Environmental factors

SpinnerSpinner Member Posts: 380 ✭✭✭
I thought this would be a good discussion topic. We talk a lot about materials and technique, but I believe the environment we use these in is as much a part of our success as the other stuff. I am by no means an expert on the subject, but I have observed a big difference in the performance of me and the materials in differing ambient environments.

For instance...Air compressor air temperature and moisture would be a good analogy on a micro climate level... filters and dryers are standard tools to help solve those problems.

But what about the larger work space?

Here are a couple of topics on my mind...

Room temperature and how it effects parts, painting, film, and activation

Room humidity and how it effects parts, painting, film and activation

Air contaminates - dust is obvious. However, with so many of us dipping "in our garages" do other air contaminates effect our results? Fuel vapors from gas cans or vehicles for instance. What about odors from household chemicals and products?

For those of you in the business, I am sure environment control is critical to your success. What steps can be taken on the home front to help us part timers see more consistent results?
Post edited by Spinner on


  • SpinnerSpinner Member Posts: 380 ✭✭✭
    edited July 10

    I will start with one example...
    I wanted to use an intercoat clear with a candy color (transparent) for a base coat... Candy apple red. But the candy color had a terrible blush. It wasn't red, nor was it clear. After lots of attempts and several calls into JJ at OHW, it turns out the summertime ambient humidity in my unheated workshop left a surface moisture on the aluminum part that got trapped under the intercoat (paint). This moisture presented itself as "cool to the touch" on the aluminum... not visual moisture droplets.

    The solution was to warm the part up with a hairdryer to flash off the moisture then paint it. Problem solved! But the journey to get to that simple solution was very frustrating. The dips over the moisture trapped parts were presenting themselves as other, distracting symptoms. In the end, I set an oil-filled radiator heater under a wire rack and placed the aluminum parts on the rack to dry off the parts prior to paint, then prior to dipping. No more moisture problems from the ambient air. The problem wasn't the paint. It was the environment.

    This problem existed under the regular opaque paints, too. they just didn't give me the obvious signs of blush like the candy paint did. So now ALL of my parts get warmed up before paint and dip. BTW, this wire rack heater is great to warm up rattle cans, too!
    Post edited by Spinner on
  • SpinnerSpinner Member Posts: 380 ✭✭✭
    edited July 10
    One more example with film and the environment.

    The problem was the film was limp and could hardly be controlled putting it on the water. And on some days, the dips went terribly because - in the end - the film became over-hydrated before it even got to the water.

    My film is stored in the climate controlled basement workshop of my house. And the plastic tubes are vacuum sealed with a desiccant pack after the project parts are rolled off. And the film "felt" right when I was in the climate controlled shop.

    The paint/dip shop is outside in a different building that is not climate controlled. Somewhere between the film storage area and the dip area, the film became affected by the ambient humidity. Also, the cut film may have sat in the dip room for up to 20- 30 minutes before I used it.

    The solution I came up with was to limit the amount of film I rolled off to the amount I could use in about 15-20 minutes. Also, I made this "folder" to transport and hold the film in just prior to putting it in the water. It's 1/8" hardboard with a packing tape hinge. It limits the exposure of the film to the humidity and keeps the film flat. Most all my parts can use film that can fit in this small folder. For larger pieces, I roll the project cut film onto a cardboard tube and place it in a plastic tube for transport to the dip room and unroll it just prior to setting it on the water.

    The problem wasn't bad film... it was bad management of the film.

  • MidOhioHydrographicsMidOhioHydrographics Member, Moderator, Business Ninja Posts: 10,376 El Moderator
    Good info and yes! You are absolutely correct.

    We are constantly tweaking settings on our activation, how we paint, dry/cure times, etc. as the seasons change here in Ohio. Many People don't realize, but we get very large swings of temperature (and humidity). Last week it was warmer and more humid here in Ohio than where we were visiting in Georgia. We can get below 0 in the winter, and mid 90's in summer. Both are common for a few weeks of the year. If you can't adjust your process to deal with the changes, you're going to be fighting it always.

    Now, I should note. Our IR curing bank has solved some of these problems. We use water based aqualac paints, and dry times are significantly affected by ambient temperate and humidity. If we roll the rack of parts in front of our IR curing lamps for A quick 5-7 minutes, the parts are ready to dip instead of 30 minutes in the humidity. Our shop is not climate controlled, other than heat in the winter. If it's raining outside in the summer? Everything is humid as heck. IT can be raining and 85 degrees in summer in Ohio. Awful for this process.

    Now... film... I store it in a humidity controlled office. Once we are ready to use it, we just simply keep it rolled up on the roll, and unroll the piece of film as we need it. If we unroll too soon, it'll start going limp. Given, we are typically doing a larger piece of film (whole tank). But the rolled film has a much lower surface area, so less is affected.
  • K2ConceptsK2Concepts Administrator Posts: 14,160 El Jefe
    Exactly. We swing pretty wide here as well...it will depend on the year but it can be 100 degrees and raining...so yea I feel your pain. We solved some of our issues by installing a couple of window AC units in our dipping room...while it is still humid because of the tank and rinse tanks? The AC's help...
  • SpinnerSpinner Member Posts: 380 ✭✭✭
    What about airborne contaminates? Like fuel fumes and other chemical smells. If you can smell it, it can Land on your parts?
    Or is that something that would be such a low factor you shouldn't worry about it?

  • MidOhioHydrographicsMidOhioHydrographics Member, Moderator, Business Ninja Posts: 10,376 El Moderator
    edited July 14
    Pretty low factor. BUT! There are some things to watch that will cause contamination... and some are indeed airborne. See list here:
  • SpinnerSpinner Member Posts: 380 ✭✭✭
    Wow! That could be the most informative thread I've read on the forum. I need to go through my shelf.
    I have two problems... One of my sons is a chemistry major and always has something bubbling and boiling.
    My other son is an artist and has lots of products and media for his molding, sculpting, and other projects. He and I have already had "The Talk" about  silicone. LOL
  • WileECoyoteWileECoyote Member, Moderator, Business Ninja Posts: 7,591 El Moderator
    @spinner I can't believe you have not seen that thread yet... Most of the time, people assume things will effect their paint and they really don't. We had an outbreak of fisheyes every year around thanksgiving and lasted till spring. After a few years of this, we were troubleshooting with some pretty wild theories (diesel fumes from trucks being pulled into the RTU's, people applying chapstick, people heating food during colder months). Essentially the issue came down to humidity and static building up on plastic parts as they sat in the shop.

    Just use general clean practices in your shop, and keep unnecessary things out. You will be fine for the home shop
  • SpinnerSpinner Member Posts: 380 ✭✭✭
    That thread is from a long time ago.  Lol
    I basically read the forum in reverse when I discovered it. Must have stopped before I got to it.

  • WileECoyoteWileECoyote Member, Moderator, Business Ninja Posts: 7,591 El Moderator
    @Spinner I thought that is was a sticky at the top of the page, I looked and it wasn't there. The "Man" is always trying to keep me down
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