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Earlex Spray Station vs. HVLP/Compressor

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Forum topic by alfa189 posted 12-31-2011 09:55 PM 2507 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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alfa189

95 posts in 1148 days


12-31-2011 09:55 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I currently have an HVLP spray gun and compressor that I have used to finish a fence. However, I have never used it for shop projects. Then I was watching back episodes of the Wood Whisperer and this Earlex Spray Station was mentioned. And it got me thinking about these spray systems in general. Are they for people who do not have a HVLP/Compressor combo? Or are they better for some reason or perform differently? Thanks Jocks. Looking forward to the replies.

Tyler

-- "It's not a mistake. It's a design feature."


16 replies so far

View jim C's profile

jim C

1455 posts in 1784 days


#1 posted 12-31-2011 10:13 PM

I am anxious for replies to this question also. If I use the Earlex for spraying water based stains and water based poly, how much overspray is there? Do I have to cover everything or do I need a portable booth? Same question with oil based products?

-- When I was a boy, I was told "anyone can be President", now I'm beginning to believe it!

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TJU

72 posts in 1342 days


#2 posted 12-31-2011 10:42 PM

I have a small compressor and gun that is good for small projects. I bought the earlex about 2 years ago because my compressor wasn’t big enough for a normal hvlp gun. I like it. I have only sprayed water based finishes through it and the finish it leaves is good. not a perfect finish but if you water down the last coat by 10% and use a semi gloss (not high gloss) finish it looks good. Not as good as a nice hvlp gun and compressor with a lacquer finish but pretty good. I think that the overspray is less but you will want to take the normal overspray precautions.

Tim

-- Although the voices aren't real they have some pretty good ideas.

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Sawkerf

1730 posts in 1755 days


#3 posted 12-31-2011 10:57 PM

If you’re using a compressor, you’re actually using an HVLP conversion gun. Full-on HVLP systems use a turbine instead of a compressor and operate around 3-5 scfm.

When I use my HVLP conversion gun, I have to dial my compressor output back to 30 – 40 psig.

-- Adversity doesn't build character...................it reveals it.

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jim C

1455 posts in 1784 days


#4 posted 12-31-2011 11:16 PM

So Sawkerf
What do you prefer?

-- When I was a boy, I was told "anyone can be President", now I'm beginning to believe it!

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Sawkerf

1730 posts in 1755 days


#5 posted 01-01-2012 12:57 AM

Jim -
It’s a toss up for me. I used a turbine HVLP for several years and it did fine – except for latex paint. I got the conversion gun early this year when I went to a bigger compressor and am finding it pretty good as well – except that spraying latex is a little problematic. I may take my finish guy up on his offer to teach me how to spray latex. – lol

-- Adversity doesn't build character...................it reveals it.

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alfa189

95 posts in 1148 days


#6 posted 01-02-2012 12:29 AM

I have a 30 gal compressor and seems to keep up fine. And yeah, that makes sense to dial down the psi. When I was finishing my fence, it was quite powerful. Made a quick job of it though!! I’m wondering if the turbine systems are just easier for general finishing tasks? And if so, maybe I’ll leave the compressor in it’s “quiet closet” until I need it for outdoor projects. Still trying to justify having both though. Was kinda hopin to hear about awesome finishing successes with the spray stations. Thanks for all the replies thus far guys.

-- "It's not a mistake. It's a design feature."

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jim C

1455 posts in 1784 days


#7 posted 01-02-2012 12:44 AM

I just finished remodeling my wet bar with new cabinet doors. (Oak) and used the minwax Polycrylic (water based gloss)
Used their spray can product. They came out beautiful, gloss and smooth with 1 or 2 coats.
I was thinking how much better they could be with an Earlex system.
I’m sold on the water base products. They lay flat and dry extremely fast.

-- When I was a boy, I was told "anyone can be President", now I'm beginning to believe it!

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2710 posts in 1263 days


#8 posted 01-02-2012 01:27 AM

I agree on waterbornes, though I use crystalac rather than polycrylic.

I use a compressor and mini conversion gun.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

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Jerry

2206 posts in 2233 days


#9 posted 01-02-2012 01:34 AM

I had the Earlex 5000. I use air compressors a lot so we always have an air compressor around to use. So I tend to use a less expensive gun I buy from Woodcraft. In fact we just bought a new gun at Woodcraft and I paid 29.97. It is a gravity feed gun, it lays on a good finish and has a nice wide spray fan. I prefer the compressor/gravity feed gun myself. I got rid of the Earlex. But I do remember it lacked some adjustments such as air flow that I have with my compressor set up. I also remember loosing a part that rendered the gun inoperable and since I depend on the gun it is tough to be in a pinch without a working gun. And the replacement parts were not cheap for Earlex. Now, if my gun messes up, I pay 30.00 for a brand new one and I am back in business. I never have any issues with my compressor set up for the most part.

OK, I think people think you must have a nice compressor to spray with. But we had been spraying with a Dewalt with 5.2 CFM output just fine. Then this past week that compressor messed up, it would not turn off, so I suspect the pressure switch might be failing, or something else? But we just switched over to using our smaller Porter Cable 2.6 CFM output, we use for nail guns, to finish up the job we were doing and that inexpensive compressor did just fine.

The big draw back I have with the cup or gravity feed guns is getting into tight places with the gun. I also hate having to refill my cup ever few minutes which can become a pain! So I have a planned upgrade to using a Devilbiss hvlp gun and 2 1/4 gallon pressure tank in the future when I can afford the upgrade in my budget. That upgrade should be our last. The Devilbiss will offer us what we currently have in advantages, probably be of higher quality in gun. And because the gun is only attached to two hoses, it will be lighter to use, easier to get into tighter spaces and will require refilling much less often. Also, because Devilbiss, along with Binks, is a very common name, replacement parts will be available for local purchase allowing me to be up and running quick when repairs are needed.

