The Happiest Man In The Factory

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I visited a German toy maker about 20 years ago and was given a splendid tour of the works in Nürnberg. It was big, clean, complex, and nervous. Every creature there from the bosses down looked like they were scared and sad – every creature but one; the man who ran the spray paint booth.

He was dressed in blue overalls like a Minion, had no shirt on, and possibly no underwear. He wore Crocs or Birkenstock shoes but he was happy. At the time I saw him in action he was spraying blue paint onto large-scale toy train cabooses for the Alaska Railroad. They rotated on spindles in front of his spray gun and he spritzed on the coat of paint expertly. There was a fume cupboard hood built around the back of his spray position but I am not sure it was turned on. In any case, he was…and I think we all would have been doing the polka if we had stayed around the spray gun long enough.

I’ve already made an effective cheap spray booth for my little shop and it has kept me from gassing myself but the time came to adapt what I saw in Nürnberg inasfar as the holding of the models was concerned – I could not keep them safely balanced in the booth. So I searched for a spindle system.

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Well, there is nothing more plentiful in a small photo studio than light stands – they breed in closets when you put them away. Like coat hangers but more ambitious. I grabbed an old Photax stand that had been donated to me and made a padded car rest for the top. It spins on a vertical axis. I shall not apply a power spin to it like the German factory as I am not turning things out on a production line basis but the fact that it will present the model level to the gun – or even above the gun for underbody spraying – means that the paint can go exactly where I need it and the overspray will disappear into the booth. Weathering the cars is a cinch.

 

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