Homemade Paint Booth
I've received a lot of requests for instructions and diagrams on how to build a homemade paint booth. I think that the reason for these requests is that people think that if they want paint spray booths to use with a hobby bench and not for use as a professional auto paint booth they can build a temporary paint booth in the backyard for a cheap price.
My advice is whether you are spray painting model cars, the body of a guitar or something as big as furniture or a panel truck is that you should buy one of the less expensive high quality manufactured spray booths and not risk unnecessary dangers and explosions.
Whenever you are dealing with highly volatile products such as paint and chemicals there is the possibility of fire or the risk of an explosion no matter how many precautions are taken.
We should put every safety measure that's available to us into place. That being said one of the most valuable and cheap ways to protect ourselves is with a manufactured spray booth that meets all government requirements, not risk an explosive situation in a homemade paint booth.
Read the first two paragraphs several times before you read how to build your own homemade paint booth. Remember that I am not in any way trying to give you homemade paint booth plans, diagrams, blueprints or layouts so that you can go and build your own. This article is for the purpose of MAKING COMPARISONS and seeing the dangers and limitations of homemade paint booths when compared to the new technology of full featured systems with modern exhaust and ventilation.
The dangerous thing is that homemade paint booths are pretty easy and cheap to build for anybody that's handy and has advanced knowledge in DIY projects, electrical wiring and carpentry. Why is this dangerous? Because this person knows that they are capable of building a homemade paint booth from some scrap aluminum building materials and a couple of hundred dollars worth of electrical supplies. When this person is making the comparison of the prices between a manufactured paint booth and homebuilt or homemade paint booths the spray booth that this guy could build looks so cheap in products that it's hard to resist building his own. To that guy I would say it looks cheap on paper or in theory but in the long run painting manufactured booth systems are more pleasant, less likely to cause painting problems and a whole lot less likely to blow him to Kingdom Come. The technology is available to keep you alive and you should take advantage of it! If you can’t afford one of the new systems, check out spray paint booth rentals in your area. If you’re not a professional, pay by the hour! Or before you start to make ill advised plans to build a homemade paint booth, buy a cheap used spray booth!
For the purpose of information only I took the time to interview one of the few guys that I knew that had built his own homemade paint booth. This is one of the few painters that I knew that had actually worked in a homemade paint booth. Even though he made it out alive he in no way recommends using this interview as plans or a blueprint for building your own homemade paint booth.
Here’s the basics of our conversation.
In the old days there were no paint booths that you could buy in a box. Spray painting was done in the old barns, in the middle of auto repair shops with open flame heating sources and virtually anywhere else we could get some compressed air. Those were not the good old days. There was no good ventilation system and many times the painter was hard-pressed to see what he was painting for the cloud of spray flying in his face.
I'm going to tell you how we built the last homemade paint booth that we ever used which believe it or not was not that many years ago! We were tight on money and we needed a paint booth.Homebuilt, contracted or whatever we had to have a place to paint and we had to have it in a hurry. The place we had been using had been destroyed in a storm and we had cars, old motorcycles, boats and even a guitar stacked up that needed paint jobs! Blowing something up was (stupidly) not a huge concern, we had business that we were going to lose if we didn’t get something to paint in.
We tacked on a lean to or a kind of a shed to the back of the shop. The plan was to alternate the area from where we kept our home made sand blasting booth (that’s another set of instructions!) to a home made booth for painting according to what was on the schedule at the time.
We got up with a buddy that was good it plumbing and we helped him run pipes for the air. At the same time we jerry rigged the area for heat so that no exposed flames would be sharing airspace and we even managed it so that it would pass local area inspection. Amazing. We lined the walls with aluminum at a height slightly over head high and mounted vertical fluorescent lighting at about 4 foot intervals. Overhead lighting was more of the same. At that time we probably had the best lit homemade paint booth in the state even though what we had pales in comparison to what you can get in one of today's ready-made paint booths.
The electrician in charge of installing the fluorescent lighting griped the whole time. Wiring those lights was a pain as anything electrical had to be installed in a way so that no electrical spark was ever exposed in the room. We had been told that the local inspector would pay close attention to the way the lights were wired so we knew we had to get it right or we wouldn't get to start using our homemade paint booth in time to keep our customers from walking off. At the time I thought this was being overly cautious because I had seen auto body painters paint hundreds of cars and trucks smoking cigarettes for years. I'm not sure how they got away with it but they managed. We installed several exhaust fans at floor level which was a big improvement and kept the paint spray down but it sure wasn't as good as a downdraft booth. For that matter nothing about the best homemade paint booth is nearly as good as the worst downdraft spray paint booth on the market.
The young guys in the business doing powder coat paint, custom auto paint or any kind of painting should consider themselves lucky to have the technology that’s available today.
How to Make a Homemade Paint Booth.