BUILDING A CUSTOMIZED SPRAY BOOTH
Recently at the HobbyTalk Modeling Bulletin Board a discussion was started on building a spray booth. There were many good questions that were posed in it. Since 6 or 7 years ago I built my own, I decided to take some pictures of my spray booth and jot down information on how I created it.
(Dimensions and characteristics)
The dimensions of my booth are 35 and 1/2" wide, 2 feet high and 2 feet deep. A door was added to the front of the booth, with a narrow wooden strip added above and below it. Thin, wooden strips were added to the inner edges of the booth to give it additional strength. Also, four 34" lengths of wood were added as legs.
The following materials were used:
1. One sheet of plywood - 4' by 8' by 1/2" - (actually 3/8 of an inch) - was used to make the major sections of the booth, including the front, rear, top, bottom and two sides. The particulars are:
∑ A hinged door at the front of the booth 35 1/2" by 20 1/2" by 1/2".
∑ Two sections of wood 2' by 2' by 1/2" for the two sides.
∑ Three sections of wood 35 1/2" by 2' by 1/2" for the top, bottom and rear of the booth.
2. A smaller piece of plywood 1/2" thick was used for the following sections:
∑ Two wooden strips 35 1/2 by 2" by 1/2" attached to the front top and bottom of the booth.
3. Another length of wood 3/4" thick was used for the following strips, which were added inside the booth to give it additional support and strength:
∑ Four wooden strips 2 3/8" by 22 3/4" by 3/4" were placed along the left and right edges of both the top and bottom of the booth.
∑ Two wooden strips 2 3/8" by 34 3/4" by 3/4" were placed along the top and bottom rear edges of the booth.
4. A number of lengths of wood 1 1/2" thick and 2 1/2" wide were used for the legs, four of which were cut out, 34" long.
The additional following materials were used:
∑ Four small metal hinges.
∑ One bathroom fan (with width and height of 7 1/2").
∑ A section of vent tubing.
∑ A dryer exhaust vent (attached to a window pane).
∑ Two 2' light strips.
∑ A warm (yellow) and cool (blue) florescent light bulb.
∑ Three electrical "plug-in" cords with attached ends.
∑ An electrical outlet power strip.
The following tools were used:
∑ A saw
∑ A screwdriver
∑ A drill
∑ A hammer
∑ Electrical nuts
(Where to begin? - How about cutting?)
I began by cutting out all of my major wooden sections. First, all 6 sides of the booth were cut out from my large plywood sheet. The dimensions previously mentioned were followed. Next, the front two wooden strips were cut from a smaller piece of plywood. Following this all six inner wooden strips were removed from a third piece of wood. Finally, the legs were cut from the long sections of wood.
(Next, time to attach everything together)
After all wooden sections were removed, I began the task of attaching everything together. These steps were very straightforward. First, the sides were attached between the bottom and top of the booth. Screws were used for this. Next, the rear wall was added to this four-sided box. The internal wooden strips were then added to the inside of the booth. First, the two rear ones were screwed in place, followed by the four remaining upper and lower ones.
After this the two front wooden sections were attached to the front of the booth. Then, the hinges were attached to the lower strip and the door was attached to the hinges.
The four legs were then attached by nailing several nails down into them from the inside of the booth.
A square hole was then removed from the rear wall of the booth. This would accommodate the fan that would be inserted. A drill was first used to start several holes on all the sides. Then, the square was removed with a saw. The fan slid into the hole from the rear and nails were used to secure the fan in place.
I want to talk a bit about the fan I used. It was a generic bathroom fan. I had heard a number of people mention the importance of obtaining a fan that contained a brush-less motor, (due to the possibility of the spray paints causing an explosion when ignited by the sparks from the fan's motor). However, I donít think that this is necessary.
When talking to some knowledgeable people at several home repair stores, I was told that a regular old bathroom fan would work just fine for this required task. In fact, several of them said that they did not carry fans that contained brush-less motors and were not sure who did.
So, as I previously mentioned, a regular ole' bathroom fan is what I ended up using. I have had absolutely no trouble with explosions from the spray paint ignited by sparks from the fan.
However, since I am not an electrician, I would strongly suggest that you discuss this matter with an electrician and use their recommendation.
Ok, back to the booth. One end of a vent hose was attached to the exhaust end of the fan. Its other end was attached to a dryer exhaust unit that had been added to a windowpane, replacing a small window that had been removed.
Work then progressed to the two light strips. I measured everything off and drilled a number of holes up through the top of the booth. Bolts and screws were inserted through these holes, securing the lights.
I was finally beginning to see the end of the tunnel. Just about the only thing left was connecting the fan and lights to their corresponding electrical cords. This task went pretty straightforward. I matched the color-coded wires on the fixtures with the corresponding ones on the electrical cords. They were secured with wire nuts. The light wires were then secured into place with small nails, snaking on the top of the booth back towards the rear.
At this point, I was finished. A warm and cool florescent light was attached to the light strips. I added a couple of screws to the outer back right side of my booth and attached an on/off electrical power strip to them.
To form a sort of latch for the door I added several airbrush clamps just above the top of the door. This way, the secured airbrushes effectively prevent the door from opening.
Everything was then plugged into the power strip and tested to see if it worked. It did and I was in business!
All told, the parts for the booth probably ran between $75 and $100. It took me around two weeks to complete work on my booth. The work was very straightforward, with me running into very few snags. I was left with a spray booth much larger than most of the ones advertised, with all sorts of kool features like lights and a door, (and a place to mount my airbrushes), for a much cheaper price than the ones I had seen advertised.
In addition to my booth being used to remove paint fumes, I've come up with a secondary use. When I'm not working on my under construction models, I store them inside my booth, (some also stored in plastic containers). This is a very effective way of keeping them dust free.
If you are tired of the missus complaining about that stinky paint smell when you paint your models, or if you're just looking for a better way to paint your models, try building a spray booth of your own. You'll be glad you did!
Copyright © 2010 by Anthony I. Wootson. No material may be reproduced without permission. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.