Archive | September, 2009

Adding the fan box

With the plenum enclosed and the exhaust duct caulked, we were ready to start work on the box that would hold the fan. Our timing could not have been better, since the weather finally cleared enough that we could work outside. Since this was the part that vented to the outside, that was important.

This is the box Alan built to contain the squirrel cage fan. This is visible inside the garage, so the facing panel is clear plexiglass as an extra safety measure. The back of the box vents to the exterior of the garage.

Here we are priming the back of the fan box with Kilz. Since this opening will be flush against the vent hole on the side of the building, waterproofing that side of the box was important. That way moisture from the outside would not seep into the box and warp the wood.

The primer on the fan box (back part facing) dries while the legs are attached to the actual spray booth. These two pieces will eventually be connected by ducting.

Here I have propped the vent cover up face down against the back of the spray booth. We’ve learned the hard way to make sure that the inside of any vent cover has this kind of mesh covering. That is, unless we want the ducting to become home to various nesting critters!

Alan’s installing the vent cover on the outside of the garage.

Here is the inside work area. The fan box will attach to the wall where the vent is located. A new breaker has been added for the fan, along with another outlet for plugging in the airbrush and compressor.

Now it is just a matter of connecting all the parts. Well, that and continuing to purge the garage of thirteen years of accumulated stuff! A new spray booth won’t help us much if we have to trip over tricycles and fishing poles just to reach it.

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Finishing up the spray box

The last few days we have been assembling the working area of the spray booth. This part is separated from the fan by a length of ductwork. The idea was to make the area pleasant for painting, which meant isolating it as much as possible from the sound and vibration of the fan. I have found that I have a bad habit of angling myself away from booths as I paint, largely because the noise bothers me. A spray booth doesn’t provide much protection if you don’t spray inside of it!

The other problem I have found with most spray booths is that they have so little light. This is a big problem when working with ceramic underglazes because the layers do not have a lot of visible contrast. We decided to install five puck lights – two on each side and one overhead – to ensure a well-lit working area. The lights are 20w compact fluorescents daisy-chained together. This gave us a great deal of light without adding a significant amount of heat to the box. Since underglazes don’t show their true color until after the final firing, we didn’t have to worry about the types of lights and their effect on color accuracy.

Here is the almost-finished box with the filter installed. For simplicity, Alan designed the box to use the same size filters as our home HVAC system.

The filter just slides in to a slot along the back of the box. The filter sits in front of a plenum box. That’s an area where the air can circulate after it is pulled from the workspace. There is a second plenum located at the fan, too. (The two hooks on the top left of the plenum are left over from when the piece was hung for painting. They’ll be removed before the box is finished.)

Here is the placement of the exhaust duct. (It had not yet been attached when this picture was taken.) The box will have a solid back when it is done, but that piece is just leaning against the filter in this picture.

We’ll finish the box up this weekend, and then it will be time for me to do the final finish work. That will mean an extra coat or two of paint, and a bit of white electrical tape on the exposed light wiring. Meanwhile Alan will start working on the box that will hold the squirrel cage fan. Two more weeks to go, and I’m beginning to think we’ll make it!

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