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Thread: Powder Coating 101 - Electrostatic Method

  1. #1
    Boolit Master KYShooter73's Avatar
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    Powder Coating 101 - Electrostatic Method

    Electrostatic spray method only. No comparisons with other methods please. I know the reading is daunting on the main threads, so I wanted to give a little bit back of what I have learned from others and a very small portion of my own experimentation. I am sure improvements can be made. The following is the electrostatic method I have learned:

    Equipment needed:

    Safety equipment
    Casting pot, mold, sizing equipment
    Powder coating gun and compressor
    Air nozzle
    Powder
    Acetone or other no residue solvent
    Nitrile gloves
    400f Oven (toaster oven or better)
    Oven tray or jig

    I begin with a Lee .356-125 hollow point mold by Erik at hollowpointmolds.com. I am using COWW adding 2% Tin solder, water dropped. These boolits are then sized to .356 using a Lee push through die using no lube. If lubrication becomes an issue, I use my standard case sizing lube, 8 parts 91% isopropyl alcohol to 2 parts Lee resizing lubricant.

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    After sizing, I put the boolits into sealed container with acetone.

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    I strain the boolits through sieve to remove the excess acetone. The excess acetone is then poured back into the sealed container for reuse. While in the strainer I blast the boolits with some compressed air to dry out the acetone.

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    I have designed a jig using machine screws, 2 washers, a lock washer, and a nut. These are set in the baking pan that came with my second hand toaster oven. If you are not using a hollow point design, you can sit the boolits base down on any non-flammable conductive surface that will fit your particular oven.

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    I then glove up and sit the boolits on top of the screws. it is easier than it sounds. I am doing 68 at a time, but this could easily be ramped up. The whole purpose of using the acetone is cleaning all oils from the boolit, so don't touch them with your fingers. Many people set them on flat trays covered in non stick Reynolds wrap.

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    Here is the finished tray.

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    I preheat these for about 5 minutes to get my boolits up to coating temperature and evaporate any lingering acetone.

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    Using my air nozzle, I clean off any dust from my spraying area.

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    I then transfer about one inch of powder into the reservoir of my Chicago Electric (Harbor Freight) powder coat gun.

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    There is a 4x4 sheet of plastic drop cloth over my coating area. I place the tray of hot boolits on a riser above the plastic to prevent melting and make for easy cleanup. The ground clip is then connected to bare metal on the boolit tray.

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    Continued in next post.....
    Last edited by KYShooter73; 08-06-2013 at 07:18 PM.
    War is peace.
    Freedom is slavery.
    Ignorance is strength.
    ― George Orwell, 1984

  2. #2
    Boolit Master KYShooter73's Avatar
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    While holding down the pedal control, I spray a generous coat of powder over the boolits .

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    Time to cook at 400f, or as directed by your powder coat supplier.

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    I normally set a 25 minute timer, but I was taking pictures and didn't set the timer. After 10 minutes I'm starting to get good flow and adhesion from the powder coat. Nice and wet/gloss looking.

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    Hard to tell from the pic, but boolits are mostly dry and no longer glossy. Time to come out of the oven.

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    Removed from jig. You can water drop again at this point to counteract the annealing from baking.

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    Now, if you would like you can resize again, gas check, or load and shoot. A nice coat of powder will add about .002 to boolit diameter.

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    Clean your equipment with the air nozzle. It is super easy, just blow the powder off your gun. You can salvage the overspray on the plastic and reuse for the next batch.

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    Right here I would let the boolit age for a week or so to finish curing and hardening.

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    Load with a generous bell to prevent scraping off your powder coat.

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    Crimp if you would like, but I get better accuracy by just closing the bell with no crimp.

    Feel free to test some with a hammer. Beat it flat and very little coating will be lost.

    That is my process. Your mileage may vary. Hope I helped some people out.
    Last edited by KYShooter73; 08-06-2013 at 07:09 PM.
    War is peace.
    Freedom is slavery.
    Ignorance is strength.
    ― George Orwell, 1984

  3. #3
    Good job!!!

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I recently switched to Reynolds "Non-Stick" aluminum foil. OMG!!!!!! No sticking at all. I can reuse the same foil at least 5 times for the same cal. Just make sure you have a good electrical contact to the boolit.

    Yes, it costs a bunch more than the cheap crapola sold at Walmart, but there is absolutely NO sticking. I just rake the slugs off the pan into my collection pan. Any "flash" on the base comes off in the sizing process. Then just reload the oven pan again and spray away. Saves time, money and frustration in the long run!!!!


    bangerjim

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    xacex's Avatar
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    Great write up!

