Mats Bengtsson Home Improvement and Do It Yourself

For high quality spray painting use a compressor that delivers high air flow

Mats Bengtsson mib over the years

High quality spray painting requires a high air flow compressor

First of all, if you are going to spray paint wood, buy yourself a good spray gun equipment. My first two HVLP spray guns where "medium" quality. They did work (but with waterborne paint only if it was really well thinned). They also did work with my low quality compressor (2.5 horse power, 50 liter, creating an air flow about 135 liters/minute at 3 bar).

The reason those lower quality spray guns worked was because the lower quality guns do not require as much air flow as high quality guns do. HVLP guns need less air flow than ordinary guns. But amongst HVLP, the spray guns that can atomize thicker paint need more air flow than those that cannot. For my medium cheap spray guns, an air flow of 200 liters per minute was about what they would use. 200 liters per minute is not that hard for a 2.5 hp compressor to produce, and with 50 liters in the tank, I could do a lot of painting between the waits for the tank to fill up again.

When I bought my high quality paint gun (an Asturo HVLP spray gun), it turned out it used up to 550 liters per minute. My old compressor had no chance at all. Not only that, my old hose was too small considering its length (8 millimeter inside diameter, 10 meter hose). I had to change to 3/8 inch inside diameter hose in order to be able to get air flow enough to get to the gun. I also had to change to a 3 hp dual piston compressor, which is stated to deliver an air flow of 450 liters per minute. I still use 50 liter tank, due to space limits at home, but 100 liter would have been better.


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