To powder coat, you will need some type of oven in order to cure the powder coating. You will need an oven that is capable of sustaining 450 degrees and your parts have to fit inside of it. I will explain some of the cheaper types of ovens that are easy to get your hands on here.
There are 4 types of ovens that are cheap enough to start with: a toaster oven, a household oven, harbor freights 110v(regular outlet) oven, or a propane grill. The oven is one of those things where the price goes up gradually with the size until you pass household oven and then the price jumps to thousands. An oven you could fit 4 wheels or a bike frame is around $2,000. If you want to an oven that will fit a car, your looking at $10,000 to $20,000. You can however, find some used large powder coating ovens on eBay from time to time.
BUILD YOUR OWN POWER COATING OVEN
The absolute cheapest way to a large powder coating oven is to build one yourself. If you would like to see complete step-by-step instructions to build your own powder coating oven like the one below, check out our article "How to Build a Powder Coating Oven" and Part 2.
POWDER COATING OVENS FOR BEGINNERS
Oster TSSTTVDGXL-SHP Extra Large Digital Toaster Oven. This is the toaster oven that I was planning on buying but instead, decided to just go straight to a household oven. If you want to use a toaster oven though, the Oster is the one to get. It is ~16" wide x 13" deep and it bows out in the back to make it a little bigger. Highly recommended as far as powder coating toaster ovens go.
I found my personal oven in the Craigslist free section but it took awhile. If you have $100, you have the option of basically any used oven on Craigslist in the appliances section. You don't really need any fancy features, except a timer and the oven has to be able to keep the temperature in check. Whatever oven you use for powder coating, should be one that you will never again use for food. That goes for the toaster oven and the grill also.
The downside to a household oven is that they need their own 240v outlet/circuit. Unless you have one in your garage already, you will need to have one installed or install it yourself. There are guides all over the internet, like this one teaching you how to install it and it is pretty straightforward. You really only need a few parts such as a breaker specific to your breaker box, some 10/3 wire, and 240v receptacle. However, it is a job that can KILL YOU. Electricity is no joke and something to respect. An improper install can also lead to a fire. Keep that in mind when you are choosing between doing it yourself or calling an electrician. I did do it myself, never having experience with home electricity, and I'm still alive and my house is still standing, but I was extremely careful and spent an entire day making sure it was right, after spending an entire day researching it. You can also use a gas oven, just keep in mind of a cloud of powder has the potential to be flammable, so powder coating in an enclosed room with no ventilation, right next to your gas oven is a practice that should be avoided. Shield your powder coated part from any open flame and never spray the part while it is in the oven.
For those needing a bigger oven, you can make what is called a "pregnant oven" . This is when you make an add-on extension to add on to your existing oven. Usually the oven door is left open and a box with an open side rests on it and seals against the oven opening to make a larger oven.
Here is an example of a temporary Pregnant Oven setup made using cheap insulated panels and foil tape. materials.
You can modify an existing oven such as a double oven. If you cut the center out of a double oven, you will have a pretty good size oven. They are also not too expensive on Craigslist.
This is a less conventional method. In fact, when I searched for others doing it, I found none. I tried using the propane grill for one reason. I was researching toaster ovens but hadn't bought one yet, my powder coat gun arrived in the mail, and I had to try it out right then. I didn't have an extra house oven, but I had a grill I never used in my backyard. It worked great, I put a cookie sheet down on the grate to shield the part from the flames, and made a rack using a gutted computer tower to fit inside the grill. All of my parts came out with no issues. However, with a grill, you have to babysit it the whole time to keep the temperature correct. I stood there with my infrared thermometer for the complete cure time, anytime the temp would move, I had 3 knobs to turn to get it back to the right temp. I became very good at this eventually. Once I ran out of propane, I decided to find a home oven. The grill worked, but I would use it as a backup. Same warnings apply as the gas oven, you are dealing with an open flame and flammable powder.
|Powder coated parts cured in a grill.|
HARBOR FREIGHT POWDER COATING OVEN (This oven was discontinued unfortunately)
This is an oven sold at harbor freight specifically for powder coating. The nice thing about it is that it is a lot bigger than any toaster oven, yet it plugs into a normal outlet. The inside dimensions of this oven are 18"x18"x18". In comparison, a household oven averages around 23" wide x 19" deep x 15" tall. This oven from harbor freight is considered to be very good quality and also has 5 star reviews. This oven was discontinued at Harbor Freight, but you can still find them used if you search hard enough.
Now that you have seen the types of oven you can use to start out with, I will show you the types of huge ovens that a powder coating shop might use:
The next article talks about all of the different types of powders. Click to go there now!