Building my Fluid Bed, some observations and maybe a question...

AllenOK

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I've been watching a few vids on youtube about building a Fluid Bed. I decided to go with the 2" PVC Union version. I finally got all the parts yesterday, and assembled it today. I drilled a hole in the cap on bottom for the air valve. I also have a section of 2" PVC in the cap of the union to give myself a little extra height to contain the powder. I'm not the best with a hacksaw cutting PVC, the end I cut wasn't square, and I have a recessed area of varying size in the paint chamber.

I've noticed that most folks say that brown paper bags are the best filter medium. I bought a couple 2-lt of Vernor's Ginger Ale for my other half from a grocery store that still has paper bags.

Ok, I cut out a circle of the paper bag for the filter, grabbed an cheap aerator that we had laying around, and assembled the beast. I plugged in the air pump, put some Harbor Freight powder paint into the chamber.

Once I opened the air valve, I didn't see any movement of the powder. I turned the valve off, and noticed that the level of the paint dropped about 1/4" in the chamber. I opened the valve again, and the powder came up again, but wasn't moving, and there weren't any volcanoes. I shut the valve, and the paint dropped a bit again. Opened the valve yet again, and got a couple small volcanoes around the edge the quickly dissipated.

Being the analytical over-thinker that I am, I figured I needed a more porous filter. Ok, a quick trip to Wally World for some cheap coffee filters is in store.

Since I was going to change filters, I needed to dump my powder back into the jar I keep it in. That's when I noticed that I still had quite a bit of powder in the recessed area where the piece of PVC doesn't fully meet the bottom. I quickly realized that is going to be rather hard to clean out.

Ok, easy fix. Get some silicone sealant, and use that to fill the gap. I was thinking about some silicone anyway, as I felt the hole for my valve was just a bit to big. I thought I could feel air coming out of that hole, and I wanted to seal it up.

While I was at the store, two things dawned on me. I'm using a cheap aerator that's designed for 5 - 15 gallon tanks. I'm thinking that pump might not be pushing enough air? Also, isn't the Harbor Freight powder a little on the heavy side as far as powder goes? I know different brands do different things in a Fluid Bed.

I have used the silicone to "glue" the valve in and seal it, as well as filled in the gap in the top chamber. Now, I'm just waiting for the stuff to cure before I try it again (probably tonight after work).
 

Kdog

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Since I make numerous cups, I glue my filter media to the bottom of the cup. I've used PVC cement, Duco Cement, P6000 as well as silicone. I like silicone the least.

Harbor Freight powders are heavy and do best when cut with clear to improve flowability, But too much powder in your cup can really mess things up. I find in my 2" cups, 5 or 6 level teaspoons is more than enough powder.

Getting 1/4 inch of lift is great just give the powder a bit of a stir or swirl to get it moving. I would love to see lift without volcanoes.

Air pump I cannot say as I use a Dynamaster that used to run 30 undergravel filters in 10 gallon tanks.

Volcanoes are not really a good thing, if you have powder lift and some movement, you are most of the way there. Recently I got some filter material from one of the JC members that is the bomb but cannot find out exactly what it is. I use a lot of Kirby hypo allergenic vaccum cleaner bags as a filter media, best advice is to find something you like and stick with it,

Cutting PVC square is not a big deal if you have a radial arm saw. I buy a 10' piece and cut a box full of 2-1/8 long pieces. I sand and deburr then when bored or out of cups, sand both ends smooth, deburr the edges, and glue up a dozen of so cups, I use test caps as lids an they go on the shelf filled with the desirered color. Am currently in the process of coating flat washers which I glue on the side as a quick color selector
 

Fatman

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Check in the swap section Led had posted he might have some to trade if you have what he's looking for. The stuff I got from him I tried to match at McMaster Carr and couldn't so I quit after sending the stuff back for the third time.

I went to PetSmart and got a Tetra Whisper 60 and I can run for sure 3 -2" beds and if I had a bigger splitter probably 2 more.

The Harbour freight and some Pro-Tech (white and brown) are more dense and I thin them with clear powder. If after doing that your powder still doesn't want to roil in the cup you may have too much powder in it.
 

AllenOK

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Clear powder is on my list of things to get. I was thinking I might have put to much powder in, but I only have a little less than 4 Tbsp of pink mixed up. I did not stir the paint once I saw lift. I'll try that next time.
 

Kanooper

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I built the same one. Use 2 sheets of regular printer paper works just fine.
Put the pvc pipe on the floor and push it down into the union. It'll suck right up flush.
 

