Work Area


Where to Work Many customizers perform their art in garages, sheds, shops, barns, basements, bedrooms, and in some cases living or dining rooms! The ideal atmosphere, of course, would be a nice shop with central heat and air, excellent light, plenty of electrical outlets, and a quality fresh air ventilation system to suck out all those paint fumes and replace them with clean air! For many of us, a shop like this is simply not in the budget. But don’t give up hope!



Organization This can be a key for customizing.  As far as parts and pieces go, the above picture shows a few organizational devices: egg cartons, tool boxes with dividers and small part organizers.  The units have compartments for keeping things like wheels, engine pieces, interiors.  Large drawers for bodies and glass, and accessories. Some further use of these old cartons is to keep parts for a given project all together.   These are merely suggestions as to what is available. Everyone has their own methods and a customizer should do what is comfortable to them.  Some people thrive on a “messy” work bench.  

Other Concerns Humidity, temperature, foreign objects, dust, moisture… all of these elements can influence the painting process. Several of these are described in more detail in the Painting section. Don’t let these issues frighten you too much, however, because, for the most part, anywhere you can live comfortably you can also generally get good results painting diecast. For example, does dust blow into your eyes outside making you uncomfortable? Do mosquitoes bite you? Is it so humid in your shed that you sweat just sitting in it? If so, then you may want to seek a more comfortable work area. Why? Because you’ll have dust and/or mosquitoes in your paint job, or trouble with the finish caused by humidity.

It should be noted at this point however, that no slick paint job is worth you or your family’s health! Spraying two dozen cars at once in your living room with the air conditioning on but no ventilation–using lacquer or urethane–is definitely not recommended!

Consider your options when deciding on the best place to customize. Perhaps it’s best for your own circumstances to disassemble in one area, paint in another, and re-assemble in yet another. Nothing wrong with that. But you may want to be studious in your organizational habits… I’ve lost more bases, windshields, and interiors than I care to remember! Now where’d I put that set of Real Riders…

Spray Booths Indoor working areas become more necessary in extreme hot or cold climates. One way to beat the heat (or cold) is to purchase a hobby paint booth from a hobby supplier. These items are certainly not inexpensive, but they are sure to prove their worth in keeping the air cleaner, and the over-spray to a minimum. 

An alternative is to build your own paint booth. First, a visit to your local Home Depot or Lowe’s will be in order. Once there you should be able to locate a relatively inexpensive PVC utility room sink. Next you’ll need a piece of 6×12″ clear plexi-glass (sometimes called clear acrylic). Then you’ll need some sort of blower motor to use as an exhaust fan. A bathroom exhaust fan or a range ventilation unit works well. Make sure to consider how powerful the fan is – this is the key to removing the paint vapors.

Once you’ve decided on a fan motor assembly, you’ll need 3 or 4 small “L” brackets to secure the assembly to the back (bottom) of the sink. And while you’re at the hardware store you’ll also want to pick up some dryer vent hose to use between the fan assembly and the exterior of your house (or shop). Depending on the fan assembly you decide on you may also need a length of cord (an extension cord will do) to splice into the fan’s wiring so that the assembly can be plugged into an AC outlet.

You’ve acquired all the necessary parts and hardware the next step is to make a template and cut out the back (bottom) of the sink in order to attach the fan motor assembly. You’ll also want to cut an additional hole (approximately 5×11″) on what will be the top of the sink. Over this hole you will secure the clear plexi-glass so that light will be allowed through. At this point we may begin referring to our sink as a “cabinet” or “booth.” With the fan, plexi-glass, and vent hose attached you are ready to begin testing out your new spray booth.  Happy Painting!!!

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