Top positive review
45 people found this helpful
Biggest bargain in powder coating!
on September 27, 2012
I bought this with a light dose of skepticism but have been *extremely* pleased with it thus far. I've used it once a day to coat small items with various powders I already have.
I also own the Harbor Freight unit that requires an air compressor but at the moment don't have my air compressor setup and only wanted to coat small items that would easily fit in a toaster oven that my wife graciously donated to the project (after I purchased a new one for her, of course.) I had already read some of the reviews on here complaining about the back blast when the trigger was pulled all the way, so I devised a simple gasket made from 2mm thick foam sheet (available at most any hobby store and even big-box stores in the hobby section.) Simply take the cup and mash it down on the foam to create the inner circle, cut it out with a hobby knife and cut the outer with a pair of scissors. Note that this unit has a variable trigger to it, it's not a binary trigger.
I've seen on the interwebs where people were concerned about getting additional cups, but it turns out that this same gun is still available under a variety of names for far more than it's available here on Amazon (hence the title to my review!) It turns out that Summit Racing also sells the cups, and I picked up an additional four cups at ~$10 each with another ~$10 in shipping. The cup that comes with the gun comes with two foam plugs to put in, in case you don't want to empty the cup out but want to store it. The additional cups ideally would come with them, but did not. I fabricated up some simple plugs of my own with some packing foam and sticks and now have 4 colors on hand, leaving my last cup in the gun - empty - for whatever color suits my fancy when the others don't.
FYI, Sears did not "discontinue" this product - they just slapped their name on it as they did not make them. They simply quit selling them because at $180, no one was really buying them despite how great they work. Quite frankly, I think it's a stroke of genius design as all others require a huge high voltage power supply (very clunky and large) and an air compressor (far larger and clunkier, sometimes not portable at all!) I'm actually able to coat my items on a small desk in my office and use a toaster oven to bake the parts; the desk is next to a door so if it starts to smell or smoke, I just open the door and put a fan in the way. The power supply is relatively small (it's like a big wall-wart, about the size of a couple of boxes of kitchen matches) and has two cords coming out - one for the gun, and a slim green one with an alligator clip for the ground. The cords are easily 10ft+ long so you're not tethered too close to an outlet, making it very easy to work with.
While some may complain about the "cheap plastic" feel of the unit, I for one appreciate the insulation of plastic to keep me from being inadvertently tazered by the unit (remember, this unit uses 15kV DC to create the static charge needed to make the powder stick! Don't touch the tip while you're spraying!) The cups are made of pretty hard plastic too - I suspect if they were dropped hard enough they may shatter so be careful.
I'm not sure what "screw" breaks but there is a cup lock (the red twist knob on the left side) that locks the cup in place so it doesn't fall out while you're coating; just need to be aware of what position it's in when you want to install/remove it and you'll be fine. If you make the gaskets I mention above, you might have to push the cup back with a little force to get it into place. The whole unit comes in a real nice blow-molded plastic box that also includes a small roll of silicon masking tape and silicon plugs for masking off areas you don't want to get the coating in. (Remember, powder coat melts into a single form.)
Other than the minor issues, this thing is excellent! There are no "specific" or "Sears" powders that need to be used with this unit either - any powder coat from anywhere will work fine. Harbor Freight, Columbia Coatings, Powder by the Pound, Eastwood and Caswell all sell the powders. You can get anything from plain-jane white, gloss black, base colors, or even translucent colors and metallics. (There's even a real nice single-stage chrome available!) I already had a variety from larger car restoration projects but I'll be getting more for the smaller things. Don't balk at getting this unit, you won't regret it! Use your favorite search engine and you can find just about any color you dream up (and even more!)