Using an HVLP Spray Gun


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Spray guns can be an excellent tool to help get your paint project done, simply because using one is the fastest method to apply paint. But what kind should you use? In this article, we will take a look at the HVLP spray gun. You can use an HVLP spray gun with many different types of paints and primers. Alkyd oil-base paints work the best, but you can use acrylic latex paints with it as well. You can even use it to apply clear wood finishes, such as lacquer, varnish, and acrylic urethane. Keep in mind though, an HVLP spray system is only for interior painting, not exterior.

HVLP stands for High-Volume Low-Pressure. One of the key advantages of using an HVLP spray gun is that it dramatically reduces the amount of overspray produced. Conventional and airless spray methods blast the paint out at such a high pressure that a vast majority of the paint bounces back off the wall and then floats and lingers about the room. This is very harmful to your health and can ruin any furniture in the room. Plus it wastes paint, and thus money. HVLP sprays at a much lower pressure, hence the second half of the name, producing much less overspray. This low pressure also makes it easy to use and will produce very smooth results.

There are two different types of HVLP sprayers - turbine powered and compressor powered. The turbine powered kind are generally lightweight and portable. They use several blades spinning very fast to produce a large volume of air at a low pressure. The specific unit you should buy depends on the type of material you plan to spray. If you plan to use thin materials such as lacquers or oil base stains, a smaller lower power unit will do the job fine. Thicker materials such as alkyd oil base paint, or water based polyurethanes need a unit with a bit more power. Materials such as acrylic latex paint are the thickest and will thus require the most powerful units. The compressor powered kind uses a piston air compressor. Compressor powered systems can generally produce more power, but they are often much bigger and much less portable than turbine systems. They also cost more to get a full system together, and will also cost more in maintenance in the long run.

The trickiest part of using an HVLP spray gun is thinning the material to be used to the right viscosity. It needs to be thin enough to produce a fine mist, but thick enough to get a good application on the surface being sprayed. One way to measure the viscosity of your material is to use a stir stick. Simply dunk the stick into the material being used, then lift it out and count how long it takes for the steady stream of material coming off the end to break into dripping. For paint, 20 to 25 seconds is where you want to be, and for oil base varnishes, 15 to 20 seconds. Another way to measure this is to purchase a viscosity cup. You use it in pretty much the same way as the stir stick, but it will come with a manual showing you the proper times for a variety of materials, and is probably more accurate.

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