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Paint Drying Oven Using Solar Energy

Nothing more fun than watching paint dry, right?  Building rockets is fun, but all the fun seems to slow down waiting for the primer and paint to dry.  A multi-color paint scheme seems to take forever.  I have found out that a good way to speed up the process is to use a paint drying oven.  Professional painting processes in manufacturing and auto body shops - where time is money - use ovens and infrared lamps to heat the painted article to drive off and boil away the volitile compounds in paint to make it dry quicker.  Some believe it makes for a harder surface but others say it doesn't make any difference.

So wouldn't you like to have a paint oven / drying booth?  You don't need a lot of heat, something just above 100 degrees F, up to 140 degrees will work fine, but no more.  Household ovens are not a good idea because many models can't control the temperatures reliably at such a low heat, so that is NOT safe as it overheats and it will make your kitchen stink if not burst into flames!  Dont' give up just yet, I have a better idea.  Chances are it won't cost you a cent this summer.  What I do is put my freshly painted rockets on the painting stand in the back of my SUV when it is parked in the sun with all the windows up.  It gets to about 120 degrees or more in the summer, making it a near perfect paint drying oven.  I have found that paints which require 24 to 48 hours to dry fully are dry in about half the time or less and are ready for another coat or decals.

Modern paints are made with very little VOC - the stuff that smells when it evaporates as the paint dries, so the odor seems to be not much at all in the hot car and dissipates quickly.  Just be sure to open the windows and air it out before you drive off anywhere!  There should be no problem with newer paint fumes creating a fire hazzard, but if you want to be sure then crack the windows or sun roof a bit.  I love having a coat of paint dry in less than a day, and best of all, I like that it's free; it cost's $0.00 for the free solar energy!

If you can't use a car, leave your rocket inside or outside in the direct sunshine and rotate it from time to time.  Just make sure to let it cool off before applying another coat. You don't want the paint to dry too quickly while you are still applying it.  And DON'T leave the paint in the car either - you definately want that to stay cool!


Contributed by Rich DeAngelis

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