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Thread: Getting a HVLP system... need advice

  1. #21
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    Bill

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

    Hi Guys,
    Here's what I picked up when reviewing HVLP systems for CWW's Feb/Mar issue:

    1. I think sanding's been covered here. Fresh coats of lacquers & shellac will burn into the previous layers so the only reason to sand would be to get rid of dust or runs/sags. Basically, follow the manufacturer's instructions.

    2.The Fuji system performed very well, excellent fit & finish, but I would upgrade to the Q series. The standard model really is quite loud. Not terrible, but I'd seriously consider hearing protection if I were going to be using it for a long time. I think the Q is probably worth the money.

    3. The Fuji's swivel side fitting for their gravity cup is really nice – it means you can almost always have the cup in an upright position even when spraying at weird angles, such as when doing a cabinet interior.

    This becomes moot, however, if you get the 3M PPS conversion. This replaces the standard pressure cup with a molded plastic one that holds a heavy-duty "baggie," complete with a filter, that contain the finish. (Italrowe has posted a link (above) to the system at Wood Essence's web site.) The cup is pressurized which compresses the baggie and forces the finish out through the gun. With this setup you can spray at any angle, including upside down. Cleanup is a snap: you can either store finish in the baggie/cup for a short period, or rinse out the baggie for re-use. The cup stays clean.

    4. I'd suggest you get a whip if one is offered. The lighter weight & better flexibility make a huge difference. The extra length also means the pressurized air is a bit cooler when it reaches the gun. This can be an issue with shellacs & lacquers, not so much with WB.

    5. A starting package will depend quite a bit on what you'll be spraying and how often you'll use the system. For applying "finish/stain to wood" you'll want a 1.2/1.3mm needle with matching cup. You could probably go as small as a 1.0mm if you watch your viscosity and thin as necessary. For paint you'll want to go to at least a 2.0mm needle/nozzle set and if it's gooey stuff like latex you'll almost certainly have to thin with water and a retarder such as DynaFlo, Floetrol or Target Coatings' SA5. The spray unit's instructions should have a table for use with a viscosity cup. Basically you time how long it takes the finish to flow through the cup & then dilute as required so it'll spray.

    My subjective observations after using the units are covered in the CWW article so I won't repeat all that here. Have a look at it. With any of the units a bit of practice is in order. Get some cardboard to spray onto and get a feel for how the unit works. Increase & decrease the amount of fluid, then play with the air pressure. See what combination works best with various viscosities. Also adjust the fan pattern of the spray; doing this also changes the volume of finish being sprayed, so it will probably also require adjusting the air pressure. (I know that this isn't very helpful pre-purchase. You can't just walk into a supplier's store and start spraying paint all over the place.)

    If you're considering going the route of using a HVLP gun with a standard compressor, don't think you're going to get adequate performance out of a 6-gal. Porter-Cable pancake. (I've tried. It sucks as much as it sprays.) You'll need lots of air volume and a good air filter in your line. It's a nice feature of using the turbine units that they provide clean, warm air to the gun.

    A note re Rusty's comment about airless: If you have a house to paint, go airless. Airless is what professional crews use when they paint acreage such as aircraft hangars and factories. They lay down a ton of paint, fast. HVLP on the other hand, is slow like tortoise. Does a great job but takes quite a while to get it done. Also you need to use caution. Airless is EXTREMELY high pressure.

    As for the units reviewed, all worked fine. The Wagner is great for painting fences & outdoor furniture; does a super job for the price. The Earlex 5500 was the real sleeper. It looks sort of gimmicky but it performed on a level very close to the more expensive units. It does a better-than-adequate job for a very reasonable price. The Fuji Mini-Mite has all the control you'll need to spray almost any finish. Fit & finish are very good. I'd upgrade to the "Q" version as it's a bit loud. Here you'll have to ask yourself, "Am I going to spray enough to justify spending $250 more for the Fuji instead of the Earlex?" Both are good; the Fuji's more versatile and that could be a game winner at some point down the road.

