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  • Air or Powder Contamination

    A while back I started seeing random occurrences of tiny grey specs in the coatings of various parts that I finished. At first, I thought I had a batch of contaminated powder, so I stopped using it. It happened again after using another powder. Then I was thinking that maybe the zinc primer I was using was leaving residue behind in the rubber hoses. So I bought extra hoses and use different hoses exclusively for certain powders. (they're carefully blown out after every use) The issue continued and I had no idea what was going on, so I tried different powders with both of my guns and cured different parts in different ovens in an effort to localize the source of contamination. The specs continued to be random and totally unexpected. I'm now convinced that the powders were all fine and I'm suspicious of my air supply. I have a large 80 gallon 2 stage compressor that supplies air to all my blast cabinets, tools, and guns. It runs through iron pipe with quick connect Tees located at various points. Could it be that I have some rusting going on inside the compressor or pipe and occasionally it breaks free and makes it's way to my powder guns? I have moisture filters at the air entry points of the guns, but maybe they can't trap small particles?

    For now I'm going to use a small pancake compressor exclusively for powder application. Hopefully there's some sort of filter that can be used to trap anything that's breaking loose from inside those air pipes for a long term solution.

    Suggestions, advice, ideas? Anyone else had this happen?
    Last edited by tomk1960; 06-14-2017, 06:32 AM.

  • #2
    Sounds like you're taking some good steps to isolate it... but No mention of Gun cleaning (I'd suggest a total tear down and cleaning... and maybe even some replacement of wear parts if your gun has them). Also, Just a moisture trap is taking some heavy risks. I suggest looking into better filtration and possibly look at replacing the air supply hoses to remove that from the possibilities. Sometimes old air hoses start releasing tiny bits from inside walls and that alone can give you issues like you describe.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by SCOTTRODS View Post
      Sounds like you're taking some good steps to isolate it... but No mention of Gun cleaning (I'd suggest a total tear down and cleaning... and maybe even some replacement of wear parts if your gun has them). Also, Just a moisture trap is taking some heavy risks. I suggest looking into better filtration and possibly look at replacing the air supply hoses to remove that from the possibilities. Sometimes old air hoses start releasing tiny bits from inside walls and that alone can give you issues like you describe.
      My main gun is a Hypersmooth HS-02. It gets blown out after every use and color change, along with the associated tubing and connections. Are you suggesting that I completely disassemble the gun itself too? I didn't think that was recommended, but I could be wrong and wouldn't have a problem with doing that. Your comment regarding the air hose is a good one. I was planning to replace that as well and will use it exclusively with the pancake compressor. Can you recommend any specific types of filters that can be used to trap particles like I've described?

      Lucky for me this hasn't happened with a large part or a wheel, but the odds are stacked against me if I don't take the proper precautions immediately. Thanks for your advice.

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      • #4
        Don't choke on the price... but use this as a goal to filter your air well... Here's a link to the System I like best... or one similar, really. https://www.zoro.com/speedaire-desic...Q&gclsrc=aw.ds
        Yes... you may find the inner workings of the HSO2 has some embedded powder in the tubes inside the gun... I don't know of a better way than to take it apart and check it out. There are corneres and stuff where powder does not flow smoothly that could be holding some semi-impinged particles and allowing that contamination... you might be shocked at what you find inside.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by SCOTTRODS View Post
          Don't choke on the price... but use this as a goal to filter your air well... Here's a link to the System I like best... or one similar, really. https://www.zoro.com/speedaire-desic...Q&gclsrc=aw.ds
          Yes... you may find the inner workings of the HSO2 has some embedded powder in the tubes inside the gun... I don't know of a better way than to take it apart and check it out. There are corneres and stuff where powder does not flow smoothly that could be holding some semi-impinged particles and allowing that contamination... you might be shocked at what you find inside.
          You have to spend money to make money and really good filters aren't cheap. I think I'd want this set up right before the outlet for the gun hose so that it would fully benefit from all the filtering. The same compressor feeds my blast cabinets and I wouldn't want all that air going through that nice filter.

          Good tip - I will buy one. Thanks!

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          • #6
            Sounds like a plan... you can certainly look around and may find something tuned to your exact CFM as well, which could be higher or lower priced dependent on your numbers and requirements... I agree with that should be the final filtration for your outlet to your gun as well. You may also add the Motorguard moisture filter before this unit as well... They are good for Larger moisture situations... where the humidity is heavy and you have to get tons of moisture out of your lines... but you have to be vigilant with them and all filters to get full advantage of them... I recommend you also do some searches for filtration as well, and look at all the options. The one I linked to is actually a fair priced system. There are some other great brands and models out there that you might like better after reading them, per any number of specific things that appeal to you and your situation. I like the motorguard type canister for ease of use. But if you let it sit with a ton of water in it after a prolonged use, they do tend to corrode from the inside out giving you a completely new problem... so you may opt to avoid them altogether. It's kind of a "Clean after each use" kind of thing to me.
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            • #7
              I've been using a small pancake compressor for several weeks now and haven't had a single issue. While the problem is gone, the original issue hasn't been resolved. I agree that the contamination must be coming from either the final air supply hose I was using or the iron piping that I tap off of for air in various places. I'm using a brand new air hose with the little compressor, but I think it would be risky to just swap that hose over and resume use of my main air supply. The 5 stage moisture filter that you recommended is on sale for 25% off until tomorrow, but after talking to a technical specialist there, he recommended an inline filter like this one: https://www.zoro.com/wilkerson-compr...00/i/G2681594/ This is good down to 5 microns, so it should trap anything that gets close to my gun. I'll be using a brand new air hose as well, so I'll put a 40 micron filter at the beginning of the line and this 5 micron filter on the end near the gun. I'll start by PC'ing some small parts to make sure that it works and then I'll report back.

              The salesman could have tried to sell me the expensive water/moisture trap, but his technical guy said it wasn't necessary.
              Last edited by tomk1960; 07-20-2017, 04:14 PM.

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