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Been some activity in some of the forums concerning “Home-Made” paint booths. The first time folk’s start thinking about a paint booth is after they have tried to paint something in the garage, basement, or small room in the house. First, it gets a little stuffy and the paint fumes start to get to you, so you open a window, now you have air coming in, but you also get those little specks of dust in your fresh paint job. Its not hard to see the little hazy cloud floating around the room, and you might even think about the risk of those paint fumes being ignited, buy the furnace pilot light, or the floor heater that you’re using to keep the garage warm. Then its clean-up time and you realize there is over spray on EVERTHING in the room. Taking it outside to paint, solves a number of those problems except dirt and dust particles. So, there is the dilemma, how to paint something, safely, in an enclosed and controlled environment.
There are a number of things to consider when setting up a paint booth. If you are a hobbyist or someone just getting started in custom painting, you will more than likely start looking into ways to convert your garage or spare room into a “Paint Booth”. Obviously, there are some things to consider. Safely, exchanging the air in the room on a continuous basis, keeping dirt and dust out of the room, controlling the temperature, and keeping cleanup to a minimum. The recent thread on the AutoArt Magazine Web Site, had some pretty good advice, and while there was some safety issues mentioned, there was no mention of local codes. If you are going to do this on a professional level, this is a must! Check your local codes and make sure you are in compliance. One surprise inspection and it could cost you way more than the best paint booth you could have ever bought! I know what you’re thinking,”… can’t afford it, I’m just working out of my house and no one has to know…” So what happens when the local paint shop, finds out you’re operating out of your home? They check you out, and if you’re not completely legit, their going to turn you in and that could be a hefty fine. Another possibility is a neighbor that doesn’t like the smell coming out of your shop and calls the health department or OSHA. Believe me, if you’re not up to code…BIG TROUBLE. When in doubt do some investigation, and find out what the local laws and codes are in your particular area, then there is no question.
The building of a paint booth and all the considerations that are involved, could fill up several books, so I will just mention a few things and then direct you to a very good web site that, in my humble opinion, covers just about everything you could possibly want to know about building a paint booth and resources for all of the components such as fans, louvered vents and filters.
First, decide what it is you’re going to be painting and what kind of materials you will be using (now and in the near future). This will help figure out how much space your going to need, what safety concerns there will be, and ultimately, what kinds of filters, fans, and personal safety equipment you will need.
Obviously, you need to decide if you’re just a hobbyist or are you going to turn this into a profession, either part time or full time. This will help guide you in the direction you take, in terms of legal compliance, as well as public safety that you must also consider, along with your own.
Remember, these are just a few of the very basic considerations. For a very detailed explanation of paint booth construction, ventilation requirements, safety concerns, and equipment resources, check out Len Stuart’s web site at: www.autobodystore.com and look under Paint Shop in the main menu for Ventilation. There is an example of Len’s positive flow paint booth setup. There is also a photo documented down draft paint booth project. He has a very extensive and detailed library of painting and body shop “How-To” articles as well as a good supply of materials and equipment in his store.
Have fun doing what you do, and consider the safety aspects as well, for both your own protection as well as that of others around you…Robin
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