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Christian Illusionist
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Ohio (currently located in Missouri)
503 Posts

Profile of Christian Illusionist
I have a metal stand that I had built for me out of steel. I was in a rush to have it completed in time for a number of shows I had coming up and so had it painted with regular black paint instead of powder coated (which I preferred). This was a mistake as the paint scraped off extremely easily.

I have a few questions about this, please feel free to try an answer for any or both of them.

Question 1: I've thought about taking it somewhere to get it powder coated, but then again, someone told me this isn't much better than a normal paint job and the paint will scratch just as easily. Is this true? What are the advantages to powder coating?

Question 2: I recently discovered this stuff and have thought about purchasing some and just coating the steel in it instead of paint since it appears that it might hold up better. Does anyone know anything about this and what would be the pros or cons of it compared to powder coating or something else?

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Father Photius
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Grammar Host
El Paso, TX (Formerly Amarillo)
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Profile of Father Photius
Plastidip is good for what it is sold for, but not for the application you want. You would have a hard time getting an even coat and good adhereance. It can also be peeled and gouged off.
Powder coating, like chrome can be scratched and chipped. Depending on how it is handled. Generally it is better than plain paint IMHO. But it is also more expensive than paint. Good primed, sanded, well coated high quality enamel (like the type they use to paint airplanes) that has been heat dried, maybe with a couple of clear coats similiarly cured, will scratch, but should hold up well under normal wear and tear. You get some tool or a belt buckle or some other hard object around it and it will scratch it just like it will the finish on your car.
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Eternal Order
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Profile of JamesTong
How about having the metal stand nickle plated? Or chromed?
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578 Posts

Profile of BSutter
Remake the frame of 304 Series Stainlees Steel with a Brushed finish. No worries.
George Ledo
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SF Bay Area
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Without knowing what your stand is used for, or how it's used, or how much abuse it gets on the road, here are a couple of thoughts.

First, there's no real "tour-proof" paint that won't get chipped or scratched. A baked enamel finish is probably close to it, as is an epoxy finish, but you may still get scratches. The problem with these finishes is that repairing the scratches can get tricky and expensive if they're anything more than a hairline.

For theatrical purposes, you'd be better off using a finish that's readily available and easy to repair by you as needed. Personally, on a road prop, I'd use the heavier-duty spray paints.
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Profile of wa-na-be
If you can not remove the frame from your prop tape it off, so you don't get paint on the prop. You can use automotive enamel paint with hardener. You will need to remove all the old paint before you do this, also you will want to prime it before you paint it.
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Inner circle
Baltimore, MD
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Profile of DStachowiak
I remember reading years ago that the best way to prepare brass for painting was to wash it in "Sal Soda" (AKA Sodium Carbonate or Washing Soda)The idea was to remove all traces of grease etc and also (since the soda is somewhat caustic) to microscopically "rough" or pit the surface for better paint adhesion.
I don't know if it would be sufficiently caustic to have the same effect on steel, there may be some other chemical that will produce a similar result. I assume you had it built of regular carbon steel rather than stainless. I don't think there's any way to make paint adhere well to stainless.
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Tom Bartlett
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Acetone is another degreaser used to prep metal for painting.
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Christian Illusionist
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Ohio (currently located in Missouri)
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It's just basic carbon, cold roll steel.

Thanks guys for your advice. If you have any more, feel free to share, I'll consider all of it carefully.
We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.
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Remscheid, Germany
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Profile of abrell
How big is your stand? If it is what I suppose simply try the next racing bike manufacturer or the next car paint shop. They are used to sand all items and most of them do powder coating. That colour on the stand is no problem for them. And if you do not know any - they do not know you also, and this must be changed. Do not forget your business cards; surely they will need some magician in future...
Alan Munro
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Kentwood, Michigan, USA
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Another option to consider is to take it to a gunsmith and have it "blued" or have a black gun finish applied. It would certainly be more durable than paint.
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colorado, usa
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Profile of chill
I vote for the powder coat. it is much more durable than spray paint. have them sand blast first, and tape off any area you don't want coated. a small metal stand shouldn't cost more than $50 or so to get done
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Michael Taggert
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Fredericksburg Virginia
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I am of the school of keep a can of spray in your on the road kit and touch up just before the show. the Higher grades of coatings will not give you this option. if you REALLY need topowder coat it wil not neccesarily be better looking than a good spray job. any prop that is on the road will get scratched even in ata cases.
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Inner circle
7349 Posts

Profile of hugmagic
Powder coat is more durable. You cannot also use an epoxy paint. George Kirkendall used this on his reels. I have used it in industrial situations to good sucess.

I have also heated the metalm, applied primer, let it set, heat the metal again and painted with pretty good results.

Michael is correct. All paints do scratch. I was setting up my show last Monday and I noticed some bare metal. Out came the magic marker and I touched it up.

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