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  1. #1
    Gandalf of the Gym cmarti063's Avatar
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    Powder coat or spray paint weight plates?

    So I'm replacing my rubber coated IGX plates with iron Troy plates, but they need some tlc since they leave rust dust on your hands from handling them.

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    Most people use a wire brush on a drill and some painters touch spray paint to clean up their plates. I have a coworker that can sand blast and powder coat them at cost, but says she's never done plates before.

    I was talking to a buddy who has an acquaintance that tried to powder coat a set of plates before but said it didn't turn out very durable and chipped bad. He said the factories use a different baking process than what the small businesses do, but didn't say what exactly. Anyway, he said that he won't coat plates anymore and just tells people to spray them.

    Has anyone had plates powder coated and used them regularly? How about an update on some people's spray jobs and how they hold up?

    I've seen some threads on here about powder, but they're not really followed up on. On one hand, it would be sweet to get them powder coated for the same price as doing a rattle can job, but if the coating is going to have durability issues, that's not a great plan since you can easily touch up a rattle can job but you can't just touch up a chipped powder coat.
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    The Gougefather Stasher1's Avatar
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    I have a couple sets that I rattle canned with $.99 flat black paint from Home Depot a few years ago, and they still look great. I didn't even sand them. I cleaned off the chalk dust and dirt and sprayed the chit out of them.

    The backsides have marks where they touch the hubs of the adjacent plates, and a few chips around the edges, but both areas can be touched up easily without having to repaint the lettering.

    I don't own bumpers, so they're used for everything.
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  3. #3
    Lifting Vicariously Domicron's Avatar
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    wouldn't the powder coat crack when contacting the bar sleeve?
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    0.0 chadsalt's Avatar
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    Paint. P/C is going on chip and when it does you have a 'dent' that will probably keep going. Paint will be more of a scrape and can easily be repaired.
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    Registered User matchsprint's Avatar
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    Powdercoating will cost you more and not do anything more for you. If you choose to powdercoat (you know a powdercoat who owes you a favor), they can mask the hole so it doesn't get painted. There are also a huge range of powdercoat finishes -- thick and thin, durable and not, and so on. You can get a hammertone finish in a grey or black that will be pretty bulletproof. Colors like red are less durable. Some of the thinnest finishes are the strongest, but it depends again on the color. You do want to be sure your plates are finished to remove any ridges or bumps on the bearing surfaces (mostly the outer rim), because you will always wear through on those. Also, I'll mention that any powdercoater has boxes of finishes left over from jobs. Those have already been paid for by another client and while you'll get charged, it's a lot less than getting charged for the next 150 lbs that will mostly sit waiting for the next interested customer. So pick colors they already have. A good powdercoater can direct you to the best texture, color, and composition for plates from the choices he has available.

    Whether you want wet paint or powder (anything except powder is identified as wet paint in the trade), be sure the plates are finished well and haven't had a chance to redevelop rust. Similarly, don't think a wire wheel will really get all the rust off. If there are even tiny bits of rust left, they will propagate new rust under your paint, so you need to remove it all or neutralize it. You can't neutralize it properly under powdercoat, so you pretty much have to sandblast it; any powdercoater will want to sandblast it because that way he can guarantee that the surface is clean and his powder will hold; note that he may uncover putty holes and you have to discuss having him fill them.

    For wet paint, rattle can is surprisingly good. You can rent spray equipment and paint a larger set of plates much cheaper than buying cans, and the quality will be better. You'll have access to many more paints that way as well, but as with powder, not all are as durable. The reason you see so many plates finished in hammertone is because as a finish, it's one of the most durable around. Industrial equipment stands are often painted in hammertone for the same reason. But proper hammertone requires curing and you probably on your own don't have a proper oven to do it. Again, different hammertone colors and finishes vary widely in durability; it's just an additive to the paint to make it pile up on the surface like it does. You can get some extremely durable auto paints; I had a friend repainting a tractor and we did about a thousand pounds of plates at the same time. They've outlasted the finishes on many factory plates purchased since then.

