Powder Coating

The Pros and Cons of Powder Coating: A Guide for CNC Machining Experts

custom metal parts with powder coating surface finishes

Powder coating is a type of surface finishing that is often used in parts machining services to create a durable, high-quality finish on metal parts. This process involves applying a dry powder to the surface of the part and then heating it to create a smooth, even coating.

The powder coating process typically involves four stages: preparation, application, curing, and inspection. During the preparation stage, the surface is cleaned and prepared to ensure that it is free of dirt, oil, and other contaminants that could interfere with the bonding of the powder.

Next, the powder is applied using an electrostatic gun, which charges the powder particles and causes them to adhere to the surface. The thickness of the coating can be controlled by adjusting the amount of powder applied.

Once the powder has been applied, the surface is heated to a high temperature, typically between 350 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit, to melt the powder and create a smooth, even coating. This process, known as curing, also allows the powder to chemically bond with the surface, creating a strong, durable finish.

Pro & Cons


  1. Durability: Powder coating creates a strong, durable surface finish that is resistant to chipping, scratching, and fading.
  2. Resistance to corrosion: Powder coating provides excellent protection against corrosion and rust.
  3. Uniformity: The electrostatic application of the powder creates a uniform coating that is free of drips, runs, and other defects.
  4. Eco-friendly: Powder coating produces minimal waste and emissions, making it a more environmentally friendly option than traditional wet painting.
  5. Versatility: Powder coating can be used on a wide range of materials, including metals, plastics, and composites.


  1. Upfront cost: Powder coating requires specialized equipment and materials, which can make it more expensive than traditional wet painting.
  2. Limited color options: While powder coating offers a wide range of color options, it can be more difficult to achieve custom colors or color gradients.
  3. Surface preparation: Powder coating requires thorough surface preparation to ensure proper adhesion and durability, which can be time-consuming and add to the overall cost.
  4. Heat sensitivity: Some materials, such as plastics, can be sensitive to the high temperatures required for curing the powder, limiting their suitability for powder coating.
  5. Repairs: Unlike wet painting, it can be difficult to touch up or repair a powder-coated surface without completely stripping and re-coating the entire surface.

Design Tips

When designing a CNC machined part with a powder coating surface finish, there are a few key factors that should be taken into consideration:

  1. Surface finish requirements: It is important to specify the required surface finish of the part, including any tolerances or roughness values. This will help to ensure that the part is machined to the appropriate specifications and that the powder coating will adhere properly.
  2. Material selection: Some materials are more suitable for powder coating than others. It is important to select a material that is compatible with the powder coating process and that will provide the desired level of durability and corrosion resistance.
  3. Design for powder coating: The design of the part should be optimized for powder coating. This may include features such as rounded corners, minimal sharp edges, and a smooth surface finish to ensure even powder coverage and adhesion.
  4. Part geometry: The geometry of the part should be taken into consideration when designing for powder coating. Parts with complex shapes or internal cavities may require special attention to ensure proper powder coverage and adhesion.
  5. Surface preparation: Proper surface preparation is critical to the success of the powder coating process. The surface of the part should be thoroughly cleaned and prepared to remove any contaminants or surface imperfections that could interfere with adhesion.
  6. Powder coating thickness: The thickness of the powder coating should be specified to ensure that the part will meet the desired performance requirements. Thicker coatings may provide greater durability and corrosion resistance, but may also require longer curing times and may be more expensive.


How many years does powder coating last?

Powder coating can last for many years, often between 15-20 years or more depending on the specific application and environmental factors such as exposure to UV light, chemicals, and weather.

Is powder coating cheaper than painting?

Powder coating can be more expensive than traditional wet painting due to the cost of specialized equipment and materials, as well as the need for thorough surface preparation. However, the durability and longevity of powder coating can make it a more cost-effective option in the long run.

Why powder coating is peeling off?

There are several reasons why powder coating may peel off, including improper surface preparation, insufficient curing time or temperature, poor adhesion, or application of a coating that is too thick.

Is powder coating the strongest paint?

Powder coating is known for its durability and resistance to chipping, scratching, and fading, making it a very strong and long-lasting paint alternative. However, there are other coatings that may be stronger in certain applications.

What happens if powder coat is too thick?

If the powder coating is applied too thickly, it can result in a variety of problems, such as poor adhesion, cracking, and peeling. Additionally, excessively thick coatings may require longer curing times and may be more prone to chipping or flaking.

Is there an alternative to powder coating?

There are several alternatives to powder coating, including wet painting, electroplating, anodizing, and chromate conversion coatings. The choice of coating will depend on the specific application, performance requirements, and cost considerations.


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