Preparation and Substrates 101

Preparation and Substrates 101

Plato once said, "The beginning is the most important part of the work". Although we have a sneaking suspicion he wasn't referring to powder coating back in 375 BC, he might as well have been because these words couldn't ring any truer when it comes to the practice itself. 

Determining the substrate preparation process you are using is one of the most pivotal and determining factors within the entire powder coating process. Different types of substrates offer different durabilities, applications, etc. For instance, steel or aluminum wheels are going to be more durable than magnesium wheels. Magnesium is much more susceptible to corrosion which means it is going to require a different preparation process in comparison to substrates that have a higher corrosion resistance.

Each substrate has its own set of pro's and con's that help determine where they are best used. For instance, aluminum is a little weaker than steel so when it comes to durability, steel is a better choice. However, aluminum is also lighter than steel so when it comes to weight savings, aluminum can often be a better suited choice. Wood and plastic are also some of the different substrates that can be used when powder coating however, they cannot be used with electrostatic spray guns. They often have to be hot flocked or coated with liquid to powder paint due to their low level of heat resistance. Plastic would melt very easily at regular cure temperatures and wood is quick to burn, so it is very important to look for low cure powders when working with either of these substrates. Fortunately, Powder Buy The Pound is well stocked in a couple of low cure colors that can be of use when dealing with these types of substrates. 

Once you know what substrate is best suited for the project at hand, you can then choose the best preparation process for your piece. Prep can include cleaning, blasting, rinsing, sealing, etc. The prep process can also help with outgassing prevention, chipping and adhesion issues. A few simple prep procedures that can help with outgassing include offgassing and sandblasting. Offgassing is when you heat the part up multiple times before powder coating allowing the metal to breath and push out any trapped air and impurities. Sandblasting is used to even out or lower any craters or pinholes caused by outgassing, leaving a smoother finish to powder coat.  

Still have further questions about prep and substrates? Powder Buy The Pound is always here to help. Feel free to give us a call at 615-776-7600 and we'll answer all your inquiries and assist you as best as we can with achieving the perfect powder coat finish. 

Back to blog