Spray Booth

Painting

 

 
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After numerous years of painting in the garage, basement, dealing with fumes, overspray, dust, etc. I finally decided to make myself a simple paint booth, right in my very own basement. I figured I would be in this hobby for the long haul, and since painting is something that is usually needed in some form or another. Having a convenient place to spray was needed.
 

Materials:
- 2x3 studs
- Plywood sheets
- Vapor Barrier
- Door, Door kit
- Exhaust fan, and ducting
- Filters
- lighting, electrical
- Assorted screws, fasteners, etc

Building:
A couple of friends of mine, who are in the hobby, also own professional automotive paint shops. So their wealth of information was extremely valuable in figuring out what I needed, design, etc. I also did some research on the net, on various designs of spray booths, which also helped me to decide on exactly how to go about this. My main objectives were to eliminate fumes, minimize overspray, dust, while making it a safe environment to paint in. My other concerns, were that  I also wanted it big enough for me to easily fit an entire fuse, and have room to move around in it.
Since the biggest fuse I would more than likely build is around 100" (a little more than 8') , plus some additional space for something to hold the fuse. I figured 10' long would be ample. I also figured that 6' wide would be enough room to be able to paint from both sides with out being crowded. The height ended up being just high enough that I could fit lighting over top, and below the basement ceiling, roughly 7'. Taking all these measurements in to account, I will eventually have a room that has 420 cubic feet of space (8x6x7=420)
Now that I had settled on a size, my next decision was on a fan unit to exhaust the fumes. I looked into many options regarding the fan. Furnace blowers, in-line duct fans, simple exhaust fans, etc. All of these fans would more than likely work well, but the problems I faced with them was; Were they safe? and could they deliver enough CFM's (cubic feet moved) of air? Most of the options I had mentioned earlier didn't meet the requirements I needed. In fact they fell pretty short. The average exhaust fan you can buy at Home Depot, may only move 200-300 cfm at best. Not to mention that most of these fans are designed for other purposes, which when used in a paint booth application, would leave the electrical part of the motor exposed to extremely flammable fumes. After some careful research,  and realizing that by the time I went out, bought a more powerful fan, and something that was explosion proof.  The cost would be close to what a real spray booth fan would bet. So, I decided to go out and buy an actual spray booth fan. The fan I ended up getting is a 12" fan designed for spray booths. As you can see in the pictures, the motor is on the outside of the housing. The motor is then belted to a fan, which is enclosed by a shroud. This leaves the motor, and electrical out and away from any flammable fumes. The 12" fan is also the largest size fan, that I can easily duct outside a basement window. With some gearing adjustments, the fan I got is now pushing about 1200 cfm's, which theoretically translates to roughly three air exchanges per minute.  The cost of the fan was by far the most expensive part of the booth, but I feel a worthwhile investment in my health. I'm sure many would agree.
Now that I had figured out the size, and fan, my next step was to head to Home Depot and buy some lumber. I bought enough 2x3 studs to frame up my room. The actual framing took less than an evening with the help of a few flying buddies. We used screws to assemble everything,  for the simple fact that I can take it apart in the future. I later installed a door, which again was the cheapest one I could find at HD. Now that I had my basic room, I started to install some lighting. Since I don't want any electrical in the booth, and I was planning to use vapor barrier to enclose it all. I decided to install two 8' fluorescent lights above the booth. This way they were out of the way, and still powerful enough to light up the booth for painting.
Since the booth was being designed around the principle of a cross draft booth. I needed to construct an intake and exhaust port for air to flow through. (disclaimer: I'm not an engineer, and how I figured things out was more so out of simplicity with a little trial and error)
Exhaust:
Since Home Depot sells plywood in 4 x 8 sheets, and even easier to carry 4 x 4 already cut sheets. I decided to construct the exhaust port 4 x 4' x 16" deep. The reason I used 16' is that the flange on my fan was about that size and would fit the box nicely. A 12" hole was then cut out of the top of the box, where the fan was mounted. The opening of the box was then fitted with some cheap exhaust filters. I then went to an industrial supply house, and bought some 12" duct, which was routed from the fan to a basement window. At the window end of it, I made a plywood frame, in which the duct passed through to the outside. On the outside of the window, I installed an exhaust flap, that shuts when it is not in use.
Intake:
Since air is being exhausted out one side, I need a good supply of fresh air coming in from the other side (hence the term cross draft) Again, and just going with simplicity, a friend of mine who owns a body shop gave me these filters, designed for paint booths. Since the size of the filters were 36" wide, I stapled up a section that spanned the width of the booth. Once everything else was in place, the final step was to use vapor barrier to seal up the room. I just used a simple air stapler to staple it to the inside of the frame.

Now that the room was complete, I fired up the fan, lit a cigar, and stood in the booth to see what would happen. After a little tinkering with the speed of the fan, the room seemed to have a nice steady flow of air going through. There is a slight negative pressure in the room, which seems to work nicely. To test out it's functionality regarding fumes. I filled up one of my gun with some very strong thinner. Sprayed it in the booth, stepped out of the booth, and could not smell a thing. So far I'm very pleased. I've yet to try it out, but will be painting some airplane parts within the next few weeks. I will let you know how it goes.

New Information: I seem to get asked this question on a regular basis, so I will add it to the site. For those of you who are interested in the fan unit, I purchased it through a local paint booth supply company called United Spray Booths
Now they are local to me, and I'm sure that you can find similar products for anyone who is looking for a fan unit, by just doing a little research locally. Just do a local search for paint booth supplies, automotive spray booths, industrial fans, etc.

Recent Update Nov 2/2006: In the last year, I have just recently moved into a new home, which has forced me to tear down the spray booth. I will however be building a new one in my new house in the very near future. Please check back, as I will update with new pictures and information.

 

 

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Last Updated 05/03/2007