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Thread: Getting a HVLP system... need advice

  1. #1
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    Default Getting a HVLP system... need advice

    I am thinking of getting a HVLP system, mostly to use for applying finish/stain to wood (but occasionally use for paint if needed).
    I should say up front that I have zero experience with spray system and would like to get something that won't need to upgrade.
    I don't have a spray booth either, so mostly applying it in a garage and I know I should get some good ventilation. I should
    only use waterbased finishes.

    I have done some research and it appears that Fuji products are good and you can get an excellent (pro like) finish without breaking the bank.

    Have a bunch of questions for those more experienced people here:

    1- A general question is about the amount of sanding needed between different layers of finish. Is the procedure the same with spray system or will it reduce the amount of sanding needed between different applications of finish, perhaps because you can get a more even finish each time? I hate sanding!

    2- is the MM4 series a good option? Is the upgrade to Q4 worth it? I understand it's the same system with a noise reduction layer added.

    3- Should I get a gravity fed gun instead of the standard one?

    4- What are the applications/differences/uses of a whipping hose and a flex hose?

    5- What would be a good starting package (the system, hoses, niddles, cups, etc)?

    What should I be asking that I didn't ask?

    comments/suggestions are welcome.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Getting a HVLP system... need advice

    Funny you should ask. I was just browsing Youtube yesterday looking for info on a gravity feed sprayer for my Fuju system. Here is a sample of what I found. Lots of good stuff on Youtube.
    http://www.youtube.com/results?searc...1203.0j8j1.9.0.
    He who laughs last..............probably didn't get it

  3. #3

    Default Re: Getting a HVLP system... need advice

    I have been very pleased with my Earlex 5500 HVLP unit. It is available at Home Hardware, and at some saving over a Fuji system.

    Glenn

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Getting a HVLP system... need advice

    1. I never sand between coats when using a sprayer, and only light wet sanding of the final coat. The exception would be gran rasing stains (like wb stains) but I use only NGR. When you apply NGR stains they dry almost immediately. The same with wb topcoats which, at about 20C will be dry to touch within 20 to 40 minutes depending on the amount of material sprayed. I keep the coats skinny but more numerous. That way I virtually eliminate the risk of runs. With wb finish you will likely want to wait until one coat is dry before shooting another one, otherwise you run the risk of purple hue.

    2. Plenty good. If it's just your ears then a set of earmuffs would be cheaper. If it's about the neighbors/family you it's your call. The noise level of these is comparable to what an average household vacuum cleaner produces.

    3. Gravity is smaller which may be actually better. I never used an entire quart for any project in one spraying session. Regardless, I'm sure you will eventually have both since you mention painting too. I only have cup (1quart).

    5. for most fine finishing #3 and #4 will be all you need.
    In order to understand recursion, one must first understand recursion

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Getting a HVLP system... need advice

    Thanks to all for the comments.

    Darius: I watched a few videos of the MM4, Super 4, and Q4 and the noise level is not all that different (perhaps 20%-30% less).

    As for sanding, that's different from what I hear from others. Some say you still need to sand in between layers (not necessarily between every two consecutive).
    I suppose it depends on the type of finish.

    Do you have the MM4? happy with it?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Getting a HVLP system... need advice

    I don't have MM4 yet, for now still using my cheap Harbor Freight HVLP, but the money is almost there and I will be sneaking upon the Fuji in about a paycheck or two.

    As for the sanding, your mileage can surely vary. The main reasons to sand between coats:

    1. even out brush marks which is N/A for spraying
    2. scuff off the dust particles settling on the finish, N/A for WB thin finishes as they dry very fast and there is no time for them to stick to the surface especially if the spraying vertically and the temp is 20C or above
    3. scuff the finish to give it some teeth to bite the next layer, N/A for WB finishes if the subsequent layer is applied within 24 hrs.

    Spraying oil based top coats will likely nullify all of the above as the finish takes longer to get dry to the touch.

