Update2: Description, Schematics and boards
Update: added some more details
So over the last few months I have built a number of powder coating guns as well as a powder coating oven. I'm trying to make something better than the $60 harbor freight gun, from what I have read the HF gun tends to not give consistent powder output and struggle with multi coat.
This gun was inspired by this design http://hackaday.com/2006/07/05/diy-powder-coating-gun/
The overall design was pretty much the same; I used an old toaster oven to bake it. It worked ok, but the voltage was too low to get good powder adhesion on additional coats, and it was hard to clean and didn't put out a consistent powder flow.
|Mark-I ghetto gun|
|BMW E36 caliper support brackets (before and after)|
The second prototype moves the high voltage electronics into a separate unit; I also added previsions for a variable voltage supply, solenoid controlled air supply, and a separate powder chamber. Results were pretty good. Its still very much a prototype, for the next revision I'm moving things around and sending PCBs to be made.
|Main Power Supply and Control system|
|The system as I use it; lots of hours on it now.|
Here is a picture of the power supply; There are three stages; a generic 110VAC to 36VDC 3A power supply; Provisions for an adjustable stage (36V to 10-32VDC 3A); High voltage step-up stage (10-32VDC to ~25KV done in the switching power supply section)
The AC-DC input stage is built around a standard toroid step down transformer; full bridge rectification and capacitor bank. The supply is controlled by a switch on the front.
The adjustable stage is currently not implemented; instead I have simply added a 12VDC regulator used for supply of the switching section of the HV supply and for the actuator control. In the next revision I will be adding the variable voltage control using a standard adjustable regulator (LM317) with pass transistors to provide additional current. This stage is controlled via a relay which is controlled by a switch on the gun.
The high voltage step up stage is basically a switching power supply driving a flyback transformer out of a CRT computer monitor. The frequency and pulse-width of the drive circuitry is tuned to match the transformer. I set the duty cycle to 20% and adjusted the frequency until maximum output was observed (by measuring arc length). A 555 timer was used for pulse generation; it feeds a IRF240 power mosfet which drives the primary winding of the transformer. The primary winding was made by wrapping 8 turns of 14 gauge transformer wire around the ferrite core of the transformer.
The flyback transformer is directly connected to the tip on the gun via 50KV high voltage wire bought off ebay.
The air supply is set via an adjustable regulator on the front of the chassis; after the regulator the air is connected to a solenoid which is activated by a switch on the gun.
|Flyback and air control|
The regulator air supply is fed to a powder container; it feeds at the bottom of the container in order to fluidize the powder; the powder then travels to the gun.
|Third itteration of the powder pot; this one is quite solid and works very well|
The gun its self is very simple it is simply PVC fittings which allow for attachment of various nozzles. The nozzles were purchased from powder by the pound (they're cheap ~$12 so It was easier to buy rather than build). I've added a switch to the gun (not pictured) which switches on the HV and air.
When it all comes together I have had some pretty good results; powder attraction is much better than with the Mark-I gun and powder flow is more consistent. Multiple layers work well (tested up to three layers so far).
Powder coatingis great; but the hard part is getting a big enough oven to cook the parts in. I ended up building my own oven from sheet metal and steel studs. Since I wanted to keep costs low I used left over bits from various projects and friends and family. It turned out pretty good; it doesn't look like much but it heats up quickly and holds its heat well.
|Oven; inside dimensions 2' x 3' x 4'|
|30A contactor for controlling the elements|
|Auto Tuning PID temperature controller for driving the contactor|
|Some formerly brass trim from my fireplace (ready to be cooked)|
Powder Coating System Mark-III:
I've started building the MK-III version of my powder coating system. Here is the plan.
- Move to larger 19" rack mount chassis
- Provisions in chassis for second regulator and PSI gauge for future addition of powder pump.
- Adjustable low voltage DC supply in chassis, all HV moved to gun
- Switching supply and AC fly back mounted on gun
- 5x Voltage multiplier on gun to bring output voltage up to 100KV for large number of coats
- Use custom PCB for switching supply;
- New Gun cabling using circular connectors