There are a number of different manufacturers and models of Paint Guns so how do you pick the right one when you want a professional finish on your vehicle.
Well today there are 2 basic types HVLP and Standard Flow. For the most part HVLP models have taken over the market due to restrictions placed on professional painters.
HVLP High Volume Low Pressure guns are used to reduce over spray because lower pressure is used to apply a larger volume of paint. The difference may or may not be apparent and some professional painters say they see little difference in their day to day operations but technically a HVLP gun will reduce the amount of paint lost into the air due to bounce back or over spray if used correctly.
The one large difference with HVLP model guns is the CFM rating of the Air Compressor needed to deliver the High Volume of air to the nozzle. Although the pressure will drop from approximately 60 psi at the gun to only about 15psi the volume of air needed increases many fold. For this reason a standard compressor under 5 horse power will probably not run a HVLP gun properly without many stops to allow the compressor to catch up.
Standard Pressure gunsare usualy rated at 6 – 10cfm @ 60psi they are still in use and sold by many discount manufacturers.
There are 3 basic sizes for professional paint guns
Detail Guns – hold about a half pint of paint and are great for small repairs, cutting in door jams, trunks and painting stripes. They should not be used for large areas because the spray pattern width is too small and will cause problems with patterns showing up known as banding or cross hatches.
Standard Size Guns– come in 2 models either a gravity cup which is above the gun or a feed cup which is below the gun. The amount of paint both types can hold is just less then a quart or 20oz s. The choice of either is up to the painter although when painting metalic paints a gravity feed gun can cause color mismatches as the metalics flow to the bottom of the cup and are sprayed out before the painter has chance to stir or agitate the cup. Some suction feed cups actually come with a spinner in the bottom of the cup that runs off of an air supply. The spinner will keep the paint mixed and the metalics evenly suspended as the car or item is painted.
Pressure Feed Canister Guns– This type of gun uses a remote storage of about 1 to 5 gallons of paint and the paint is feed to the gun through a hose. On most better models paint is constantly mixing in the pot as the gun is in use. This type of gun is great when painting larger items like an airplane, tractor trailor or box truck. You will often find this type of gun used in commercial settings where fleet vehicles of the same type are painted. Although the paint can not stay in the canister if it has a hardener or other additives many fleet vehicle use a lower grade enamal paint which has a longer shelf life.
For most professionals wanting to paint vehicles or other large items maybe refrigerators or farm equiptment a standard suction feed paint gun will work well. If you choose to purchase a single gun then a quart sized resivior is best because it will allow you to work for a longer time between refills.
One of the biggest differences between consumer or Garbage Grade Guns and a professional gun is the use of Stainless Steel Needles. If you see a gun that says not for use with latex paints that means the needle will rust. Most professional guns are made out of Chromed Steel for the body of the gun, Polished Aluminum for the cup and Stainless Steel for the needle. You might also notice Brass being used for the Cap. The only difference you may see is a Plastic cup that is used on most gravity feed guns to allow the painter to view the amount of paint left in the cup and to watch that the paint does not come out of the top of the cap when the gun is tilted.
Although we all see the $15 full sized guns sold at discount stores that seem to look about the same you have to understand that what you pay for is what you will get when you are looking to buy one of these guns. Professional guns start at about $100 and can cost as much as $500 or more if you will be painting for a living then you can not skimp and buy a cheap $15 gun. The only useful purpose for a cheap gun is to apply Primer.. to use as an emergency backup or when you need to paint something other then a vehicle.
Now for detail guns or if you will be shooting an engine or frame then you can spend $20 and get a pint sized garbage gun.
Well that is about all you need to know to purchase a paint gun. To take the next step visit your local autobody suppy shop (a professional one not a box store) and ask them to show you a few models. You will quickly see the difference in manufacturing between the cheap and pro guns. Then if you can visit a couple autobody shops and ask the painters what guns they use and why they like them.
See our other howtos for information about other paint tools that will let you get professional results.
And Please Visit our Store to purchase Professional Grade Tools at Discount Prices.
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