Starter LVLP spraying setup - what to get?

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by newuser1, Feb 12, 2020.

  1. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Inexpensive spray rigs can have some annoying features that make them a false economy:

    1. bleeder guns; the air is always flowing out even when you're not spraying (a feature of low cost HVLP turbine kits) so it will dry out whatever's on the exterior of the nozzle and will blast air and dust everywhere you aim (and even more whre you don't aim). Non-bleeder guns are found in better quality hvlp turbine setups.

    2. non-adjustable air cap: less expensive guns don't have a way to move the air-cap in and out; better guns allow you to control how much the fan is being flattened and how large or small the cone is

    3. choice of needle/nozzle sizes: readily available choices of needle/nozzle sizes let you go back and forth between very thin dyes in alcohol, or finishes with some body to them like lacquer or shellac, or heavier bodied materials like waterborne emulsions or even thick latex paint.

    I would say that unless you have environmental regulations that require industrial applications to use LVLP or HVLP, you can save money by getting a better spray gun without that feature. But you'll never run any spray gun on a litttle pancake compressor because it won't have sufficient CFM output. and HVLP conversion guns or LTE guns require a lot more air from the compressor than conventional spray guns do.
     
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  2. newuser1

    newuser1 Tele-Meister

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    I friend of mine is running the same small 6-gallon Bostitch ( 2.6 SCFM delivered at 90 PSI) with Campbell Hausfeld General Purpose HVLP Paint Spray Gun that requires 4.0 SCFM at 40 PSI. How does this work then?

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UHNM1R0/?tag=tdpri-20

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0049FNOWS/?tag=tdpri-20
     
  3. newuser1

    newuser1 Tele-Meister

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    I bought this one to test out:

    HomeRight FinishMax - https://www.leevalley.com/en-ca/sho...ing/applicators/76848-all-in-one-hvlp-sprayer

    Should I be able to spray the following with it safely?

    EM6000 Production Acrylic Lacquer by Emtech - water-based acrylic lacquer
    SuperClear 9000 WB Polyurethane by Emtech - water based Polyurethane
    Proprime - Pigmented Sanding Sealer by Ardec - water based
    EM6500 Water based Acrylic Pigmented Lacquer by Emtech - water based acrylic lacquer
    E-Z Vinyl® Sealer by Mohawk
    Solar-Lux™ Stain by Behlen

    I don't think it would be safe to spray Classic Instrument Lacquer by Mohawk, am I correct?
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2020
  4. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I wouldn't do anything with that gun that involves solvent based products.
     
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  5. newuser1

    newuser1 Tele-Meister

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    But shouldn't anything water-based be fine?
     
  6. newuser1

    newuser1 Tele-Meister

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  7. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Yes, waterborne finishes will not "attack" the gun which appears to have a lot of plastic.
     
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  8. old wrench

    old wrench Tele-Afflicted

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    It looks like every thing on your list is water-based with the probable exception of the of the Mohawk vinyl sealer.

    I've only used Mohawk's vinyl sealer in the rattle-can - not the bulk product in quarts or gallons, and I'm quite sure it's a solvent based product.

    You might double-check it's compatibility with your Lee Valley spray rig.

    I'd be interested to see how that setup works out for you.

    If it works good, you probably won't need that little P.C. compressor. I haven't been too impressed with most of the pancake compressors I've used or been around.

    I've got an old (it's got to be at least 25 years old) Rol-Air pancake style with the tank that sits vertical instead of horizontal and a 1-1/2hp motor that's been a pretty exceptional little unit. It just keeps on working and working for me with the only service being an occasional oil change. It's been a great little compressor, but with those little tanks, the small compressor's motors seem to run pretty much all the time even with light use.

    I prefer the oil lubricated compressor models over the "oil-less" type. They seem to last longer and aren't as noisy as the oil-less ones. Ya need to run some sort of a filter between the compressor and your gun anyhow.
     
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  9. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Yea, the Vinyl Sealer may be an issue, but it's something that really should only be used with the associated Mohawk solvent based lacquer. Aside from that, waterbornes should all be fine. It will mostly be a matter of figuring out the setup that works best for each product which is no different than any other spray system. How much adjustability that's there I don't know.
     
