Before completing any project, you will need to consider the surface finish and detailing. It is best to understand all of your options when choosing your method and material. Although powder coating is known as one of the most durable and efficient options, there are alternatives to powder coating that you should know.
Minnesota Industrial Coatings (MIC) provides consistently high-quality industrial coatings, including powder coating and electrocoating (e-coating).
MIC guides each customer’s project through planning, coating, testing, packaging, and shipping. Our coating experts work closely with each customer, using leading coatings technologies and eco-sensitive, quality-driven processes.
What are some alternatives to powder coating?
There are a few materials that can be wonderful alternatives to powder coating. These materials will not have all of the same characteristics as a powder coat but might fit your project’s needs. Liquid paint, hydrographic printing, or an oil coating could be just what you need.
Liquid paint is a popular alternative to powder coating.
Paint is a common material that almost everyone has access.
Traditional coating with liquid paint provides a simple and accessible way to give your project a custom finish. There are many ways to apply liquid paint, including brush and spray on variations as an alternative to powder coating.
Liquid paint application is a familiar process.
You might not realize that it can be messy and wasteful. Because there is a viscous liquid binding the colorant together, each coat must be applied very carefully and given time to dry thoroughly. If done improperly, your paint coating will have visible imperfections like runs, drips, streaks, and sagging.
Spray paint can be a viable powder coating alternative.
It is true if you need a quick and straightforward color coat. Atomized paint particles can help you achieve an even layer for your perfect finish. With patience and a few even coats, spray paint can give a smooth finish to your part.
Paint is a less durable alternative to powder coating.
When comparing the finish of spray paint versus a powder coat, the main difference is durability. Powder coating is known for long-lasting coverage. Many spray paints will fade and chip over a short period.
Attention to detail is imperative.
When painting metals, it is imperative to pay close attention to the surface finish. Slight imperfections in the paint surface will be more prone to collecting unwanted build-up and lead to a break in your coating and corrosion of your metal part.
Achieving a smooth surface finish with paint is not easy.
Painting a smooth and even coat is especially difficult for parts of specific shapes and sizes. If the paint coating does not reach the part’s crevices, corrosion and chipping may occur. It takes patience and sometimes even specialized equipment to ensure that you are painting each surface evenly and thoroughly.
Hydrographic Printing is another alternative to powder coating.
Hydrographic printing is a unique alternative.
Unlike powder coating, it can leave intricate and ultra-custom patterns and imagery on your part. Typically, a cheaper form of custom painting that can still provide excellent results.
You can DIY hydrographic printing.
This process may also be known as water transfer printing, the hydrographic printing process is fascinating to watch. There are many online tutorials for this process, and some makers choose this method as a DIY project. A thin sheet floats over a pool of water, and as your part is dipped into the pool, the sheet envelopes it. These sheets are often customized and can be in any color and finish.
Hydrographic printing is a cheaper way to obtain a custom look.
If you dream of having a custom look on your metal parts, hydrographic printing is a great option. Unfortunately, achieving the perfect finish requires some practice. You may want to skip the DIY project and find a water transfer printing professional.
It isn’t easy to customize intricate parts with hydrographic printing.
Customization comes at a slight disadvantage when trying to cover complicated parts. If your piece has intricate surfaces, likely, the coating sheet will not wrap perfectly around it. If the amount you plan to hide does not need a customized pattern or stylized looks, hydrographic printing is probably not worth it.
Oil coating metal parts is the most straightforward alternative to powder coating.
Oil coating is a simple but not the most effective solution.
You might be looking for a simple solution to protect your metal parts from corrosion in some cases. When looking for a simple and cheap alternative to powder coating, you should consider if a preventative oil coating could be enough to protect your parts.
An oil coating is not a durable alternative to powder coating.
Unlike a durable powder coating, an oil coating will need to be reapplied to your metal parts often. Oil coating might be an excellent option for you if reapplication will be easy and accessible.
Oil coating isn’t the prettiest option.
If the metal parts are displayed, you might want a surface finish that is a little more glamorous than a simple oil coating. Many times, a long-lasting, colorful surface finish isn’t the priority. If this is the case for the project, then maybe an oil coat will be just enough to get the job done.
Consider the benefits of powder coating when making your decision.
Adding a powder coat creates a durable shell for your part.
Powder coatings produce a thicker shell that won’t run or sag. Powder-coated items have a smooth finish and never show defects such as streaking or seams.
Powder coating is more environmentally friendly.
Unlike spray painting your items, the powder coating process emits zero or near zero volatile organic compounds (VOC).
The powder coating process isn’t wasteful.
Overspray from the powder coating process may be recycled so that virtually 100% of the coating particles are used. Powder coating production yields significantly less waste when compared to conventional liquid coatings and hydrographic printing processes where excess is discarded.
You can get a thorough coating with powder coating technology.
The powder coating process is effective in covering complicated surfaces. It covers sharp edges much more thoroughly than traditional liquid paint and can hide virtually any form.
Customized surface finishes are achievable with powder coating.
Patterns, textures, colors, and special effects often painstakingly applied with paint are achievable with powder coating.
Minnesota Industrial Coatings makes the decision easy.
Minnesota Industrial Coatings (MIC) provides consistently high-quality industrial coatings, including powder coating and electrocoating (e-coating). MIC carefully guides each customer’s project through planning, coating, testing, packaging, and shipping. Our coating experts work closely with each customer, using leading coatings technologies and eco-sensitive, quality-driven processes.