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To Hot Flock or..to not hot flock… That is the question.

Join us as we visit this taboo & somewhat controversial topic. RossKote breaks his silence on this not to be missed episode of the Powder Coater Podcast!

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“One of the great things I love about my job is getting to share our story & learning through others as they share theirs so we can all learn from each other”

– Kimberly Scott, Host

Kim Scott:

Look out because we’ve got a hot one for you today. In this episode, we take you to the outer limits of the powder coating universe when we discuss the hidden secrets to hot flocking. We’ll rock it to the inner atmosphere of this highly taboo subject and moonwalk through troubleshooting to conquer some bad examples of what can happen when things go wrong. When we reach our destination, we’ll arrive on the planet we call Zen. Join us with our very own Major Tom, our in-house powder coater, Ross Scott, as he returns to earth to share some great tips from the magic zone.

Kim Scott:

Welcome to another edition of the Ross coat powder coater podcast. We interview influencers in the industry and cover trending topics to powder coaters so they can effectively learn and grow their business. Today’s episode is episode number three, Hidden Secrets to Proper Hot Flocking. Today, my husband Ross is back and giving us his take on hot flocking. We also call it hot coating here in Hawaii, and we’re also hopefully going to tease out with him what he calls creating that magic zone when attempting to do this process. But first we still are having a launch party over here. We’re so excited with all the feedback and comments that we’ve been getting on Reddit, the podcast page and the Facebook groups. Shout out to Chris Small and Jimmy O’Malley. They basically are first-time listeners to even listening to a podcast.

Kim Scott:

Chris said that it was refreshing to hear somebody that didn’t learn a course as he doesn’t have any in his country. So thanks Chris for that comment. And also we have NGM Coatings posted, “Thank you for doing this for us new and upcoming coaters. I look forward to listening to all the new podcasts or episodes. Thank you.” And you’re welcome. We’re excited to be getting that feedback from you. Lets us know that we’re talking about things you want to hear about. Also one last shout out to Steve Schilling on the powder coater business group on Facebook. Yes, we are now on iHeart radio. I just uploaded that. So if you don’t see us today or tomorrow, just give it a few days and it’ll be up there. Also, for those of you that are tuning in regularly, we are now on Apple iTunes, Spotify, SoundCloud, and I believe Google Play.

Kim Scott:

So please like, share and subscribe to our website https//www.rosskote.com. And just a quick review of the episode one and two. Of course, our first episode was just going and introducing ourselves as the husband and wife team Ross Coat, where you can learn about why we started the podcast and we talk a little bit about our story. And of course, episode two, which just got released earlier this week, was an interview with Ronan from RoRo Designs2, who has inspired us all to create a better customer experience. Now, on to today’s guest. Ross, are you there?

Ross Scott:

Hi. Welcome.

Kim Scott:

Hi. So now let’s get into this taboo and somewhat controversial subject in powder coating that’s discussed in a lot of forums and groups. Can you tell us, just in simple words, what is hot flocking? What is it? Is it the same as what we call hot coating? You and I call it hot coating. Are they the one in the same? What is hot coating or hot flocking?

Ross Scott:

Hot flocking, basically, you take your substrate that you’re powder coating and you get it up to oven temperature of anywhere between 350 and 400 degrees is the temperature you’re curing it at. Once that part is basically up to that temperature, you pull it out of the oven and you go straight into powder coating. And what happens is, because the substrate is at that temperature, the powder immediately flows out over the substrate as it attaches. So it is great that that happens when you have hard to reach areas because it’s sticking and flowing out immediately. The downside to that is you can put too much on very easily and you’ll get drips and runs.

Kim Scott:

Okay. And so is this why it’s so controversial? And why do you think industry sources warn against doing this or they don’t even address it? I’m not even sure if it’s in manuals or technical stuff at all. Is it? Have you ever seen [crosstalk 00:06:17]?

Ross Scott:

It is. It is. It is addressed. They do frown upon it. I believe that the industry basically says if your gun settings are proper you don’t need to do this method and basically you’re not doing it right. Like I said earlier, some parts cannot be coated in the normal fashion. They’re too recessed and you can’t get the powder in there. It’s very difficult to do.