    I always spray very thin layers based on the advice I came across somewhere - 1 coat of brushed finish = 3 coats of sprayed finish. One drawback of WB that I experiences is the water sanding of the final coat. It has to be cured, which for me was over 36 hrs using Varathane WB finishes. If you try to water sand too soon the job may get wrecked as the water will not act as a lubricant yet, but rather as a solvent. Happened to me.
    In order to understand recursion, one must first understand recursion

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Getting a HVLP system... need advice

    If you have a compressor you can get a far superior spray system for a lot less $$$ than a turbine. If no compressor, then my advice is to research the turbines for what you want them to do and then compare the price to a compressor system.
    My experience is that the turbine itself doesn't matter, they are all basically vacuum cleaner motors despite what the ad hype claims.
    The gun is the most important thing, and depending on what you want it to do, you need to consider how many "extras" you will need.
    Personally, I would never buy a spray gun that doesn't have both adjustable fluid and air controls. I would follow that by wanting a set of interchangeable needles/nozzles and (in some models) air caps so I could spray different viscosity fluids. I would also want the ability to spray vertically and horizontally by simply changing the orientation of part of the air cap. It's also nice to have the capability to change the width of the fan, especially if you can actually change the shape of the fan to a cone, which with a drop in air pressure will allow you to get into corners in cabinets (if you don't prefinish before assembly).
    The type of gun (gravity/siphon etc) should be determined by what you want to spray. Some turbines allow you to run a small pressure pot which in turn allows you to have a much smaller, lighter gun in your hand which increases your flexibility.
    As for sanding between finishes, you really aren't "sanding", just scuffing. You only "sand" if you are trying to level out a surface, eg after multiple coats of sanding sealer or grain filler. Personally, I scuff between every coat, regardless of the type of finish I am using. It's just sound practice and IMO gives the best results.
    I really don't have any recommendations for brand as I have no experience with a sufficient variety to offer a meaningful comparison. I have only ever used one turbine system in my life, it's at least 20yrs old and now sprays stains, dyes, toners and washcoats.
    Finally, I would encourage you to go to the folks that sell these things and pick one up, preferably full of liquid, to see if the gun feels comfortable to your wrist/hand.
    Good luck..............Paul

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Getting a HVLP system... need advice

    I have the Fuji Q4 and am very pleased with it. I do not use water based products so have no comment there other than latex paint that was designed for brush or roller and that is what I should have used.
    I would definitely recommend the whip hose becacause the standard hose is not flexable enough.
    I felt the people at Fuji were very helpful.
    Bob just past Ayr www.thelavenderfarm.ca

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Getting a HVLP system... need advice

    thanks again for comments.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul O in Paris View Post
    If you have a compressor you can get a far superior spray system for a lot less $$$ than a turbine. If no compressor, then my advice is to research the turbines for what you want them to do and then compare the price to a compressor system.
    I don't have a "big enough" compresor. So I guess unless I want to invest to buy a big one (what cfm?) that's not going to be very cheap.
    As I said I don't know much about finishes. I'm mostly applying finishes on furniture projects (solid wood). So far I have used wipe-on poly and shellac, and some water-based finishes (all applied by hand). I'd like to use other options.such as laquer. I don't expect to use it for spraying paint but it'd be a bonus if I could.
    What are my options if I had a larger compressor?

    My experience is that the turbine itself doesn't matter, they are all basically vacuum cleaner motors despite what the ad hype claims.
    The gun is the most important thing, and depending on what you want it to do, you need to consider how many "extras" you will need.
    Personally, I would never buy a spray gun that doesn't have both adjustable fluid and air controls. I would follow that by wanting a set of interchangeable needles/nozzles and (in some models) air caps so I could spray different viscosity fluids. I would also want the ability to spray vertically and horizontally by simply changing the orientation of part of the air cap. It's also nice to have the capability to change the width of the fan, especially if you can actually change the shape of the fan to a cone, which with a drop in air pressure will allow you to get into corners in cabinets (if you don't prefinish before assembly).
    Are the guns that come with these HVLP systems (like Fuji MM4 series) fall into that category that you describe?


