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  • powder gauge?

    i was wondering if there is a gauge to measure the amount of mils you are putting on a piece that your coating or is it a guess..right now im getting a smooth look to a wavie look and i want a smooth look everytime the first time any suggestion would be appreciated thanks

  • #2
    There are coating thickness meters on the market but they are pretty expensive for the hobbiest. They only measure after cure so by the time you get your mil it's too late.

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    • #3
      Chevelle..... working in the industry for a while has helped me get a "touch" for what you are trying to do. Let's see if this might be of some help as even I have yet to use a "gauge" other than time and feel to whatever I have been coating, no matter the thickness spec.
      I'll tell you what I tell all my clients when they ask me to tech them. Slow long broad strokes like using a spray-can will generally get you a good beginner's coat. I know...it sounds silly but the theory behind it is this....

      A basic general pass with a poly (what you hobbyists use most) will net you between 1.2-1.6 mils. Most liquid coatings top thier build out at .6-.9 area (assuming the solids). A powder is 100% solids, so therefore not as much time is needed at each pass. Picure yourself holding a spray can in your hand. Start before the piece (a flat panel if you will) and paint the air. move from left to right in a straight deliberate manner. Stop sparaying after you have moved past the piece. There...one even strip of paint. No rough edges...nice and fluid. Well, the same goes for powder. Your thickness is determined by pressure,ground,diffuser,substrate and powder size (among other things) basically. One slow pass of the gun in that manner, will net you 1.2 mils pretty much. Keep the voltages low ( most of what you guys use works best at 30-40 Kv I'm assuming) and air pressure at a reasonable amount. Just because the powder is "charged" doesn't mean that it can't blow past what you're doing. Give it a chance to encapsulate and linger. Anything not fit will most assuredly pass by. If you really need a cheap alternative to the whole "thickness reader" thing after it's on (so you know what you just did looks like so, and builds like so).... Take a house magnet. Now take sheets of typical notebook paper. Measure the paper until you get 1 mil thickness. Now....place the magnet on the paper, and then on a nice hefty piece of steel ( your very own pre-coated piece if you wish). Now pull it off. You now know what 1 mil feels like. Go down in magnet strenghts until you find one that BARELY stays on the paper (one of those flat junk magnets they give you for free should do). When you find that one.....label it 1 mil. Find another magnet...go to 1.2. That will take a lot of time, I'm sure. Hoever...for the price of basically nothing, you have a tester as good as we use for the most part. They make pen-type testers out there that work on the same principal. Pull the spring loaded magnet away, and the reading gets stuck at whatever thickness it is. Nice and simple. Then again....you could fork over a few hundred for a dial electronic mete...or upwards of a grand or so for one of the many digital ones out on the market. Hope something in this long winded speech helped,lol.

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      • #4
        If I only had a brain

        This is a P.S. to my last post. I totally forgot about this handy little tool that we use and would be cost effective to you hobbyists as well. I didn't see it on the Caswell site, so I'm gonna consider this one fair game to let you know about,yes? (perhaps this vendor will not supply to non-industrial or non-resale services...so Caswell may need to buy a few of these and sell them here .....*HINT*HINT*,lol).
        It's a "scrape" type thickness tester. That is to say...you coat your part along with a sacrificial flat test piece and use this handy lil gauge to see how thick your coating will be BEFORE you bake it. Quite an effective tool if you are trying to get a "touch" for powder coating. I've used them long long ago and they were a successful training aid. Here's the web-site addy for those that are curious. Thanks again....Russ

        http://www.defelsko.com/powderchecker.html

        again...I have no clue what these cost nowadays, but I know it would be a great item for Caswell to offer you guys (*HINT*HINT* lol....'nuff said)

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