Whether you're rebuilding your car after an accident or just doing body work to give it a whole new look, you'll want to have a spray booth to create an even, clean paint finish. The booth helps you keep the overspray contained, and it also keeps dust and dirt out of the wet paint. Dust stuck in the paint will leave the finish grainy, so it's best to keep it away. Luckily, all you need is some clear plastic tarps and a few tools to create a simple, portable spray booth for your needs.
Start With Measurements
In order for your spray booth to be effective, you need to make sure that it's large enough. The dimensions are essential, because you need enough room to move around the vehicle freely to create a clean paint coating. If you're going to be painting large sport utility vehicles, you'll need a bigger booth than if you're going to be painting small compact cars. Size your booth for the largest type of vehicle you expect to paint. The goal is to have around three or four feet on each side and above the vehicles to give you enough space to work. That means planning for more height in the booth if you're going to be spraying off-road or lifted-suspension vehicles.
Assemble the Frame
Once you've determined how large the paint booth will have to be, it's time to assemble the frame. If you want the booth to be easy to assemble and portable, opt for PVC pipes to create the frame. They are durable and lightweight. Buy the PVC in all equal diameters and lengths to make it easier to assemble the structure.
For example, if you are looking to build a frame that is fifteen feet on each side, you'll want to invest in forty three-foot sections of pipe. That way, you can build two squares, each with four fifteen-foot-long rails. Working in small sections, like three feet, will make it easier for you to assemble the unit and replace pieces if anything is damaged. Create all eight rails, then secure them together with three-way elbow joints to create the squares. Use a "T" joint for a few of the connections on the side rails, because you'll want those to add supports along the sides as well.
You'll need twenty three-foot sections of PVC for the corner supports. Create posts that are fifteen feet long, then connect them to the corners using the open joint pieces in the elbows. This will create the cube that will serve as the core frame structure. Create similar posts for the side rail supports and connect them partway down the side rails using "T" connectors. You'll need five three-foot sections for each support post that you want to create. This braces the sides and keeps the top rails from sagging.
Finishing the Booth
Once you connect all of the pipes to build the frame, it's time to close it in and add some ventilation. Look for clear plastic tarps that have metal rings on each corner. That will make it easier to tie the tarps to the PVC with zipper ties. Use as many tarps as necessary to enclose the structure. It will vary based on the size of the tarps you buy and the size of your spray booth frame.
Once the plastic tarps are secure, you need to ventilate the booth. This is important for protecting you from fume buildup. Consider placing a couple of box fans on one end of the booth. Position them so that they draw air out of the booth. That way, they will exhaust the fumes as you're spraying. Create vent holes in the opposite side wall to encourage air flow.
This type of spray booth is easy for anyone to assemble, and it makes it easy to paint most anything, from your car's body panels to the whole car. The PVC makes it portable, so you can take it anywhere. If you want to do your own collision repairs and repainting, this is the way to go. Otherwise, you can work with a professional collision repair shop like Central Ave Auto Body to do the work for you.