    Also, in the category of "if you know someone," I recently saw a set of plates finished with Linex, the synthetic protective finish made for pickup truck beds. The stuff even comes in colors so this guy had plates finished in the appropriate colors. It has a clear coat top spray that makes it fairly smooth so it doesn't attract chalk, looks shiny, and doesn't turn grey over the years. He throws down big lifts all the time and not a plate showed bare metal. There are plenty of people who cover a whole Jeep in the stuff to make it bulletproof to scrapes and scratches in off road use, so the Linex shops are used to being fairly creative and working with their customers. Just don't let it get into the hole. The stuff will add a couple ounces to a 20 kg plate, but nothing serious.

    I wouldn't do it with Troys, but if someone has a really nice set of smooth vintage plates, you can take them to an automotive chrome shop (some states make chroming easy; others are prohibitive) and get a heavy perfect automobile chrome job done on your plates. Having seen some vintage plates done this way, it's pretty cool and automotive chrome is pretty much impervious to rust. It's not cheap but chrome shops always like some beer and some interest in their personal projects, so if you talk to them about what they're doing, and tell them you just want the most mean-ass plates around, you can often find someone who will do your plates on a weekend for a few hundred dollars (about what a powdercoat job would cost).
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    Registered User rlundregan's Avatar
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    Here is a picture of a couple of Ivanko 10's that are about 5 years old. They were used by me and by my stepsons, who didn't exactly treat them with respect. These are about the worst of the bunch. I used Rustoleum Hammered Finish spray paint on them, and a Sharpie Paint Pen for the lettering.

    If I had it to do over again, I might have gone with a different color, and I probably would have used a clear coat over them. I recently painted a bunch of Yorks with a flat black paint, silver lettering, and a satin finish clear coat. They look beautiful. I'll be putting pics up in the York thread shortly.



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  7. #7
    Gandalf of the Gym cmarti063's Avatar
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    Match, it would cost me like $80 to sand blast and powder them, not several hundred. I mentioned in the OP that I had a friend who would do it at cost...

    Edit: what makes hammer tones harder to cook? What is different about the equipment needed?
    Last edited by cmarti063; 11-12-2017 at 09:55 AM.
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  8. #8
    York Man AttyGuy's Avatar
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    dexter000 has powdercoated some York DDs and they look awesome. There was a guy in PA who was sellilng powdercoated York Oly plates on eBay too. Too expensive, I thought, for what he was offering. If I were keeping the plates for a while and I really liked the set, I might powdercoat. That said, I have 10 full sets of York plates (DD era, plus 70s/80s/90s in lbs and in Kgs) and for those that repainted, I've used Rustoleum Painter's Touch. Never had to repaint over the last several years.
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  9. #9
    Registered User matchsprint's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by cmarti063 View Post
    Match, it would cost me like $80 to sand blast and powder them, not several hundred. I mentioned in the OP that I had a friend who would do it at cost...

    Edit: what makes hammer tones harder to cook? What is different about the equipment needed?
    My comment was that while you can get a hammertone finish without a heat cure afterwards (e.g., from a rattle can job), the durability of hammertone doesn't really develop until you've heat cured it. When that's done, it's practically invulnerable to most damage. We bought a batch of 25 kg Eleikos that had been powder coated by a previous owner and then used hard for five years, and we've been using them for another three. They don't rub off and chip off like spray can. Powder coat hammertone is formulated differently from spray wet paint hammertone (whether rattle can or custom mix) and is very strong.

    Powdercoating has heat curing as part of the process, so if you can get inexpensive powder coating, I'd go for it. Just go for durable finishes. Is your coworker the actual powdercoater? I'm surprised she'd have any questions about powder coating plates. There's nothing to it beyond filling putty holes and masking the center hole. Powdercoaters, even fairly new ones, have gotten the craziest stuff to powdercoat like automobile rims, sculptures, you name it. Plates are easy. At that kind of cost, I'd think about any racks, plate stands, whatever, that might need a refreshing as well.
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  10. #10
    Gandalf of the Gym cmarti063's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by matchsprint View Post
    My comment was that while you can get a hammertone finish without a heat cure afterwards (e.g., from a rattle can job), the durability of hammertone doesn't really develop until you've heat cured it. When that's done, it's practically invulnerable to most damage. We bought a batch of 25 kg Eleikos that had been powder coated by a previous owner and then used hard for five years, and we've been using them for another three. They don't rub off and chip off like spray can. Powder coat hammertone is formulated differently from spray wet paint hammertone (whether rattle can or custom mix) and is very strong.

