Thanks for stopping back in to read about the second half of this apocalyptic build! In the first half of the build, I planned the design, made my measurements and cut the steel. I welded the steel into it’s final shape and ground all the surfaces flat. This is where we left off.In the second half, I came back in and sanded all the metal surfaces with 220 grit sand paper to remove any harsh burs and sharp corners. When I go to powder coat the cart, any sharpness will still be felt and that is a no-no for any final product. Soft, smooth corners are the best part of powder coating.Once the sanding was complete, my wife, or as I sometimes call her, “Queen of the SandBlaster-First of Her Name”, helped the process by spending an hour sand-blasting the entire cart. This is the most pivotal process in the entire build. For those who do not know, sand-blasting is the process of shooting tiny beads of media via compressed air. This blasting turns the surface of metal slightly rippled and textured, cleaning the metal down to it’s most bare form and giving the powder coating a better surface to adhere to. If you do not get every micron of surface clean of dust, oil, paint, rust, and other gooey things, the powder will not stick properly and you can get bubbles or rust under the surface. The proper name is media blasting, not sand-blasting, because you can use many different things to blast away grime such as ground up walnut shells, sea shells, baking soda and a few others.
Sorry for the bad picture of the inside of the powder coating machine. It is impossible to see into the mayhem of sand. You get the point though.Once my amazing wife was done blasting away the grime, I took it to the large sink to scrub off the sand and give it its last bath before we give it a new skin. I scrubbed it with a steel toothbrush and Simple Green. There are many things you can use to get it clean, I just had this on hand and it worked very well. Here is where things get a little messy… I had one simple job to do, put “Miami Teal” powder into jar. As it turns out, not so easy… The powder is so light and fluffy that when I went to pour it into the jar, it ended up all over the place! As you can see, I wasted some. Good thing I ordered a pound of it!From there, I attached the jar to the machine and hooked it up to compressed air and turned on the electricity. Let me quickly explain how this whole gizmo works because it seems like black magic at first sight. Powder coating works by taking a light, fluffy powder that is infused with a metallic substance and via electric current, pulls the powder into every crack and crevice and distributes it evenly across the surface. The powder is not physically bonded to the surface after it is sprayed and can be taken off easily by wiping it or banging the piece. The entire process is very delicate until you can get it baking. Once baked, it melts into a near impermeable surface that can take a banging without nicking or scratching, hence, apocalypse-proof!The powder was sprayed all over the surface, getting it into every corner and on all surfaces. It is such a fun thing to see, spraying the powder and watching it magnetically suck to the surface. Compared to spray painting, it is a cinch!And just like that, in a couple minutes, the entire surface is covered in magnetically charged powder, ready to be baked into its final form.I pre-heated the oven to the specified temperature and rolled the large cart into the oven. After about 13 minutes baking, I pulled the cart out to investigate. I was looking for bubbles and uneven surfaces. Thankfully, the bake was a complete success and I was able to let it air cool before the next phase. At this point, I had to prep the caster wheels to be added. To do this, I had to make the bases small enough to fit on the steel plates that I welded on to receive them. This took place on the bandsaw where I cut them down to size and trimmed them to shape. I recommend not taking the wheels to their final shape on the bandsaw. It is hard to get them all perfect and you will sand them smooth anyways. So my advice is to leave them slightly oversized and get them to their final shape on a grinder or sander. I then clamped the wheels into a c-clamp for stability and ran them through the large disk sander which smoothed the surfaces and brought them to their final shape. The disk sander makes quick work of the steel burs and ensures all the wheels will be the same size. At this stage, I had to cringe and suck up my sadness because I would be grinding away some of the progress I made recently in the powder coating. To properly apply the wheels to the cart, I needed to weld them on. I could not attach them before now because the large over sized oven I stuck the cart in would melt the rubber wheels and burn the grease in the bearings. It is hard to grind off recent hard work, but it was necessary. From the grinding room, I took the cart to the welding rooms where I attached the wheels in their final places using the mig welder or as I sometimes call it, the “Squirt Gun of the Gods”. This step went very easy, except for only one small fire that I put out with my gloved hand. A plastic bushing got a little too hot… whoopsie! I tack welded all the wheels and then came back and put in carefully placed welds. I had to avoid the surfaces from getting too hot and melting the powder coat or the plastic bushings.When the welding was complete, I grinded the welds a little before I tried it out and had a final victory dance. HORRAY!Once the welds cooled down, I shot some similarly colored green spray paint on the exposed welded surfaces to inhibit rust, then cut a small wood scrap to be the bottom of the cart. And just like that, the Apocalypse-Proof Laundry Cart is complete!! I am very proud of the work it took to get to the end. The process took a long time but I am very happy to see how it turned out and my wife is overjoyed to finally have a reliable piece of heavy equipment in the apartment. If you missed the first part of this build, see the video below or on YouTube!
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Thanks for reading!