type of air compressor and paint gun needed?

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Forum topic by thatlabguy posted 09-03-2013 11:00 PM 1476 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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87 posts in 2686 days

09-03-2013 11:00 PM

I am getting ready to purchase what I will need to be able to use pre-cat finish on my dining tables, etc. My question is what specs should the air compressor have and recommendations of paint guns for the best finish results.


6 replies so far

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

1169 posts in 2524 days

#1 posted 09-04-2013 12:48 AM

I’ll ask the obvious question first – what is your budget? You can spend a little money or a lot of money…

If you don’t already have a compressor, and don’t have a need for a compressor outside of spraying finishes, your best bet is a self-contained HVLP unit, which is a gun and air supply unit designed to work together. HVLP units are quite portable so you can set up and spray pretty much anywhere.

To spray larger pieces with a compressor and gun combo, you are usually looking at a mid-size stationary compressor. Even the largest portable compressor (around 30 gallon tank) is barely adequate for anything but small pieces. And don’t even think about using your typical construction site hotdogs or pancakes. The advantage to going the compressor route is that you can switch guns easily and have different guns for different tasks. The disadvantage is that you are tied to your compressor.

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

View cutworm's profile


1075 posts in 2787 days

#2 posted 09-04-2013 01:15 AM

Good question. I’m not an authority but pre-cat is a good choice. I have sprayed it with my Harbor Freight HVLP turbine and with my compressed air sprayer. It does require a bit of practice so be patient. It helps to keep a log of finish/thinner ratios, pressure settings, nozzle sizes, etc. Hope it turns out well.

-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2355 days

#3 posted 09-04-2013 01:26 AM

SATA or Devilbiss gravity feed gun and the biggest compressor you can afford.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3279 days

#4 posted 09-04-2013 01:35 AM

I think Mark pretty well covered it for you; if you’re in the market to buy a compressor and gun strictly for finishing, then I would also suggest you try an HVLP unit.

In my business I sprayed pre-catalyzed lacquers and used a large commercial compressor and a Devilibess spray gun, but at my home shop I use the Earlex 5500 HVLP, spraying the same finishes and get great results.

I like the protability of the HVLP plus not having to worry with regulators, seperators and making sure no water is in the lines.

-- John @

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1325 posts in 1942 days

#5 posted 09-04-2013 04:07 PM

While I agree somewhat with mark, but I feel that is a lot of cash for a machine that does 1 thing. For the non commercial app I would go for a 60 gallon compressor and a HF gun. the reason is when you are done then you can still use the compressor for whatever you need. also if the gun gets messed up(dropped or not cleaned properly) then you pitch it and get another one, they are only 10-20 bucks. Thats how I roll

View NiteWalker's profile


2737 posts in 2570 days

#6 posted 09-04-2013 10:18 PM

I faced this dilemma a while back and decided on a turbine unit.
For what I would have spent on a new, bigger compressor and a full size gun, I would have spent the same as I did on my turbine (fuji minimite 4). I’m much happier with the turbine system.

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

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