Harbor Freight Electric HVLP kit

Hi all,
Just wanted to mention that I went ahead and purchased the el cheapo Harbor Freight electric HVLP kit, for $69.99. Comes with the gun, the electric turbine (4 psi), 15 feet of hose, a viscosity cup, and 3 different needles/nozzles. Turbine says it users 1000 watts. The gun is a bleader, which I assume is needed to keep the turbine box cool enough. Instructions are very basic, and don't tell much, but there isn't much needed. It did say the viscosity cup should drain in 8-20 seconds for best results, which I found to be pretty accurate. I got this kit because my air compressor isn't big enough to put out the volume needed by a HVLP conversion gun.
I didn't expect much, but I have been pleasantly surprised. I am currently spraying a wood chest, approx. 2 feet high x 2 feet deep x4 feet long. Yesterday I sprayed some Killz latex primer on it. I had to thin it down a bit, which was to be expected. Killz is pretty thick stuff, after all. Atomization was pretty good, it didn't shoot big globs ever.
Turbine sounds like, and is about as loud as a vacuum cleaner. It could also be used as a nice inflator for rubber rafts, air matresses, etc. Hose was of decent quality. Gun is easy to take apart and clean. The cup and gun body are made of a black plastic that seemed to resist sticking to paint farily well. Cleanup was pretty easy, I just disassembled the gun, rinsed the cup, and soaked the parts in some warm water for a few minutes.
It took about 10 or 15 minutes to get the hang of it, but once I did, it put on a pretty nice coat - definately nicer than I could do brushing. The only adjustment on the gun adjusts how far the needle is retracted when the trigger is squezed, which effectivley tunes how much paint you are spraying out. At first I was putting way to much on and got some runs - but after I got the hang of it I was putting on a nice coat with no runs. I found it better to run it on the lean side, and make multiple passes to ensure a nice coat. Overspray was minimal, which really was nice. My clothes and garage were not covered with little specs of paint everywhere like a high pressure sprayer, or cheap Wagner diaphram gun.
Tonight I will be sanding the primer then putting on a top coat or two of latex paint. Now that I am kind of used to it, I think I can put on a pretty nice topcoat and have a good paint job. With the cost of the thing, I am pretty impressed. No, I don't expect it to last forever, but then again, I don't do a tremendous amount of paiting either. Once I finish this project up, I will be paiting kitchen cupboards with an oil primer and paint. The key is to keep the paint a but on the light side and make a few passes, keeping the gun perpendicular to the work surface.
Anyway, just thought I would pass this along. I wouldn't paint my car with it, but it works pretty well for small projects. I would say it is on par with the $200 range CH units.
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Scott - good review. One suggestion for you... practice with that gun a bit and try to develop the knack for spraying with a pretty healthy spray and not get runs. Obviously, you'll be developing your sense of spraying speed in order to prevent the runs. The principle here is that you'll get better finishes with wetter coats than you will with dry coats. This becomes especially true with top coats. You'll be happy to have less sanding to do than if you put on dry coats and end up with orange peel. Practice makes perfect and all that.
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Thanks for the tip. I did some more spraying tonight, and did good and bad. At first my primer was too thick, then too thin, then I got it just right. It definately takes some practice to get the speed right so I can do things in just one pass and get a nice coat. It will be interesting to use actual paint as it is quite a bit thinner than the Killz primer. Oh well, will do that tomorrow.
Scott
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wrote:

Well, let us know how it goes tomorrow. Try to think of your coats as if you were stretching a film of plastic, or that nasty stuff that the wife keeps in the kitchen that only women can properly stretch over a plate of leftovers, over your object. It's really helpful to have lots and lots of good light and watch your coats go on. Don't try to just feel it. Watch the spread and you'll see when it's getting to heavy and you'll find it much easier to gauge your spray speed.
I'm in the habit of mixing up whatever I'm spraying with anal retentive precision. It's a must when spraying cars and it carries over into other types of spraying projects. The advantage is that you don't have to deal with the issues of too thick one time, too thin another. Experiment, find the right thickness, and record it for future use. Then be sure to mix exactly that way the next time you use the same stuff.
Good luck and happy spraying.
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-Mike-
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You might test drive the latex topcoat first. After adding some latex flow additive, a similar kit produced very nice results. GerryG
On 1 Oct 2004 12:39:46 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Scott Fuhrman) wrote:

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On 1 Oct 2004 12:39:46 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Scott Fuhrman) wrote:

Thanks.
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