    Powdercoating has heat curing as part of the process, so if you can get inexpensive powder coating, I'd go for it. Just go for durable finishes. Is your coworker the actual powdercoater? I'm surprised she'd have any questions about powder coating plates. There's nothing to it beyond filling putty holes and masking the center hole. Powdercoaters, even fairly new ones, have gotten the craziest stuff to powdercoat like automobile rims, sculptures, you name it. Plates are easy. At that kind of cost, I'd think about any racks, plate stands, whatever, that might need a refreshing as well.
    She is the powder coater (was her previous full time business, does it as a side gig now), she just hasn't done plates before. She does lots of automotive parts like engine blocks, wheels, roll cages, etc. She has done hammer tones and veins before, I'm thinking I'm going to YOLO and do bonded silver vein.

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    Lifting Vicariously Domicron's Avatar
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    sounds and looks awesome. it'll also be nice not to have to do all the work yourself
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  12. #12
    barbell junkie thejosef's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by cmarti063 View Post
    She is the powder coater (was her previous full time business, does it as a side gig now), she just hasn't done plates before. She does lots of automotive parts like engine blocks, wheels, roll cages, etc. She has done hammer tones and veins before, I'm thinking I'm going to YOLO and do bonded silver vein.

    Whoa. That looks pretty legit. DO IT. (what's the worse that can happen... lol)
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    I bought a set of powder coated York plates and a bar on Craigslist a few years back. Looked horrible when they chipped and they chipped easily. Just spray them or use Rust-Oleum rust converter spray.
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    Originally Posted by cmarti063 View Post
    She is the powder coater (was her previous full time business, does it as a side gig now), she just hasn't done plates before. She does lots of automotive parts like engine blocks, wheels, roll cages, etc. She has done hammer tones and veins before, I'm thinking I'm going to YOLO and do bonded silver vein.

    That's a pretty durable powder finish. At $80, go for it. Worst case, if you don't like the result over time, you sandblast it and you're back where you started. But with that finish you should be fine.
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    York Man AttyGuy's Avatar
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    Keep in mind that depending upon the media used for blasting, you may remove any foundry putty on the plates. You don't want to do that.
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    Originally Posted by AttyGuy View Post
    Keep in mind that depending upon the media used for blasting, you may remove any foundry putty on the plates. You don't want to do that.
    I had mentioned that above. A powdercoater should be told to repair any gaps or cracks that show up. They have to use a special putty because the finish sticks magnetically to metal only and won't cover regular foundry putty.
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    Originally Posted by cmarti063 View Post
    She is the powder coater (was her previous full time business, does it as a side gig now), she just hasn't done plates before. She does lots of automotive parts like engine blocks, wheels, roll cages, etc. She has done hammer tones and veins before, I'm thinking I'm going to YOLO and do bonded silver vein.

    That color looks super similar to our gray color for our Equalizer plates. I highly recommend it, looks cool.
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  18. #18
    Unregistered User Cleveland33's Avatar
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    just leave them as is and use them
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    Originally Posted by Cleveland33 View Post
    just leave them as is and use them
    I clean mine , wipe them down and use them.
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  20. #20
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    Originally Posted by irongrandpa View Post
    I clean mine , wipe them down and use them.
    I tried washing the last ones I picked up - didn't seem to help much.
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  21. #21
    Gandalf of the Gym cmarti063's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Cleveland33 View Post
    just leave them as is and use them
    Dude, they're literally putting off light clouds of dust when you slide them on the bar or set down a deadlift. They're getting cleaned up.

    If you have any experience with powder coating plates, that's useful. "Dunt do nuthin 2 them" isn't.
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    Originally Posted by cmarti063 View Post
    Dude, they're literally putting off light clouds of dust when you slide them on the bar or set down a deadlift. They're getting cleaned up.

    If you have any experience with powder coating plates, that's useful. "Dunt do nuthin 2 them" isn't.
    The last set I got do that, leave your hands orange - I don't think the time/effort is worth it.
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  23. #23
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    Originally Posted by Cleveland33 View Post
    The last set I got do that, leave your hands orange - I don't think the time/effort is worth it.
    So your plates are literally leaving rust on your hands and you don't think it's worth correcting?

