By landerinc87348578, May 14 2018 07:21PM
Hey everyone, Jesse at Lander Coatings here to help you understand one of our most frequently asked questions, "How durable can a powder coat finish be without losing the wet-paint aesthetics?" That answer lies within the experience & means of the powder coater.
I'll start by saying that there's a handful of factors involved with creating a very strong bond & cure on your piece. These factors are make-or-break & can surface first and foremost from the following:
1. Insufficient ovens/heating elements
2. Improper setup of the powder box & gun creating insufficiently charged powder
3. Poorly grounded piece
4. Unclean piece, or insufficient "gassing out" of the piece.
This is just a handful of issues that are most relevant, we continue to learn more about what we do every day and we are many years into this. Without explaining too many of our secrets i'll give you a brief explanation of each.
1. Insufficient heat sources during the curing process will greatly effect the latch-in & strength of the powder. Once coated, the piece must be baked to 400 degrees THOROUGHLY & be held there for at least 15 minutes (could vary depending on powder). If this process is rushed or uneven heat is applied this will greatly effect the end result. This causes the coating to chip & flake off very easily. Somewhat similar to a cheese stick that's not fully fried, It looks like it's cooked so you bite into it, but the inside remains uncooked & you remain dissatisfied.
2. Improper setup of your box & gun can create a situation where the powder isn't being statically charged causing it to basically "sit' on the surface of the piece, not "stick" to it. It must "stick" to the piece like a person's long hair would to a party balloon. Charged powder latches into the pores of the piece when thoroughly heated.
3. A poorly grounded piece will create the same effect as read in issue NO. 2.
Statically charged powder will not attract to an un-grounded piece.
4. Unclean metal with ANY dust, oil, or chemical residue should be washed with a fast evaporating chemical cleaner and then thoroughly "gassed out" in an oven. Typically at a slightly hotter temperature. This makes sure that any oil and residue trapped within the piece are evaporated out preventing any texturing or running of the powder while being cured. We take exceptional care in the prepping process to make sure we get it done right the first time.
As long as attention to all of these factors are paid then the durability of the finished result should be superior.
Now that we have durability covered I will move onto your wonder of the Aesthetics. There are TONS of colors, combinations, & styles of powder available these days. We at Lander like to use a very nice High Gloss Acrylic Clear Coat Powder. It helps very much to preserve the beautiful wet-spray look to the powder.
Don't forget that the make-up of the powder is a fine ground up plastic-acrylic, so it needs to be treated and taken care of like a plastic would.
- Powder CANNOT be buffed or wet-sanded after the final coat
-The best way to care for it and keep it fresh is to use a Turtle Wax style plastic trim restorer or a non-buff wax.
-It holds up great against direct-hits, will scratch if a sharp object is dragged over it, but typically not down to bare metal. See the picture below of my dented Harley's gas tank in reference to scratch resistancy. It hit the ground hard and it never touched metal underneath.