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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-16-2012, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
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Tips on chrome powder coating intake

I've got my Eastwood powder gun (the one with two voltage settings) and got the Chrome and Super Gloss Clear powders. I've read on a few forums of people's experiences with other brand Chrome powders, none using the Eastwood stuff though. Not sure how much of a difference it makes, but just looking for any tips to get it to come out nice and not just gloss grey (which I heard is a problem if you cure it wrong). My plan was just to follow the directions, but firsthand experience would help! I might just do a test peice to make sure it goes as planned, but I don't have much extra powder to practice with.

I have a small sandblasting cabinet that I will use to clean the parts, then pre-bake them at 400 to get any oils or gasses baked out, then last clean with mineral spirits. I think that pretty well follows the instructions.

So first part of question is any recommendations on cure. I think the instructions basically say to cure the chrome normally, full cure, let the part cool completely, then repeat with the clear (the temperatures might be slightly different for the chrome vs. clear, need to re-read the directions).

Second is it's a cast aluminum intake, so the usual bumpy finish. Should I go through the trouble to smooth the surface some, or just powder it as-is? I'd like a smoother overall look, but don't know how well the powder smooths out the fine bumps and texture.

And one last question I'll throw out there, I plan to do my valve covers at some point. They are the tall Ford Racing polished aluminum valve covers with the engraved logo on top. I'm thinking I would do the base color (chrome, blue, whatever) on the whole thing, bake it, let it cool, then to do a different color in the engraved lettering, I just srinkle/brush it into the grooves by hand, then re-bake? Anyone ever tried detail work with powder, using more than one color?

Thanks!

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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-16-2012, 07:16 PM
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Re: Tips on chrome powder coating intake

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Originally Posted by Motorhead View Post
I have a small sandblasting cabinet that I will use to clean the parts, then pre-bake them at 400 to get any oils or gasses baked out, then last clean with mineral spirits. I think that pretty well follows the instructions.

So first part of question is any recommendations on cure. I think the instructions basically say to cure the chrome normally, full cure, let the part cool completely, then repeat with the clear (the temperatures might be slightly different for the chrome vs. clear, need to re-read the directions).

Second is it's a cast aluminum intake, so the usual bumpy finish. Should I go through the trouble to smooth the surface some, or just powder it as-is? I'd like a smoother overall look, but don't know how well the powder smooths out the fine bumps and texture.


Thanks!
Haven't done Chrome just black, red and couple other colors I do the same as you said: blast, heat, reclean, (actually clean and glassbead part after heating it) then we actually preheat part(s) again before spraying powder. powder seems to stick better and flow nicer when spraying parts that are heated. It has been awhile but pretty sure we preheated parts to around 120-130 before spraying.

I have read about chrome powder, seems to me you spray the chrome, fully bake/cure the part and then spray topcoat while part is still hot and re-bake/cure to keep it from graying.

One of those little IR temp devices comes in handy.

Powder seems to go long way and if you lay down clean paper/poster board under parts you can reclaim some of it.

Do a test piece or 2 if this is your first time.

Good luck.

Lou
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-16-2012, 09:23 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Tips on chrome powder coating intake

That's where it gets tough, I've read some places to cure the chrome completely, take it out, and spray the clear while it's still hot, and other places I've read that will cause it to be cloudy/grey, and to let it cool completely to room temp before spraying the clear. In both cases they seem to be people that know what they're talking about, so I can only assume the different brand powders behave differently (which maybe makes some sense because there are different types of powder coat material). Seems like the best I can do is just do a test piece or two like you suggest, and go from there.

Thanks for the tip on the paper, makes perfect sense, don't know why I didn't think of it.

Any thoughts on whether I should do some sanding on the intake to smooth it out? If so, what's the best method? Dremel tool with sanding disk/drum, cartridge roll in the die grinder, or ??

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-16-2012, 09:23 PM
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Re: Tips on chrome powder coating intake

This valve cover is coated with the Eastwood chrome coating with no clear. I ran it through a parts washer to clean up all the grime, then it was wiped down with wax & grease remover before coating.


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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-17-2012, 04:29 PM
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Re: Tips on chrome powder coating intake

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Any thoughts on whether I should do some sanding on the intake to smooth it out? If so, what's the best method? Dremel tool with sanding disk/drum, cartridge roll in the die grinder, or ??
If it was me I would leave it as is. The powdercoat seems to flow really well. Or if you wanted a smoother surface, maybe glass bead it in your blast cabinet. Glass bead gives smoother finish than sand.

Did you get accesseries with your kit such as plugs, hooks,and tape?