    No offence homie, but you and I have different values. I don't care if my equipment looks brand new (most of it is a "broken in" look), but letting your equipment get rusty and leave rust everywhere is ridiculous.
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    Originally Posted by cmarti063 View Post
    So your plates are literally leaving rust on your hands and you don't think it's worth correcting?

    No offence homie, but you and I have different values. I don't care if my equipment looks brand new (most of it is a "broken in" look), but letting your equipment get rusty and leave rust everywhere is ridiculous.
    I wouldn't like this either. All i was saying in my earlier post was that by cleaning them and then wiping them good with a rag & WD40 fixed my problem with rusty plates . I don't get anything on my hands or equipment now and only wipe them down about 1 or 2 times a year. All the posts I've seen of people that have painted their plates look great but I don't have the time nor patience to go to this far with it since cleaning and oiling has worked in my situation.
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  25. #25
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    Originally Posted by cmarti063 View Post
    So your plates are literally leaving rust on your hands and you don't think it's worth correcting?

    No offence homie, but you and I have different values. I don't care if my equipment looks brand new (most of it is a "broken in" look), but letting your equipment get rusty and leave rust everywhere is ridiculous.
    Nothing is getting rusty, they came that way.

    I mean, how often are you handling plates? one or two plates between sets? Just wipe my hands on my shorts and move on.
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  26. #26
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    Originally Posted by Cleveland33 View Post
    Nothing is getting rusty, they came that way.

    I mean, how often are you handling plates? one or two plates between sets? Just wipe my hands on my shorts and move on.
    That powder IS rust. And I get it, you don't care about correcting it. Thats cool. I am cleaning mine up.

    Your opinion on whether that's worthwhile or not isn't what I asked about, because it's worthwhile to me. What I asked about was experiences with powder coating plates and long term updates on spray jobs.
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  27. #27
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    powder coat!!
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    Cmarti, you'll have to report back on this after several months of usage with the powder coat, just so we can have more information out there about whether this is worthwhile. It seems like most people have reported some level of chipping with the powder coat, but I'd be curious to know how long it takes for that to happen.
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  29. #29
    Registered User ampire's Avatar
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    The problem with powdercoat is it cannot easily be repaired. It is not appropriate for objects collide a lot like plates because it can crack and peel back like an eggshell. The hole can continue to grow and rust can develop pushing the powdercoat up around the edges of the hole. You can't really get spray paint to blend into the powdercoat for touch up very easily, it just doesn't work that great, I tried on my weight bench, ended up just re-powdercoating it, but a weight bench doesn't get banged into as much as plates do so it was a good investment.

    I'd just use a wire brush on the plates and then wipe them with motor oil, thats what I did with a few junky plates, it made them look substantially better. These were old DD brand standard plates that sat outside in a garage for probably decades, the rust was very thick. Wire brushed it off and then wiped them with an oily rag, and they looked great. The bare metal was dark grey color. Oil transfer to hands isn't a big deal, you are just wiping it down, not soaking it in axle grease. Low effort and low maintenance required. If you are using them indoors in a climate controlled environment, they won't re-rust. If you use them in a garage, they will rust anyway so you might as well just rewipe them every month or so, remove rust with a wire brush. Also the plates I treated looked substantially worse then your Troys as pictured in the OP, now they are a dark grey, look pretty nice, and don't feel particularly oily. The rust layers were so thick around some of the lettering you couldn't see the lettering, it wired right off and there is no sign it ever rusted. Try it on a few plates and if you don't like it, powdercoat it. A proper powdercoating shop will degrease it anyway.
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  30. #30
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    Originally Posted by ampire View Post
    The problem with powdercoat is it cannot easily be repaired. It is not appropriate for objects collide a lot like plates because it can crack and peel back like an eggshell. The hole can continue to grow and rust can develop pushing the powdercoat up around the edges of the hole. You can't really get spray paint to blend into the powdercoat for touch up very easily, it just doesn't work that great, I tried on my weight bench, ended up just re-powdercoating it, but a weight bench doesn't get banged into as much as plates do so it was a good investment.
    Yep - this is why I wouldn't powdercoat plates - the only way I'd powdercoat a plate if it was for display. This is just asking for chipping and peeling especially on the hubs, lips and backs. I know with the rattle cans that if anything ever gets worn, it's a super easy fix. I've already touched up some plate edges of mine that I rushed through and missed some spots. I've sprayed them up while sitting on the my power rack's storage posts.
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