Kim Scott:

All right. That sounds simple enough. So let’s talk about you and your technique. When do you use this technique and what specific parts do you use it for? You know what I’m talking about. What kind of jobs does this work best for?

Ross Scott:

Yeah. Yeah. Now hot flocking, I only really do it when I have hard to reach areas on parts and I can pretty much name them on one hand. It’s basically rims, specifically the lug holes. I have a really hard time doing that when they’re just normal temperature. So I hot flock the rims, always, to get the powder into the rim holes. Another situation I have is custom built fenders. Those things are extremely difficult. They basically weld the compartments almost closed and they have a little hole that you have to fit your gun into. And it’s very hard to do that just at room temperature because the powder just doesn’t stick in the corners because of the way it spins around in there. So I always hot flock that. There’s also lift kicks. They have the same type of design, like these custom bumpers have. So pretty much those type of three things, I always hot flock. However, I don’t hot flock the whole part. I just do the trouble problematic areas. And that is my tip that I want to go over.

Kim Scott:

Okay. Well, before we get into that, let’s talk about… Well, I’m going to talk about a very bad example or an example that happened actually just a couple of weeks ago. It’s always when you’re doing things for a friend that sometimes bad things happen, right? So you had picked up some fishing pole holders, if anybody knows what those are. If you fish, especially here out in the ocean, people mount or have these fishing pole holders made out of metal, usually aluminum, right, or stainless steel. And they’ll mount them to the boat on the top part and you basically set and lock your fishing pole in there so you can drag your line and do the deeper fishing, I guess. I can’t think of the name of it right now, but basically you’re just popping the fishing pole in there and you’re dragging the line behind the boat. And so you pick these things up. They were very small job and it was just supposed to be real simple, but something happened when you were hot coating them. Can you tell us what happened?

Ross Scott:

Well, actually I wasn’t planning… They were brand new fabrication and I had just put the primer coat on and I had flashed it off and I was actually going to pull them out of the oven and let them cool down. And what happened is the phone rang and I got on the phone and I was talking and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Few minutes go by. And then I get off the phone. I’m like, “Oh, I have to still have to do these.” And I pull them out of the oven and I usually let things cool down. I don’t always hot flock, specifically on these. They didn’t really need to be hot flock. And what happened is exactly what happens when you hot flock. I just started doing my normal procedure and started coating it two times like I normally do.

Ross Scott:

And even though in a normal situation that’s okay, when you hot flock, it is too much powder. And I put them back in the oven and I brought them out after they were done curing and I had all these drips everywhere. I was just like, “Oh God. Duh.” I knew better. One of my tricks that I do is when I pull a part out and I want to coat it, now this is what I call hot coating, I basically let the part cool down before I put the powder on and I let it get to about 150 to 180 degrees. And then I apply the coating as normal and never have problems with it when I do it that way. But I didn’t do that. I went straight to hot flocking and basically put too much powder on and it just ran like crazy.

Ross Scott:

And it’s really easy to do. You think you didn’t. You thought you basically put the right amount on. Okay, it’s not going run. That was the perfect amount of passes. And then you put it in the oven and it’s boom. You’re just like, “Oh my God. I barely put anything on it. It’s running.” So it’s really easy to make that mistake. And I think it’s just because it flows out and it’s deceptive on how much you’re really putting on. So anyways, that was my problem and I had to sand all that all out and redo it.

Kim Scott:

Yeah. This particular piece too, these pieces, were angular because they had to be mounted at a certain angle in order for the pole to rest easily in the socket. And I think angles, I think when I’ve seen you make mistakes like that or you have drips, which is really actually rare these days, but it’s the angle sometimes because you’re either putting it too heavy on one side and not enough on the other. I don’t know. It’s just that also can be problematic, but I’m not the powder coater. You are. I just hear about it later when you’re screaming and cursing and all of that fun stuff. But before we finish out your magic zone tip, let’s talk about more about the troubleshooting, about hot coating because there’s issues, there’s things you got to do with your gun settings maybe, or is it grounding? I think you should preface these other kinds of things you have to have just right in order to get that magic zone and get your focus on.

