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Pancake compressor for spraying lacquer?

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by moosie, Sep 21, 2017.

  1. moosie

    moosie Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    60
    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    Newbie builder / finisher here. I'm about to purchase a brad nailer and 150 PSI 6 gal pancake compressor for some cabinets I'm building.

    Will that compressor also work for spraying lacquer, when I eventually get to finishing either guitars or ... cabinets?
     

  2. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Tele-Holic

    555
    Jan 15, 2013
    Heart O' Dixie
    I used one to do some pretty heavy duty spraying on refinished kitchen and bathroom cabinets - 40+ doors. Also did some other projects like wood bunk beds. And I used it with a stapler to install some hardwood. I used a smaller half quart size sprayer btw:


    [​IMG]


    Its still kicking. I think I got it at Home Depot or Builders Square around 2000. Seems like its a Porter Cable, 2 or 3 gallon.
     
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  3. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Friend of Leo's

    Sep 15, 2007
    Glen Head, NY
    The "PSI" rating is just marketing. You need to know the CFM (cubic feet per minute) rating which is usually called out for 90 PSI and 45 PSI. You'll want to make sure the CFM rating at 45 PSI is enough for your spray gun - and I can tell you that the pancake compressor you get in the kit with the spraygun is going to be marginal at best for any real spray gun. If the thing is cycling on and off and running to catch up more than half the time, then it's overloaded. When you're driving nails (for instance with a framing nailer that uses a coffee can full of air on each firing) you know there's not enough air because the nails don't all go in fully. But when you're spraying you don't necessarily notice right away that your atomization isn't right or the fan shape or size is changing.

    Like Musekatcher suggests, a detail or "jamb" (as in door jamb) gun that makes a smaller fan would be a much better option. Forget about any kind of "conversion" HVLP gun or "high transfer efficiency" (HTE) spray gun, those require a huge amount of air. Porter Cable makes a top-cup detail gun that I like quite a bit and have indeed run off a pancake compressor (I have the discontinued PSH2 you might find something similar).
     
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  4. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    57
    Mar 2, 2010
    Maine
    In addition to the above suggestions, AFAIK you need an oilless compressor, which a pancake usually is as the small cheap ones use O rings instead of an engine style piston with metal rings lubed from an oil filled crank case.
    Getting the next size up might get you the oil you don't want.
    Then you need a drier or whatever it's called to keep atmospheric water from getting into the air and finish.

    Edit: Oil is probably worse than water in a finish, not sure how water in the air might affect water based laquer though.
    Arizona or the dead of winter would reduce the water concern.

    I got fired from a new const job when the boss wanted to use my compressor for sandblasting. Nope!
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2017

  5. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    57
    Mar 2, 2010
    Maine
    I've also built some years of cabinets and never used a nail or brad gun.
    What sort of cabinets do you need a brad nailer for?
    Our compressor was for spraying, and I can't think of any other air tools in the cabinet shop.
    I've used air sanders in a different furniture shop, not building cabinets.
    I would say for hobby use you don't need as much continuous CFM as a spray gun can make use of, especially if you have no 8' long surfaces to make a single spray pass on.

    I used biscuits or screws and glue for house cabs.
    Home Depot self deconstructing cabs use brads though!

    I reckon kitchen cabs for your own house are fine with brads, since they only have to be shipped from the garage to the kitchen...
     

  6. moosie

    moosie Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    60
    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    I can find all kinds of uses for a brad gun. I know I'll be attempting to finish a guitar or two in the next year, and had hoped to do it all with one (hopefully inexpensive) compressor.

    The P-C I'm looking at is oilless, 3.5 cfm @ 40psi, and 2.6 @ 90. Claims an acceptable use is "hobby painting", which sounds right for my needs.

    I don't know anything about spraying yet. What are cfm requirements for spraying a guitar body? A 4' panel on a project? I don't want a painting tutorial yet, please. That will come later. I just want to get a brad gun now, and not have to buy a second compressor when I want to paint.

    Thx
     

  7. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Age:
    65
    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    NO! They do not put out nearly the CFM - the most important function. With a real HVLP gun you only need 4psi but a ton of air - and reversing these flat does not work. And a conventional gun requires both CFM and pressure.

    Look up "HVLP" for information regarding CFM. I don't recommend spraying with an HVLP and standard compressor as it requires a very large compressor and normally an expensive type of HVLP gun.

    You also need a large compressor for conventional - again, regardless of gun (except an airbrush, which is useless for guitar coating). For HVLP the best system is a dedicated HVLP turbine - whcih sounds like a big vacuum cleaner in reverse and has a large-diameter air hose.

    Using a pancake results in "fingers" at the edges of the spray pattern (heavier areas) and often spitting and inconsistent atomization.

    I sold spray equipment for years and trained applicators.
     