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  10. newuser1

    newuser1 Tele-Meister

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    But isn't a small pancake compressor enough for occasional spraying of a guitar body and a neck (4-5 times a year)?
     
  11. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    New, let me make a brief comment based on my very limited experience. My first couple of guitars were finished in rattle can lacquer and I felt like I got really good results. However almost everything about solvent lacquer is nasty and at that time several "water born" lacquers were coming onto the market and in use by luthiers who I respect. They have great appeal - more or less non toxic, not explosive, clean up with water. I started with a product being sold by StewMac under their label - I have no idea who made it.

    At the same time I wanted to move away from rattle cans and I managed to find a small used air compressor at a yard sale - it has a two hp motor and 8 gallon tank. It (barely) runs off a 20 amp circuit in my garage/shop (I can have any other loads on that circuit or I'll trip the breaker).

    I bought a small cheap syphon feed "detail" gun from an auto parts store, a good water filter and regulator for the compressor and started shooting. Here is a mandolin I was finishing with the StewMac water born lacquer and my little gun

    IMG_0235.JPG

    I've made a little cardboard "paint booth" out of a guitar shipping box, I'm only trying to catch some of the overspray - this is in my garage with no particular ventilation or considerations for explosion proofness.

    I'll discuss my feelings about water based finish in a moment, but the StewMac stuff went away (they are selling something else now). A number of people where shooting KTM-9 which LMI was selling and promoting in some videos, I shot it on several guitars. By now I had purchased a cheap gravity feed gun, again from my local auto parts store)

    IMG_0741.JPG

    The finish on this LP clone is KTM-9 with both staining of the wood and tinting of the finish

    IMG_0784.JPG

    Since this I have gone back to shooting solvent based lacquer but using the gravity feed gun and compressor.

    I have a love-hate relationship with the water born products that I have used. I've mentioned the spraying properties - it beats nitro hands down. But, and this is a very big BUT, the finishes I'm getting just aren't as good. Water born lacquers

    - tend to have a bluish cast. I prefer my finishes to be as neutral (clear) as possible, if anything a slight hint of amber is preferable.
    - do not melt into previous coats like solvent lacquer does. I have learned that if I scuff sand the last coat, then shoot a mist of DA before immediately before the next coat it somewhat melts. If I don't do this there is a very real chance of getting witness lines.
    - if I don't clean my gun immediately there is a chance that it will harden in the nozzle and it is very difficult to remove
    - this is an important one - just when I get to know a product it goes away. Both the SM and KTM have become hard to get.

    I have not tried the Target coatings, they do get high marks from the people who use them. But frankly, since I've gone back to nitro and decided to put up with the fumes I am getting exactly the finish I want and I see no need to experiment with something new. I guess what I am saying is don't put all your eggs in the water born basket - you may decide someday that you want to shoot the stinky stuff.

    Edit to add - looking back at the investment I've got 50 bucks in the used compressor, probably that much in the regulator and filter. I think I paid 25 or 30 for the gun and probably that much for a nice hose. So well under two hundred and I've done 15 or 16 guitars and other instruments with it. Money well spent
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2020
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  12. newuser1

    newuser1 Tele-Meister

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    I tested the HomeRight HVLP unit with water and it looked to spray very nice. I know that means nothing until I test it with actual finish, but I need to read the cleaning instructions first, so I'll test it with real finish tomorrow.

    Would it be safe to try spraying Zinsser SealCoat sanding sealer, which is wax-free shellac as far as I know? The safety data sheet says "Extremely flammable liquid and vapor." Would that be a risk with an electric HVLP unit - possible fire hazard?

    https://www.rustoleum.com/MSDS/ENGLISH/854.pdf - safety data sheet

    https://www.rustoleum.com/en/produc...od-finishes/sealcoat-universal-sanding-sealer

    I found another second-hand compressor for $100 and its specs are better (5.4 SCFM @ 40 PSI) than the pancake ones I'm looking at. The only thing I can't figure out is if the pump is oil free. The model is Campbell Hausfeld WL505807AJ. Does anybody know if the pump of this unit is oil-free?

    https://www.kijiji.ca/v-view-details.html?adId=1449942761
     
  13. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    It's the only non-waterborne product I spray and generally is safe (relative to explosion) as long as there is no open flame. The alcohol in the air, well...you need your respirator for sure, but then again, you need to wear your respirator when spraying waterborne products, too. With the shellac, you can quickly ventilate during or after spraying because it's less sensitive to temperatures than other finishes if you're working during the colder months.