Ross Scott:

Well, right. Obviously the gun settings are very important. We want to have the high voltage setting amount. Kim, you’re not going to know much about this, but the listeners out there they’ll know, you’ll want your high voltage setting at about 60, your current limitation at 40 and your powder feed quality, you probably, this is key actually, is you want to really bring it down and that’s about 27% to 35%, somewhere in there. If you don’t have these types of functions on your gun, the main thing I want to describe here is the powder cloud that’s coming out of your gun. It needs to be really small. Comes out about four inches past the gun nozzle. You want it to be about a two inch, no more than three inch diameter cloud. And if you keep a real light, small cloud, it’s easy to control the powder as it’s going on into deep recessed areas.

Ross Scott:

You can sit there, for example, on lug holes, I will dial that just into those settings that I just said, and I’ll pull the trigger of the gun away from the rim. So I make sure my cloud is right. And then I come into the lug hole areas in a circular pattern. I just work it in there, just a couple passes on each hole and it flows out and then I step away. Let the rim cool. I let the rim cool down to 150, 180 degrees. And then I turn my settings back up and I leave it still at the high voltage setting at 60 and the current limitation at 40, but I bring the powder feed quality up to about 50, and then I get a bigger cloud. And I just basically powder coat the whole rim, as I normally would. Two passes. I start from the back of the rim where the center bore is, and then work to the inner lip.

Ross Scott:

And then I go to the front of the rim where the center cab would go and work that area and then work the outer lip there. And then do the, basically, hub, which is the outside of where the tire goes. And I finish it up. That’s pretty much how I do a rim and I always stay with it like that every time. And from there, we put the rim in the oven and it depends on what we’re doing, if that’s the first coat, which is like a primer coat, which is probably the most important coat, believe it or not, because you got to get that wheel protected, we’ll just put that in the oven and let it flash off and then continue it in the next sets. And I repeat the same process on every coat.

Kim Scott:

So it’s almost like a Zen zone. I mean, we called it a magic zone, but I actually want to actually say that it’s more like getting into your Zen mode or your focus because this technique is the way it is and you can easily… You’re sort of on a razor’s edge sometimes. You can easily turn this into a booboo in any number of distraction or setting issue or grounding issue or whatever, but when you have it right, it’s like you’re in the Zen’s with you’re really super focused on what you’re doing and you’re not having to redo the piece over and over again. So it’s more like… Do you think patience has a lot to do with it or is it just experience?

Ross Scott:

Patience has everything to do with it. You have to slow your roll. Powder coatings a quick process and basically when I first started doing the hot flocking, I did have lots of mistakes because I was just trying to do it all at once. And when I realized, “Hey, let’s just…” And then I was always doing it with a huge powder cloud, so it was just too much powder getting on there. So once I… It was a common sense thing. “Hey, let’s bring this down,” and, “Okay. That’s nice. That’s working good. Okay,” and, “Well, hey, let’s just, now I got all these problematic areas covered and they’re all flowed out, let’s just set the rim out over here on the side here and let it cool.” And that’s what I really, I can’t stress, it really helps because you’re letting that rim cool down to 150, 180 degrees Fahrenheit, like I said.

Ross Scott:

Just take your infra-red thermometer and go to the center bore in the back and when it gets to that temperature, basically just start coating again and coat like you normally coat. And it’s warm. It will stick very easily, but it’s not flowing out on you and it’s not going to give you any problems. But you’ve already got your problematic areas out of the way and you’re not going to have any problems. It’s going to look great. So that’s my tip and it works for me and I hope if these guys out there that are having a hard time hot flocking, I hope you try it out and it works really good. There’s a lot of guys I see, like on YouTube, they actually hot flock the whole rim and they just bring their powder cloud down and just go over it real slow.

