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How to Spray Translucent Powder Coating – A Complete Guide

Translucent powder coatings are a popular choice where you want to be able to see the substrate through the powder you apply and have become quite popular as a powder coating color choice. While they can provide a great appearance, applying them can be a bit tricky. Common issues that are mentioned when applying translucent powder coating include creating uneven coats and not applying a thick enough coat. Will address practical tips for applying translucent powder coating.

Tip 1 – Shoot translucent powder coatings at room temperature

Occasionally powder coaters will try to hot flock their part where they heat the part prior to shooting the powder, this is especially true when applying two coats of powder coating like is often done with translucent powder coating. The reason for this practice is to help overcome issues with far a day cage effect because as you add a powder to a surface you begin insulating the surface making it less grounded, which leaves powder having a harder time attracting to the surface, more on shooting multiple powder coats is covered in this guide. The problem with this approach is it can be hard to know how much powder you have applied and the thickness of the coat you have applied because the powder starts to flow out and melt immediately as it is applied leaving you guessing at the uniformity and thickness of the coat. To overcome issues with uneven or to thick of coats when shooting translucents always apply the powder with the product surface your coating at room temperature (65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit).

Tip 2 for using translucent powders – Know Your Powder Gun Settings

In addition to applying the translucent powder at room temperature, your powder coating gun settings should be used to achieve the best possible results. In general kilovolts should always be as high as possible on the first coat of any powder coat (there are some exceptions to this we won’t go into here). As you apply each additional coat your kilovolts should be decreased to avoid issues with starburst like appearance known as back ionization. Since translucent powder can be applied over an existing powder coating you will want to be sure to apply the first powder coating at high KV’s and then reduce the KV setting on the next powder coat that is applied (the translucent) and in general use a lower kv setting with translucents.

Tip 3 for using translucent powder coating – Have a way to measure coating thickness

Translucent powder are often applied in thinner coats as they are a secondary coat over a base coat to help improve the visual appearance of a powder coated product. Typically you want to apply enough translucent powder coating to cover the surface but to avoid flooding the surface creating runs and a poor result.  While many powder coaters may have a feel for this, there are also tools available like a powder comb or more advanced non touch tools like a UV powder thickness measurement device that can provide the thickness of powder coating on the surface without touching the product surface.  Whether you use your eye or a measurement tool, your goal should be a relatively thin layer of powder for your translucent powder coating application.

No doubt translucent powders can create beautiful visual results however they do require a bit of finesse to apply well. By shooting them at room temperature, understanding kv settings, and understanding thickness of the powder coat applied you can be more likely to achieve great results when applying translucent powder coatings.

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