Building a paint booth

Tutorials > Building a paint booth


Please note: This project involves wiring and the exhaust of flammable solvents through an electric motor. I am comfortable doing the wiring and the use of this bathroom vent fan, which has an induction motor that is extremely unlikely to cause sparks in use. Rather than rely on my findings, I encourage you to do your own research.

I've had some rattle-can painting to do in the shop so I built a paint booth to minimize the smell.

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I used two fans - the box fan with the filter, pictured above, and a fan blowing out the window.

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Even with both fans running, however, the smell of the solvent makes its way up to the ground floor. Clearly a better solution was required and my wife suggested a bathroom exhaust fan mounted to the side of the painting booth. She's a smart lady.

I paid a visit to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore here in Ottawa. I scored a 90 CFM fan (new in the box), some flexible ducting and a ducting outlet for the princely sum of 38 bucks. A little wiring and the fan was ready to go - a test confirmed that it works perfectly.

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To mount the fan to the side of the booth, I needed a plate. With a little trimming, I had one. I drilled through the corners, then marked and drilled the aluminum frame.

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Here's how the fan will sit on the plate.

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Outline traced, I drilled out the corners and finished the cut out with a jigsaw.

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The fan is designed to mount to a joist, so I needed a solid piece of wood to mount it to. I cut a piece of 2 x 6 to length and chiseled out a small section for the fan flange. The flange...

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... and the 2 x 6. It doesn't have to be pretty. It just has to work.

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I bolted the board to the fan...

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...then marked and drilled some holes to attach the mounting board to the plate.

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Screws in...

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Board on.

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To make sure the fan is tight to the plate, I repurposed some old parts from my SBach landing gear mount repair.

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There's the fan unit complete - just have to install the cover and bolt it back on to the paint booth frame.

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For the sake of safety and neatness I moved the wiring inside the case.

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Next step - fabricate a mount for the ducting outlet to go in the shop window. That starts with a plate for the ducting outlet.

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Outlet location.

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Outline traced. Dashed lines show where the flange will sit on the other side of the plate; solid lines mark the cut. Holes drilled in the corners.

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I cut out the hole with a jigsaw (you can see the plate on the floor).

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I have no idea what this piece was originally designed for; I'm guessing this isn't the intended use. But it works.

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Sharp edges covered with duct tape.

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Test fit - check.

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Ducting length - check.

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I added a bottom to the cabinet and secured the walls with zip ties.

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Here we have the fan wall bolted on with the cover installed. I performed a highly scientific test with cover and filter on and off and my hand held next to the exhaust. No difference that I could tell.

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I added a filter as a door. With the fan running there'll be dust-free airflow over the painted parts as they cure.

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Here's the system connected. Note the cut-down furnace air filter inside - this keeps paint out of the fan while allowing the solvents to be exhausted.

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Here's the exhaust as seen from the outside.

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First use. It exceeded my expectations - very little smell in the shop and none in the rest of the house. The fan provides all the draw I need.

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