    Edmonton-based Lemmer has three models, with 2-, 3- and 4-stage turbines, the difference being that with more power you can spray faster or spray thicker coatings. This is a professional system with excellent fit & finish. The T55Q (2-stage) system is less expensive than the Fuji MM. The Lemmer turbine is QUIET. (I bought the Lemmer T90Q and the extremely low noise was a deciding factor in the purchase. The T75Q & T90Q both have models with turbine speed controls which makes them even quieter.) Lemmer uses the 3M PPS system and also includes a small 250-ml paint cup for detail work where a larger cup would be awkward.

    Apollo Sprayers are the Rolls-Royces of the HVLP systems targeted at the home buyer. They have all the bells & whistles – variable speed on some models, automatic speed control, LED pressure indicator, LED warnings for filter blockage, etc. The finish on all parts is impeccable and the "feel" of the gun was probably the best of any tested. Excellent customer support. If you've got deep pockets, give these folks a call.

    But the guys in Edmonton are worth a call . . . www.lemmer.com . . . if you're feeling a bit nationalistic
    Last edited by Windsor; 05-05-2012 at 04:51 PM.

  2. #22
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    Default Re: Getting a HVLP system... need advice

    Thanks to all for the comments, very educating.

    Bill: is it fair to assume (based on your tests) that Apollo is better than equivalent models of Fuji? I'd like to get something that I won't regret 10 years down the road.
    Plus, if I do use it to do some finishing for the (to-be-built) house then it's easy to justify the price difference.
    I'll give the Wood Essence a call to get some info about Apollo.

    How do you compare Lemmer turbines with the above two?
    For a budget of around $1k (for starter package) which would be the best value?

  3. #23

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

    If my cheapo plastic gun Wagner HVLP dies, I will get an Earlex to replace it. I had an older Fuji Q3 but it's siphon gun needs a lot of air , making too much overspray and noise, IMHO. I like to see a pressure tube to the cup to push material to the gun. I use the Wagner for smaller jobs and get out the big gun, the air assist airless Kremlin for large jobs.

    hobby woodworking since 1972

  4. #24
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    Default Re: Getting a HVLP system... need advice

    I started out like a couple of other guys spraying cars having taken a course at a local community college. At that time I bought a Devilbis sipon feed gun and when I started spraying lacquers I found that gun and cap worked equally as well with lacquers. With this gun I had to thin the lacquers to get good coverage. There is a lot of overspray ( transfer efficiency ) with this type of system but it did lay down a nice finish. I then went with a Graco HVLP unit that uses a pressure pot and a small onboard compressor inside the fan unit. With a pressure pot I could spray lacquers without thinners. A giant step forward and the fact that you are holding just the gun in your hand enabling you to spray in any direction not having to worry about lacquer dripping from the cup. A cup full of lacquer becomes quite heavy when spraying a lot of lacquer. For the last 4 years I have been using a Kremlin 10-14 air assist. It is an excellent system and I spray lacquer right out of the 5 gallon pail.
    One thing I would point out when spraying from a gallon or 5 gallon pail it is important that you have an agitator for your pail to keep the lacquer well mixed. These agitators are a bit on the expensive side. I paid $450 for one designed for 5 gallon pains. These are basically a lid with a air motor sitting on top with a shaft with a paddle sticking into the lacquer. They require very little air. I since discovered that Grizzly sell a pressure pot with a built in air driven agitator for about half of what I paid for just my agitator. I have also looked at the 3m system with the disposable cup and this would be great for small jobs.

    It is important to find someone that can repair your equipment but I would put a higher priority on a finish supplier than can solve your finishing problems. A perfect situation would be a supplier that can repair your equipment and also sells finishing supplies.I have that in WES Suppliers in Delhi. They sell both Kremlin and Graco systems alomg with being a full service ML Campbell dealer. They have saved my bacon more than once. In this area both WES and McFaddens hold one day seminars on finishes and spraying lacquers. A excellent course for someone just starting out or those of us than may have developed a few bad habits. I would pay particular attention to those that spray finishes for a living and there is a couple on this forum. As Paul mentioned Woodweb is probably the best forum by far for solutions to finishing problems.
    Good luck with your journey.