Ross Scott:

And they know that they can only put so much on and it’s a gamble and you just basically put it in the oven and go. But if you’ve done it a lot, you can do it that way all the time. But I don’t do rims every day. I do lots of stuff, railings, gates, you name it, I’ve done it. And so when I get a set of rims, it’s like I have to slow down. I have to slow down what I’m doing because everybody that wants their rim wants it perfect. And hot flocking actually is a little secret that I do to get it all in the corners and the crevices. Because if you don’t do it, it’s so easy to have it too thin. And then if you do hot flock and you do the whole rim hot flock, it’s really easy to get a mistake and then you’re redoing the whole thing.

Ross Scott:

So I just think it’s real important to stress, get your powder cloud down, let it flow out in the problematic areas, and then from there, set the rim down on the side, let it cool down or whatever kind of piece you’re doing, and then continue your coating as you normally would proceed. Of course, bring your powder cloud back up when you’re doing that and it goes real smooth and you always have a consistent, perfect coating. And that’s what I like.

Kim Scott:

Okay, well, let’s talk for a minute about how you’re hanging the rims. Because I’ve seen you, especially with some of the problematic older rims that are pitted, where you have to build up the surface with primers and stuff like that, and you and I talked about an example prior to the podcast that when you’ve got really bad chrome rims that you’re trying to restore. Can you give that example because I think that’s another deeper layer into this hot flocking, especially since so many powder coaters do a lot of rims.

Ross Scott:

Well, yeah, if you get a rim that’s chrome and it’s totally been electrolyzed underneath the chrome and you blast that away and then you have all these just pitted… It’s like a hammertone finish, almost. It’s just totally dents and pits from where there used to be aluminum, basically, from being eaten away and you blast that away and now you’re going, like, “How do I make this look smooth again?” And this is a good hot flocking exercise here. So I normally do rims. I hang them through the valve stem. But in this situation, I hang them through the lug nut holes. And I do this with a bunch of C hooks. Six inch, quarter diameter C hooks. I use three of them. Basically, it looks almost like a Y. One through one hole and the other two holes, and use a 16 gauge wire.

Ross Scott:

And I go to one major C hook to hang it on. And basically you’d hang it in that. Instead of a vertical position, it’s in a horizontal position. So when the rim’s hot and you bring it out of the oven and you got lots of just massive indentations from where the corrosion was, it’s really easy in this position to put it on, hot flock it and build it up, especially with a primer. You can get that all built up and it won’t run and drip because of the way it’s being held. And I only do this in the area that is bad. I hot flock only the area that’s bad. Because it’s like a bowl. And because it’s like a bowl, there’s nowhere else for the powder to go and it just builds up. And then you can basically get all those dimps and dibbles smoothed out with just a basic light sanding and then go to your color coat from there.

Kim Scott:

Okay. Also, now talk just a minute for how you normally, if you just have a regular set of rims that are in pretty good shape, you have a unique way to get good grounding. I would wonder if you could share that with the audience, just in case those that are new to this could use this really helpful tip.

Ross Scott:

Right. Okay. So I use a 5/16ths, basically regular bot that’s about three quarters of an inch long. And then I have the 5/16ths nut. It’s a basic nut. No lock washer or anything like that, or locking nut. It’s just a regular nut. And I basically put that through the valve stem. That will fit through 90% of the valve stems and it fits nice. So it’s tight and there’s no slop. And what I really like about this method is when you take the wire and come around the backside of the valve stem where the hub is, and I put my wire around it, and then I basically tighten the nut down onto the bolt and it snitches that wire right up to the rim and it’s going to be like that throughout the whole coating process. And so you’ll always have a great ground.

Ross Scott:

I mean, it is on there. And I have found that by doing it that way, you’re basically taking grounding problems totally out of the loop. And of course, I also do some other tricks in my shop as far as grounding. We have a metal building. So I ground to the main stud of the building that goes into the ground. And then I go from there to my gun. And from there, it goes to the booth and also the part. So I do a Y there. So I’m directly connected to the part. I actually connect it right to the C hook at the very top. And I never have a grounding issue ever. And that seems to really work well.

