New Skill Acquired: Powder Coating

Just before this whole pandemic thing started happening, I had purchased a powder coating gun to experiment with. I knew it would be more work than spray paint, but the resulting finish is nicer and more durable. My first attempt was with the updated bearing plates in my previous post, and I was really impressed with the result.

I experimented and found the powder coat finish works just fine with laser etching, as you can see in the next photo. The original spray-painted audio panel is on the left, and the powder-coated is on the right. The picture doesn’t do it justice–the powder-coated one has a very nice matte finish, and resists scratches much better than the painted one.

Comparing etched panels: painted (left) vs. powder-coated (right)

Since I was in the process of building up the center console, I decided to re-paint the panel that goes inside the compartment with the powder coat. Just like my sample piece, the real part came out very nice! I expect I’ll be doing a few more parts with a powder-coated finish. I’ll probably re-do the throttle/brake panel, but first I want to find the right color to match the interior. Black of course will work well, but I’d like to find something that’s more like a charcoal / gray color, and use that for both the throttle panel as well as the instrument panel.

Refinished audio panel, after going through the laser

More details are coming in a separate post, but I already have built up most of the center console and wrapped it with upholstery.
The audio console is installed and looks great!

View of the installed audio panel
Panel with headset connected: Just as I had designed it to do, wires exit the compartment at a comfortable, shallow angle, preventing the cords from becoming frayed
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