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Excellent performance at a decent price

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Review by PurpLev posted 07-04-2010 05:02 AM 3033 views 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Excellent performance at a decent price Excellent performance at a decent price No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

DISCLAIMER:
This is the 1 and only spray system I’ve ever used/seen so take this with a grain of salt. this review is based on my expectations and experience from this unit.

I have been brushing/wiping finish, but always wanted to spray for the benefits of:
1. time (faster process, and faster drying time – also less contamination probability of the finish)
2. ease and effort (less sanding, and less effort applying finish)

I got this unit used off of craigslist for a bargain price, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to afford getting into spraying at this point in my life, even though I think the market price of this unit is more than reasonable. At first I was skeptical with how it’ll perform for my needs, but I figured for the price I paid, I can always resell it if it won’t do what I want it to.

needless to say – I’m keeping this one. and hope that someone with the same concerns may benefit from this review.

The Basics:
This is a 2 stage turbine system, comes ready to work with the turbine, the long hose, the gun, cup, 2 needles (fine and medium) a wrench, and a cleaning brush. It also comes with a viscosity bar (which I didn’t get) as opposed to a viscosity cup – although both do the same, as they check how viscous the material in the cup is.

The Sprayer Gun
A hybrid construction of polycarbon material and what seems to be aluminum for most parts. The plastics are good and hard material, and those parts actually are just fine, but the aluminum parts makes me wonder how much beating they can take before needs to be replaced. I would have liked something more robust like stainless steel that other guns seems to utilize for their parts, but at this price, and for now – this will work just fine. for what it’s worth – the equivalent system from Earlex (the 5000 model) seems to have a better made gun at a similar price.

The gun disassembles and assembles easily with the included wrench, with the only difficult part being pulling the needle out of it’s place for cleaning. it’s a tight fit – which is good, but hard to get out, and with the plastic sleeve I’m wary of using pliers to pull it out. Other than that – the cup is standard aluminum with no coating (some systems have teflon coated cup) so far this has not been an issue.

The Turbine
The turbine unit is fairly simple. has an on-off button, and a small compartment in the back to keep the extras in (extra needle, wrench, viscosity bar, and brush). There are 2 filters on each of the turbines side, which are easily taken out for periodical cleaning and are easy to put back on. very simple, simply works.

Based on specs, this unit has a higher rating motor in terms of CFM compared to other turbines in it’s price ranage

The Hose
The hose seems very durable, and is very long compared to other turbines in this price range which is a good thing as you can keep the turbine well away from the spraying area to keep it out and away from the over-spray.

Operation
operation is straight forward, I won’t go into the details of spraying, just the performance part of it.

Loudness: the unit is loud like any other turbine, so ear protection is a good thing to have at hand.

Bleeder Type Gun: I assume all turbines are the same way meaning – the turbine keeps supplying air to the gun nonstop, and the air has to go somewhere, in this case -it goes through the gun and out the nozzle just the same way it does during normal operation. The only difference between spray mode and non-spray mode is the addition of the material/finish being sprayed during spray mode – other than that, the air goes through the gun just the same whether you are spraying or not. keep this in mind- and when not spraying, point the gun somewhere it won’t affect anything.

Cup position: do to the nature of the cup being underneath the gun, and the material being sucked up through a tube, if you tilt the gun in certain ways, or there is not enough material in the cup – the gun won’t spray anything, which could potentially create an uneven finish coat. just keep that in mind.

Viscosity: So far I’ve only sprayed water-borne poly (GF Polyacrylic) and it handled that VERY WELL with the fine needle. the spray was even, consistent, and atomized well enough for me at different setting of material flow.

Over-Spray: seemed to be very minimal. I didn’t notice any over spray on me while using this, but things in the direction the sprayer is pointing at could get some of the overspray. a fan/exhaust and covering the surrounding are a good mean to keep things around clean.

Conclusion
A good performer, with some good features at a reasonable price (compared to other choices and options). Does waterbased finishes very well. Simple to operate, has good operational features (material flow control, air flow control, quick to set spray patterns with a twist of the nozzle, cleanable filters, long hose). has available and affordable replacement parts (replacement needle is less than half the price of a competitor unit – although made of cheaper materials), and bottom line – a sprayer that works, and can produce a fine finish without too much hassle, or fiddling.

