Selecting The Right Paint Gun Washer for Waterborne Paints

Tags: Shop Equipment · Waterborne

Be Sociable, Share! you are considering the move to waterborne paints then you know that many of the tools that you now use will need to be duplicated for this new paint type.

Probably the worst thing about changing over to waterborne is when it comes to outfitting your painter you will be required to buy tools that work with water and continue to maintain your solvent based systems for primer and clear coat application.

Some parts washer manufacturers have acknowledged this problem and have begun to design dual tank cleaners that can clean both solvent and waterborne guns and this can help shops with tight space constraints to some extent.

For the rest of us it means our floor space just got a little smaller and we need to purchase new cleaners.

What type of parts cleaner is best for waterborne guns?

The first thing that you will notice if you haven’t purchased a gun in sometime is that most professional models have moved to pneumatics for powering the washer. This means that you will have to plumb a shop line to your parts washer and if you don’t have easy access it can be an added expense.

After you get over that hurdle you have two basic choices when picking a parts washer for your guns. Gun Washers allow you to connect your gun and walk away while it is cleaned. These washers work well for cleaning guns between jobs because they are made to operate without intervention. Many of these systems actually have an automatic shutoff so even if you wanted to open the lid and wash down your gun it will turn off.

Automatic Gun Washers can also clean a gun in about a minute so they are good considerations for high volume shops.

Manual Gun Washers work like standard parts washers in that you can clean your gun by hand but without setting up some type of attachment you need to be there while its cleaning.

The choice is really up to you and how you work in your shop but I find that unless you are a very high production shop the Automatic models limit your ability to clean your gun and parts. If they only operate when closed then you can not work with your gun and parts and this can be difficult for most technicians.

Better models of Manual Gun Washers will provide air and solvent lines so you can still let the machine clean the internal parts of the gun and then manually clean the outside.

How much can you expect to spend for a Waterborne Paint Gun Washer?

Unfortunately these parts washers are not cheap. At the very minimum you are looking to spend about $500 if you can find one on sale. However the normal price for these washers at the time of writing is between $1,000 for single bin / single gun washers and $2,500 for washers that can clean two or more guns and can clean waterborne and solvent in the same machine with different compartments for each.

What are the Maintenance Concerns for Waterborne Paint Gun Washers? systems work pretty much like any standard solvent based system. You have a pneumatic pump that circulates the cleaner and mounting stands to connect your gun.

Because these systems are pneumatic you will need to follow manufacturer’s directions for bleeding water from your lines. This may require a filter but probably not.

You will also need to clean and replace the material catch filter below or inside the washer to remove the paint you are removing.

You will need to add a coagulant to the dirty paint then agitate it for about 30 minutes. Then remove and replace the filter and waste material. Disposal of the waste should be done by following normal paint disposal procedures.


Final Note

If you are a shop that will be moving over to waterborne paint then it will most likely require that you add a second cleanup washer for your painter’s guns.

If you are a Hobbyist then the purchase of a dedicated waterborne washer in your shop is probably not necessary.

I don’t suggest that Hobbyists clean their guns in their garage sink but the cost of a washer that will not be used for cleaning other parts in your garage is not price conscious even if you shoot a couple cars a year.

Personally I like the freedom of using a Manual Parts Washer but if you are a high production shop where changeover is required a few times a day you can make use of an Automatic Gun Washer to give you time to do other cleanup.




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