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  8. moosie

    moosie Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    60
    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    Forget HVLP. Pretend all I want to do is finish one guitar, nicely, and do it without a rattle can. What's a decent cheap compressor to accomplish this?
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2017

  9. Maciron

    Maciron TDPRI Member

    25
    Mar 19, 2016
    Usa
    I bought a Makita MAC2400 2.5HP compressor (4.2 CFM at 90psi) and an LVLP (low volume low pressure) gun from Grizzly Tools (model H7667). I used it professionally A LOT to spray waterborne finish and latex paint thinned out and it worked great. No reason you couldn't spray laquer as well. Since it's low volume it's kind of slow but for something like a guitar body that's hardly an issue (I was spraying cabinet doors). The compressor may be more than you want to spend versus a pancake compressor but it is a nice size to have as an affordable shop compressor since it can handle blowing stuff off, spraying finish and running guns as big as framing nailers if need be. Get a filter for it though to go between the hose and compressor to remove unwanted moisture, oil and dirt.
     
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  10. moosie

    moosie Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    60
    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    I'm learning that if I go with HVLP, I needn't be too concerned with a compressor that exceeds the gun's CFM rating. I can still get a fairly small compressor, and the bigger the tank the better (I'm talking about going up to 10 gal, not 60). Worst case is I coat one side of a guitar body, and pause while it recovers.

    This 10 gal WEN unit, $164, seems to fit the bill OK. 5 CFM @ 40. Appears to have all the basics, just needs a hose.

    There seem to be a ton of HVLP guns, but a quick Amazon search pulled up this pair of PowRyte guns for $33. The large gun consumes 9.4 CFM at 43psi, and has a 6-11" spray pattern. The detail gun is completely within the rating of the compressor.

    I can obviously power any basic shop tools with this compressor, too.

    I really didn't want to get into the whole finishing thing quite yet, but it seems that I'd just add a filter near the gun, and be good to start.

    Sound reasonable?
     

  11. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Tele-Holic

    555
    Jan 15, 2013
    Heart O' Dixie
    I think you mean "No, they aren't optimal because they
    do not put out nearly the CFM - the most important function for optimal performance." And if you sold equipment and trained folks, then you know a highly skilled person can get professional results with rattle cans, because he knows how to adjust the prep, conditions, time, and technique to do so. I wouldn't have bet my pancake was up to the task, much less last, but it was, and has. Now watch it fail tomorrow...
     
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  12. Maciron

    Maciron TDPRI Member

    25
    Mar 19, 2016
    Usa
    I think you need a LVLP gun for that low powered a compressor, not an HVLP gun. (Low vs High). The detail gun may work but the fan width may be too small for anything bigger than just that, detail work. You may end up with an overlapping effect in your finish as a result of multiple narrow streams over the guitar body. Also LVLP guns are easier to learn control on, since they put out less material.

    The other thing to consider is that, at least when I last bought a compressor, electric compressors are typically a lot louder than oil compressors, if that's a concern at all. You don't need to worry about oil in your finish from the compressor if you just use an inline filter.
     
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  13. jvin248

    jvin248 Friend of Leo's

    Apr 18, 2014
    Near Detroit, MI
    .

    Check out the $15 Harbor Freight spray gun (make sure you completely clean the whole gun before use to get the shipping/manufacture grease out of it, there is a youtube video on this) and their upright foot-stool-sized air compressor that is the next size larger than the pancake, with coupons might be $75-$100. I used that to spray about a dozen guitar bodies.

    The fancy spray guns will be $500 (Iwata brand, per the dealer auto shop guys I know)... but learning to spray you'll be as well off using the cheap gun. They told me when I was asking this same question that you need to get used to painting a lot of stuff and that's the most important part. Technique.

    The high end sprayers use nozzles with smaller orifices than the cheap guns, and orifice diameter sets your sprayer cfm requirements.

    I bought two of those HF guns, one for clear and one for colors.

    .
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2017
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  14. 24 track

    24 track Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Nov 6, 2014
    kamloops bc
    I use a jun-air compressor (pancake) compressor with a 5 output manifold for air brushing it allows me controll over the type of spray Im after 5 psi at out put gives me a stipple effect , and the higher I go the finer the atomization, but dont forget Im only spraying acrylic water based paints and inks, when you spray heavier mediums like laquers or poly's you will need to thin the medium down and filter out any lumps or clumps and always clean your guns thouroughly, heavier mediums may (will ) require more pressure. that is why an HVLP sytem gives the best resultsfor this type spraying ,(High pressure low volume).

    FYI white paint has the heaviest pigment and will plug your guns repeatedly , I was lucky because of the type of paint I used I was able flush the guns with fantastic or windex to clean them
     
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  15. moosie

    moosie Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    60
    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    I read some folks that are not spraying a lot of material (guitar bodies, etc) doing well with HVLP on a lower CFM compressor, as long as the tank is decently sized. When spraying from the tank reservoir, the CFM is whatever the gun desires. It's only that it won't recover in time to allow you to keep a continuous spray. So pause momentarily before moving to the back of the piece, etc.