For what it’s worth, I was actually toying with the idea of getting the Earlex 5000, but since it’s not in my budget I was holding off till this one came along on CL – I would have liked to have the Earlex gun, but the long hose on this one kinda makes up for it. For the once in a while project that I have to finish, this will be more than enough for my needs. If you are looking at finishing projects on a daily basis – maybe something more heavy duty is in order though.

I can definitely recommend this to anyone in the market for an hvlp system. This one is a keeper.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.




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PurpLev

8476 posts in 2403 days



9 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112942 posts in 2331 days


#1 posted 07-04-2010 05:09 AM

Great review Sharon. I’m glad the system worked out.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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PurpLev

8476 posts in 2403 days


#2 posted 07-04-2010 05:15 AM

Thanks Jim. I’m glad it did as well. it was a 50/50 chance ,and although I was ok with either direction it would take, I’m glad it took this direction. this will come in handy in future projects.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Brad_Nailor's profile

Brad_Nailor

2532 posts in 2712 days


#3 posted 07-04-2010 06:10 AM

Wow..great review Sharon…you covered all the basses! I have been wondering what the difference would be between paying the money for a self contained turbine style HVLP like this, and just buying an HVLP gun and running it off my compressor?

-- http://www.facebook.com/pages/DSO-Designs/297237806954248

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2403 days


#4 posted 07-04-2010 06:17 AM

David, the benefit of the turbine IS that it’s self contained – no need for a big a$$ compressor. but if you have a large enough compressor, coupled with a good gravity gun I personally think you’d get better performance. For me the portability of the turbine and not having to rely on a big compressor which I don’t have make the turbine a great unit. I can also move it to my basement or garage if I need to, or anywhere for that matter (for spraying anything other than finish).

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15822 posts in 2973 days


#5 posted 07-04-2010 03:17 PM

Great review, Sharon!

Following your entry into the world of spraying has gotten me pumped to try some waterborne finishes. I’ve still got an unopened can of lacquer sitting on a shelf that I’ve been too intimidated to play with.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2403 days


#6 posted 07-04-2010 03:46 PM

Thanks Charlie. I would like to spray lacquer and shellac with this at some point – but will have to have a dedicated ventilated controlled booth for that since I don’t feel like blowing up the house just yet (even though it’s the 4th today). If you mean waterbased lacquer – I say go for it although it does have some unique characteristics: a. unless stated otherwiser- it’s water white – I kinda like it on lighter woods as it keeps the original color just add some sheen to it. and b. the application (sprayed) looks different when wet – as opposed to solvent based which looks nice and even when wet, the waterbased counterpart looks like it has a texture – but when dried, it forms a nice flat coating.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15822 posts in 2973 days


#7 posted 07-04-2010 04:02 PM

On a non-spray note, I noticed in a magazine that Minwax has a wipe-on water based poly out. I’ve tried wiping a thinned water-based poly and not been really happy with the results, so I’m curious to try this out and see if it is more than just a thinned version of the regular brush on stuff.

I also saw somewhere that General Finishes is making a water-based poly with an amber tint to more closely resemble the look of oil-based. I’ve used brush on water-based poly on quite a few projects, and its clarity can be kind of “cold” looking on some woods.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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PurpLev

8476 posts in 2403 days


#8 posted 07-04-2010 04:10 PM

Charlie – GF has the Enduro-Val which is waterbased but supposedly has the warm tint look of solvent based finishes. it’s ~$26 per Qt compared to what I’ve used at ~$20 a Qt and since this was more for testing purposes, I went with the less expensive choice. FYI. I finished (no pun intended) the entire Qt container on these 2 chairs making the finish on the chair more expensive than the chair itself. I would like to try the Enduro-Val, but may also opt for other brands just for cost reduction on my part. I hear there are other options our there.

As I said – some people are put off by the water white ‘cool’ look of water borne finishes, but I think it has it’s place for certain woods. I really like the pale color of maple and birch, and was always put off by the yellowish tone oil poly would give them.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View woodsmithshop's profile

woodsmithshop

1190 posts in 2300 days


#9 posted 07-05-2010 04:01 PM

a few years ago there was a review on water based finishes, they were rated 1through 5 on several different things, I went through the list and added up the points for each finish, Crystallac, (from McFeelys) added up to the most points, I have been using this finish ever since with no problems, they have brushable, and sprayable, I have only used the spray on, they also have an amber tone that can be added, about 4oz will do a gallon, or you can adjust any way you like for the amount of amber tone you want. the cost is around $ 50 shipping included, there may be better ones out there now, but I have had very good results, with no complaints.
just my 2 cents worth.

-- Smitty!!!

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