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I have the Porter-Cable PSH1 Gravity Feed Spray Gun and have been very happy with it. I like the gravity feed and it is very easy to clean (one of the most important features in a spray gun). It is well manufactured for only $100. If this is your first gun, some advice when you finally get one, do not spray in a cold enviroment (I sprayed some latex-based in my garage in 40 deg weather and it took too long for the paint to dry causing drips). Also, there will be a learning curve (I started with paint instead of stain so I could fix my screw-ups). And finally, wear breathing protection!!!
What type of compressor do you have and what is the CFM rating,
I found through personal expieriance that the rating on the gunsis usaully low. I had a DeVillbis HVLP gun for a while, the ratings mathed my compressor CFM and HP But in reallity the compressor kept cycling to much causing pressure to change at the hose. This caused uneven spray pattern in inconsistancy in the finish. I also had to deal with moisture issues even with a filter at the gun.
So, I priced a new compressor at $800.00 and a good desicant type drier at $300.00 and decided there must be a better way....
I broke down and purchased a ACCUSPRAY HVLP Turbine system for $750.00 and could not be any happier with it. You get constant airflow, no moisture, and it only weighs about 25lbs so I can take it anywhere and not be tied to a huge commpressor. There are may tips available to spray just about anything, clean up is easy. Finish quality is fantastic.
Ken - I've got a 6hp/33 gallon compressor rated 7.7 cfm @ 40 psi. I emailed PC for the specs on the gun since they weren't listed on their website. According to PC the gun will work with a compressor tank as small as 16 gallons and the average scfm required @ 40 psi is 8.5. I was going to add an inexpensive moisture filter to the line but it does leave me a little low on the air flow (-.8cfm). I'd rather not cough up $500+ for a three turbine HVLP system if there is any way that I can avoid it. I'm hoping that I've got enough capacity in the tank to keep the motor from cycling too much. Anyone else have trouble with conversion guns?
Bob_the_builder & rmacmec: Are you using a larger compressor than I have listed above?
I have the PC conversion HVLP gun and love it - use it only for lacquer, so I can't discuss how it does with heavier finishes. If you have a good size tank, as you do, a low CFM rating means that you will have have to pause while spraying for the compressor to catch up. (When you get on a roll, you will be surprised how irritating that can be, but you don't have to buy a new compressor yet). The regulator at the PC gun will keep things even until the pressure falls way too low. I know my compressor is smaller than yours, because I max out a 15 amp circuit, and you cannot run 6 HP on a standard household circuit, but I don't know the rated HP of my compressor.
The manual with the PC is pathetic, so you will need to look elsewhere to learn how to compensate for paint too thick, too thin; air pressure too high, too low; fan too large/small, etc. The interaction between air pressure, air volume, and paint volume on this gun are substantially different than my two previous conventional guns - perhaps because this is a far better quality gun, or because it is my first HVLP gun. I had to learn again with this gun.
If this is your first spray gun, I recommend spraying anything that stands still (house, car, inside of cardboard boxes, etc) with water to get experience. Probably the most important thing is to keep the gun pointing straight ahead and at a constant distance from the work, not moving in an arc as you naturally would. The gun must be moving before you pull the trigger, and keep moving after you release. Watch for water drools and look for even coverage as you practice. Also practice inside corners - they are tricky since the air bouncing out tries to take the paint back out before it reaches the corner.
I would also recommend getting filters if you are using a compressor that takes oil. I would hope you are because an oiless compressor will die a miserable death trying to keep up with spraying of any kind.
There are 2 filters required. The first is a general purpose filter that removes dust, dirt and some moisture and the second is a fine filter that removes anything greater than .2 or .3 microns. This will stop oil spotting when the compressor gets a little worn.
I wish you luck, I went all through the specs to, But as stated allready, your compressor is going to take abuse running at the edge of capacity. Most small compressors only have a 20 or 30% duty cycle, so having the compressor running constantly to keep up with the gun will overheat it and lead to an early death. Do you have the manual for it? Does it mention Duty Cycle?
I am just telling you my personal experience, I did all the research and thought I was good to go also. I am just trying so save you aggrevation and money in the long run.
Keep us posted and good luck.....
[ 03-04-2003, 06:58 AM: Message edited by: Ken Deckelman ]
High Volume Low Pressure(HVLP) is a method of spraying finishes with a high volume of air at a low pressure the minimize overspray and "bounce back" were the material bounces off the surface and into the air. The efficiancy(sp?) is also much greater than regular spray systems. Good systems acheive transfer rates up to about 85% versus about 50% with regular systems, so you waste much less product.
I spray clear laquer's mostly with mine but have tried latex paint with OK results(I need a different tip)
I use ML Cambell's MagnaMax,It is Pre-Catalized so no mixing is required(except a little retarder), it is tack free in about 15 minutes so you dont get much dust in it, and you can handle gently in about 1 hour. I pay about $28.00 a gallon for it, only about $6.00 more than MinWax Poly but no brush marks, fast dry and great results.
I have spent alot of time and money to get this far and know what I know. I am by no means an expert. I was just on a quest for "The Perfect Finish" and I am closer with this system than any thing else. I could have bought at least 2 turbines for what I spent trying other sprayers and "miracle" finishes. I went to a local furniture refinisher and picked his brain, he turned me on to a distributer the sells to cabinet shops. They have incredible plywood,MDF,MDO,cabinet hardware,formica,and other stuff as well as a finish department that will custom match stains.