    The type of gun (gravity/siphon etc) should be determined by what you want to spray. Some turbines allow you to run a small pressure pot which in turn allows you to have a much smaller, lighter gun in your hand which increases your flexibility.
    As for sanding between finishes, you really aren't "sanding", just scuffing. You only "sand" if you are trying to level out a surface, eg after multiple coats of sanding sealer or grain filler. Personally, I scuff between every coat, regardless of the type of finish I am using. It's just sound practice and IMO gives the best results.
    I really don't have any recommendations for brand as I have no experience with a sufficient variety to offer a meaningful comparison. I have only ever used one turbine system in my life, it's at least 20yrs old and now sprays stains, dyes, toners and washcoats.
    Finally, I would encourage you to go to the folks that sell these things and pick one up, preferably full of liquid, to see if the gun feels comfortable to your wrist/hand.
    Good luck..............Paul
    Is there a specific system/package that you'd recommend for a hobby use other than these turbine systems? Assuming it will be used to finish furniture and perhaps kitchen cabinets and things alike?

    thanks agian.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Getting a HVLP system... need advice

    I used compressor based spraying years ago and I was impressed at the time (after they taught me how to properly use it). I sprayed cars mostly, but also some woodwork.

    I only heard about HVLP about 3 years ago and so I gave it a try. Even though my HVLP cost me as much as a gallon of good topcoat finish I'm sold and I'm not going back to compressor/tank spraying.

    The negatives compressor/tank when compared to HVLP:

    - you need a rather potent motor, think 220 for spraying, even with some HVLP guns, otherwise the gun will be running out of breath
    - more noise than HVLP turbine
    - need to periodically bleed water from the tank, or it will mess your finish, especially oil or alcohol based finishes
    - assign additional space in your workshop to actually place the compressor tank. For me, a one car garage warrior, that alone is a no go.

    The HVLP system you're looking at come with very good guns and those guns allow for great versatility when it comes to a spray pattern. Perhaps someone closer to you has an HVLP and they would be kind enough to demo the thing for you.
    In order to understand recursion, one must first understand recursion

  11. #11

    Default Re: Getting a HVLP system... need advice

    I would agree with ‘Paul O in Paris’, if you have a compressor then buying a gun would suffice. You don’t need a ‘big’ compressor to get good quality results, but you do need the right product(s). I have a 'smaller' type of compressor (a 20 gallon Campbell Hausfeld) and I get good results with my setup.

    My main gun is an Eastwood Concours Gun (http://www.eastwood.com/ew-concours-paint-gun-w-1-2-tip.html). It is meant for the auto industry but works great for WB finishes. It was designed for use with small compressors, as it only requires 4 cfm and has multiple tips for spraying different materials. I utilize the 3M PPS adapters (http://www.woodessence.com/3M-Paint-Preparation-System-C47.aspx) and I almost entirely spray WB lacquer (Target Coatings). I have finished several large table tops and have not had any CFM issues. I also have a cheap Grizzly (H7669) with multiple tips and this gun works pretty good, given the price. With this gun, I can do most pieces, but I have had issues with my compressor when spraying larger pieces of furniture.

    Darius mentioned that water is an issue with compressors and it can be, but I always use a cheap disposable inline filter when spraying (
    http://www.woodessence.com/Whirlwind-Inline-Air-Filter-P142C31.aspx
    ), and I have only drained my compressor twice in 5 yrs.

    I hope that helps

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Getting a HVLP system... need advice

    Excellent topic. What do you guys use for a spray booth? Up here in Edmonton it is only warm four months of the year to be spraying outside. How do you control overspray related issues, fumes, personal protection etc? I am in the same boat so would be intersted in the collective wisdom.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Getting a HVLP system... need advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Teak View Post
    Excellent topic. What do you guys use for a spray booth? Up here in Edmonton it is only warm four months of the year to be spraying outside. How do you control overspray related issues, fumes, personal protection etc? I am in the same boat so would be intersted in the collective wisdom.
    So it's at least 3 of us folks here in Edmonton who is considering these options.