    Brian
    " It is nice to be important but more important to be nice"

  5. #25
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    Default

    I'm curious how you guys compare the air assisted airless to a pressure pot system with full on air?

    Also what's the finish difference between the HVLP and full air. There was one other type on Graco's chart but I can't remember. I know transfer efficiency is different but the Graco chart suggested the least efficient full air spraying gives the best finish. What is the real difference here?

  6. #26
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    Default Re: Getting a HVLP system... need advice

    Sprayed 3 doors, 140 feet of base, door and window casings and jamb, 4 shaker panel doors and door frames on Friday. That's after spraying the room and walk in closet with primer. Did it all in 2 coats with Benny Moore Latex Ultra, using my Lemmer airless with different tips and the finish is as much like glass as paint can get. My point is; what you buy really does depend a lot on what you are going to spray. Most people think an Airless sprayer is just for those great big jobs like spraying a whole wall. That is not the case at all.
    "Do it Right!"

  7. #27
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    Default Re: Getting a HVLP system... need advice

    I am not aware of any commercial shops that use an airless system for spraying lacquers. There are lots using air assist which is a totally different system and you do require a compressor. For spraying house paint an airless system is the way to go and I have rented them to spray fencing and they pump paint real fast. I am aware that you can also use them to spray lacquers but I am told that the learning curve is quite steep and not very practicle if spraying mostly lacquers. A kremlin air assist 10-14 will cost you in the vicinity of $2400. I believe that Lemmer also make an air assist but in this area the are not widely used and I have never used one. I have no idea what you mean when you say full on air unless you are meaning a pressure pot. A pressure pot will increase you transfer efficiency over that of a siphon feed gun and a HVLP gun with a pressure pot is better still. I would strongly recommend that anyone looking to start spraying find a retailer that knows something about finishing that you can talk face to face with and it is probably not going to be your local tool store or a big box store.

    Brian
    " It is nice to be important but more important to be nice"

  8. #28
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    Default Re: Getting a HVLP system... need advice

    Thanks for the advice again, but based on my readings these airless systems are not for me:
    They seem more suitable for pros (mostly spraying paint) rather than consumers, the price is more than double the budget I have in mind, and they are generally more dangerous and can cause some nasty injuries when you don't expect it (such as picking a leaking hose).

  9. #29
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    Default Re: Getting a HVLP system... need advice

    I absolutely agree. Airless is great for paint but the simple fact addressed by Brian is correct. Lacquers and other types of clear coats are best handled with other systems.

    My first sprayer many years ago was a $500.00 Lemmer HVLP system. It did everything I asked of it. Subsequently, and because I could, I added the ability to change over from Turbine air to compressor air using the same gun and a screw in adapter. The gun is suction fed and the cup under the gun is dead easy to clean. That's another reason to consider what you will spray the most. Running Lacquer or Poly or solvent based stains thru an airless would be a real PITA to clean. If I were ever going to entertain such a thing I would buy a second hose.
    "Do it Right!"

  10. #30
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    Default Re: Getting a HVLP system... need advice

    Here is the link to the Graco document I mentioned. The three types they have are HVLP, Compliant, Conventional and they have a chart saying the finish quality improves moving right in the list. That doesn't tell me much. Can anyone give a better description of the finish? How does Graco compare to the Apollo and others?

    http://wwwd.graco.com/Distributors/D...le/339377D.pdf

  11. #31
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    Default Re: Getting a HVLP system... need advice

    So after much further investigation I have decided not to buy a turbine system but go with a compressor based system.

    I took a woodworking course at NAIT a couple of years back and we did veneering. I have been wanting to do it again but one needs a decent vacuum press for any decent size project.

