Baking enamel ??

topic posted Sat, May 29, 2010 - 9:55 AM by  Tanemon
I wonder if anyone here has experience baking enamel (enamel paint) finishes on metal? What steps after spraying? What temperature? General procedure? Outcomes?
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  • Re: Baking enamel ??

    Sun, May 30, 2010 - 10:21 PM
    First I'd let the item air dry enough to handle, but not fully cured. Just to get rid of most of the combustable solvents, and not stink up the house.

    If small enough item, bake in oven at about 200F for maybe 30-60 minutes. Crack the oven door to allow fumes to escape and turn on any over-stove exhaust fan you might have. If you go too long light colors may start looking, well, toasted. When I did hinges this way, I made little metal hooks to hang them from a screw hole so wouldn't get indentations from resting on a grill.

    For a larger item I made a tubular enclosure with metal flashing and a large cardboard tube like used for setting concrete piers. Suppose you could use a cardboard box. Enclosed a hair dryer in it, set on high for a several hours. I kept reminding myself of the book, Fahrenheit 459, indicating the combustion temperature of paper.

    With both techniques I've ended up with a very hard, durable finish as good or better than store-bought hardware.
    • Re: Baking enamel ??

      Mon, May 31, 2010 - 6:50 AM
      Thanks, Jeff (& to Briggi, too). Do you think, then, that 200 degrees F is ideal? Somewhere - not sure where, too long ago - I seem to remember reading that temps of over 300F are often used. But maybe this is not so, or maybe industry uses heat sources in a different way, or ... ??
      • Re: Baking enamel ??

        Mon, May 31, 2010 - 8:48 AM
        auto engine finishes have the added bonus of curing resistant to petroleum based solvents & fuels. very durable. probably under 400 F is safe... better lower setting over longer if not sure
  • Unsu...

    Re: Baking enamel ??

    Mon, May 31, 2010 - 12:22 PM
    It's easy enough but you gotta start with the right coating.
    A electrostatic powder coat of a high temp enamel and a slow trip through an oven is all it takes
    You might get by without the electrostatic coat if you can get the powder to adhere long enough to make it into the oven.

    If is not however done with the enamel you get from a spray can. At least I know of no such product.
    • Re: Baking enamel ??

      Mon, May 31, 2010 - 2:41 PM
      such product is called auto engine spray enamel $6.95 at WalMart last I looked.
      Not Same as $1.29 DutchBoy spray

      Us weekend DIY types are not so budgeted nor having the space in garage for professional turnkey powdercote rig costing 50K plus. Until at least ambition and reasonable businessplan comes knocking
      • Unsu...

        Re: Baking enamel ??

        Mon, May 31, 2010 - 5:10 PM
        Yah that's supposed to be high temp, but ya don't "bake" it, ya just spray it on .

        I have never had much success with the stuff.
        • Re: Baking enamel ??

          Mon, May 31, 2010 - 9:38 PM
          the reason you need to intentionally bake the engine spray paint for non-automotive uses is that the engine itself would do the baking when applied there.

          I have a coleman lantern that was chipped & dinged that i sprayed & baked 25 years ago and it's still holding it's finish better than factory.

          As to powderkote --
          even 600 bucks is more than a guy wants to spend for maybe using a tool once a year.
          but god bless harborfreight for having cool shit cheap.
      • Re: Baking enamel ??

        Mon, May 31, 2010 - 8:16 PM
        <<Us weekend DIY types are not so budgeted nor having the space in garage for professional turnkey powdercote rig costing 50K plus. Until at least ambition and reasonable businessplan comes knocking>>

        Powder coating doesn't need to run $50K, Including a purpose-built oven, $600 bucks will get you set up to do small parts

        Way back when, I recall there was a thread on the subject.
    • Re: Baking enamel ??

      Tue, June 1, 2010 - 8:16 PM
      Cliff, I believe you're thinking of powder coating, which starts with a powdered plastic which hardens by heat. I guess for the most part powder coating has replaced baked enamel in many uses. I've seen the term "powder coated baked enamel" used. I think that's kind of like dialing a digital phone. To me enamel is a paint applied as a liquid and depends on the evaporation of a solvent to harden.

      I've baked oil based enamel, brushed or sprayed on metal at 200F just because I was afraid of combusting fumes and it gave good results. Whether the commercial term "baked enamel" is a different process, I don't know.
      • Re: Baking enamel ??

        Tue, June 1, 2010 - 8:36 PM
        there are three different processes that come under the heading of baking enamel finish>
        - glass enamel like you see surfacing a gasrange, washer, camp style coffeepot.... which is powdered glass baked on to steel.
        - powder coat which is specially formulated synthetic powder electromagnetically drawn to the desired surface and then baked into place
        - enamel paint specially made to form a hard smooth surface after having been baked on.

        Of the htree processes, only the enamel paint is practical for the average weekend home DIY person... the other two require industrial processes, the cost of which make them impractical for the occasional casual user.
        Of the three, the powdercoat is said to give the most durable results for industrial apps.
  • Re: Baking enamel ??

    Thu, June 10, 2010 - 3:26 PM
    After consulting the DIY tribe here, I made a little experiment. I have a nice old monkey wrench (circa 1935) that I'd bought at a second-hand store. The store owner had cleaned it up, but it had a peeled & chipped sky-blue enameled handle, so I decided to repaint the handle. I bought a spray can of primer, figuring that I'd be happy with its flat red-brown color.

    I sandblasted the handle, masked off the upper part of the wrench, and gave the handle two light spray coatings - allowing the paint to dry normally between coats. Then I baked the wrench one-half hour in a 250-degree (F) kitchen oven (in a funky old outdoor-kitchen situation... no smells in the house!). I put the wrench in at room temp and let it heat up, before timing the half hour. I could tell when the wrench cooled that the procedure had worked out well. I then masked the wrench off again, sprayed on another light coat, and this time baked the painted wrench for 45 minutes at 300 degrees. Removed it, cooled it and assessed the result: I would say it turned out very well, and seemed to have cured and hardened the paint well, with no problems.

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