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Powder Coat Problem

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I made one of the You Tube fluid beds with a 2" union and had less than stellar results.  Finding a filter that would work good was hit and miss.  Got one color to work good and the next day it was volcano city.  After more testing and trying things I decided there were two issues.  First, the filter was of inconsistent porosity and the cheap plastic aquarium flow control was junk.  Threw it in the garbage can.....

Next up I ordered a fluid bed from TJ's Tackle.  His solution looked to solve both problems by having a filter media made specifically for powder painting and a better quality flow control valve.  Unfortunately after a couple of hours of testing, this pile is no better than a home made one. 

Only one color worked well and that was pink.  All paints were Pro-Tec. 

Black was impossible.  We tried filling the cup fuller and that did not help.  Per help from TJ's, he had me twist the cup to get a better seat around the cup, that did not help.  On the black when slowly turning on the air, the black powder would raise about an inch, drop down, and volcano.  Stirring did not help at all.  Air flow adjustment did not help, it was nothing or volcano.

Fluorescent Orange was somewhat okay.  We could get it to boil somewhat with a few volcanoes, but it still spewed over the cup. 

Fluorescent Yellow was not much better than black.

Chartreuse wasn't any better the Fluorescent Yellow. 

It looks this is another one for the garbage can..... 

Time to look at vibratory systems.


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You have an age old problem. No matter which fluid bed system you buy, you will have problem with some colors but not all colors. Reason being some powder are denser than others and do not fluidize as well. No matter if you buy all your paint from Pro-tech (CSI) or off of the web, no two powder are alike in make-up. So what is the solution. First of all you can do what Dink Master said and add some clear powder to the batch.  You can also do what Jig Man said and add more filter. Finally you can try different filter media for different colors. Some colors will work better with certain media. This will be a trial and error on your part. Document all of your successful results so you can duplicate it again. You can also try different media, like Tyvek (post office envelopes), vacuum cleaner bags,  Allergen pillow covers, brown bags, or computer paper. I have better results with my fluid bed in the winter when it is drier. make sure you always keep your powder paint tightly sealed when not in use. Any moisture that gets in the powder paint will give you lots of problems. In the long run you will have to deal with an imperfect solution and do the best you can. Good Luck

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The fluidizing plate that is used on the TJ's fluid bed is good stuff.

But as Cadman said even with the proper stuff there are some paints that just are problematic.

I built my own vibratory base for my fluid beds.

I used aluminum C channel with spring feet. Mine has two fluid beds on it and two vibratory motors connected to a rheostat switch.

With the aquarium valves I can easily adjust the air volume and with the rheostat switch I can easily adjust the amount of vibration given.

Some paints including some good quality paints will still volcano some even with  adjustable vibration, air, and fluidizing plate on the bottom.

I make all my own fluid beds and I don't use a union in any of them.

All of mine are made using ABS flat end caps. And the majority of mine either have fluidizing plate on the bottom or Tyvek from post office envelopes.

By using knockout test caps you can easily switch filter media to find the one that works best for you.

Anyway I wouldn't throw any fluid bed in the trash especially the one that TJ's makes.

If it made me that upset that I was throwing it away I guess I would give up on powder painting all together. But it works so well and is durable enough that I just can't give it up.

I just work around the issues and do the best I can.

And I still make amazing looking jigs!

Or so they tell me anyway.

Edited by Kasilofchrisn
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9 hours ago, mark poulson said:

I am just a hobby maker, but I've found that vibrating the cup by hand will loosen stubborn powder to allow better dipping.  That way, I can dip without creating Mt. Vesuvius.

I saw a piece where a guy made a small vibrator for his fluid bed out of a computer fan motor.

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FYI - powder paints are subject to humidity issues and will "clump" over time resulting in some of the issues your having.  I had a plastic jar of black from harbor freight sitting around for quite awhile and it "solidified" - I was able to break it back up and sift out some of the solid pebble sized clumps I couldn't break down - but be aware that sealing the powders up after use is a key to help keeping them "fluffy and flowing".


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Today I made my 16 year old kid sit down with the fluid bed from TJ's, 5 of TJ's removable cups, and 5 jars of 2 oz Pro-Tec powder paint.  I told him to make it work and show me each color when he had it right.  He got all five colors working great.  He took the full TJ's cups and dumped each back into it's original Pro-Tec jar.  He then took one color at a time and added powder to to the cup a little at a time and played with the air until he got it fluid.  The trick for him was to add about 1 oz. to the TJ's 2" diameter cup.  He showed me every color and they were all fluid.  If you tipped the cup to side it was as fluid as a liquid.  Took him about half a hour and when he was done, he asked me if there was anything else I needed him to do.

If any else has problems, I suggest you get a kid to do it!

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