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Cure method for an apartment dweller

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  • Cure method for an apartment dweller

    I?ve read through an awful lot of the posts on the website and my question looks to be one that I haven?t seen addressed yet. It ?may? be better suited for another forum, but I was hoping to get some advice.

    (Generic information)

    I would like to make customer powder coated computer cases facades. For the sake of simplicity, let?s use just the front piece. It will basically be a 10? x 18? x 1? tray.


    I live in an apartment; I have a detached garage (WAY too far for an extension cord). In my garage, I have a single light bulb (presently running 100W bulb) and I have a single 110 outlet (presently my garage door opener, and whatever else I have plugged in at the moment.) I know from experience that I can run a miter saw, drill press, (small) ceramic heater, or halogen lights at the same time? however? I see some dimming of the main overhead light when they are turned on.

    So the question is this?how can I cure in my garage without popping a breaker and killing power for all the garages (all of which have electric openers?which would generally be considered a problem)?

    First thought was a toaster oven, however, desired size seems to exclude.

    Next I thought about picking up a used 110 oven, but I have NO idea how much power they draw or even if I have enough juice to run them.

    I am playing with the idea of the Prod M1500 for $188.50 but that is only because I am guestamating that is approx equal to the load from the miter saw or the halogen light.

    I?ve seen propane based curing systems on another site, but I keep reading that you CAN use an awful lot of things to cure, you just compromise safety. Personally, I have no desire to experience a small explosion in a garage.

    (Or GASP? do I need to relegate myself to the idea that I will need to find someone else to PC for me for a few years until I own a home.)

    Thank you for any advice or input you can provide.

    Scott G

  • #2
    Welcome to "da boards", skot. Quite an interesting dilemma you have there. I don't know if it's possible, but can you just change the circuit breaker that goes out to the garage? That's meaning to say.... if there's currently a 15-Amp breaker on there now, will the landlord let you install a 20 amp? Is there enough amperage in the panel itself to allow yet another breaker installed and you running a new line out there? You never mentioned if it was a complex you live in, or just a multi-family. Also.... what kind of person/people is your landlord. If you told him straight out "listen.... I want to use the garage (a structure that I'm paying rent on and should be able to use) for a hobby of mine and I need some power, it's non-toxic and safe and makes relatively little noise... can we do something about getting a little power out there"... would he help you with it, or at the very least not mind? If he's hooked up to the internet, SHOW him what you've found so that he feels at least a little bit re-assured his investment won't be blown to bits,lol. Perhaps he/she may like it and want to do it as well... therefore making your situation easier to deal with. Who knows, maybe your landlord may even have things for you to work on (heat registers, hinges, etc) and that would make it easier to get what you want out of this situation? I dunno..... it's a question of power, per se. In your instance.... if you are NOT able to have an oven, the IR lamp is your basic next logical step. You just basically have to do and find out a few things in order to advance, in my opinion....

    1) Tell your landlord what yo are doing. Don't do anything on the sly. They hate tyhat and it's only fair because it's not dangerous and they might find it useful for themselves as well (leaving it easier for you to bargain out some power).

    2) Is the electrical panel suited for some more power useage? Sometimes in an older structure 100A service is in place and quite a bit of the resources are already spoken for.

    3) Is a 15A circuit breaker in the place of the garage line? You can switch it over to a 20A and end a few tripping issues, I'd think.

    4) Is there room for another circuit breaker in the panel to run another line to the garage? Tell the landlord you'll do it at your expense (they love that sorta thing and romex and breakers are cheap). If all of the above looks good, it's a viable way to go.

    Answer the above questions to yourself (and here if you don't mind) and I have no doubt we'll be narrowing down the best direction you can take. I have no doubt your'll be able to powder coat. It may be difficult and you might have to make a few exceptions (turn this off while using that) but it doesn't sound impossible..... Russ


    • #3
      3) Is a 15A circuit breaker in the place of the garage line? You can switch it over to a 20A and end a few tripping issues, I'd think.
      This may or may not be a good idea. If the wire in the wall is 14 gauge, 20A may be too much for that wire. I'm no electrician, but I've been around the construction industry since I was a teenager. The only time I've ever seen a 20A breaker was in combination with 12 gauge or larger wire.

      IMO, the better option would be a new 20A breaker, a length of Romex (12-2 w/ground) a j-box, a 20A commercial outlet and an hour or so of labor.

      Oh, one more thing. Depending on the age of the structure, those garage circuits may be GFI (Ground Fault Interrupt) breaker equipped. High initial surges will trip those things all day long. I had to replace the GFI breaker in my panel for a regular breaker on the circuit my table saw is plugged in to. The breaker would pop about every other time I'd fire up the saw.

      Good luck with your project (and your landlord)


      • #4
        skot... have you had any lateral movement with this yet? Just curious as to what direction you're taking.


        • #5
          I really haven?t made any movement in one way or another. The actual property manager is on vacation and will not be back for a few days. They have people who are working in the leasing office, but no real decision power. (Not to mention the fact that it is unseasonably cold in Seattle right now, and the garage is VERY VERY cold.)

          In answers to your initial questions:

          ?2) Is the electrical panel suited for some more power useage? Sometimes in an older structure 100A service is in place and quite a bit of the resources are already spoken for.?
          The apartment complex was built within the last 10 years. There are approx 150 units. There are detached garages/carports in front of some of the units. In the garage there is only one electrical outlet (for the electric garage door opener) and a light socket. There is no circuit breaker box in or near the garage; it is probably out by the leasing office and the ?caba?a?. So I guess this is the long answer for ?I don?t know yet?.

