HVLP Spray Gun How To Set Up

There are times where you want an even coat of paint applied, whether it is on a household project or to an automobile. However, it is difficult to apply an even coat of paint when using a paintbrush. A paint brush uses bristles or a sponge which will always leave some kind of trace of the paint application. With the aid of an HVLP spray gun you completely remove physical application devices. To use it effectively, though, you need to know how to set up the HVLP spray gun.

 What Is an HVLP Spray Gun?

HVLP Spray Gun

Short for “high volume low pressure”, an HVLP spray gun is a compressor based paint gun that combines compressed air with paint to allow the spraying of paint when activated. It works in a similar fashion to an aerosol can of paint (spray paint). However, with the compressor attached it is possible to adjust the amount of pressure and paint used when the spray gun’s trigger is pulled in a way that is impossible with a can of paint

There are different designs of HVLP spray gun with the paint and compressor in different locations depending on the device. The most common design has a canister of paint on the top of the gun. An air tube attaches to the rear of the spray gun and then runs to a compressor. When the trigger is pulled on the spray gun, the paint is mixed with the compressor, forcing the paint out of the nozzle of the gun.

The spread of the paint can be varied by adjusting the nozzle of the gun. It can be tightened to offer a finer line of paint, or it can be opened up to allow for a wider spread of paint to cover a larger area. This way, it is possible to cover either fine details or larger areas with the same device.

 What Is It Used For?

It is possible to use the HVLP spray gun for just about any painting need. If you’re looking to apply paint to a wall, want to cut down on the time it takes to apply the paint, and want to make it all easier on your upper body, the use of an HVLP spray gun is beneficial. However, there are many other instances where you might want to use such a spray gun or when a professional might have the need for an HVLP spray gun.

Automotive Use

Outside of home renovations and construction work, one of the most common utilizations of an HVLP spray gun is for the application of automotive paint. As cars are constructed out of non-porous materials such as steel, aluminum, and fiberglass, it is important to use an applicator that does not leave streaks. Streaks from a paint brush or other application device will leave marks. With an HVLP spray gun an applicator does not physically touch the vehicle or the metal that is being painted, which is what makes it a desirable device to apply paint.

Electrostatic Spraying

This kind of paint is electrostatically charged during the expulsion from the spray gun. This allows the paint to charge toward a metal object instead of spraying in a general direction.

An electrostatic spray gun is used typically with construction work and the painting of metal fencing, ironwork and other freestanding metal objects such as these. The electrostatic method of painting is beneficial because it is possible to paint an entire 360-degree piece of metal (such as a cast iron pole in a fence) from one angle. Paint that directly touches the metal will cling to it. The paint that sprays around it will reverse back onto the metal due to the electrostatic charge, allowing all sides of the metal to be painted at once.

Electrostatic spray painting using an HVLP spray gun requires additional equipment and specially designed paint. If you are interested in this kind of painting method you can invest in direct charging devices where electrodes are inserted into the paint supply. You can also use a trio charging device where the electrostatic charge is applied at the barrel of the gun. The third option is a post-atomization charging method, where the electrostatic charge is applied in the air stream and the paint receives the charge after it exits the gun.

Professional Graffiti

Street art has become increasing popular. While illegal tagging without approval remains a crime, there is professional and legal graffiti. This kind of painting is usually done with cans of spray paint as it is easy to get in and out with cans of paint. However, an HVLP spray gun makes considerable noise because of the attached compressor. Due to this, an HVLP spray gun is often used in professional graffiti art where it is legally applied to the property.

 How to Set It Up

If this is your first time using an HVLP spray gun, you need to know how to set the spray gun up. It is important to realize that manufacturers are slightly different in design and configuration, so it is a good idea to check with the manufacturer’s user manual before connecting all the gear. However, most will follow these basic steps and procedures, so once you go through these instructions on how to set up an HVLP spray gun you shouldn’t have an issue at all.

Configuring and Tip Selection

When setting up your HVLP spray gun, you will want to set the pressure to around 90 pounds per square inch. This will provide enough pressure in the gun so that the paint applies evenly. Attempting to apply too much pressure will only cause the paint to leak and spray everywhere, reducing your control of the paint. Not using enough pressure will prevent the paint from mixing with the compressed air, causing it to drip out of the tip.

Regarding the tip of your paint gun, you need to select the right tip for the job at hand. If you have a small job that requires minimal paint you should use a 1.0 tip. If you’re performing a large paint job you’ll want to use a 1.3 or even a 1.4 size tip. If you are applying a primer, which usually is thicker, you’ll want to use a 2.3 tip.

Connecting Your Equipment

Place the paint cannister into the housing dock on your paint gun. You may purchase the paint cannister already filled, or you may purchase the paint individually to fill a cannister you already own. With the paint cannister in the dock on the top of your paint gun, connect the air compressor hose to the bottom of your gun. Make sure it locks in place.

Now, turn your air compressor on. If you want, you can turn the air compressor on ahead of time and then connect it to the paint gun once the desired pressure has been reached.

Configuring Your Gear

Set the trigger to about 50 pounds per square inch. With the trigger set, tape a piece of white paper onto the surface you want to paint. With the gun set up, open the fan control knob on your gun and wait for the fan to kick on. Now, hold the gun around six inches or so away from the painting surface, unscrew the knob and pull the trigger. Here you’ll test the paint to make sure it is flowing correctly and that the coverage from the nozzle is as you like it.

If the paint isn’t exactly as you want it, adjust the nozzle and other configurations until you are happy with the coverage. It is far easier to set it up and correct it now rather than trying to perform the alterations after you have started.

The six inches should be enough to test out the paint gun. However, if you’re applying a thicker and wider spread of paint you’ll want to pull the gun back to around nine or 10 inches from the test paper and apply another test coat before proceeding. With larger paint jobs (such as if you’re painting a room) you’ll want to test it out at this further distance. Once you’re satisfied with the coverage and have verified there are no chunks or clogs in the paint gun, you can begin.

Cleaning

Cleaning the paint gun is straightforward. You just need to make sure to soak the metal tips in order to clear out any paint and prevent clogs. If you have paint clogs in the tips you may end up spraying globs or chunks of paint the next time you use the gun.

 Conclusion

There are several times where you might want to use an HVLP spray gun. The HVLP spray gun is designed to reduce the time it takes to apply paint. It also removes lines that paint brushes and rollers leave. Whatever reason you have, before using an HVLP spray gun you need to know how to set it up. By following these specific instructions you will have no problem configuring your spray gun and having it ready for whatever job you have.