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DIY Fluid Bed

Introduction

Coloring you lures can be frustrating. Done wrong they will look like crap after a few uses. There are various options for coloring you lures today: vinyl, markers and powder paints. All have their time and place but when it comes to jigs powder paints are the way to go. A container per color is around $6 and is fairly easy to use. You can of course screw it up but for the most part if you Google how to use them you’ll get the picture. I wasn’t satisfied with the dip method so started to research fluid beds. Buying one seemed a bit expensive and was pleasantly surprised to find a few DIY methods. For the most part the DIY method has worked for me. There was some trial and error but for use $25 bucks you can have your own.

What is a fluid bed? Nerds go here. For everyone else and for the purposes of paining jig heads a fluid bed suspends powder paint in a column of air. Once suspended the powder paint appears as a boiling liquid. Heat up a jig head and dip in the “fluid” quickly. This method uses less paint and is applied more evenly than dipping without the paint suspended (although this does work, just not as good). The jig may look nice after this is done but you should still cure the paint by heating in an oven at 350° F for about 30 minutes.

What you Need

Materials

  • Powder Paint
  • Fish Tank Air Pump
  • Tubing
  • Tubing T-Valves
  • 3″ PVC Connector (Base of Bed)
  • 3″ PVC Pipe (Canisters for Paint)
  • 3″ PVC Covers
  • Vacuum Bag
    • I purchased some Hoover bags for about $3.  Pretty cheap but not sure if there are better options.  These seem to work just fine.
  • Super Glue
    • I’ve always got super glue handy, one thing I didn’t have to purchase.
  • Silicone
    • Same as the super glue.
  • Valve
    • I purchased one that is typically used to feed water to a refrigerator’s ice machine.
  • 3/4″ Plywood
    • I had a scrap peace laying around the shop.  No particular size other than big enough for the pump and base.

Tools

  • Saw
  • Utility Knife

Instructions

Fluid Bed

  1. Setup the air pump & valve.
    1. Use the tubing to create a single source of air. Some pumps have have two outlets for air and will need to be connected to fit the valve.
    2. Connect the valve and the air pump. The valve I purchased is one typically used for running water to a refrigerator.
    3. Plug in the air pump and make sure the pump is pushing air though the valve.
  2. Connect the valve to the base.
    1. Take the 3″ PVC connector and drill a hole on a side near the bottom.  Depending on your valve you may need to move it up or down.  I used a forstner bit as they cut nice clean holes.  The hole was slightly less in diameter than the valve.  I was able to thread the valve on with no issues.  I am sure this is not super air tight but for my purposes not needed.
  3. Glue the fluid bed base to the plywood base.
    1. Glue the base on a sheet of plywood.  I used super glue.
  4. Seal the base on to the plywood.
    1. Once the super glue is dry put a bead of silicone on the inside bottom of the base.  I use super glue to hold down the base and the silicone to make air tight as I can.  Once complete you have constructed the base.  Next step will be to create the canisters.

Base Images

Canisters

  1. Cut a 3″ long piece of the 3″ PVC pipe.
  2. Cut out a piece of the vacuum bag slight larger than the diamter of the pipe.
  3. Super glue the paper on one of the openings of the pipe.  Note, the glue will comethrough the paper.  I pressed down the the paper on a scrap piece of wood to make sure it was on but make sure it wasn’t touching anything else aftwards.
    1. Note:  Not positive on this but I made sure that the outside of the bag ended up on the inside of the canister.  That is how the air flows from the vacuum so I tried to replicate the scenario.
  4. Once the glue is dry use a utility knife to trim off the excess.
  5. Place the powder paint in the canister.
    1. Make sure that all sides are glued down.  If not, you could have a big mess on your hands later.
  6. Fill the canister with some powder paint.
  7. Place the canister in the base.
    1. Be careful when you place the canister in the base as some of the powder may bubble out.  I usually put my canisters on with the pipe covers slightly on.
  8. Turn on the pump and watch the powder boil.

Canister Images

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