HVLP sprayers - need some knowledge

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Forum topic by dakremer posted 12-28-2012 03:30 AM 1830 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2742 posts in 3333 days

12-28-2012 03:30 AM

Topic tags/keywords: hvlp sprayer

For Christmas, my wife bought me the WoodRiver Pro spray Gun (see it here)

There was a poor excuse for an instructional manual that came with it. It literally didnt tell me anything.

I’m hoping to get some LJ help….

What can you spray with this thing?? Paint (oil/water based)? finishes? stains? which ones?

Do I need to thin them? if so, which ones? How?

How do I clean the gun after using paint, finishes, etc???

Do you have any sources of information?

Any help would be appreciated! Even if its just one tip!! Thanks

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

15 replies so far

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4135 days

#1 posted 12-28-2012 03:52 AM

You need approx., 20 + cfm of compressed air, to make a HVLP system work

otherwise, the work looks horrible as atomization slowly becomes a pending death as volume of air declines

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

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5032 posts in 4135 days

#2 posted 12-28-2012 04:01 AM

assuming you have a compressor that can deliver the volume of air required

tips and needles are determined somewhat by the viscosity of the fluid going through it and therefor there is no easy answer to your questions

I would only spray “ONE” type of fluid through the gun no matter how well you clean it.

If you go to an automotive painting company. You will see individual HVLP guns for each and every type of paint they spray. Same for furniture companies otherwise be prepared to spend a lot of money on tips, needles, caps, O rings and parts

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View dakremer's profile


2742 posts in 3333 days

#3 posted 12-28-2012 04:20 AM

Well I’m definitely going to use this for more than one type of finish – so I hope someone has some good cleaning tips! haha – can’t afford to buy one of these for each type of things i want to spray!

My brother in law has a pretty beefy compressor – I’ll have to see if its got 20+ cfm…..

Thanks Moron

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 2805 days

#4 posted 12-28-2012 04:33 AM

maybe im a bit ignorant, but doesn’t the specs say that it takes 4.2-7.1 cfm? how come you’d need 20+cfm? my 20 gallon 3HP compressor tops out around 8.8 cfm so would that mean you’d need something in the 40-50 gallon range to spray?

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View JesseTutt's profile


854 posts in 2352 days

#5 posted 12-28-2012 05:05 AM

I suppose that it would be best to dedicate a different gun to each type of finish, but how many hobbyists can afford a different gun for each type of finish? On my Earlex each gun is over $100. When I was looking at hvlp a salesman quoted my $300 to $500 for an Apollo hvlp spray gun. Can I afford a separate gun for Rustoleum, oil based paint, latex paint, lacquer, shellac, oil based poly and water based poly? Certainly not in my case!

I don’t know about the cfm because I have a true hvlp gun and compressor. What you are looking at is a conversion gun and I know that they take more cfm.

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View pintodeluxe's profile


5820 posts in 3055 days

#6 posted 12-28-2012 05:44 AM

Almost any compressor will run that gun. I have one, and use it with a typical 2 hp portable compressor. It is a great gun, and the standard tip is a 1.4mm set and will spray lacquer, poly and shellac beautifully. If you want to spray latex paint, you will need the 2.0 mm tip and nozzle kit which only costs about $10. I have a more expensive Porter Cable HVLP gun and the performance is comparable. The only difference is the P.C. gun comes with a regulator.
Just get comfortable with the fluid and fan knobs on some cardboard or scrap wood. You will be an expert in about 10 minutes.

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

View DannyB's profile


46 posts in 3663 days

#7 posted 12-28-2012 06:27 AM

Only things like satajet’s require 20 CFM, and then, it’s 20CFM@30psi or 20CFM@40psi, not 20CFM@90psi.
(it’s somewhat pointless to talk about CFM without knowing what pressure it is at).

This is also only if you want to spray continuously forever without any breaks, etc.

View Craftsman70's profile


244 posts in 2366 days

#8 posted 12-28-2012 06:45 AM

I’m by no means an expert, but one thing I have learned is that when adjusting the volume of paint on the gun puts out, start by having set to nothing and then slowly increase the amount of spray. That works much better than starting to high and lowering the volume of paint it spits out. Atleast that’s what I found because I had a tendency to try to push too much paint through at once and cause runs.