Kim Scott:

Well, that sounds like a great tip. Of course, I don’t powder coat, but I do hear you all the time and you have crafted this advice and methodology over the course of your powder coating career and not only that, but with the satisfied customers that we have. And you’re also a super perfectionist too, almost to a fault sometimes. Because a lot of times I’m like, “It’s good enough. Just get it out.” Right? Because, and this is something that is going to be coming up in an upcoming episode with a special guest that I’m invited over to talk about pricing, costing issues, and one of the topics I want to say is how good is good enough? And can it… Sometimes you and I get into a tussle about the price that we’re charging versus what level of perfection they’re going to get.

Kim Scott:

So that’s for another episode. But I think it’s an important one to cover and it’ll be coming up in the next couple of weeks. We also just want to preface this by saying that, this is how we do it. We are not learned school. You might’ve learned something different from someone else. And we’re all here to learn and learn from each other, too, as well. So that’s the reason for the podcast and for getting this information out to you guys. You should always, always reference or read up your powder coating manuals, your tech manuals, your equipment manuals, and pay attention to how you learn. Because it is a methodology. We’re just here to not spill the secrets or share too much or whatever. It’s just that we feel like people need to know more and there’s just too much disinformation out there, that we’re trying to maybe clear the air, clear the powder coating cloud that comes out of the guns, so to speak.

Kim Scott:

One last thing, and I don’t know if we want to just, because we’ve talked about a lot of things here and I don’t want to have people spinning and questioning, but they can always go over the podcast again if they want to hear it. But you talk about this sweet spot or the passes. You talked about that earlier, especially with rims and the degrees or the temperature. Could you just maybe go over that one more time, just as a final wrap up to this podcast, about your way and why you do three passes maybe.

Ross Scott:

Yeah. Yeah.

Kim Scott:

Care to share?

Ross Scott:

Yeah. Sure. What I do is, like I said earlier, after I’m done with the hot flocking, I basically let the piece cool down. The reason I do that is because I don’t want have any drips or runs. And if I let it cool down to 150, 180 degrees, it not only adheres properly with normal settings, it basically allows you to lay it up and I do two runs. Just two passes. I don’t go real slow, but I don’t go real fast. It’s just everybody has their own speed. I work in circular motions generally with the rims. So that’s what I like to do. It works for me and I never have problems. And people always comment, “Man, how you get this so perfect and glossy?” And I go, “It’s just two quick passes.” And the key is I do it at 150 to 180 degrees because the powder is sticking to the rim.

Ross Scott:

It’s not floating around in the air. It is attaching to the rim and that’s what’s really neat about the hot coating aspect of it, that sweet zone of 150 to 180 degrees. It makes it super simple. I do that on gates and railings too, when we’re doing big runs, because if the part’s warm like that, it just makes it easy and you can just fly through it real quick and you know everything’s attaching and you’re done. You just put that sucker back in the oven and let it go. I have one more thing to say about the rims and how to hang them. There’s another way too, also, with German rims, specifically BMW, Audi. Everybody knows what I’m talking about. Those valve stem holes are really deep on those and it’s hard to find something to go through there and hold it.

Ross Scott:

And what I have used is a 3/16ths washer and the 3/16ths diameter hole is perfect for running 16 gauge wire through. And basically you put that through the valve stem hole there and the washer will hold it no problem. And you don’t get these binds and marks in the well of the valve stem hole and you get a nice, perfect ground because it’s nice and it’s pulled up tight. Now, granted, it’s not as good as the washer and nut method, but I mean, I can’t find a good washer and nut to fit in there for the life of me. So that’s what I’ve been using, is a 3/16th washer on those German style rims. And don’t forget to put those in the B17 for the half a day. [crosstalk 00:31:53] that one.

Kim Scott:

Yeah. Well, that’s been awesome, Ross, and I thank you for joining me again today from the dining room table. I appreciate it. And we also like to thank our supportive followers and fellow powder coaters out there. I hope you’ve learned something new about powder coating in your business. Please comment below, follow, share the podcast. If you have a topic you’d like to discuss, just email us at info@mallorypowderworks.com or message us on Facebook. Until then, we’ll see you soon.

 

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