    It appears Wood Essence has started carrying Apollo turbines. More options to look into...

  14. #14
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    Default

    I also noticed the units at wood essence and it's nice to be able to go local. I was thinking of getting a pressure pot but want a bit bigger one. I don't need the capacity but with a larger one you can set the whole gallon can right in the pot a d reduce cleanup.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Getting a HVLP system... need advice

    I'll try to answer your questions, but like I said before, I have only ever used a Capspray turbine system, so giving any meaningful comparison based on experience, is not possible, and unless someone has actually used several different systems in a real life finishing situation, I don't think any comparisons are valid. Anyone can read the advertising hype! There are a lot of very satisfied Fuji owners who post on this site, so I assume these units meet and exceed their needs.
    The Capspray has all the features I mentioned, and more. It seems Wagner has now been bought out by Sherwin Williams. Here's a link to their units http://www.spraytechsys.com/literatu...P_training.pdf
    Remember that HVLP is not limited to turbine systems. There are HVLP guns that are designed to be be used with a compressor, and the Lemmer guns, apparently, can be easily converted. For spraying larger projects you will need a medium sized compressor, 20 to 60 gal tank. Different guns require different cfm. Check the requirements as this determines compressor size.
    A compressor can be loud, but so can a turbine and it's "on" all the time you are using it. My Capspray turbine makes about the same noise level as my Eagle compressor, which has a 60gal tank and delivers 18cfm at 100psi, which is way more than any of my spray systems need. It only runs a lot when I air sand.
    Another thing to consider with a compressor is that it can run a great many other tools in your shop, not just a spray gun. A turbine is only good for spraying and maybe blowing off a light coat of dust, but it is portable, and if one of your projects is to refinish a built in cabinet, this may be a useful feature. Turbines are 110, good compressors (single phase) are 220v.
    With the evolution of finishes these days and the trend towards high solids content, especially in pigmented lacquers, turbine systems have their work cut out. Hence the development of 4 stage, and now 5 stage units as a means of increasing the power. The use of different sized needles, nozzles and air caps helps overcome this to some extent. If you had a medium sized compressor you could spray just about anything you wanted.
    Not sure if the Fuji guns do what the Capspray guns do, but again, lots of folks here have them, and they can answer that question. A couple months ago, Wally pointed out to me that he was able to use a Lemmer gun on a different turbine, which could add some versatility. Wood Essence markets Apollo, maybe a call to Jeff would give you some insight into that unit.
    It's hard to make recommendations on suitable systems. Because I spray stuff for a living my expectations and requirements are very different than the occasional user. If you are thinking about a compressor driven system, there are some good brand name guns (stay away from the overseas knock offs until you get the hang of it) that won't break the bank. Check out Woodweb's Pro finishing Forum, there are always lengthy discussions on this topic and you can search the Knowledge Base, which will give you way more info than you probably need. http://www.woodweb.com/cgi-bin/forums/finishing.pl If you visit a local dealer they will demo the equipment, and provide after sales service.
    Hope this helps.........Paul
    Last edited by Paul O in Paris; 05-04-2012 at 09:29 PM.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Getting a HVLP system... need advice

    I have been following this thread with interest and I am as confused now as when I started. Where I am there is no such thing as a shop where you can see the machines let alone get a demo. anything I want to look at has to be brought in. I often get pieces sprayed by a local cabinet shop and they only have a basic compressor about the same as mine with about 8 cfm at 90. As for portability with a 100 ft hose I can reach almost anything I want on my 1/2 acre lot. I suppose all I need is a basic gun to get started. You see guns priced from $30 to $400.

    I have read a lot of stuff this past while and I am very tempted to purchase the Earlex 5500 and given a current price a about $350 I may pull the trigger on Monday.