    I was also looking at a Husky with similar specs to the WEN, but it's oil-lubed. I thought I chose the quieter (oil) unit, but I got my specs flipped. So, I'd probably go with the quieter one, and as you say, just use a oil & water filter next to the gun.


    Point well taken about needing to practice a lot.

    I probably won't be buying anything from HF, though. Some cheap things just aren't worth the hassle. :) I'm not sold on the PowRyte, I just pulled them as a seemingly not horrible example. But I'll do more research on lower end guns when I'm actually closer to spraying (remember for now I just need a compressor).
     

  16. moosie

    moosie Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    60
    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    I keep trying to steer clear of needing to know all about spraying for now, but "they keep pulling me back in" :D

    Seems like nearly everyone on google is using HVLP for nitro these days, with some comments that care with thinning etc must be taken. Conventional is still highly considered, but I'm guessing HVLP came about due to environmental concerns. What is conventional anyway? LVHP? (low volume high pressure)

    I didn't see hardly anything on spraying lacquer with LVLP. Is that because you need either lots of air, OR higher pressure, to properly atomize? If it matters, I'll be painting solid non-metallic colors, like Daphne blue, for starters.

    I don't have a handle on the specs needed for conventional spraying. When I saw that a) most seem to be using HVLP for lacquer, and b) I could probably get by without quite meeting the high CFMs, as long as I had enough reservoir, I was back in reasonably priced compressor territory.

    Then I see there are compressor-less HVLP systems. I'm guessing these are all $500 and up? And of course I'd still not have the compressor. But if one of those systems were cheap enough, I could justify getting both. Just get any old brad-nailing pancake for now, and get a compressor-less HVLP rig later - with the latter costing less than $200 including a gun or two. Possible?
     

  17. Maciron

    Maciron TDPRI Member

    25
    Mar 19, 2016
    Usa

    I used that Harbor Freight gun also a lot in the shop and it works great. Yes some of their stuff is junk but not that gun. I got it on sale once for $10. But it requires 6 cfm so unless you're buying a bigger compressor it might not work for you. I can't say because we had a 50 hp air compressor so no comparison there to consumer grade air compressor.

    Yes you could look at getting an HVLP turbine system but that's a big investment in spraying for occasional use. I had one of those systems also and it was really nice but that unit cost close to a thousand dollars.

    I think a bigger air compressor will ultimately be of more value to you than a self contained spray system for obvious reasons (nail guns, blowing stuff out, pumping up tires, spraying finish etc.). So I would focus on that and just get a suitable gun to match your cfm. I can't speak to spraying laquer through an LVLP gun as I have only ever sprayed water based clear and opaque finishes however most professional finishers, especially older ones, say that waterborne is harder to spray than laquer, whatever that is worth.

    I don't know about using a bigger tank to compensate for a smaller compressor because I never had to deal with that since I always made sure the cfm of the gun was within the compressors abilities.
     

  18. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Age:
    65
    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    Rattle cans are specifically formulated to work as aerosols.

    Bulk lacquers are *not* formulated to work with low pressure compressors.

    Yes, it's possible to get lucky. But I wonder how many get an honestly good finish that requires no sanding - goes straight to the buffer. Or have sprayed a significant number of multiple-color sunbursts with smooth color transition?

    The point is the small compressors and little guns are not intended for lacquer work, nor do lacquer manufacturers recommend applying them that way. A small "HVLP" used with a standard compressor - unless a VERY large one - is not being used as an HVP - it's a conventional gun with tons of overspray and less control.

    Yep, you can apply stuff with that way - but he results are not optimal and creates more work than should be required.

    You can buy a small HVLP for under $200 that will do a far better job. It's not a true +/- 4psi HVLP but its miles better than a jerry-rigged mini-conventional. Rockler stacks them. Those I'll recommend with reservations. I simply can't recommend a bad rig that's not designed for the job - they result in far too many "how do I fix this problem" threads.
     

  19. dkmw

    dkmw Tele-Afflicted Ad Free + Supporter

    Age:
    62
    Mar 30, 2016
    Florida USA
    I'm so stupid that I didn't even know people tried to spray HVLP off a compressor. I've never seen it done that way in any composites shop or furniture builder I know. Everybody I've seen has a system which includes the turbine rig.

    For just spraying a few guitar bodies and necks the Preval is the poor man's way of doing HVLP. Proper technique and prep is still very important, it always is when spraying. Some people have had difficulty using them, so maybe it's not for everybody...
     

  20. moosie

    moosie Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    60
    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    It would really be helpful to get a link or a model for that under $200 solution. I'm interested, I just don't know enough to find it. Need more breadcrumbs.
     

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