Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Clean, Well-lighted Place

One of my best friends, Jesse Christensen, is my hero. He is a professional wood re-conditioner, using his fancy-schmancy HVLP spray equipment to spray dye and other finshes onto wood floors and cabinets. He is interested in restoring an old Mustang some day, and offered his experienced painter-hands to spray my car. He also offered his great equipment. He also offered half of his 3 car garage. And since I'm at his house, he feels guilty enough to come out and give me hours of labor to get this car sprayed before he moves next month. (3 weeks! yikes)

We decided to build a spray booth in his garage. In theory this should be a contained room made out of 1 mil plastic sheeting, with 2 filtered fans down-drafting from the ceiling creating positive pressure, and another filtered fan blowing along the floor from the side, and a fourth un-filtered fan on the opposite side blowing out under the semi-closed garage door into the driveway. Here's a rough plan without showing the box fans, which would rest on 2x2's running across the span between garage door rails, and also not showing the plastic covering the ceiling, or the supplemental fans on the ground and accompanying filters:

We didn't really want to build an entire structure (lumber costs, ugh!) and decided to see what we could jimmy rig. The ceiling came together nicely, after 4 hours of fiddling, and we even managed to make some mounts for two ceiling fans that we suspended a few feet beneath the ceiling of the garage, but at the top of the booth ceiling. We put up some plastic sheeting for the walls, and were about the do the floor and the other two sides, when we realized the booth would get all dirty during dis-assembly, and during washing, and stripping. We also realized that the stripping and priming don't really require that clean of an environment. (I know you should spray primer in a 'clean room', but I'm just going to sand it anyway, so I don't mind sanding all the dirt and bugs out.) We stopped building a booth and decided to finish the booth after priming and block sanding, but before final cleanup and paint/clear.

One of the biggest considerations we had was whether to paint with the garage door open (more light), half open (some light, easy place to vent booth air), or closed (less light, vent air into garage, BUT be able to access garage-door rails for structure). I'm not sure the best answer. Having to build a booth and ensure that the door could remain functional was pretty tough. I knew I didn't want to be washing the car after sanding in the booth, so this is kind of where we stalled out and decided to start the process without the booth, and just build it right before paint.

Here is what we spent tons of time on today:

(Insert pictures of ghetto booth, which I don't have because I used my friends camera... Send me the pics Jesse!)

We used 2 fans we had laying around, and some shelving for braces that would have otherwise had to be constructed.

Supplies I bought for the booth:
5x plastic sheet (10' x 20' x 1mil) for the walls & ceiling, $1.50 each
1x plastic sheet (10' x 20' x 8mil) for the floor, $4.50
2x box fans (20" x 20", X Brand) $15 each
4x 2"x2"x10' lumber, for framing, $1.50 each
1x fancy plastic-use duct tape, $4.00 a roll.

I also bought 2 fluorescent light setups from Home depot. They were $10 each + $5 for 2x 48" blubs (3200 lumens each). They really would have brightened the sides of the booth up, but I decided to take them back and use a series of halogen lamps and fluorescent floor lamps once we have the booth up and running. If there isn't enough light, I might go back and pick up the cheapo fluorescents.

Total time 6 hours (3 hours x 2 guys), $42

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