    We will see how a couple of days of sober thought works on the question.
    Jake

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Getting a HVLP system... need advice

    Thanks Paul for the detailed response.
    Part of the reason I am thinking of getting these is: we'll be building a house in the near future and I am thinking about doing some limited amount of woodworking
    (perhaps built-ins, or some finishing parts) myself and might do the staining/finishing as well. Having a portable setup would be more beneficial for that purpose (instead of hauling a big compressor).

    Problem is I don't know the differences between a lot of products (pre/post-cat lacquer, different varnishes, etc.).
    I wish I could go to a place and see one or two of these in action: what can be done with them and what sort of results you'd get.
    Educating yourself from the web has a limit. You'd need hands on experience at some point.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Getting a HVLP system... need advice

    I've been sitting back quietly for the last few Months. It's time to chirp in on the odd thing.

    Mreza asks the real necessary questions. Where can he get hands on?

    For example, ICI paint stores will sell you a great Graco Airless system but good luck finding anyone in the store who actually knows how to use it. If I were you Mreza, I would drop in to Lemmer at 17506 105 ave and talk to Sean. If you go in the store , don't look for fancy. It's the Lemmer sales and repair depot. Who better to ask than the guy who sells and repairs them.

    I have "some" experience with other HVLP systems but lots of experience with Lemmer. If like me you bought a Lemmer HVLP, for an additional $50.00 the same HVLP gun will convert and run off your compressor too. The gun alone is as good as any available and you get the flexibility to boot.

    Another option for anyone is a Lemmer Airless sprayer. Don't write these systems off. They are tremendous work horses. With the available variety of tips you can lay down a finish that will rival any Pro. There's absolutely no futzing around with Airless. The only adjustment is the tip you insert [10 seconds] and the volume dial which I hardly ever touch. It's like dialing up the radio. You want more product, dial it up. Less product dial it down. Airless in my opinion is the absolute best sprayer for paint bar none. Sean can answer any question you may have. Guaranteed.

    I also have a Lemmer detail sprayer that I use with tinted lacquers and finishes on Oak baseboards and small trims. Hooks up to any compressor. I have 3 compressors and the biggest is an Eagle 25 Gallon.

    Another option for you guys looking to spray is the automotive industry. Binks has been a big name in Spray equipment for decades. They make a great gun.
    "Do it Right!"

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Getting a HVLP system... need advice

    Thanks Paul and Rusty for the detailed responses.
    I too have been following this thread with interest, I don't know anything about any of these systems and its great to hear from people with hands on experience.
    Mike @ Buck Lake

  20. #20

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by italrowe
    I would agree with ‘Paul O in Paris’, if you have a compressor then buying a gun would suffice. You don’t need a ‘big’ compressor to get good quality results, but you do need the right product(s). I have a 'smaller' type of compressor (a 20 gallon Campbell Hausfeld) and I get good results with my setup.

    My main gun is an Eastwood Concours Gun (http://www.eastwood.com/ew-concours-...w-1-2-tip.html). It is meant for the auto industry but works great for WB finishes. It was designed for use with small compressors, as it only requires 4 cfm and has multiple tips for spraying different materials. I utilize the 3M PPS adapters (http://www.woodessence.com/3M-Paint-...ystem-C47.aspx) and I almost entirely spray WB lacquer (Target Coatings). I have finished several large table tops and have not had any CFM issues. I also have a cheap Grizzly (H7669) with multiple tips and this gun works pretty good, given the price. With this gun, I can do most pieces, but I have had issues with my compressor when spraying larger pieces of furniture.

    Darius mentioned that water is an issue with compressors and it can be, but I always use a cheap disposable inline filter when spraying (
    http://www.woodessence.com/Whirlwind...r-P142C31.aspx
    ), and I have only drained my compressor twice in 5 yrs.

    I hope that helps
    I wish I had know this before buying my fuji. Don't get me wrong, I love my fuji but if I can get the same results for half the cost it would have been a serious contender. I only have a double hot dog compressor that would have worked fine with that gun.

    I guess I didn't ask the right questions.
    Last edited by Peter in Maple Ridge; 05-05-2012 at 11:25 AM.

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