    After I priced the cost of a decent turbine based system and the cost of a decent vacuum veneering pump, it is almost (keyword) cheaper to go with a 5 HP 60 gallon compressor, a vacuum venturi pump from Joe Woodworker and Lemmers A928 P HVLP Pressure Feed gun and 2.25 pressure pot ( or a couple of the small pressure pots) to come up with the functionally the same but more versatile setup. The compressor that size can be used for other stuff too.

    If anyone sees any glaring holes or pinpricks in my logic, please enlighten me before I go off on a tangent.

  12. #32
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    Default Re: Getting a HVLP system... need advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Teak View Post
    So after much further investigation I have decided not to buy a turbine system but go with a compressor based system.

    I took a woodworking course at NAIT a couple of years back and we did veneering. I have been wanting to do it again but one needs a decent vacuum press for any decent size project.

    After I priced the cost of a decent turbine based system and the cost of a decent vacuum veneering pump, it is almost (keyword) cheaper to go with a 5 HP 60 gallon compressor, a vacuum venturi pump from Joe Woodworker and Lemmers A928 P HVLP Pressure Feed gun and 2.25 pressure pot ( or a couple of the small pressure pots) to come up with the functionally the same but more versatile setup. The compressor that size can be used for other stuff too.

    If anyone sees any glaring holes or pinpricks in my logic, please enlighten me before I go off on a tangent.
    I think you are headed in the right direction. When you say 5 hp compressors their is quite a variety of cfm's available. If it is a two stage it is obviously on the industrial side or in my case it is only single stage with a huge 2 cylinder pump. A Dyna brade pneumatic sander makes all those other sanders seem obsolete and I have a variety of sanders including those Green ones everybody raves about. With a compressor based sysyem you have a whole variety of guns available and you can greatly improve your system by just changing the gun. Good luck with your journey.

    Brian
    " It is nice to be important but more important to be nice"

  13. #33
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    Default Re: Getting a HVLP system... need advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Teak View Post
    If anyone sees any glaring holes or pinpricks in my logic, please enlighten me before I go off on a tangent.
    It looks good to me, and that's a nice system that you can build on in the future. You should be able to get the best advice/service from Lemmer too! I would go with the 2.5 gal pot just to save on clean up time etc. I have the Binks equivalent which I use just for pigmented lacquers and it takes me about 4 mins to clean. Maybe 6 for wb as there's an extra step LOL.
    Compressors have a lot of other uses in a woodworking/finishing shop, just depends what you want to do.
    Paul
    Last edited by Paul O in Paris; 05-08-2012 at 04:49 PM.

  14. #34
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    Default Re: Getting a HVLP system... need advice

    Quote Originally Posted by hawk223 View Post
    they have a chart saying the finish quality improves moving right in the list. That doesn't tell me much. Can anyone give a better description of the finish?
    it improves because conventional systems blast a ton of air through the pot/gun which gives the best atomization of the finish. It also gives tons of overspray, which is a problem and waste of $$$$. So there is HVLP, which under ideal operating conditions reduces overspray (look at the transfer efficiency), but doesn't eliminate it. Quite honestly, unless you are spraying a car with pearlescent gray I seriously doubt you would notice any difference between any of them. For furniture finishing, HVLP or what Graco calls Compliant is more than adequate, and will handle all the higher viscosity finishes that a turbine may struggle with. I have the DeVilbiss equivalent, and it is awesome.
    Paul
    Last edited by Paul O in Paris; 05-08-2012 at 04:51 PM.

  15. #35
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    Default Re: Getting a HVLP system... need advice

    Quote Originally Posted by mreza View Post
    For a budget of around $1k (for starter package) which would be the best value?
    I'm not trying to dissuade you from a turbine system as they have definite advantages for some users, but for that budget you could get a pretty good compressor and a nice spray gun, and maybe have change left over for an "el cheapo" gun for stains/dyes etc.
    Paul

  16. #36
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    Default Re: Getting a HVLP system... need advice

    I am getting close to buying a system (within the next month).

