Fuji HVLP Question

Hey all you Fuji owners, I've got a Fuji unit that came with a viscosity cup. The cup has no designation with regard to any known standard measures ( Ford #4 for example ) I want to shoot some very expensive marine paint and don't want to waste any by experimenting with different ratios of thinner. I sent Paul Smith, a very nice guy BTW, at Fuji an email inquiry and he confirmed that the cup is not standardized. He suggested that I experiment until it works and then record the ratio, which is exactly what I don't want to do. Does anyone know to what scale this cup correlates? Or, does anyone know where I can get a standardized cup? I DAGS but came up empty.
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Lincoln Terns wrote:

An auto paint supplier.
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SNIP

which is exactly what I don't want to do. >Does anyone know to what scale this cup correlates? >Or, does anyone know where I can get a standardized >cup? I have the Q4, and have been using it regularly in my business for about a year and a half. I love the machine, but to shoot industrial grade products there is a curve, just like there was/is with high pressure. And since thinning to correct viscosity is an essential with HVLP, I haven't found any other way to get the coatings prepared for application than experimentation.
Some coatings require no thinning, especially is you purchased a 4 stage unit. But the very same coating will require thinning on a 60 degree day that it doesn't need on a 85 day.
My favorite clear coating is a little expensive (+/- $45 a gallon) and it shoots like glass from a high pressure gun. But with my HVLP, it was like starting over when I used it. I never fiddled with different speeds of thinners etc., and kept such exacting notes based on temperarture and humiidity before. Since I was learning both machine application process (I had only used a compressor powered HVLP gun before), and thinning ratios at the same time, by the time I got it where it was putting down a satisfactory coat I had run through a hundred dollars worth of material on test plywood.
But before I got it where I wanted it, and before I got to where I would confidently roll up on job and get set up to mix and spray in someone's garage no matter what the temperture or conditions I probably spent another $250 on material and thinners, not to mention my labor. I did all that because I can't afford to experiment or learn on a client's property.
The same happened with my industrial coatings, but not so much experimentation was required. Still, the formulas are different from the high pressure days. As a rule to start, I thin by about 10% more for them than I did with high pressure spraying to make the coats lay down properly.
And now many manufacturers are starting to make different coatings that require no thinning when using HVLP. It has been my experience though, that colored coatings are behind the clear coatings on this.
As far as the cup goes, if I were you, I would toss it. If you worked in a climate controlled shop all day long, same temps, same humidity, same airflow, etc., then the viscosity cup might have some merit. If you are spraying in an open shop or outsided, the cups are pretty useless.
As painful as it might be to burn the matrial, I would start mixing up 1/2 quart batches in the cup and trying them out. I just consider that aspect the same as the curve to learning proper to use any other tool.
I would also take a minute and call the number on the can and ask them 1) where to start thinning to prepare for application and 2) what is the most amount you can thin and not harm the material.
Good luck!
Robert
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wrote:

which is exactly what I don't want to do. >Does anyone know to what scale this cup correlates? >Or, does anyone know where I can get a standardized >cup?

Robert, Thanks for the thoughtful and comprehensive reply. I definitely understand that, without a controlled environment, trying to isolate a variable is going to end in fustration. I'm just trying to get in the ballpark for one variable before attempting to blend in all the others. I spray a lot of different materials on a lot of small and diverse projects and am trying mightily to shorten my learning curves. As for myself, I'm just a hack doing this for my own amusement so any experimenting is money out my pocket and, at $35 a quart, is an expensive proposition. I did contact the manufacturer who claims the stuff can't be sprayed with HVLP equipment but I suspect they're not allowed to tell me to thin it out past VOC compliance regs. And I also suspect that your belief that there is no shortcut is probably correct. Oh well, back to the test board...
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Lincoln, Coronado told me the same (no HVLP) with their quick dry industrial metal coating.
I cut is 10% with VPM (super clean naptha) and shoot it with my HVLP and it works like a dream, and the finish is great.
Find a compatible solvent, thin it a little, then if it doesn't come out of the gun right, thin it a bit more.
I went down to Harbor Freight and bought a second cup for the gun, and when I am testing finishes I mix in one and keep thinner in the other to flush the gun between test batches.
Don't underestimate the Fuji's power, either. They claim to have the highest delivery of air flow in the business, and having used a few HVLPs, I believe it. You might want to crank up the pressure to the gun a little more than you think you should and try that setting as well as the thinning.
Robert
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If someone can give you an answer on how your cup compares to a standard cup you might find the following useful Cheers, JG
http://www.homesteadfinishing.com/pdf/generic_viscosity.pdf
http://www.homesteadfinishing.com/pdf/AOM_Viscosity_Conversion_Chart.pdf

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I assume you are wanting to shoot "bottom paint" ???
Most boatyards in our area use damn big airless sprayers for that sort of application.
Lincoln Terns wrote:

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