    I would like to mention that acetone may not be necessary for freshly cast boolits. Also, be cautious about the acetone in the oven. I did have a flash from it before I stopped using it, and it blew the door off of my toaster oven. I would recommend letting the acetone air dry before placing boolits in the oven for pre-heating. Tip size you use, and PSI to set the P/C gun at in the write-up would be helpful. I use the medium tip, and set my regulator to 25PSI when the trigger is not being pulled.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master KYShooter73's Avatar
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    I usually hit them with some compressed air before I put them on the rack. Forgot to put that in, I'll go back and add that. I use about 25-30 psi, but have not experimented with the different tips.
    War is peace.
    Freedom is slavery.
    Ignorance is strength.
    ― George Orwell, 1984

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Be careful if you are not running a convection oven with the black coating! I left mine set at what worked great with electrostatic Yellow coated 45-230gr with my 38-158 and 9mm/358-125s and melted the boogers because of the increase in infrared heating. I like the screw tray. I made several trays out of hardware cloth and I'm not convinced they do not damage the boolits... But coating them ball down is the way to go to get an even coat on the lube grooves...

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Excellent write up. This should be a sticky.

    I'd like to add that even with the fresh cast bullets the solvent wash is a good idea. I noticed I get some blemishes around the base when coating fresh cast bullets. I think it's from some sprue plate lube being on the base.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master



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    Excellent graphics and info. I am convinced that electrostatic powder coat is the best method, and for sure will get the best looking results. Your set-up using screws and HP boolits is really smart. In the end it is the performance that matters. It would be nice to know what results you get at the range. Also, why not just size after the PC application? Finally, it is sacrilegious to put Black PC over Lee Precision Red.
    "Had his shooting been as good as his running, he might have given a better account of himself."
    James. C. Henderson

  10. #10
    Boolit Master KYShooter73's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmortimer View Post
    Finally, it is sacrilegious to put Black PC over Lee Precision Red.
    I got that little loader when I was 17. I'll be 40 next month. Works just as good as the day I bought it. If I had a good way to get all the paint off, I would powder coat it back red.
    War is peace.
    Freedom is slavery.
    Ignorance is strength.
    ― George Orwell, 1984

  11. #11
    Boolit Man MacFan's Avatar
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    Too easy. Wife is out of town for 3 days visiting daughter and family. Picked up a Harbor Freight gun this morning. Put RN 45acp bullets on a cookie sheet over 1/4-20 nuts and aluminum foil. Preheated kitchen oven to 400F, powdered bullets out in garage at 15psi with red HF powder. Balanced cookie sheet 50 feet back to the house avoiding Gabby's pitbull piles (I'm supposed to be cleaning up), up the back stairs and in the oven for 20 minutes. Results are gorgeous on the first try. I'll load 'em up over the weekend and go shooting next weekend. Below is a pic of a couple from the first batch of 10.

    Sorry I didn't use more abbreviations, I usually can't figure out half the stuff you guys are writing about.
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    Last edited by MacFan; 08-16-2013 at 01:00 PM. Reason: Added photo

  12. #12
    Boolit Master



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    "Results are gorgeous on the first try."

    Yes indeed. Nothing is better than the electrostatic powder coat. You make it seem easy. I'm still stuck on trying to make Klass Kote work.
    "Had his shooting been as good as his running, he might have given a better account of himself."
    James. C. Henderson

  13. #13
    Boolit Man MacFan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by popper View Post
    Preheated kitchen oven to 400F DO NOT USE HER OVEN FOR COOKING BOOLITS OR COATING. It outgasses toxic fumes and will discolor and contaminate the oven!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Whoa, it's just a test popper, relax. There aren't enough toxic fumes to hurt anyone. I've got a bit of polymeric chemistry education behind me. Now the over-spray on her cookie sheet could get me killed.

    Just a side note, my wife is pretty accustomed to me. Many years ago ('74) I was baking the wrinkle paint finish on to a Harley engine case half. Wet paint+gas stove=door blown off hinges. Yup, she's beautiful and still married to me. Ask her about me passivating stainless steel scooter parts in the kitchen around the same year as the oven door mishap.
    Last edited by MacFan; 08-16-2013 at 01:39 PM.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master KYShooter73's Avatar
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    Very nice MacFan. I've not done red yet. Going to get some gloss black from powder by the pound next time.
    War is peace.
    Freedom is slavery.
    Ignorance is strength.
    ― George Orwell, 1984

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Looks good. I'm very tempted to try this.

  16. #16
    Anybody uses the screen with 30 cal boolits? Just wondering how you keep it standing while getting it to the oven.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    When you are coating the bullets on the tray, how much of the powder falls onto the tray?
    Can you reclaim this powder before you bake the tray with the bullets, or does the overspray on the tray get baked as well?
    Great post and great photos..
    Hooroo.
    Regards, Trevor.
    Australia

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Here's a question probably covered in the megathread that probably doesn't merit its own, but which I can't find-

    What do you do with throwbacks, or damaged bullets you coated?

    Safe to toss back in the pot, coated?

    Throw away in the trash?

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Just throw 'em in the pot. The PC ends up in little black balls on the surface you skim out. Avoid the smoke, as it is probably not good for you!

    bangerjim

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by fastglock View Post
    Anybody uses the screen with 30 cal boolits? Just wondering how you keep it standing while getting it to the oven.

    I did a post in the megathread on how to coat 30 cal GC's easily.

    If you cannot find it, let me know and I will post it here again.

    bangerjim

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check