If not Summit sells the stuff cheap, silicone plugs for threaded holes and such are like $4 a pack of 8-10, the tape like $5-$6 a roll, Hooks maybe $3 a pack, I ground through the hooks so I used new ones each time. you might want a few packs. I also bought couple packs of plugs.

I bought extra black powder and did a few test pieces laying around, clutch fork, couple bumper brackets, etc. Sprayed them cold at first, if the powder doesn't lay right you just wipe it off or use air to blow it off.

After I learned how much and how the powder applied and could lay it smoothly I did some parts that were heated. Seemed like I could get higher build with the part heated. and worked better for me.

Try it few a different ways see what works for you.

The chrome I would spray 2 test pieces and bake/cure them, Then clear one of the parts while it was hot and re-cure, let the second cool, after re-curing first then do the cold one with clear and re-cure. See which way works best.

have fun with it.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-17-2012, 04:33 PM
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Re: Tips on chrome powder coating intake

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Originally Posted by jeremyl View Post
This valve cover is coated with the Eastwood chrome coating with no clear. I ran it through a parts washer to clean up all the grime, then it was wiped down with wax & grease remover before coating.

Wow that looks Great. I always thought you had to put clear over the chrome.
Nice job
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-17-2012, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Tips on chrome powder coating intake

Ok, there were a few pretty rough areas with extra casting/flash that I'll clean up, but will leave the rest as is. I think you're right, the sand blasting seemed to smooth it up some already.

I did buy the silicone plugs from Summit, didn't see the tape so bought that from Eastwood.

Good idea on the two-piece test, that will save some time doing them both at more or less the same time, and probably a little powder since I won't have to switch between chrome and clear twice just for the test (probably don't lose much on the switch, but I'm guessing you want to blow the gun clean). I've got at least one piece I can try, an original Ford aluminum water neck that I may end up using, gotta find something else to test on.

And yeah, that valve cover looks great! Eastwood has a single-stage chrome you can get now, that doesn't require clear, is that what you used? With the standard chrome I've read you have to use a clear or else it will quickly start to dull.

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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-17-2012, 08:48 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Tips on chrome powder coating intake

Now that I'm getting close to starting, I really need to decide on a color scheme. BTW, if you want details on what this build is, look at my thread in the Makin' Progress forum.

I've got chrome, blue, black, and clear powder. I just got the black because it's pretty useful overall, wasn't planning to use it for this project. I've got nearly every combination of intake/plenum/vc coloring here, what do you guys think looks best? I know, I need to go with what I like best, but I'm on the fence on a couple of them, so I need some input to sway my oppinion.

Option 1:


Option 2:


Option 3:


Option 4:


Option 5:


Option 6:


I have two favorites in here, the rest are just to collect input, think of it as a lineup.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-18-2012, 10:49 AM
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Re: Tips on chrome powder coating intake

Quote:
Originally Posted by Motorhead View Post
I've read some places to cure the chrome completely, take it out, and spray the clear while it's still hot, and other places I've read that will cause it to be cloudy/grey, and to let it cool completely to room temp before spraying the clear.
That right there would make me do a few samples. When I powder I do samples anyway.

Brian


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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-19-2012, 09:16 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Tips on chrome powder coating intake

Thanks Brian. I hate to "waste" the stuff but would probably mess it up trying to go all out on the first thing I powdercoat huh.

No feedback on the color scheme?

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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-20-2012, 03:12 AM
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Re: Tips on chrome powder coating intake

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Originally Posted by Motorhead View Post
Thanks Brian. I hate to "waste" the stuff but would probably mess it up trying to go all out on the first thing I powdercoat huh.

No feedback on the color scheme?
If you didnt live on the other side I would give you a few things to mess with lol. Hopefully you get it right the first try! make the wife something pretty. She wont tell if its cloudy!

I like number four.

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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-20-2012, 06:40 AM
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Re: Tips on chrome powder coating intake

I've had better luck w/o using the clear after the chrome stage... what was said above is probably true, adding the clear while still hot to prevent graying...

after curing, wetsand and polish will really bring out a chrome like lustre...

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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-20-2012, 05:51 PM
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Re: Tips on chrome powder coating intake

I like #5, #6 is cool too.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-21-2012, 01:36 PM
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Re: Tips on chrome powder coating intake

Like the gray on gray quite allot.
I just used the Eastwood chrome, no clear, on a bunch of test pieces,
I did find the initial heat cycle, that is to get the powder to flow initially, had an effect on the finished product.
Started at 400 & then upped to 450 till pulled from oven
The one stage chrome, looked much better, if i could get it to flow, soon as it hit the oven, so we just went with 450 for the whole cure. I'm certainly glad i did all the testing, tho, compared to my first shooting, the final looks so much better.
I;m not home so can;t show #1 to #5 final, but you can tell 5 just looks , thicker, smoother,
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-25-2012, 05:44 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Tips on chrome powder coating intake

Got to do a couple test pieces, an aluminum Ford thermostat housing and small steel bracket I made for the intake/carb project. I took the advice form here and chormed them both at the same time, then let one cool before clear while the other I cleared right away. In the end both pieces turned out great, and I learned some on the way.