View dakremer's profile


2742 posts in 3333 days

#9 posted 12-28-2012 06:50 AM

with the standard 1.4mm set…can you spray the lacquer, poly, and shellac with out thinning them???

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View Kelby's profile


134 posts in 2652 days

#10 posted 12-28-2012 09:01 AM

I have a Sata MiniJet, which looks like a more expensive version of the gun you have. I love it. I have used it extensively for the last eight or ten years to shoot lacquer, shellac, poly, and most recently a little bit of milk paint.

Browsing the web, you find a lot of people telling you all these persnickety rules you need to follow when spraying. I find the best practice is to ignore all the rules and try doing whatever you want to do on cardboard to see if it works. Nine times out of ten, what I want to do works great, even though it doesn’t follow somebody’s rules. The other one time out of ten, I’m only out a piece of cardboard.


-- Kelby

View DannyB's profile


46 posts in 3663 days

#11 posted 12-28-2012 02:20 PM

You should be careful saying that, as the minijet is a really nice gun meant to shoot pretty much anything without too much trouble (as long as you have the right tip/aircap)
This is of course, one of the reasons they are so expensive :)

It’s like saying “I drive a really high end BMW, and 9 times out of ten, I find I can just drive however I like and the car does the right thing”.

View dakremer's profile


2742 posts in 3333 days

#12 posted 12-28-2012 03:42 PM

So with a fun like this do you typically thin down everything you spray? Or do u just need the right needle?

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View DannyB's profile


46 posts in 3663 days

#13 posted 12-28-2012 03:58 PM

I use the right needle, but in a perfect world you could always use a larger needle and adjust the fluid volume way down on the gun.

Doing that is much harder to get right, so typically i use the right needle, thin slightly if necessary, and keep the fluid fully open, so I only need to adjust the air settings.

A lot of folks treat spraying as some form of black magic that requires fiddling around with a gun haphazardly to get the results you want. However, none of spraying is as complex as it may sound if you understand what the knobs on the gun are actually doing and what this does to the output. You should never really need to fiddle around once you do that. You should be able to just spray it on cardboard, see what the pattern/coverage/fluid volume looks like, and know how to adjust the gun to make it closer to what you want.

View AandCstyle's profile


3185 posts in 2498 days

#14 posted 12-28-2012 04:43 PM

I would suggest you get this book and CD. There is a lot to learn about spraying and this is a great place to start. It will answer most, if not all, your questions, then come back here if you have additional questions.

I think spraying is very doable by an average wood worker, but you need to be aware of the potential impacts of the variables-type and viscosity of finish, air flow and pressure (at the gun, trigger pulled), temperature, humidity, thickness of the coat you are laying down, etc.

Rule #1: Buy and use a good respirator, such as this one.

Rule #2: Follow rule #1.


-- Art

View shopmania's profile


701 posts in 3423 days

#15 posted 12-28-2012 07:09 PM

I think craftsman70 gave the best tip so far, start with very little finish coming out of the gun and turn it UP, not the other way around. And definitely start on cardboard. The book will also be a good investment. My Earlex 5500 came with a viscosity cup, which is a small cup with a hole in in. You fill it up and time how long it takes to drain, and that gives you an idea of viscosity. It its too thick, thin it with the appropriate solvent for that finish. The thicker the finish, the bigger needle you need. Mostly the only thing you need a bigger needle for is latex paint. Shellac, lacquer, poly and stain can go thru the small needle. The viscosity cup is nice, but I only used mine twice. You get a pretty good feel for what the right viscosity looks like. It doesn’t have to be exact, just in the range. Obviously, if you’re getting drips and runs, you’re putting on too much material. It’s a trial and error thing, but the learning curve is pretty steep (quick). Don’t make your first project to spray the heirloom you spent months building with exotic hardwood. After your first few projects, you’ll feel like an old hand. Good luck

-- Tim, Myrtle Beach, Just one more tool, that's all I need! :)

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