    The idea of a large compressor isn't appealing to me at this stage, main reason I'd like to have portability. Plus, I don't see the need to use a large compressor for anything else.
    So I'm still on the HVLP turbine systems. Found out about a couple of other brands/systems. So the options I'm looking at are:

    - Fuji MM4 (which is a 4 stage turbine)
    - Apollo 1035 (which is a 4-stage turbine)
    - Graco FinishPro 9.5 which is a 5-stage turbine: http://www.graco.com/us/en/products/...-sprayers.html
    - Titan Canspray 105 (which is a 5-stage turbine); Canspray 95 model is a 4-stage and 115 is a 6-stage
    http://www.titantool.com/portal/us_c...,,,352512.html

    Prices increase in this order too (well Graco 9.5 and Titan 105 are about the same). There is also Lemmer systems.
    I am thinking Fuji MM4 would be enough for me (which I can get for under $900 with two tips).
    Is there any compelling reasons to go with a 5-stage (or even 6)? I cannot find much info/review about Graco or Titan systems.

    Am I making this more complicated than it is? Should I just buy one and start using it?

  17. #37

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

    Quote Originally Posted by mreza View Post
    I am getting close to buying a system (within the next month).

    The idea of a large compressor isn't appealing to me at this stage, main reason I'd like to have portability. Plus, I don't see the need to use a large compressor for anything else.
    So I'm still on the HVLP turbine systems. Found out about a couple of other brands/systems. So the options I'm looking at are:

    - Fuji MM4 (which is a 4 stage turbine)
    - Apollo 1035 (which is a 4-stage turbine)
    - Graco FinishPro 9.5 which is a 5-stage turbine: http://www.graco.com/us/en/products/...-sprayers.html
    - Titan Canspray 105 (which is a 5-stage turbine); Canspray 95 model is a 4-stage and 115 is a 6-stage
    http://www.titantool.com/portal/us_c...,,,352512.html

    Prices increase in this order too (well Graco 9.5 and Titan 105 are about the same). There is also Lemmer systems.
    I am thinking Fuji MM4 would be enough for me (which I can get for under $900 with two tips).
    Is there any compelling reasons to go with a 5-stage (or even 6)? I cannot find much info/review about Graco or Titan systems.

    Am I making this more complicated than it is? Should I just buy one and start using it?
    In my opinion and I have sprayed a ton of cabinets and doors the Fugi is more than you will ever need as a part time user. I have an older Graco HVLP turbine 900 top of the line (then) and now use it with the new Fugi gun and it is very good. As I said in another post -- very easy to dial in and control and very consistent spray. A couple of different tips and you can spray anything you want. FWIW JMHO.

  18. #38
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    Default Re: Getting a HVLP system... need advice

    Thanks Wally. It's good to hear that. We'll be building a new house next year (got a lot) and I'm thinking of doing some of the work myself, including
    finishing (possibly cabinets, trim work, office, etc). If this will do the job I certainly don't intend to get more than what I need.

  19. #39

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

    Hello. I have the FUJI system and like it very much.

    My advice to you would to get both guns. I know it is a little bit of an investment but they are both invaluable. If I had to only have one it would be the gravity feed. I have the Q4 just because the other is too loud for me, it is a user thing. Go to the store and plug in both and see what you like. I have the whip hose as well. I just think after a while it is easier on your wrist and forearm. It is more pliable and lighter than the rest of the hose so it makes it easier. As an added bonus, the extra length decreases the temperature of the air slightly and that helps in the finishing. The needle that comes with the kit you can use to spray just about anything. I have used it for oil based paints to laquers with no problem, just have to get used to how to thin accordingly. I went for the Q4 with both guns, whip hose, slightly smaller needle on the other gun and some extra parts for cleaning the gun if it gets gunked up. All in all it is a wonderful system. If you were close by I would let you try it. I think they are great but I am biased. One other thing, the quality is really good. The guns are beautiful. Hope this helps.

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