I tried to follow the Eastwood instructions as close as possible. For chrome and clears, they say to bake at 375 for 20 min after flow out, and NOT preheat above 375 as it could cause yellowing or other bad affects. Their other powders say to preheat at 450 and then bake at 400, so I thought it may be a key piece of information as they are very clear about staying at 375.

I sprayed both at the same time. Hard to tell when you have the "right amount" of powder, I can tell when I have full coverage but don't know if I should keep adding or leave it as-is. The thermostat housing was very bumpy, maybe it would have benefitted from a little thicker coat as it didn't really smooth out the bumps much if any. In any case, coated both on the oven rack with the ground clip attached to the rack, preheated the oven to 375, put the pieces in, went and started a load of laundry, when I was back it had already flowed out so I set the timer for 25 minutes. I did 25 instead of 20 because some of the info I'd read online said the undesireable "greying" could come from the chrome not being completely cured, and they recommended a longer cure time, as much as 40 minutes, so I thought an extra 5 minutes couldn't hurt.

Took the oven rack with the pieces out, removed the thermostat housing to cool, and coated the bracket with clear. My IR thermometer was showing about 150 surface temp when I did the coat, may have left it a little longer than I should have, but the powder still seemed to stick and melt slightly on initial application. Cooked it for 20 min at 375, pulled it out, and it still looked chrome! But there was major orange peel in the clear on a couple surfaces, which reading the Eastwood instructions I concluded that I didn't get a heavy enough coat. Oh well, didn't care how well that piece came out anyways.

Put the thermostat housing on the oven rack, started spraying clear, it was only sticking in some places, REFUSED to stick on some of the surfaces. I tried both the high and low voltage setting, no luck. Ok, back to the troubleshooting guide. It recommended preheating, so dusted all the clear powder off, stuck it in the oven five minutes, then pulled it back out, attached the electrode, and immediately shot the clear. WOW the clear powder melted/flowed out as soon as it touched the surface, was able to get a nice even coat very easily, GREAT! It looked grey, but I didn't panic yet, figured I'd wait to see how it looked after curing. In the oven it went.

While I was waiting for the thermostat housing clear to cure, I figured the preheating worked so well, maybe I'd try another coat of clear on the small bracket, to try to cure the orange peel. So I hung the bracket in the oven for a few minutes, then pulled it out and shot it with clear. Instant melt, nice even full coverage, just like the thermostat housing. Hung it back in the oven for another 20 minute gure.

Five minutes later the thermostat housing was ready to come out. It looked great, no noticeable loss in chrome-ness, and on top of that it felt so smooth and glossy.

Fifteen minutes later I pulled the bracket out. Wow, it worked, the orange peel was gone, now I had a very thick gel-coat looking finish, must have gotten a little too much clear on! You can actually see in the pictures what I'm talking about.

In both cases, I'd say the chrome finish turned out as good as expected, neither greyed out. I'd say I sufficiently thrash-tested what you can get away with applying the clear, best I can conclude is either the Eastwood chrome is very tolerant of different clearcoating processes, OR, getting a perfect initial cure of the Chrome is the secret to having good chrome results. Given the difficulty I had coating the cold piece, and the fact that the peice that didn't get a chance to cool still turned out good, I think the best method is to cure the chrome as instructed, and clear it immediatedly after removing it from the oven (don't let it cool at all), and just be careful not to get too much clear as you can get runs doing the hot coats.

Here's some pics of my experiment, will post pics of the coated intake in my Makin Progress thread ("Motorcycle carbs on tunnel ram"). Oh, and given how rough the thermostat housing turned out, I decided to smooth the tunnel ram out a little with the die grinder and some sanding cartridge rolls. I'm not going to be too picky on the end result, not planning on it looking professionally done, but I think an hour with the grinder will make the end result look quite a bit smoother.

The "Paint Booth"


The Oven:


The Bracket after second coat of clear:




The Thermostat Housing after chrome, no clear:


The Thermostat Housing after clear, tried to get the angle identical but was a little off so the reflection isn't quite the same, but it still looks great:


The finish is definitely not chrome. It is very chrome-like, or like slightly dulled polished aluminum, but in any case I'm not looking to replicate real chrome I just want something that looks cool and holds up well, and I think I'm going to be very happy with this.
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