Whether you are working with a liquid or a professional powder coating, your project may require a mask for some parts. Masking leaves out some sections, either to be coated later or to remain unfinished.
There is a wide range of masking techniques, depending on the material and process you are using. Here are some tips for masking different types of coatings.
Masking Surfaces with Waxes
Using wax is a temporary masking method, where the material is applied once then disposed of or recycled. There are two main types of waxes, high temperature, and low-temperature waxes. The latter is a more widely utilized form of masking for its cost-effectiveness.
High-temperature waxes have a melting point of 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Waxes can withstand heat throughout the coating process. Their greatest drawback is the toxic fumes they can generate. They require a proper setup to manage environmental and workers’ safety concerns.
Tape Masking for Professional Powder Coatings
Powder coatings tend to be thick. Masking is necessary to stop the fluid from flowing back into unwanted areas. One of the best choices for a professional powder coating is high-temperature tape.
Tapes used for masking are made of polyester. These polyester strips have a wide range of applications. They can withstand a temperature of 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Some specialized tapes can reach a maximum of 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Air and Vacuum Masking
Air masking involves blowing compressed gas over unwanted areas. The low-pressure blast generates electrostatic energy that draws the particles to one side. Vacuum masking is the same process but in reverse.
For professional powder coatings, vacuuming produces sharper edges than blowing air. However, both processes should be carried out after the baking cycle.
Plug Masking for Powder Coatings
Plugs are cone-shaped caps that cover portions of the surface. They can block out screws, joints, and other areas that would interfere with the design of the assembly. Plugs can withstand high temperatures of up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit.
One advantage of using plugs is that they are re-usable after each cycle. However, the coating must not come into contact with the masking pieces. If you take the necessary precautions during the operation, plugs can be cost-effective in high-volume applications.
Permanent Versus Temporary Masks
Permanent masks are suitable for high-volume, long-term operations. They may require customization to fit the part, and therefore, they are more expensive than temporary ones. The advantage is that they can handle high temperatures through multiple cycles without losing their integrity. Permanent masks are made from materials such as metal and silicone.
Temporary masks are more widely used than permanent masks. They include tapes and waxes and are suitable for short runs. They are also more cost-effective, but they are not the best for high-temperature applications.
If you require a custom solution, precision masking may be the best choice for your application. By employing tailored templates, programmable systems, and automation, you can manage overheads and save time. You can attain unparalleled accuracy for a professional powder coating for your parts. If you are looking for the best powder coating and professional finishes in the Bay Area, contact Professional Finishing and we will be happy to help.