The best way to use air applied paints and coatings like Cerakote and DuraCoat is to suspend the projects or parts in a manner that is quick to setup and take down, easily maneuverable, and allows access to it from as many angles as possible. For most projects, and parts, this means a well thought out hanging system. When starting out, this can be easily overlooked, but what may appear subtle, can be a major refinement to your coating process.
The first obvious consideration is deciding what to suspend your parts from. Depending on the construct of your spray area, the simple answer may be the spray area itself. This can be as simple as affixing hooks to the ceiling of the area. A design we really like and implement today in our shop however, is using a free standing wire closet rack on caster wheels. We designed our spray area to allow these racks to fit inside. These wire shelving units are easily customizable allowing you to place the shelves where it best suits you. We put one shelf at the very top for hanging our parts and projects. A second shelf at waist level acts as a table and is great for your small parts holder (more on that below), reducer, airbrush holder, etc. The wire construct of these racks allows you to hang parts in many configurations and move them around freely. The open design is also a big plus as it doesn't obstruct air flow allowing your ventilation system to work as intended! We love having ours on wheels as it allows us to quickly and efficiently remove the system from the spray area for cleaning and maintenance, but can also be very advantageous for big bulk projects as we can have multiple racks and switch between them as needed.
The wire rack concept works equally as well in full spray rooms, but another honorable mention would be the rolling adjustable paint hanger. This is basically a height and length adjustable closet rod on wheels. It can be used in the same manners as the wire rack, but where we really enjoy this is as a staging area. If you have large projects or multiple projects at or around the same time, setting up a mobile staging hanger can help keep things organized and efficient as you take the parts and pieces through the different stages of your coating process.
Hanging parts from these racks can be easily achieved with wire hooks. The simplest way is to pick up a couple packs of S Hangers. S Hangers are inexpensive and do the job very well. The larger hangers fit the closet rod rolling hanger perfectly. For situations where you need parts to hang lower you can simply daisy chain your hangers together. Another option we like is to keep a spool of flexible bailing wire handy. With a spool of flexible wire, you can quickly fashion a longer or awkward shaped hook for those unique situations that may pop up.
If you really want to step things up a notch, add some swivels to your system. These swivels will hook the top of the wire rack or ceiling hooks in the spray area very nicely leaving you a down loop to hook your parts on. This allows your hanging parts to be rotated as you spray. This is a huge benefit because you can spray your entire part without having to take them down to reset. This not only saves time, but limits the possibility of marring the newly applied finish before curing. The swivels are one of the unsung heroes of the spray operation!
Small parts present a different challenge. Most do not offer great ways of being hooked or secured for hanging. Even when they do, it is often in a way that will require stopping and resetting. For these situations, we look to our small parts holders. This is like having extra hands. They are basically alligator clips on the end of sticks for holding your small parts and base to set them in. They can be easily rotated with one hand while sprayed with the other. In most cases a rest is still needed to allow coating where the clip secured the part, but it still offers a very user friendly and efficient method of securing and spraying small parts. The small parts holder comes with 20 clips allowing you to setup and coat many small parts at a time.