          ?3) Is a 15A circuit breaker in the place of the garage line? You can switch it over to a 20A and end a few tripping issues, I'd think.?
          Again this goes back to the ?I don?t know yet? idea? but I have not yet tripped the breaker. I know that when I turn my heater on low; the lights dim a bit, when I turn it on high; the lights dim some more. However, the breaker has never tripped. Since all of the garages have electric garage door openers?. I am hoping not to trip the breaker, because I cannot reset it, and I can potentially be blocking numerous people from accessing their garage.

          ?4) Is there room for another circuit breaker in the panel to run another line to the garage? Tell the landlord you'll do it at your expense (they love that sorta thing and romex and breakers are cheap). If all of the above looks good, it's a viable way to go.?
          May be a viable option (at least to cost out and suggest) however my I kind of expect the stock response to be along the line of ?Well you are not really supposed to be using power in the garage anyways, and if we did this for you, then we would have to do it for everyone who rents a garage? or even ?if we did that how would we know how much power you used so that we could charge you.?

          Which comes back to the primary question?how to cure if you only have access to minimal power.

          At this point, I am really contemplating options like just making smaller metal items and cure in a toaster oven to see if I actually enjoy powder coating as much as I think I will. Also figuring that this will give time to learn the craft and become more proficient at applying coatings.



          • #6
            it really is quite the conundrum you have going on there, Skot. One needs electricity and compressed air to powder coat, plain and simple. How to do that in a structure where you are limited to both, I do not know. You may indeed have to use only one device at a time until you figure out the best way to do things. Can you rob power from somebody elses' side? (just kidding... that's a fast way to make enemies). By all means experiment with smaller items to get the "touch". I warn you now though.... just because the parts are small doesn't lessen the bug that gets planted for powder coating anything. As a matter of fact... it gets worse due to the fact that you want to see "bigger and better" examples of what you can do. Try doing smaller parts ( fishing reels and hinges,etc) and using a toaster oven for the time being. Then if things look like they might be to your liking I'm sure during all of this you'll figure out a way to gleen the resources you need in that garage. Keep us posted on this one.... it's interesting, that's for sure.


            • #7
              Hmm, this sounds like my dilemma. I too live in an apartment with a very far detached garage. I do know however that mine have a 20 amp breaker but it sounds like they may be of the GFI variety as my neighbors 6hp compressor trips it even though it's supposed to only draw 12 amps.


              • #8
                If there's something else on when you get the compressor started up, then it will trip. Hook a meter up and you'll see the amperage spike up way past the 12 amps on start-up. All motors do this. It's not unusual to see a spike of 22 for a fraction of a second and this may be the reason it keeps tripping. If it doesn't happen on start-up, it'll happen when the compressor cycles each time when deamnding air for the tank. Sooner or later, it's gonna get ya on one of them. Also... the harder that motor works and pressure builds, the more amperage you draw. If the motor is on it's way out it will trip the breaker as well. Check your pressure sensors and the like to see if they are clogged or need to be replaced. You'd be surprised how many problems a non-functioning piece can effect something somewhere else.


                • #9
                  Don't over look the breaker itself. When breakers get old or are used as an on/off switch, they tend to trip prematurely.


                  • #10
                    I totally agree with Dale. Make sure that breaker isn't weak and has a natural "want" to shut off because it's been tripped too many times. You'd be surprised what a difference that makes. Yet more words to live by Dale... Thank you.


                    • #11
                      Also, any extension cord that's too long or too small guage wire for the load will cause an excessive draw and pop a breaker.

                      My garage has ONE 110v outlet for things other than garage door openers and it's on the opposite side of the garage from my "shop" area. I was trying to run my 5HP compressor with a 25' extension cord and would pop the breaker several times a day.

                      Picked up a 25" 10AWG extension cord and haven't popped a breaker since.

                      One of these days, me and my Home Depot credit care are gonna go buy a half dozen breakers and add some new service to the garage....


                      • #12
                        that is funny you said home depot ... i got an account with them and they all know me by first name ....
                        you can do like i did ... i got a small generator to run the shed i am working in ... then i got a huge one with 2 - 220 / 4 110 /2 220 with the twist plugs ... that is the total of 8 outlets and i run the whole house when the power go's out and it is out for hours ...
                        but the small one i run the following :
                        radio (not much power there )
                        shop vac
                        arc welder
                        i been running the following at one time :
                        oil filled heater
                        my buffer for polishing
                        2 shop lights
                        small tv
                        and it dose not skip a beat .... you may try that if need be


                        • #13
                          now there's a though I didn't even think of. Maybe a bit pricey in the beginning but one thing is for certain, you can ALWAYS find use for a generator somewhere.


                          • #14
                            Man, the Home Owner's Association would go nuts (not to mention the neighbors) if I ran a generator while I was out in the shop. I had the neighborhood HOA stooge come by yesterday to "see what I was up to with all that racket". (He's the same guy that complains about me every time I'm running the table saw or using my nail guns out in the driveway)

                            If I lived out in the boonies, a generator would be a good thing to have in any case. Unfortunately, I don't so I'll be doing the add some circuits shuffle..

                            I wish I could build a workshop out in the yard, but since I want one about the size of a 3 car garage, there'd be no more room for the pool. hhehe


                            • #15
                              tell your neighbor that it's law that you can make "all that racket" from 7AM to 11PM if you want and he should worry about his personal business instead of yours. As far as if he ever asks about you powdercoating and it's harmfulness.... tell him his wife burning butter in a frying pan has more contaminants than powdercoating ever will in it's correctly used state. I hate nosey neighbors and have quite an issue over here if you couldn't tell, lol. Not only would I get a generator now, I'd be pulling off the noise suppression just to bug him. Of course.... when everybody is out of power who do you think your "good ol buddy pal" will be looking to, to have his lights on? Yeah.... I thought so.