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Thread: I make a paint booth on the cheap

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    Default I make a paint booth on the cheap

    I have been spraying paint inside with no ventilation. I do use a respirator, but the fumes need a way out. With brain cells that are left, I decide to make a paint booth. Also, I am cheap. Or poor. Both. I use a bathroom fan and a dryer vent to make this semi-permanent paint booth. I will make foam board "curtains" for the side walls and a movable shelf that can be adjusted up or down. I was going to use metal shelf brackets but may instead go with a wooden cleat system. I think that will be easier to move.

    Here is a link to my progress.

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/VM1RnnW9ysV2gMwf8
    Daniel Dawson

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    Just a warning , make sure the fan and vent do not cause any sparks , when shutting on or off for instance , paints can be flammable and I believe it's one of those things that is special about the fans and vents in commercial paint booths.
    As long as I can model in N-scale, I know I'm not old

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    Quote Originally Posted by Janbouli View Post
    Just a warning , make sure the fan and vent do not cause any sparks , when shutting on or off for instance , paints can be flammable and I believe it's one of those things that is special about the fans and vents in commercial paint booths.
    Those fans are about $500. I've researched it and I'm willing to take the risk. Thanks for caring, though!
    Daniel Dawson

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mobile One View Post
    Those fans are about $500. I've researched it and I'm willing to take the risk. Thanks for caring, though!
    You may want to consider a brushless computer cooling fan, runs on 12 volts. I have a spare that's yours if you want it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mobile One View Post
    Those fans are about $500. I've researched it and I'm willing to take the risk. Thanks for caring, though!
    @Mobile One: You may want to consider a brushless computer cooling fan, runs on 12 volts. I have a spare that's yours if you want it.
    - Gary R.

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    You could go on the cheap by going with a boat blower. These are designed for flammables and there are around $25. You can get them in 3" and 4" vents.
    I would hate to see you burn your place down for trying one of those bathroom types of blowers.

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    I know we all say be careful with sparks but has it ever actually happened? Or has the hobby been relying on a what if for years
    Did someone say whitcomb?

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    as long as there is more air than fumes it will be ok . its when ya get that 50/50 mix things go bad 75 % air and the rest fumes mean no boom or is it bang or kaplow '

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    Quote Originally Posted by sid View Post
    I know we all say be careful with sparks but has it ever actually happened? Or has the hobby been relying on a what if for years
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scotian_Huntress View Post
    But look at them, they're all large scale industrial accidents and over 20% of them are completely unrelated to fumes. Not a single one says a spark caused by an electrical fan in normal operation. There is one that is questionable but again many variables are not parallel to a small scale hobby grade paint booth. I get a strong feeling this is an urban legend that might have been based on one truth way back when and since snowballed to it being this massive hysteria that's brought up as the first comment whenever the topic is discussed. It'd be a very simple experiment to set up, hell you could even rig up ideal conditions and create a small scale of the most common OSHA report relating to fume hazards, an enclosed space with nonfunctional ventilation and an open spark.
    I'm certainly not advising anybody to try it but I do think the plausibility of an incident like this occurring needs clarification through controlled scientific testing.
    Did someone say whitcomb?

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    I have no experience with paint booths but its a real issue with gas engines on boats because the fumes collect in the engine compartment or the bilge. OTOH you don't need a blower at all for diesels. Just guessing but the petroleum distillates in paint smell more like kerosene than gas. But watch out for rattle can propellants.

    If you go the boat blower route you will need a 12 VDC power supply, probably 5 amps for a small one to 20 amps for a biggie.

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    If you are shooting mostly acrylics / water based paints, probably no worry. Enamels and especially lacquers would increase the risk. However, since the fumes would be pulled out and released into the outdoors, the concentration would probably never reach an appreciable level for combustion to occur. Even IF it did how likely would there actually be a spark from the fan these days?

    Honestly, as suggested, this is probably an urban myth from bygone days when paints were far far more toxic, motors were more robust but less consistent and could range in core types, brush types, AC vs DC, less manufacturing regulation, less technologically advanced materials, bearings, etc.

