Large Scale Central

Dust Free Painting?

Hello all,

I have a project I am working on, and I plan to spray paint the shell of a loco. But, I have a problem. I recently painted a scrap piece of plastic to test the paint color. When I did this, I noticed that there were many little dust particles stuck to the paint as it was drying. If it weren’t for the dust particles, the coat of paint would have looked pretty good. The question: Is there any way to paint it without getting dust or dirt on the drying paint? When I painted the piece, I did it outdoors, and them moved it indoors to dry. It is particularly dusty indoors, but if I leave it to dry outdoors, the wind will blow little dirt particles onto the paint. Any suggestions?

First thing I would try is setting freshly painted shell somewhere that one of those large clear plastic storage containers could be set inverted over it. Put container up on a slice of 1x2 at each corner and air will circulate to let solvent evaporate but dust won’t have a direct path to settle.

I’m a bit allergic to dust, so I got one of those filter units and leave it circulating in my office at work (many commercial buildings are older and have dust), very quiet and pulls a lot of dust from the air.

Maybe one of those small filter units would help letting it dry inside.


The art of a dust free paint job is a dust free environment to start with. Outdoors is NOT dust free. There is all sorts of dust and pollen that you can’t see until it lands in your paint. Greg’s suggestion is a good one, but start the unit BEFORE you start painting, like 12-24 hours and keep the door to the room closed. Also close off the A/C vents to the room, they will transfer dust from other areas of the house, the filter is not perfect unless you have a very expensive HEPA filter in you air handler. This will eliminate the majority of the dust in that room (call it a clean room) to start the paint job. A paint booth with exhaust fan, and filter to catch the over spray, to the outside will be another asset, controlling all the fume from the paint and keeping it from circulating into the house. The last ingredient to a good paint job is low humidity. High humidity slows the drying/flash time and will, depending on the paint, orange peel, and/or blush the finish. Multiple light coats are better than one or two heavier coats.


If this is going to be a show room paint job I would look around in your area for a auto body shop or a sign shop in Ma. if you do any spraying you have to have a clean spray room check around and you may find one you can use and don’t forget tack off first otherwise you will have dust right from start.

Cheers Richard

Thanks for the suggestions, all. So it would seem that the best option would be to use a professional paint booth/room. The second best option would be to paint indoors with an air purifier. Regardless, painting outdoors is not the way to go.

I would like to paint indoors, but I don’t have a paint booth, and my parents would come close to murder me if I painted inside. But I in theory I would like to make my own paint booth and do it inside. I guess I ought to find a professional paint booth. Unfortunately, the one paint booth I knew about is now gone.

Joe - You can build a paint booth out of a large cardboard carton for an air conditioner or washer/dryer, A tiny bit of wood for reinforcement and a bathroom exhaust fan. Be sure to get a fan with the motor external to the air path to reduce risk of fire. An LED strip light and a length of dryer hose and you are good to go! You may still get some smell in the house.

well, you might do it the simple way…

get a big cardboard box, put it upon the garbage bin (the opening sideways). glue a sheet of plastic that can cover the opening to the top.

inside lay a piece of cardboard for use of “turntable” (a real lazy susan or similar would be better)

paint your model (carefull, in the closed space it needs less spray)

lower the sheet of plastic

after enough time take out your model

throw away your painting chamber.

works for me.

I bought a small tent. It was about $25.

It is a rectangle with one of the long sides that opens.

I paint outside. It keeps out the wind and direct sun.

A turntable/lazy susan helps a lot.


Joe Loll said:

Hello all,

I have a project I am working on, and I plan to spray paint the shell of a loco. But, I have a problem. I recently painted a scrap piece of plastic to test the paint color. When I did this, I noticed that there were many little dust particles stuck to the paint as it was drying.


It’s a locomotive right ?

So you are going to strive for the ultimate paint job then after it’s done tell us is looks too shiny and it needs weathered? Are you planning on putting it up on jackstands with mirrors under it or are you gonna run it ? I paint indoors in my parents house all the time but I also paint outside as well.

St. Marks Hospital in London did some heavy research on anal retentiveness back in 1996 and this “vignette” of their (there,they’re,they are) findings will drive the west coast guys nuts and the spelling police insane.

Paint it and run it and POST PICTURES OF IT …that’s my thoughts …armchair modeling will someday become a hobby of mine but not yet.

I’m not striving for the perfect paint job, but bothers me when I look at my paint job and see little specs all over it. I take pride in my work, and I want it to look good. Who wouldn’t?

I’ve since made a spray booth from a cardboard box, as shown on Rustoluem’s Youtube channel. I tested it out, and it seems to work fine.

The unit I showed indeed has HEPA, I concur with all of Bob C’s posts, although the filters (carbon and hepa) are available through Amazon at reasonable prices. The filter prices have come down from what they used to be.

I would only use a HEPA unit to get that fine dust.

I agree with you Joe, get a good paint job and then weather to suit. Our dust is not to scale, does not make suitable weathering


p.s. shut up rooster

Try and hose down the area you are going to paint min …that should help with dust …

Well I don’t hose down the area but I find in the winter when the air is extremely dry and you can see dust floating in the air I fill my airbrush with water and mist the area where I going to paint. The extremely dry air also promotes static electricity especially on plastic models and wiping them down or brushing them off prior to painting only makes them attract dust. The above application of a mist of water to the air tends to lesson the static as well. I use most lacquer based paint of lacquer thinned enamels so they dry quickly and seem to be less bothered by some humidity in the air. On items large enough to use spray bombs on I usually do outside and on large items I’m less concerned about a little dust in the paint as compared to what mother nature will do to it in time anyway.