Just my 2 cents. But I am of the opinion that Earlex is over rated. The price for the Earlex is around 300.00 +/-. I can pick up a nice Devilbiss hvlp gun and pressure pot tank for around 500.00. And no way is Earlex anywhere close to Devilbiss in terms of quality and functionality. My advice is save your pennies, go for the gun/system that will see you through the rest of your days as a woodworker.

-- Jerry Nettrour, San Antonio, www.topqualitycabinets.net

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b2rtch

4341 posts in 1734 days


#10 posted 01-02-2012 01:41 AM

I use an Earlex, I have some over-spray but is it very little.
I used it to finish furniture and to paint my house with latex paint.
It worked very well.
For latex paint add Floetrol to the mix, the finish is excellent.
I just read on another forum that they recommend to not use Floetrol.
They say that it diminish the quality of the finish.

-- Bert

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alfa189

95 posts in 1148 days


#11 posted 01-02-2012 02:02 AM

Thanks for the detailed break downs, especially Jerry. It is very helpful. And yeah, one of my complaints is having to refill a cup every few minutes too. So do the spray systems have a tube/hose that goes down nto a reservoir of finish? or do they use a gravity fed/cup type of thing?

-- "It's not a mistake. It's a design feature."

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alfa189

95 posts in 1148 days


#12 posted 01-02-2012 02:05 AM

Oh, and Jimc: I’ll admit to paying way too much money too on rattle can finishes. I too have had good successes with them, and they sure are convenient. I especially love the no clean up :-) Just toss the can, grab a new one and go. But I have to figure out a better/less expensive alternative.

And Bert: Good to know about th latex paint through the Earlex. Thanks for the info…

-- "It's not a mistake. It's a design feature."

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

3442 posts in 1499 days


#13 posted 01-02-2012 02:20 AM

I use a WoodCraft and a porter cable gravity feed HVLP gun. One for stain and the other for lacquer. They both work great for finishing chairs and tables. The 1.5mm tip works fine for thin finishes like stain, shellac, and lacquer. You will need a 2.0mm tip and nozzle set for latex paint ($10 accessory for Woodcrafts very affordable gun).
I used to use the old siphon guns with the finish cup on the bottom, but they didn’t work very well.
For painting a fence, I would pull out the airless sprayer.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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Jerry

2206 posts in 2233 days


#14 posted 01-02-2012 03:00 AM

I just did a quick check online for paint pressure pot systems and only found the 2 qt Devilbiss system in the 500.00 range. Still that is a huge upgrade over Earlex. I believe Devilbiss to be a historically preferred name for high quality guns and finishes and thus would have a strong history to pull from. The pressure paint pot system also requires you have a compressor so I am assuming you have a compressor.

I do think the pressure pot system is more necessary for a person like myself who will spray a lot more since this is my lively hood. If I were only doing this as a hobby and anticipate spraying less frequently, I would purchase the woodcraft gun for 30.00 and be as happy as ever. Even if I did not have a compressor, a decent dual tank compressor made by ridgid with 4.0 CFM can be had at Home Depot for in the 200 + range. Ingersoll Rand makes a similar dual tank compressor with 4.0 CFM in the 200 range, can be bought at Tractor Supply.

But if a person already has a compressor and is willing to spend 300.00 + on Earlex, I would certainly advise to expand your budget to 500.00 and look into a devilbiss system. Also, keep in mind when looking at a paint pressure pot system, you really only need or want Devilbiss to be the maker of the actual gun, while the pressure pot itself could be made by another less expensive manufacturer. So for example, in the past I have seen where a nice Devilbiss hvlp gun was being sold packaged together with a nock off brand 2 gallon pressure tank. Also, older used binks/devilbiss model pressure tanks can be bought on Ebay for good prices and then a nice 200 – 300.00 Devilbiss gun can be added. Right now on Ebay I seen some older used binks paint pressure pots very affordable, and I seen a brand new Devilbiss JGA 510 never used with current bid at 91.00 http://www.ebay.com/itm/DEVILBISS-JGA-510-SPRAY-GUN-/110799279126?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item19cc26d416
So there are some options. Just research google more to find more information regarding paint pressure pot systems. But as I did say, if you will only spray sparingly as a hobby, woodcraft makes a very nice gun for 30.00 that will spray as good or better then the Earlex system. Hope this helps.

And, yes, in the pressure pot system, there is 2 hoses connected to the gun, one hose carries material and the other carries air. Two other advantages with this system I forgot to mention. It is a closed system, air does not get to the material so it can be left alone for some small periods of time without fully cleaning the system. Also the larger pots, 2 gallon pots, a person can simply place their 1 gallon can of material into the system and spray straight out of that one gallon can that would be left inside the pressure pot. Cleaning the system is also a simple process. Hope this helps.

-- Jerry Nettrour, San Antonio, www.topqualitycabinets.net

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Viking

857 posts in 1881 days


#15 posted 01-02-2012 03:22 AM

We have compressors and HVLP guns for shop projects but, bought the Earlex 3000, on a good $99 sale at Woodcraft (right before the 3500 came out), for my wife and her projects. It’s simple to use and cleanup and that’s what she likes about it. She has used water based products only so, makes cleanup even easier.

-- Rick Gustafson - Lost Creek Ranch - Colorado County, Texas

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