the flow of your pump.  I wonder if you’re water valve might be the culprit? I bought the cheapest little plastic valve they had in the aquarium section at the pet store. I got a couple valves in the package for less than a couple bucks. Worth a try maybe. I only run one fluid bed so I use both outputs ran through a T splitter for the fluid bed. It shouldn’t make a difference but running both outputs into one bed should give you more air.

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I actually run a vibratory fluid bed for certain colors.

It is an aluminum base made from C channel with conical shaped spring feet.

I use flat end caps permanently affixed to the base with a screw and a little bit of epoxy.

I have small electric vibratory motors glued to the back of these bases and the aluminum base.

I have two fluid beds mounted on it and in between them is a switch that allows me to adjust the amount of vibration I give them.

For providing air I use a 30/60 aquarium pump I bought from Walmart.

My cups are made from PVC or ABS using knockout test caps and Tyvek.

my flat caps are 3in so I can use 3" cups or install a 3"-2" adapter and use 2" fluid bed cups.

If anybody is interested I could post some pics when I get some time to take them.

Some paints just don't want to fluidize and I still have some that want to give me minor volcanoes.

But with this system it seems to work much better and some paints that used to give me volcanoes don't give me any.

As with all powder paint they should be stirred well or shaken up before the fluid bed is turned on that helps me with a lot of colors.

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I would like to see that setup, Chris. I run a vibrator on mine and it saves me from fussing with this membrane or that.

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