So this is a topic that popped up on Cliff’s thread. And since we yet again derailed his poor thread running down yet another rabbit hole, I decided to pose my thoughts and questions here.
So as a dyed in the wool DIYer who would rather make a cheaper, more inferior product at home, than I can buy for no other reason than the satisfaction of doing it (and to save a few bucks) I have pondered many times the need for a paint hood/booth. Int he days of my competition modeling this would have bee a really good idea because back then I used solvent based paints and thinners. Now that I have switched to acrylic its less of a health issue; but, breathing anything like paint can’t be good for you and with airbrushing pushing very fine atomized paint it still blows around and gets in your lungs and all over everything when the dust settles. So a paint booth is a good idea.
And really not an overly complicated thing. I have yet to make mine but I have three ideas for various versions of one that a DIYer can make on the cheap. so as a disclaimer, I can’t tell you any of these ideas will work or be good.
Option #1: The smallest idea I have, is for a very small exhaust hood that will do nothing more than catch paint particle and keep them from spreading all over and into your lungs. Won’t do anything for the smell. A person could fashion a large CPU fan (say 6") to the bottom of a small box that then could hold a coffee filter at the top of the box. This would move the air through the filter and catch the paint particles. It would be small and highly portable and easy to store. Another idea to add a little to this for fume control would be instead of the coffee filter, get the bags that hold activated carbon for the back filter on a fish tank. They have removable and washable filter cloth bags and the carbon replaced. You could build the box so they slide in and out. This would force the fumes through activated carbon and help with odor control.
Option #2: this would be more of a bench top type spray hood. You can go to one of the Big Box Store hardware stores or your local Habitat For Humanity Restore and buy a cheap bathroom exhaust fan. They can be mounted to the underside of a plywood box. They come with a place to connect like a dyer vent hose. This could be route out say a window. Or you could use a furnace filter on the top of the box. Wire in a cord with a plug for portability. This would be a little more permanent but still a cheap simple solution.
Option #3: Along the same lines as Option #2, for a permanent paint booth, I think one of the fancier triple function bathroom fan/light/heater would be great. You could make the hood out of plywood and the sides out of whatever you want so in essence this is still just a hood. Put the fan on the bottom then route a dryer hose out a window or where ever else you can pipe it to, so you can remove the fumes. This should probably be wired with a heavier plug as the heater can draw some amperage. By doing the triple function fan you not only are removing fumes, but you have a light to see by and a heater to aid in drying, especially if you are going to put this someplace like a garage or workshop which may not be at ideal temps. If you are really bold you could put the heater on a thermostat so that it is not on all the time, as it would heat up a little booth way to hot since it is meant to heat a room. An old school mercury wall thermostat would be ideal and easy to wire in. This whole thing would not be very mobile and I likely would build it as a cart and have paint storage underneath. If you make it cart style then it could be unplugged and moved. The under side of your cart could hold your airbrush compressor and piped to a manifold for your dryer and regulator. A single plug could plug the cart in and a heavy duty power strip used inside the cart to plug in the fan and compressor and put a couple of switches in to turn on the various components (light, heater, fan, compressor). This would give a person a killer semi sorta mobile paint station.