Whats the difference between Generic and High Dollar Spray Guns?

Tags: HVLP Paint Guns

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http://www.howtopaintcars.com/wp-content/gallery/paint-guns/fuji-hvlp-paint-gun.jpg?i=2077251883A lot of hopeful hobbyists and beginner painters are deterred from getting into painting because of the cost of tools. People that would see no problem of stripping down an engine and replacing its crank bearings because they know the tools they have will do the job look at the price of a high end gun, compressor and access to a booth and say its just not worth the effort and cost to do a handful of jobs.

Now maybe its a good thing for the rest of us who enjoy painting because we can trade or charge for our services but the fact is the more people that can do this work means a higher volume of tools and products on the market that we can also choose from.

So what are the differences between a $16 hvlp gun you can get at the discount tool shop and the $400 professional grade tool that people who paint every day use?

The fact is there isn’t a huge difference in the design of these tools but there are some differences that make it appropriate for a professional to invest $400 in a gun.

Lets start out with the features that you should look for when purchasing a spray gun.

What Features do I need in a Paint Gun?

The most important rating to look for is the Needle and Aircap size. For general painting you want a gun that is sized between 1.2mm and 2mm. The larger the opening the more paint volume but it also means more air is required so if you have a sub 7 horsepower compressor you want to stay below 1.3mm for your needle size.

The second feature is the cup size and type. Most painters like to use a Gravity Feed spray gun where the paint storage is above the gun. There are also siphon feed guns which are common on older non hvlp guns however both storage types are available in both HVLP and older guns so watch what you buy.

I would suggest for the beginner a gravity feed HVLP spray gun with a 1.2 to 1.4 mm needle.

What makes an equally rated spray gun cost more?

The differences in cost really come down to the tolerances and design features in manufacturing.

Since most of the work of a spray gun is performed at the needle and aircap as long as your gun gets good atomization and pattern it should be useable for general work.

The difference comes when you want your gun to be dependable over many years.

You will notice that lower end guns have fixed cups while high end guns have the ability to use disposable or lined cups that are useful for color or product change over and cleaning.

You may also see that a higher cost gun has the ability to change its needle and aircap size. You will have a range of sizes that allow you to tune the gun. This is important when you are painting different products but for general use a fixed aircap size is fine.

How to rate and inspect a lower cost paint gun

The next thing you want to consider is how the gun feels in your hand. Does the gun feel sturdy… I think most people who have picked up discount tools know that you can tell by looking and checking the parts if the product is just inexpensive or just plain cheap.

You want to check the adjustment settings and pull the trigger to feel the resistance on the paint volume spring.

Nothing should bind and the parts should be tight.

After you have checked the function of external parts you want to take the aircap off and inspect the needle. All of the surfaces should be machined to close tolerances. Some lower end guns rely heavily on use of silicon or teflon tape to close tolerances of threaded parts where paint and air flow through … this is not necessarily a problem if you realize continual cleaning will wear these threads down.

If you can find out what the needle, aircap and springs are made of a better gun will have a stainless steel needle and the cap may be a mild steel with brass center.

Final Note

It is difficult to really describe the difference in manufacture of high end guns and low end guns but if you pick a low cost gun that functions well you can consider it useable for a short period of time. You may get a few (15) paint jobs out of it before it fails.

On the other hand you may be able to get 1500 paint jobs out of a $500 gun if you don’t find reason to replace it prior to it failing.

Everyone who has moved from standard to HVLP and then to Waterborne paints can tell you they have guns they once loved that are now not useable for what they once were used for.

If you are a Hobbyist or someone that just wants to give painting a try then I would strongly suggest that you look at a lower cost gun instead of jumping in with a new or even used professional model.

And do not blame the gun for paint problems like runs, striping or paint defects when you know this is technique and not the gun.

Remember even high end guns can lack features found in sub $50 models but you know that no $50 model is going to have every option as a $500 gun..

The most important thing is .. will the gun spray an even wide pattern that allows you to apply a full wet coat of paint. If it can do that then its good enough to use.

 

 

 

 

 

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