Fatman

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I have one 2" bed I won on a now defunct board and it's a friction fit - ended up wrapping duct tape around it to get it to seal right. My new ones the top cup screws into the base . Using paper filters just be careful you don't dip too deep and don't drop a heating one or you'll have a mess!!!!!LOL
 

AllenOK

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Well, I tried a coffee filter today. I had a couple bad volcanoes. I did not see any lift in the powder. The volcanoes would start once I started the air, then stop after a second or two. As soon as I shook the fluid bed, the volcanoes would spout again, then die down. I did not see any movement of the powder. I did try this filter with about 2 Tbsp of powder. Then, I added the rest of the pink powder I had mixed up. No change. It would volcano a bit, then do nothing until I shook it.

I dumped the powder back into my jar, took the fluid bed apart, and swapped filters for the brown paper bag filter. I reassembled the fluid bed, then added about half the powder. Once I started the air, there were a couple smaller volcanoes that stopped about 2 seconds after they started, and there was some lift. I let it run a bit, but never did notice any movement or flow with the powder. I stirred the powder up a bit, and it volcanoed for a second, then stopped, again with no movement or flow to the powder.

I'm thinking I need a better air pump. Hopefully, later today.
 

Fatman

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Check your air valve - to make sure when you sealed it with the silicone that you didn't get any in the opening on the inside of the cup. Not knowing what air pump you have it could be it's not strong enough as you said.
 

AllenOK

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Well, I WAS using the cheapest thing Wally World sold. I've had it for a couple years. It does pretty good at keeping my minnow bucket (or a 5-gal. bucket) aerated while I'm at home. But, it's only designed for 1 - 5 gallon tanks.

Today I bought Tetra Whisper 60 and hooked it up. MUCH better air flow! I'm still not seeing any "bubbling" type of movement, but I'm getting a lot more lift. I think it's that heavy Harbor Freight powder. I even managed to paint three 1/80 oz jigs as a trial. They cured up nicely! No drips, clean eyes, and not to much paint on the shanks.

Fatman, I was very careful when I used the silicone to seal my air valve in. I put a thin bead of silicone on the "lip" of plastic where the valve housing begins. Nowhere near the air outlet.

I'm thinking about using a 3-way valve and combining the output of both air lines into one line. I'm also thinking I just need to bite the bullet and order some decent powder. Where can I get some Clear powder paint? I've got a Jann's catalog, and I've looked at CAT, but haven't found any Clear at those.
 

Fatman

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X2 on the Roseys - but anytime you find a good sale pick up the clear!! You'll use way more than you think.

These are the valves I used at first and they worked okay
http://i218.photobucket.com/albums/cc214/Fatmans1/Fluid bed build/100_1134.jpg

I screwed up one time and didn't loosen a cup on the base and getting it apart the base came off and after talking with a few folks I've changed over to this one -
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Watts-1-...Adapter-LF-A192/202254865?N=butv#.UaqCapyo9ZM
and with the large opening in the back it moves the powder.

If you're back by the store where you got your air pump pick up an assortment pack of these pieces
100_6825.jpg


and here's how I hook up - this is from air pump to regulator valve
100_6823.jpg


from regulator to 3 way valve and out to fluid bed, with the 3 way I can run 3 beds and if I had a bigger one probably more.
100_6824.jpg


the whole setup at work
100_1151.jpg
 

AllenOK

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Fatman, I have to thank you. I bought the same package of valves that you had pictured. I've connected both outputs into one line with the Y-adapter. I hooked that up to my Fluid Bed, and got some nice volcanoes. Still no appreciable movement of the powder. I'm still thinking it's that heavy HF powder.

I'm going to order some powder from CAT Friday when I get paid. Once that gets here, I'll see what my setup is doing. Need to find a pound or two of Clear as well. What's the place that sells that?
 

Fatman

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Allen the link kdog posted is where to get it the roseys 200% clear is good stuff. I have problems with Jann's netcraft white and brown and ProTec Black. I mixed clear in with them and they worked fine.

Check with LedHed and try to do a trade for some of the mesh screening. When I started I tried the paper bags, coffee filters and vacumn cleaner bags and the beds worked but I wasn't happy with them - especially when I slipped and dropped a hot jig head through it!! What a mess.
 

AllenOK

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Ok, received some Pearl White, Fluorescent Pink, and Chartreuse from CAT today. Just shanking the jars around, OH MY GOSH! That paint moves! I can't wait to get it into my Fluid bed and see how it works in there.

I also have a pound of the 200% Clear PP from Rosey's coming in. Should be able to stretch out my HB paints and lighten them up as well.
 

AllenOK

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I now understand why it's called a "Fluid Bed"!! I dumped in the Fluorescent Pink powder into my bed, turned on the air, and slowly started increasing the volume until it started to volcano a bit, then quickly settled down and MOVED. It "simmered" and flowed like there was no tomorrow!
 
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