Every second week, Harbor Freight has their standard HVLP (purple) gun on sale for $15 or sometimes even $10 but the box warns you that you need “X” amount of air to operate it. I say fooey! My small Craftsman pancake compressor advertises 2.7 CFM at 40PSI which is far below the advertised 6 CFM that the gun requires. Perhaps the HVLP gun has a similar “over-specification” as their 2HP dust collector?
With the tank full and the regulator set at 50 PSI (while holding the gun wide open), I get approximately 40 seconds of non-stop spraying before the regulator shows the pressure dropping below 50 PSI. Of course, no one ever holds a gun open this long spraying.
Of course, the compressor is going to run quite a bit to provide you with enough air but I’m writing this to let those know who otherwise wouldn’t even try it that it does work and it worked perfectly for my outfeed/assembly table using Varathane water-based varnish.
I wouldn’t suggest trying to paint a car like this but for various small projects, there is no need to get a bigger compressor right off the bat.