This month, we visited Millenium Powder Coating of South El Monte, who took on the task of powder coating our Project El Dorado’s frame - yes, we said frame. The custom frame that was built for the once front wheel drive car needed to be protected from the elements. What better way to protect all of the hard work that was done to this chassis than by powder coating it in a chassis black finish.
Powder coating is not new, but it has finally become more affordable as people like Millenium have stepped up to serve this industry. Powder coating has many benefits over traditional liquid finishes; no streaking, no drips, no runs, and thicker coats. In a nutshell, you can coat more parts in less time with no drips or runs. Economically, you have lower cost per unit than with liquid coating. Powder coating is even better for the environment, and with a wide array of colors, any metal surface is coatable under this process, leaving a thicker coat than liquid coatings. This powder coating cure process requires a certain temperature for a certain length of time, in order to reach a full cure and establish the full film properties for which the material was designed. Normally, the powders cure at 200°C (390°F) for 10 minutes, depending on your parts.
After making arrangements with Gabino and Raul, the Millenium crew made time for us. So follow along, as the pros at Millenium take down our custom chassis down to metal and paint it with powder, creating a protective layer over the metal parts.
1. We got to Millenium Powder Coating and the first item on the agenda was to get the Cadillac frame to the media-blasting chamber.
2. They made a couple of preparations and got ready to blast off any residue and protective coatings to allow the powder coating to adhere to the frame.
3. We were able to safely take this picture before locking the media blaster in the chamber.
4. Once done, the frame was ready to be taken to the powder coating line.
5. Millenium is able to media blast pretty much anything that you can think of, including this ‘60’s Nova. Just beware that once you take something down to metal, you might find rust, as they did on this car that seemed to be super clean when they began.
6. Here is an example of the sizes that Millenium can powder coat. This Bobtail truck is at least 20 ft. in length.
7. With the frame clean, it was ready to hit the automated powder coating line.
8. The frame was cleaned from media residue to assure a clean bond between the frame and powder.
9. Since Millenium wanted the entire frame to be protected, the inside of the frame was coated. Once the heat hits the frame, the powder will liquefy, coating the frame from the inside out.
10. Four eyes are better then two, as this duo makes sure to coat every side of the frame.
11. The frame went through an oven that baked the frames finish. Normally the powders cure at 200°C (390°F) for 10 minutes.
12. While this frame was cooling off, we went back to the rear suspension.
13. As you can see, Millenium has 100s of colors to choose from; including chassis black to candy paint finishes.
14. Here is an example of Candy Oriental Blue that is available from the Millenium candy chart.
15. The Cadillac rear end also was going to receive a powder coat finish.
16. The housing went through the same cleaning process that the frame went through.
17. The housing was aired off to remove any sand left over from the media chamber.
18. Just like the frame, two sets of eyes will make sure that it comes out perfect.
19. Once the housing came out of the oven, it was allowed to cool off.
20. This housing was powder coated and ready to be assembled.