Top 6 Materials for Powder Coating

Table of Contents

Powder coating gives laser cut and waterjet cut parts a professional, clean finish that will protect them for years to come. There are a few materials that take to powder coating better than most, so we want to show you SendCutSend’s top six materials for powder coating and some of the many applications available to powder coated sheet metal parts.

How powder coating works and why we use it

Powder coating is unlike paint and other coating forms because it starts off as a fine powder, not a liquid. The powder is applied electrostatically in a sealed environment, and is then left to cure at high temperatures for a few minutes. For this reason, the only materials eligible for powder coating need to be conductive and able to withstand high temperatures during the curing process.

We prefer powder coating to paint or other aesthetic finishing processes for a few key reasons: 

1. It’s a durable protectant

  • Powder coating is more durable than paint because it adheres perfectly to the material and is a fully solidified polymer, making it stronger and longer lasting. In the harshest conditions, powder coating can last over 25 years before showing signs of wear. This protects the parts themselves from wear as well. We ran six powder coating durability tests that showed that in the most volatile environments, parts are guaranteed to last longer and stay stronger with powder coating as opposed to paint or other finishing processes. 

2. It’s sustainable

  • Paint contains volatile organic compounds which can wash away over periods of time or spread through the air during application, harming natural life and creating pollution. Powder coating contains none of these VOCs, creates no runoff, and doesn’t have to be reapplied every 5-10 years. This makes it one of the most sustainable and environmentally-friendly finishing processes available. 

3. It’s aesthetic

  • Powder coating is one of the most aesthetically pleasing finishing processes available to laser cut or waterjet cut sheet metal. It’s smooth surface quality and even application elevates the material it adheres to in a way that regular paint cannot. Because of the unique application process, powder coating is also better suited to evenly coat the inner geometry and difficult to reach corners of more complicated parts, making the entire surface of the part more cohesive and well-protected.

SendCutSend’s top six materials for powder coating

SendCutSend currently offers six different metals in varying thicknesses for our online powder coating service. These materials have been selected by our team of experts after careful research surrounding finish, adherence, and application quality. We found that these laser cut and waterjet cut metals are the best candidates for powder coating:

Note: To ensure high edge quality and a well-adhered coating, we require that all parts be deburred before going to powder coating. If you are planning to add powder coating to your order, be sure that your parts fit within our deburring guidelines, as well as the powder coating guidelines, first. 

5052, 6061, and 7075 Aluminum

Being one of the top general purpose materials in most industries, laser cut aluminum can often be found powder coated for both aesthetic and functional purposes. Aluminum is one of the most corrosion resistant materials we offer at SendCutSend, so providing another layer of corrosion protection through powder coating will make your laser cut aluminum parts last longer in harsher environments than almost any other material. Powder coated aluminum lasts 25+ years in outdoor exposure without needing additional protection or refinishing.

Image of a laser cut aluminum decorative laser gun silhouette powder coated in matte black

Mild Steel

Laser cut mild steel as a standalone material is strong, durable, and hard. The only thing it doesn’t have is good corrosion resistance, so it requires a little more post-processing and finishing to get it ready for long-term use in corrosive environments. This makes mild steel an ideal candidate for powder coating. Here at SendCutSend, we offer three different finishes for our laser cut mild steel: cold rolled (1008), hot rolled (A36)*, and hot rolled pickled and oiled (A36).

Image of a laser cut cold rolled steel decorative laser gun silhouette powder coated in red

*Note: Hot Rolled A36 mild steel has mill scale on its surface that cannot be removed in the blasting process. The mill scale creates surface texture variation that’s visible through the powder coat. For this reason, we recommend you choose Cold Rolled 1008 Mild Steel as an alternative material for powder coating. Cold rolled steel does not have mill scale and will take to the powder coating more cleanly.

4130 Chromoly

4130 chromoly is a versatile steel known for its high tensile strength, impact resistance, and lightweight qualities. It’s often used in motorsports, specifically bikes of all kinds, which need to be functional, durable, and aesthetically pleasing. 4130 chromoly steel is often powder coated for these reasons, despite being corrosion resistant and durable on its own. Laser cut 4130 is made even better and more versatile with the addition of powder coating.

Image of a laser cut 4130 chromoly bent part powder coated in matte black

316 Stainless Steel

High quality laser cut stainless steel is a longstanding favorite in the medical, aerospace, and food production industries. Between its smooth surface quality and high heat resistance, stainless steel takes to powder coating better than most other materials. While powder coating laser cut stainless steel is done most often for purely aesthetic purposes, it also provides a chip and scratch resistant surface that stainless steel cannot provide on its own. SendCutSend currently offers powder coating for 316 stainless steel.

Image of a laser cut 316 stainless steel laser gun silhouette powder coated in white

Choosing the best material for your powder coated project

With our top six materials for powder coating, you have plenty of options to choose from for your next project. If you need some help deciding which one to use, check out our blog posts on powder coating to learn more about the process and what will work best for you. Or if you’re just looking for inspiration for a SendCutSend cut and powder coated project, be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook (@sendcutsend) to see some of the coolest projects our customers have worked on.

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We proudly use hardware by PEM

Flush Standoff, 4-40, .250" Zinc plus Clear Chromate

Aluminum: 5052, 6061, 7075 Steel: Mild, G30

Thread Size4-40 x .250″
Hole size in sheet (+0.003/-.0.000).168″
Minimum sheet thickness0.040″
Maximum sheet thickness.125″
Fastener materialSteel
Minimum distance hole C/L to edge0.230″
When determining the distance between two or more fasteners, you can calculate the distance by the formula, C/L to edge + 1/2 the diameter of the second mounting hole..345″
Recommended panel materialSteel/Aluminum
Coating typeZinc
Aluminum material ranges (5052, 6061, 7075)0.040″-0.125″
Steel material ranges (CRS, HRPO, HR)0.048″-0.119″

We proudly use hardware by PEM

Flush Standoff, 4-40, .250" Passivated

Stainless Steel: 304, 316

Thread Size440
Hole size in sheet (+0.003/-.0.000).166″
Minimum sheet thickness0.04″
Maximum sheet thickness.125″
Fastener material400 Stainless Steel
Minimum distance hole C/L to edge0.230″
When determining the distance between two or more fasteners, you can calculate the distance by the formula, C/L to edge + 1/2 the diameter of the second mounting hole. Example shown with x2 of the same hardware..313″
Recommended panel materialStainless Steel
Coating typePassivated
304 Stainless Steel material ranges0.048″-0.125″
316 Stainless Steel material ranges0.060″-0.125″