10 August 2021
Spray painting to apply paint or varnish finish to a workpiece sometimes involves having to either circle the workpiece yourself, or carefully rotate it to another angle so that you can continue applying the finish.
The problem can be that you end up with an uneven application, or when you turn it, you either knock it over, or leave a fingerprint or two on it.
It also means that unless you are in a large area, where paint drift is not a problem, you need to have some sort of backing so that the over-spray doesn’t go where you don’t want it to go, and you will need to keep moving the backstop barrier. With this wheel, there’s no need for that as you are always spraying in the same direction.
Hint… boxing clever:
When spraying smaller items, get hold of a large cardboard box from your local supermarket, put it on its side, place the wheel in front of it – or even well into it – and then apply your spray… the only place the mist and droplets will go is into the box.
This painter’s wheel allows you to gently and smoothly rotate the workpiece as you apply the paint – and you end up with a very even finish, with no swearing.
In this case I had the central portion of a round mirror frame I made some time ago, and held on to… just in case I needed it. And now I did.
- 16mm MDF offcuts or any other timber of your choice.
- Wood glue
- Screws to suit the wood thickness
- One 6mmØ x 60mm bolt – or bolt to suit the thickness of the wood you are using.
- One large fender washer (10x45mmØ); two washers to suit the bolt you use.
- Six 30mm chipboard screws to lock the legs at 90° and firmly attach the feet to the ends of the arms.
The wheel shown here has a diameter of 430mm and its base legs are each 380mm long.
The legs are slightly less than the wheel diameter to prevent your fingers engaging them as you rotate the wheel… if you did, you could shift the whole unit, causing your workpiece to fall over, or even knock the whole wheel off on to the floor.
The workpiece should be placed as close to the centre of the wheel and the latter should be rotated as a steady rate. You’re not playing roulette and spinning the wheel like a roulette wheel could see your workpiece losing the bet.
It could also be a good idea to use either small lumps of Prestik or small strips of mirror tape to hold the workpiece in position.
- Here’s what you need… the wood for the wheel, a few pieces of suitable wood for the base and feet, a 60mm 6mmØ gutter bolt and nut, and a pair of washers to fit; these components will become the ‘axle’ for the wheel.
- You can use a router fitted with a straight-cut bit to cut a circle – with a suitable rigid bar swinging about a central fulcrum (a nail, screw or panel pin) as a guide…
- … Or you can use a jigsaw, again with a rigid bar to guide the jigsaw. I took the router route.
- This is the disc cut.
- I drilled out the central pivot/fulcrum hole with a 6mmØ bit.
- Then I set a 12mmØ spade bit to drill a recess for the bolt head – plus one washer. This recess should be just deep enough to accommodate the head and washer, but not so deep that it weakens the wheel at the centre.
- Using tape as the depth-marker, very carefully drill out the recess.
- Job done! The head and washer are fully recessed, but only just. The reason for recessing the head is that you want a level, even surface for the workpiece… you don’t want it tottering about, or falling over, do you.
- Now for the base. Cut the 380mm arms and mark the centre point of each.
- Using a 6mmØ bit, drill right through both arms. Then secure them at 90° with glue and two of the 30mm screws, as shown here.
- This is the underside of the wheel, with the 10x45mmØ fender washer on the bolt. There is no need for an exact fit… the idea is to give a large bearing area as possible on which the wheel can be rotated and still be steady.
- I used a drop of contact adhesive on the bolt thread to secure the nut in position… it need to be tight enough to stop the wheel rocking, but still allow it to rotate freely on the base.
- Then I cut six feet from an offcut and used glue and a single 30mm screw to secure each to the ends of each arm. Why six, I hear you ask? Because I didn’t use a half-lap joint where the arms meet, just a simple face-to-face joint so the arm sitting above the other needs that extra foot on each end for the base to be steady and stable.
- The completed base… now you see why the six feet are needed, right?
- A view from underneath showing how the end of the bolt is still clear of the surface on which the base is resting… You will see I ended up adding a locknut as insurance.
- This is just an offcut of PVC pipe I used as a test piece…as you can see, rotating the wheel at a steady rate enabled me to get a very even finish…
- … As you can see confirmed here… there are no areas around the perimeter of the paint where there is more finish than anywhere else..
- The painter’s wheel can be used when spray painting items quite a bit larger than itself – such as this countertop cupboard.
Skill level: 1
Estimated time: 2-3 hours
Drill/driver, jigsaw or router.
These materials are available at Selected Mica Stores. To find your closest Mica and whether or not they stock the items required, please go to www.mica.co.za, find your store and call them. If your local Mica does not stock exactly what you need they will be able to order it for you or suggest an alternative product or a reputable source.