When it comes to quality powder coating, one often overlooked detail is masking threaded holes.
If powder gets into the threads, it can cause issues like incorrect fits or difficulties in installing fasteners. Additionally, paint trapped within threaded components can lead to quality issues like cross-threading.
This problem occurs because contaminated portions of the threads cut new threads in the opposite piece. Moreover, re-tapping holes becomes a cumbersome and error-prone process, introducing significant time and additional costs.
At Great Dane Powder Coating, we understand the intricacies involved and maintain the highest level of quality powder coating by correctly masking threaded holes for industrial parts.
Threaded holes can be masked with silicone plugs, caps, or high-temperature masking tape. The material needs to be able to withstand the temperatures used in the powder coating curing process, typically around 375-400°F.
Before masking, our powder coaters ensure that the surface is clean and free of oil, grease, or other contaminants. They then select a plug or cap that is slightly larger than the threaded hole. It should fit snugly to prevent any powder from entering the threads.
When using masking tape, our powder coaters cut a piece large enough to cover the hole and press it firmly against the edges. They check to ensure that the masking material is completely sealing the threaded hole, with no gaps or weak spots where powder might enter.
After the powder coating has been cured and cooled down, our team carefully removes the masking material. They look over the threads to ensure that no powder has entered the holes. If powder residue is found, they carefully clean the threads using a tap or other threading tool.
In the world of masking threaded holes, two primary types must be understood: Blind Holes and Through Holes. A blind hole is reamed, drilled, or milled to a specific depth without breaking through to the other side. On the other hand, a through-hole goes through the entire piece, having two access points. Both require different methods and tools for masking, with silicone tapered plugs being popular for blind holes, and silicone pull plugs for through holes.
For blind holes, matching the middle of the tapered plug to the inside diameter of the threaded hole is essential. For example, for a 1/4-20 hole with an ID of 0.196″, you need a tapered plug with a middle diameter approximately the same. Finding the middle diameter involves adding the Top Diameter (A) and Bottom Diameter (B) of the plug and dividing by 2. These tapered plugs are favored by most powder coaters due to their ease of installation and versatility.
When masking through holes, choosing the correct plug size can be a little tricky. Our powder coaters prefer using a pull plug that’s slightly bigger than the inside diameter of the threads being masked. Typically, a pull plug that is .030″ bigger than the ID of the threaded hole being masked ensures a good fit and seal. Like silicone tapered plugs, silicone pull plugs are the preferred choice for most powder coaters, given their ease of installation and effective sealing.
Though silicone rubber is the most widely used elastomer for masking, alternatives are available but often come with drawbacks such as price and installation difficulties. From metal bolts and tapes to various plastics, there are numerous options. However, most of them don’t provide the same max temperature resistance as silicone.
Masking threaded holes may seem like a minor detail, but it holds paramount importance in the overall powder coating process. Whether it’s masking blind holes with push plugs or through holes with pull plugs, attention to sizing and material selection is key. Remember, it’s not just about clean masking lines; it’s about ensuring that threads aren’t damaged, saving time on secondary operations.
At Great Dane Powder Coating, we take pride in our extensive experience in correctly masking threads for industrial parts runs, providing our clients with the highest level of quality powder coating. Our team knows the nuances of common thread sizes, the difference between blind and through holes, and the best masking materials for the job.
Whether you have a small custom project or a large-scale industrial run, Great Dane Powder Coating is here to assist you. Our commitment to excellence and attention to detail ensures that your components are not only aesthetically appealing but also functional and durable.
At Great Dane Powder Coating, Inc., we have more than a quarter century of experience under our belts. We offer the benefits of a cutting-edge facility and high-end equipment for providing exceptional results.
It’s no wonder that we are trusted by industries across the country to deliver highly durable coatings on a wide variety of parts.
When you want affordable, reliable, and outstanding results, give us a call at 724-537-9709 or visit our New Powder Coating Customer page today.
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