    Also, does everyone ground their ducting? When you push air across a metallic surface there is an exchange of electrons that can lead to a change in electric potential (aka static charge). I am fairly certain few hobbyists ground their ducting from their paint booths and I've never heard of any paint booth related fires or explosions. That many people using non grounded exhaust lines should produce some examples of disaster if it were that much of a concern.

    I'd say there is probably very little risk, but some even if negligible. You're probably more likely to get lung cancer from NOT using a paint booth w/fan when airbrushing than causing an explosion using one with a bathroom or computer fan. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby if it makes you feel better. I have a fire extinguisher about 5 feet from my train room. It's centrally located between my train room, garage and kitchen. That reminds me, I still need to get one for upstairs.

    Like you, I had considered a DIY paint booth and read all the comments and concerns you've read. Ultimately I decided by the time I spent money on all of the materials and got a quality fan with the CFM I wanted (the most important factor) and factored in my time invested and my lack of expertise (let's face it, it would have functioned but looked like crap and wouldn't have lasted very long), it wasn't that much more expensive to buy a Paasche paint booth. If you shop around you can pick one up for less than the cost of a brand new locomotive and know that it is already designed to move enough air to keep your lungs healthy and reduce the concern of the fan sparking a fire or explosion.

    I am no expert, these are just my thoughts and opinions, so take it for it's worth (not much).
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    My concern is that we downplay a possible hazard, even if it does seem remote to us. I am especially concerned for others that read this and interpret this as a non-issue. Even if rare, it does appear it has happened. I didn't' spend much time looking, but I did find this.

    http://www.modelcarsmag.com/forums/t...oth-explosion/

    "I know this topic has come up in the past but it needs to be discussed again. I friend of mine built his own spray paint booth from a kitchen stove exhaust hood that he was using in his garage. Last night he was using it when it caught on fire. He has burns on his chest, arms, face and head. His wife told me he has no eyebrows, eye lashes or hair left on his head. He also wears contact lenses which melted in his eyes from the fire. He's in pretty bad shape and was transferred to a Shriners burns hospital in Boston. He was using Testors rattle can enamel on an airplane model that he was building. His wife told me she herd a boom sound then a scream. When she opened the door into the garage his shirt was on fire. Luckily there daughter's boy friend was there and he used a fire extinguisher on him to put out the fire. If anyone is using a home made spray booth don't use it anymore. The fan motor windings are exposed and will ignite paint fumes and vapors. You need to use a motor this is in a vapor proof or explosion proof case. This guy Dennis is 47 years old and is a pipe fitter by trade, ironically he installs fire sprinklers. I didn't intend to ruin anyone's dinner, but I hope it may help save yourself from getting hurt, or worse. Sorry for the gloom and doom, be careful!"
    -Will

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    Gene

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Rowan View Post
    You may want to consider a brushless computer cooling fan, runs on 12 volts. I have a spare that's yours if you want it.
    Thanks, Gary! I did consider this but I think the air flow will not be there. Also add the cost of power supply for this or bilge blowers. I do think Intermodalman is on the right track here. Yes, explosions have happened. It does seem to be very rare. There are many discussions on many forums. One gentlemen shot lacquer thinner straight into a brushed fan trying to ignite it with no success. I do think the air/chemical mixture has to be very precise to ignite (which was the gentleman's point). Mostly I do acrylics (no hazard) and the little lacquer I use will have the fan running before hand. Having no ventilation at all cannot be better, and I've had no ignitions from light switches prior to this.

    I have decided to bump up from 50 CFM to 100 CFM airflow, as the 50 seemed wimpy. I have made some progress which I hope to photograph soon. Will test soon. Hoping I don't explode!
    Daniel Dawson

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    I did some initial tests tonight. The booth worked wonderfully however my primer did not. Ugghh. I've got to try a different brand. Anyway, due to primer difficulties I ended up spraying a lot of lacquer thinner through the brush; pretty much right into the blower (I added a filter). No explosion. Also, pretty much no smell accumulated, which means no fumes accumulating. That is a big improvement. I can't say this makes it safe, of course. Anyone considering this is forewarned.

    I will post more pics soon. I ended up using a cleating system to attach the lower shelf, which means I can move the shelf up or down in about 2 seconds. So I can adjust the height based on the size of my project and/or if I want to stand, sit on a stool, or sit on a chair.
    Daniel Dawson

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