CoolMiniOrNot Forums - How to make a cheap yet effective spray booth.
  • How to make a cheap yet effective spray booth.

    Hello everyone. I'm here to show you how to make a nice spray booth for airbrushing. I took what I learned from watching different videos and came up with what worked best for me. After collecting all the items, the job of putting everything together actually only took me about 30 minutes. Below is the list of items you will need.

    1.) Plastic storage tub $6-$10 (Mine was free because I found it in the garage).
    2.) Ventilation fan $18
    3.) Air filter $2
    4.) Power cord $3 (Mine was free because I took it off an old air compressor).
    5.) Small towel
    6.) Power drill
    7.) wire cutters
    8.) Hacksaw blade with handle
    9.) Window caulking

    It is very important that you buy the tub and filter at the same time. You need to fit the filter to the bottom of the tub at the store to make sure it will fit properly. It's ok if its too long on one side because you can always shorten it to fit (like I had to).

    Above is a picture that shows the model of vent that I purchased. I liked that this one had an exhaust vent mounted on the side. The first thing I did was turn the tub upside down and lay the vent unit on the back of the tub so I could draw out the hole that I needed to cut out. I used a sharpie marker so that I could easily see my lines when cutting. Keep in mind that you will be pushing the vent unit in from the backside and also take note as to where you want your exhaust vent facing when its all complete.

    After you are satisfied that your pattern was drawn nice and centered and leveled, you can begin cutting out the square hole for the vent. I had to use a drill on each of the corners so that I could get my hacksaw blade started. I then cut out the square pattern then filed all the flash off so that everything was nice and smooth. Be very careful when you do your cutting. This is one of those times you can end up really hurting yourself. If you have any doubts then you should seek help from a good handyman who is more used to using had tools. The next thing I did was wire up the power cord to my vent unit. I used the power cord from an old air compressor but they are pretty cheap to purchase. If you are not experienced with electrical work then you MUST MUST MUST get someone with electrical knowledge to do this for you. I'm an electrician so it was no big deal at all for me.

    Next I located four tabs that I decided would suit me better if I bent them up. These tabs will work great to keep the vent unit from pushing all the way through the tub and help hold it in place. You are now ready to push the unit into the tub. Remember it is going in through the back side. You are hoping for a nice tight fit but if it is too tight then you will need to file down the sides that are too tight.

    Once in it should look like the photo above.

    Above is a good view of what it will look like once the unit is inserted. As you can tell from this picture, I used a tub with an attached two piece lid. You don't need this type of tub but I liked the idea of having the lid attached and I liked the thickness of the plastic body.

    Next, I found that there were 4 convenient holes on the vent unit located in the part that was inside my tub. I took advantage of these by running machine screws through them and backing them up with screws. These will serve the purpose of stops to keep the unit from pushing itself back out through the back of the tub.

    Now it's time to fit the filter. The inside of bottom of my tub was 12"x19". The closest size I found was a 12"x20" so I will need to trim an inch off. To give my filter a neat appearance, I pulled apart one of the glued ends. I then cut off one inch and then re-glued the cardboard end back on. I now had a 12"x19"x1" filter.

    Now you can take the vent cover and attach it to the vent unit as seen below.

    Next, slid your filter in and set it firmly up against the vent cover. If you have issues with the filter not wanting to stay in place then you can always use duct tape.

    In all the other tutorials I've seen, they show that you need to attach a tubing duct to the exhaust on the vent unit. I could not find a 3 inch duct tube for mine because the two hardware stores I went to only carried 4 inch. Instead I decided to just use a towel as a second filter so that I could test out my new spray booth. The test went so well that I decided not to waist my money on a tubing duct. In my opinion it would only take up more space and be a pain in the butt to roll up every time I wanted to use my booth. Below is a picture of how I placed my down on the exhaust to catch what my first filter let get by. It worked out great for me. When I'm done I just take the towel and toss it into the tub till I'm ready to use the booth again. I might even try a sock next time as a second filter instead of the towel. If I wanted to get real fancy I could have wired in an on/off switch but instead I plugged my booth into a GFCI power strip and used the on/off switch on that for mine.

    Now that I'm happy with the way everything fits and I have performed a run test, I am now ready to seal the vent unit to the tub. I used window caulking all along the edges of my vent unit as you can see in the picture below. This is for the purpose of keeping over-spray from escaping as well as looks and protecting some of the rough edges from cutting you. The edges that I am really worried about are the tabs that we had to bend up so make sure you cover those well.

    Now you have yourself a nice little spray booth. For everything to work exactly like mine did you will have to use the same model of vent. Different models may not have the same holes or the tabs that I used. If you get a different model then see if you can find the same tabs or holes on your model. If not you can drill the holes and cut the tabs yourself. Another option is to take the really easy route by just using the caulking to keep the unit in place. It should still hold pretty good as long as you didn't make the original vent unit hole too big.

    I hope you enjoyed my tutorial and that your spray-booth lasts you many years.
    Comments 5 Comments
    1. winemart's Avatar
      winemart -
      thanks for sharing
    1. Macro's Avatar
      Macro -
      That's really cool. Very nicely done.
    1. philcplaysgames's Avatar
      philcplaysgames -
      A cool idea!
    1. Unscathed_Corpse's Avatar
      Unscathed_Corpse -
      Have you considered adding a light on top and side to provide better lighting and casting fewer shadows?
    1. dbiggied's Avatar
      dbiggied -
      Looks like it would be fine for filtering out paint particles, but if you are using "hotter" paints (lacquers, enamels, etc) you should still considering using a respirator for the airbrush can spray faster than a fan like that can clear the air. I have a spray booth I made out of a surplus car radiator fan that pulls about 750cfm, and I can still smell the fumes for a few minutes after I finish painting. If you can smell it, you're breathing it in. Protect your lungs...they're likely to be the only set you'll ever have!
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