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HOW TO

How to Build a Home Paint Booth

Working full time in the high tech industry, Bill McKenna has been restoring cars since around 1992. To read more about his restoration efforts, check out his website at www.mckennasgarage.com

Building a paint booth was fairly quick and easy after doing all the work getting to the point to need to build a paint booth. I put about 10 hours total in the booth and it should save me at least 20 hours in sanding dust out of the clear coat.

pvc pipe frame

I looked around on the net and found a couple of examples of home made paint booths. From these, I came up with a plan. I went for 1 inch PVC pipe as a frame. PVC is dirt cheap in 20 foot lengths. I spent about $50 for nine 20 foot sections and all the fittings. I didn't even bother gluing the pipe together. After I'm done with the booth I can take it apart and store it under the house for future use.

Hooks in ceiling to stabilize frame

One inch PVC is pretty flexible so I put some hooks up and tied the tubing up to prevent sags, The hooks keep the booth from moving around. I plan on using 1 mil plastic drop cloths for covering in most places. I found 10x20 foot sheets at my local hardware store for about $1.50 each. The booth is about 19'x15'x8' So two sheets on top, and one on each side will do the trick ($6.00). I am using some 6 mil clear plastic construction plastic I had laying around for the front and back. I will have a number of fans mounted in the front and rear of the booth to get air flow, so want to make sure that these areas are more robust.

frame almost completed

Almost done with the frame now, Just need to add a center beam down the middle of the booth to keep the plastic sheet from sagging. Installing the plastic sheeting on the top is a little tricky; just takes some time and trial and error. I built the booth so that I can close the garage doors, I need to be able to close the door to prevent the wind from damaging the plastic and blowing dust into the booth through the fans. Before building started, I took everything out of the area and pressure washed the floor to get as much dirt and dust out as possible. I'll mop the floor after the booth is done to get the remaining dust knocked down. For mopping I'll use a fairly soapy solution and wet mop. the soap will catch any dust on the floor and hopefully keep it locked down.

rocker guard

Shot the rocker guard, for the second time, on the wheel wells and washed the entire car with a soapy water mix, as recommended by PPG. After washing the car I covered it with a sheet of plastic to keep any dust/oil/dirt off the cleaned surfaces. When the booth is complete I'll just need to remove the plastic and final wipe with grease and wax remover.

car washed and under cover

After the frame was up, I used duct tape to hold up the plastic sheeting. The top is two 10 x 20 foot sheets of 1 mil. drop cloth plastic. I have a make shift fan support system in the back. My local paint jobber had inexpensive intake dust filters $5 each. Out output Foam arresters for $4.

fans mounted with filters

The fans/filters and rear wall are in now. I found these box fans at my local Target store for $11 each. I'm running positive pressure in the booth and sucking all air in through the dust filters on the back of these fans. With the three fans running full blast I get a pretty good breeze in the booth.

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