Arc wire system for spraying sensitive substrates
08-26-2011, 11:50 AM,
Arc wire system for spraying sensitive substrates

We are a jewellery company and are looking to make sculptural pieces using arc-sprayed aluminium and bronze, similar to the products shown on Bauer Art Metal's site: .
I am totally new to arc spraying, and I would be very grateful for some assistance on suitability, choosing a machine, consumable cost etc.

What attracted us was the possibility of spraying "sensitive" substrates like plastic, wood, foam, wax, etc. From what I've read, it seems this is possible with arc spraying - is this the case? Has anyone had experience of this? The plan would be to make items in an "easy" material such as foam or plaster, and then spray these with metal. Presumably it would be possible to spray with cheaper ZnAl first, then a thin layer of bronze on top for final appearance? Thicknesses would probably be around a few mm.

Could anyone suggest a suitable arc spray system? I know there are probably many different options out there, but I'm looking for an entry-level (if there is such a thing) machine, without too many bells and whistles. Also, does anyone distribute second-hand/refurbished machines? Rough cost?

Consumable cost - from what I know of the cost of MIG brazing wire, bronze wire is pretty expensive. Does anyone have rough figures for what, say, ZnAl and bronze wire cost in reasonable (10's of kg) quantities?

I know these are a lot of questions, but there seems to be a bit of mystery surrounding arc spraying! I'd be very grateful for anyone's help on these issues. Also, something I really would like to see are examples of metal spraying on to substrates like wood etc.; if anyone has photos, I'd love to see them. Lastly, I'm in Edinburgh (UK), so if there's anyone within 200 miles or so who uses an arc spray system and would be able to demonstrate, I'd be happy to visit!

Look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

Mr. Lindsay Wilson
08-29-2011, 04:57 AM, (This post was last modified: 08-29-2011, 04:58 AM by LEN WOOD.)
RE: Arc wire system for spraying sensitive substrates
Hello Lindsay,

Incredible results on just about any substrate can be achieved with arc sprayed coatings - just a matter of know-how and technique. But while costing the process you should also consider the safety and environmental prerequisites. The primary being an efficient dust extraction/collection system.

I’m happy to help
Len Wood
Ph: +64 9 4730705
Fax: +64 9 4730706
08-31-2011, 09:14 AM,
RE: Arc wire system for spraying sensitive substrates
I've sent some images for Gordon to upload to the forum. They are of:

[Image: wood-tsc2.jpg]
Zinc onto wood

[Image: apple-tsc.jpg]
Zinc onto an apple

[Image: Resin-tsc2.jpg]
Al Bronze onto a resin moulding, then aged and polished/burnished

[Image: arc-tsc2.jpg]
Steel onto large area of polystyrene

[Image: Poly-foam-tsc.jpg]
Zinc onto a polystyrene foot with Al Bronze toenails

[Image: MDF-tsc.jpg]
MDF fretwork piece sprayed with Al Bronze

[Image: Poly-cast-tsc.jpg]
A PU casting sprayed with Al Bronze

All sprayed with a Metallisation ARC140 system. Hope these are of interest.
Stuart Milton
Metallisation Ltd
09-01-2011, 08:02 AM,
RE: Arc wire system for spraying sensitive substrates
You will need to purchase a dust collector and a spray booth. Safety equipment like, fresh air helmets from 3M.
A wire arc system such as Tafa 9000

Al bronze wire is cheap, 1500 us for 60lbs

The booth and collector will be your biggest purchase. The dust from wire arc is super fine.
09-08-2011, 12:51 PM,
RE: Arc wire system for spraying sensitive substrates
A proper booth and collector would likely be cost prohibitive assuming you are going to work on only small pieces in relatively low volume to start. Constructing your own booth would likely be a wise move from a cost perspective, and a small vacuum inducing venturi setup connected to drums for dry and wet collection should work fine for what you are trying to accomplish (this is common for small field applied thermal spray projects). NOTE: Make sure you know how the metals you spray will react in your collection system. I.E. Aluminum will evolve hydrogen gas in a wet collection system and create an explosion hazard if it is not properly accounted for. If you can locate a local equipment dealer for the thermal spray equipment, then they should be able to help with sourcing/constructing adequate booths and dust control for your operation.
03-12-2012, 10:37 AM,
RE: Arc wire system for spraying sensitive substrates
I didn’t see this request before, as well as this is my preferred application, even if my main activity is thermal spray applications an system service, I’ve been doing as hobby artistic coating for more than 30 years, because I’d like to do scultures, and I can say that this application seems easy, but it’s very difficult and they are many tricks to perform it , if you like to see some applications, look at my site
Best regards

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