"Rinks don't need to be money pits" – Colleen O'Shea

Rink Management, Rinks

What You Need to Build Your Own Paint Cart

Paint cart

The paint cart at the Norway Savings Bank Arena

Yesterday, I posted a story on the white ice paint cart/ice making rig that facility supervisor Jason Paquin put together for his arena, the Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn, Maine.  If you’re interested in building one of your own, you’ll find the paint cart is a dual-purpose machine, letting you apply your white paint — and then build — your ice. Jason was able to cut down the manpower needed to get the ice in as well — 2 for the painting, and 1 for the ice building. And, the bottom line? Jason’s paint cart has cost him $5,200 to date.

First, you’ll need a UTV and depending on what’s available on the used-UTV market is going to determine what will constitute the biggest chunk out of your paint cart building budget. Jason chose a 2004 Kawasaki Mule 3010 4X4 and chose that particular model because of its payload capabilities as well as its short turning radius – which is important. I went looking on ATV Trader but wasn’t able to find any 2004 models. But if you find one, you can expect to pay somewhere in the neighbourhood of $4,500. All the prices are in USD.

The Tank

The next biggest piece of equipment you’ll need is a tank, and you might want to check out Sprayer Depot to consolidate your order. Sprayer Depot has many of the parts you’ll want to add to your paint cart, although Jason tells me that a lot of what you’ll need can be found at your local hardware store.

The tank is 100US Gallons.

Paint Cart

Jason Paquin’s paint cart

The spray boom used to spray out both the white paint and the water to build the ice is a 10ft. long copper wand built using 3/4 inch copper pipe, elbows, t’s, unions, and of course solder. Every hose has a quick disconnect fitting., which makes setup and teardown much easier and ensures a tight connection with no leaks or drips.

The Pump

Last but not least, there’s the pump. Here’s what Jason has to say:

“Having a singular pump, similar to the traditional painting setup, cuts down on the number of moving parts and complexities of the equipment. We do utilize a T junction with ball valves on the output side of the pump.  This allows us to recirculate a small portion of the paint back into the tank while the rest flows out to the wand.  We also kept multiple “shut off” valves along the hose from the pump to the wand (3 in total).  This allows us to turn the spray system on from the comfort of the driver’s seat, while still having emergency shutoffs throughout the supply chain.”

The pump is a Briggs & Stratton 950 Series 208 cc pacer water transfer pump producing 200 US gallons/minute maximum (but Jason says that smaller pumps will work as well).

The Hoses

  • Tank to pump: 2” diameter
  • Recirculation hose from pump to tank:  1 ¼”
  • Pump to wand:  1 ¼”

This year, Jason also added an inline filter that makes any clogs more accessible to be cleaned out, allowing for the removal of a filter screen that had previously been located at the base of the tank., And, this season, he upgraded to  quick release nozzles which provide two additional advantages over the nozzles he had first installed. The first advantage is they make for easy cleaning and teardown — and they prevent leaks. The nozzles have a built-in valve that needs 10psi of pressure to allow paint or water to flow through it.  This means the paint cart can stay on the ice over the entire time the ice is being put in, without paint or water dripping out of the nozzles and onto the ice, causing unnecessary buildup on the ice.

There are some other important parts to this story. I questioned Jason on his choice of a fossil fuel vehicle with the emissions it makes. Jason assured me that as they have propane-powered ice resurfacers, the oxygen and C02 levels are continually monitored with triggers set at extremely low levels that will force an air exchange to ensure a quality air flow. In any event, they speed up their air transfer system prior to starting up the paint cart to have a built-in cushion. Jason says in the three years they’ve operated the paint cart, they’ve haven’t triggered an alarm.

The story isn’t quite over, either – it’s now an instalment that extends nearly as long as what it takes to put in new ice! In the next part, I’ll walk you through the entire process as it went, including what needed to be done to get the pad ready, the painting, the masonry lines, the logos, the paint Jason uses, and whether liners are a future consideration for his arena. Stay tuned!


  1. Thanks for the mention! We love how the final product came out. Let us know if we can be of any assistance and visit our website at

  2. Eric

    Was there any problems with tire marks when putting the white paint on?

    • Good morning Colleen,
      I have actually had a several great conversations with Eric since this comment and specifically about the tires. The ATV tires can mark the white paint, but do fade out over time. I have found it best to go with a good Turf type tire for the cart that is not so aggressive. It also helps to wipe the tires down every time it pulls on to the ice sheet.

      Jason Paquin

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