    Freeman, TC EM6000 does burn-in to previous coats as does the similar EM7000 high build product. It's been a feature of their "Waterborne Lacquer" for several generations. I first used it back in about 2003 for my kitchen when it was called "PSL" for "premium spray lacquer" which was subsequently replaced by Oxford "USL" for "ultimate spray lacquer". I'm sure there were minor tweaks to the formulas over time and know there have been some since EM6000 came as a name when they standardized how they labeled the products. You are correct that many waterborne products have a "colder" appearance and don't look great on certain wood species when applied directly as a result. Mitigation often takes the form of oil and wax-free shellac or just the shellac or Z-Poxy, etc. I'm really happy with tinting them as I get into this guitar thing, too. I use the Transtint product (Homestead Finishing - Jeff Jewitt) and I suspect he makes the StewMac alternative private label but that's only a "feeling" and not based in fact.

    I can't do solvent based finishes with the way my shop is setup and am thankful I have the waterborne alternatives for sure.
     
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  14. old wrench

    old wrench Tele-Afflicted

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    To be honest with you, my answer is "I don't know" :)

    All I know for sure, is that in all my years I've never once run into someone who said "Dang, my compressor just makes too much air".

    I know that bigger usually means more expensive, but as you use and become more familiar with your Lee Valley rig, it will buy you some time to come across a good deal on the compressor that you really want.

    You might even find that you don't really need a compressor if you decide to go with one of the turbine units ;).

    From the pics of the Campbell Hausfeld model it appears to be an "oil-less" model that would depend primarily on teflon (or some other "slippery" material) rather than oil for lubrication.
     
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  15. newuser1

    newuser1 Tele-Meister

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    Thanks Jim,

    Do you use the SealCoat as your first coat, as a sanding sealer? Can you please share your usual finishing schedule with waterbourne finishes?
     
  16. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    I know you sere asking Jim, but this is SM's and pretty much the same as nitro. Probably pretty close to what I did before

    https://www.stewmac.com/How-To/Onli...nish_Repair/Waterbase_Finishing_Schedule.html

    Jim, I do appreciate the information about the EM6000, several very good builders that I know are using it. I just feel that since I was slightly disappointed with the other things I tried and since I get good results with nitro there really aren't any reasons to experiment once again. Maybe someday when I can't buy the stuff...
     
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  17. koolaide

    koolaide Tele-Holic

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    I'm shooting from the hip here. I use Sherwin Williams vinyl sealer and their clear nitro with SM pigments.

    I am a long ago aircraft and auto painter. a year or two ago I bought a grizzly gravity feed listed as HVLP. Not a lot of $$$. I have a Binks and Dvelbis siphon feed. I really like the Grizzly. As for compressor I can not say as I have a 60 gal tank in the shop.... My experience is you want the largest tank on the compressor to deliver the needed CFM of air. Don't forget you will need a water trap. I put a cheap one on the compressor and another HF on the gun with a pressure regulator on the gun as well. Good Luck
     
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  18. telepraise

    telepraise Tele-Holic

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    Another happy customer of Homestead Finishing here. Their Qualspray line is lightyears ahead of the cheap Chinese junk that's out there. They make an LVLP gun that runs off of 4CFM. My gun set up set me back $250 years ago, but that was after a long time of struggling with cheap guns that spattered and were a nightmare to clean. Do yourself a favor and buy a decent gun. Achieving a good lacquer finish is challenging enough using good quality equipment.
     
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  19. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I agree, telpraise. I held off buying a better gun until early last year, and the Qualspray setup I got from Jeff has transformed my finishing from "ok and challenging" to "pretty darn nice and a lot more pleasurable". I went with the 3M PPO pressurized cup setup and can pretty much spray any finish I want and with the gun in any angle, including up-side down. I can dial it down to do bursts on a guitar body and set it up with a generous pattern for table tops.
     
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  20. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Have your friend join the forum and post here so we can honestly see if the compressor is running more than 50% of the time which means it isn't catching up to the volume needed.
     
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