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If you want to do custom paint get good painting equipment. A paint booth of some sort should be right at the top of your shopping list. Spray booths, paint guns and other nifty stuff will set your work apart from the rank amateurs in subtle ways that you are only beginning to understand.
Whether you plan to get into serious custom graphic designs, three phase House of Kolor allover paint jobs or just the occasional custom motorcycle tank you're going to have to have basic painting equipment, tools and supplies.
If you have your heart set on building a motorcycle you WILL need to buy a used spray booth or build one in your garage. You will also need proper painting equipment so that you can paint safely.
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Bikers, race car drivers and people who work with paint all the time believe it or not have something in common; they all tend to take a few unnecessary risks from time to time.
If your job or your passion is to drive fast, danger is part of the territory. There's not much that can be done about it other than to take certain precautions and to be sure that safety measures are in place. The same is true about spray painting and one of the best things that a painter can do is get out of that homemade booth and get a modern down draft booth!
If you spend hours prepping the tin, a bad spray booth will break your heart. Nothing is worse than to see your clear covered in trash. That's where the performance of the filtering system comes into play.
Back in the day paint and body shop owners had no choice but to build a homemade spray booth from scratch. The only way to go was DIY. If you wanted to repaint your car or paint or build your own motorcycle you had no choice but to get plans and build a spray booth yourself.
To the untrained person, building a spray booth may look easy. Back in the day a spray painting booth might have been a converted single garage with added fluorescent lighting and a few vent fans.
Thanks to OSHA, agencies devoted to fire protection and modern downdraft technology spray painting booths have come quite a way from the home built booth. Here are a few things to look for when looking at a used paint booth for sale or a brand new one for that matter.
Positive ratings in reviews and a reputation for good performance
Quick and Easy access to service and support
Quiet operation of exhaust fans
There are so many manufacturers out there I can't think of them all, but the part about good performance and having a reputation for being trouble free will narrow your list FAST. Read all the spray booth reviews that you can lay your hands on! Take notes of the pros and cons of what the individual reviews say about each model. Believe me you will need a chart, graph or some type of record keeping system to keep up with the pros and cons of all of the spray booths out there!
Don't just read magazine reviews read what professional painters give as their experiences with their spray booths. Believe me, guys who rely on painting for their living will not hold back if they feel they've bought an expensive spray booth that isn't performing well. On the other hand if they've found a spray booth at a bargain price, they will be shouting from the rooftops that they found a cheap spray painting booth that tears those high priced spray booths right out of the frame!
You're probably going to pick up pretty quick that each area of the country has its picks and favorites. I'm not sure why the preference of any particular spray booth appears to be regional but it might have something to do with access to service and parts. Maintenance of these monsters is not for amateurs or somebody that tinkers with machinery as a hobby. When paint jobs are being held up because of a problem, a long wait for a technician to show up can make everybody pretty testy! Custom painting forums will be the sounding board and filled with posts from dis-satisfied customers that are calling the manufacturer of that particular brand every name in the book! Time is money and when you've invested your hard earned cash in a booth, you expect top notch service from the company that the fast talking sales rep promised you when he did the demonstration! Right?
My recommendations on choosing a booth would be to let the company rep do his demo, but do not stop there!
Visit some of the custom car and motorcycle paint shops in the closest big city. Talk to the painters that are running one paint job after another through the shop doors and see what they are using. Ask what they like and dislike about the paint booth that you may be considering. Find out if they are happy with the service that they get from the manufacturer and how quickly they can get parts if they break down.
Okay, I understand you're all excited about owning your own spray booth. You may even have a custom paint project on the bench that you just can't wait to get started on. I'll throw a few names of paint booth manufacturers that I've used with success or that my buddies recommend so that get the ball rolling!
If I didn't mention it before, I will now. You want a downdraft paint booth if at all possible. If you plan to do a high volume of work a BAKING downdraft paint booth will be best. It's possible to turn out a good paint job from a simple cross draft paint booth. The reasons for paying for the extras like baking and downdraft capabilities are that you can blow out the custom paint jobs fast and have better dust control. If you only plan to do a couple of custom paint jobs as a hobby you may not need all the extras, but some of the extras may pay for themselves and make your work easy and simple to boot!
If you are about to build a custom motorcycle or car shop let your contractor know that you will be installing a downdraft paint booth. He may advise you to choose which paint booth you will be buying before pouring the foundation. He will meet the specs for your downdraft paint booth so that he can go forward with the paint booth construction confident that your equipment will work properly. Downdraft paint booths give a cleaner paint job than any other system so for the long haul that's the route I would take if I were building a new shop.
The one thing I would is against if I were you is to try and dig up a set of paint booth plans and try to build a paint booth myself. Buy a spray booth from a reputable vendor or lease a good paint booth if you can't afford to buy one.
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