Choose the Correct Cap or Plug
When you’re not using the right cap or plug, there will be problems. You’ll get paint where you don’t want it, you won’t have a consistent product and you won’t have satisfied customers.
By using the correct size of caps and plugs, you can significantly improve the quality and consistency of the finished product. The following information will help determine the sizes needed.
How to choose the right cap size:
Choose the cap that has an inside diameter (A in graphic) of the nearest size below the diameter of the stud you are masking and test it out. If your stud is .242”, choose the cap that is .234” (Part Number: 49-0000234-01500 or 49-0000234-01000).
A more in-depth look:
Measure the diameter of the stud you are masking. The recommended undersize is .015” to .030”. Subtract those from the stud diameter to find the range your cap size should be in. Choose a cap in that range. Which cap? That depends on how tight you need the cap to be for your process. Plating, e-coating, anodizing, etc. will need a tighter fit to prevent leakage.
For example: say the stud above has a diameter of X = .242”.
Subtract .015” to .030”, the undersize range.
.242” - .030” = .212”
.242” - .015” = .242”
So A comes out to be between .212” to .242”, the recommended size range your cap should be in.
In the catalog, there are caps sized at .218” (49-0000218-01000), .223” (49-0000223-01000) and .234” (49-0000234-01000). Choose one of these caps to effectively mask the stud.
Don’t be afraid to ask for free samples.
How to choose the right inverted cap size:
Choose the cap that has an outside diameter (B in graphic) of the next two or three sizes above the diameter of the hole you are masking and test them out with our free samples. If your hole is .242”, choose the cap that has an outside diameter of .245”, .257” or .268”. So, choose one of these caps: 49-0000125-01000 (OD=.245”), 49-0000137-01000 (OD=.257”) or 49-0000148-01000 (OD=.268”).
A more in-depth look:
Measure the diameter of the stud you are masking. The recommended oversize is .015” to .03”. Add those to the stud diameter to find the range your cap size should be in. Choose a cap in that range. Which cap? That depends on how tight you need the cap to be for your process.
For example: say the hole has a diameter of X = .242”.
Add the oversize range: .015” to .030”.
.242” + .015” = .257”
.242” + .030” = .272”.
So B, the outside diameter, comes out to be between .257” to .272”, the recommended size range your cap should be in. Choose one of the caps in that range to effectively plug the hole. Recommended caps: 49-0000137-01000 (OD=.257”) or 49-0000148-01000 (OD=.268”).
If you're still unsure about which size to use, ask about our free samples.
How to choose the right tapered plug size:
Use the diameter of the hole you are masking to pick the plug. This is done by having the hole size fall in-between the top (A in graphic) and the bottom (B in graphic) dimensions on the plug. You want it to fall close to the middle of the plug so you will have material to pull on and get the plug out of the part that is being masked.
If the hole has a 1.5” diameter, choose the plug that has a top diameter of 1.688” and a bottom, tapered diameter of 1.406” (Part number: 01-0000119-04SIL).
A more in-depth look:
This process is less of a science and more of trial and error. Usually multiple plugs will have to be tested in order to find the one that works for you. However, your best bet is to measure the hole's diameter and go from there. Choose a tapered plug whose tapered bottom diameter is the next size smaller than the diameter of the hole.
For example: say the hole has a diameter of X = 1.5”. Pick a plug that has top and bottom diameters so that 1.5” falls in the middle.
The top diameter should be above 1.5” (A > X) and the bottom, tapered diameter should be below 1.5” (B < X).
So, choose the plug with a top diameter of 1.688” and a bottom diameter of 1.406”. This plug may not work for you depending on your coating process.
Story time. Todd, a powder coater, puts his caps and plugs into buckets so he can reuse them. Sound familiar? However, Todd usually grabs a cap or plug from the top to use for masking. Not so smart. Those caps get reused too much while the bottom ones get lightly used or not used at all.
Don’t be like Todd. Keep track of and replace your caps and plugs to effectively mask your components and avoid quality defects, failures and rework.
Keep Threads Clean
When working with threaded holes, many customers are required to mask the leading thread to keep it clean. This prevents paint from getting in the threads, making it easier to start fasteners and avoid costly rework from issues like cross-threading.
Echo has multiple catalog series specifically for this requirement:
silicone leading thread boss plugs
silicone leading exit pull plugs
silicone leading plugs
silicone leading pull plugs
silicone weld nut pull plugs
silicone thread plugs.
Choose the Right Tape
If your tape is curling, leaving adhesive on the part you’re coating or falling off altogether, you may be using the wrong tape. There are different reasons why your tape may not be working, so keep these four main factors in mind when choosing the tape for your masking process:
Match the temperature rating of the tape to the application. If your finishing process involves high temperatures, you’ll want to go with one of our higher rated tapes like Green Poly (400F), Rusty Red Poly (425F), Polyimide (500F) or Glass Cloth (500F).
The typical heat rating of tape is for less than 30 minutes. If you’re heating something for longer than 30 minutes, move up to a tape with a higher temperature rating to ensure it will mask effectively.
Coating & Thickness
Match the thickness of the tape to the thickness of the coating. If you’re using 2 mil of paint, use a tape with a 2 mil thickness.
For flat, straight surfaces, use thicker tape.
For curved, irregular surfaces, use thinner tape.
Some other tips:
Using the correct tape width can reduce rejects by providing consistency. Echo will custom slit to desired width which is more accurate than hand trimming.
Die cuts are also very helpful to reduce rework. Echo will create virtually any shape consistently by building a tool for your application which is more accurate than hand trimming.
When using tape, make sure that the surface you are applying it to is clean and dry. This ensures that the tape stays in place and removes cleanly without damage.
When you go to start your next coating process, keep these tips in mind. Following these will help reduce rework and ensure you have a better coating result in the future. For more information go to https://www.echosupply.com/