Wimpy compressor, Critter my only choice?

I've read a few of the threads and it seems that my only choice for using my wimpy compressor with a spray gun, is the Critter. I've seen the odd post suggesting alternatives, but I haven't seen much in the way of model numbers.
My compressor is 6 gallons, 2HP and puts out 2.2scfm at 90 PSI and 3.7 scfm at 40 PSI. So is it Critter time?
Most of my projects will be small, but there may be the odd one around 100 sq. ft..
Thanks
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Bill Stock wrote:

I have a couple of these. I used to spray with them all the time:
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber
You can run the compressor down with this gun, but with the paint thinned properly your compressor will probably keep up. I never spray any latex products with it, but gallons of solvent based. When I had a lot of things to spray, went back to HF and bought a quart cup and a 1/4" to 3/8" brass fitting and put it on the bottom of this gun. It worked great.
I used this gun (and still do!) a lot, and at the time I bought it, it was specifically because I didn't have compressor that would drive a bigger gun.
Robert
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A critter is your best bet for that compressor. (I gues you know that it's not really 2HP)
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Every complicated problem has a simple solution that doesn't work.

Larry Wasserman Baltimore, Maryland
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Yes, I've been perusing the compressors looking for a cheap upgrade to my existing unit. There's quite the range of SCFM even for the larger units. The Harbor Fright "4HP" looks pretty impressive for $139, but it's ratings seem too high for it's size. Not to mention it's only a 10 gallon tank, so it would probably run forever.
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wrote:

Forget compressors for your spraying needs, unless you see a great need for compressed air for other uses.
I have lots of experience with a Harbor Freight $69 HVLP setup, complete with turbine. This same unit is now sold by Rockler and Woodcraft for $89-99. Once you're comfortable with the fact that all adjustments need to be made via fluid viscosity changes (with an included viscosity cup), as the unit only has so much power, and only one needle/cap choice, the unit is extremely serviceable. If you keep a small $0.39 notebook with it, the usability description heads into the neighborhood of "extremely easy to use".
My other unit is a much more expensive Fuji 4 stage, but I still use the HF unit for certain projects, like staining, sanding sealer, and outdoor finishing. In fact, I recently loaned the HF out to a guy who varnished a 20 foot cedar boat with excellent results! <G> I also own a Critter, which works fine for very small jobs using my portable nail gun compressor.
If you get to the point where you are spraying a whole bunch, you can get a high-quality turbine HVLP unit, and you still won't need a big compressor.
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Thanks Barry, I guess you're talking about this one?
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumberD677
What's the clean up like?
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I have the sprayer shown in the link. I looked at my options for a long time until I finally decided to try this out. It's the same one Woodcraft sells but can be had at HF for as little as $69 at the right time. My other options started at around $500.
This sprayer works very well. I've sprayed oil based primer and oil based paints with it. Once I learned how to paint correctly I got excellent results. Most of your adjustments are to the viscosity of the paint but you do have an adjustment for paint volume. It's really all you need, once you have some practice. I find that I have to thin the material quite a bit but the same is true of all but the most high powered sprayers. Used correctly, there is almost no bounceback or overspray. I built a paint booth from plastic that has almost no paint on the sides or floor after a dozen hours of use. I've used the turbine for about 100 hours so far. The turbine sits outside of the paint booth.
To setup, I thin the paint by eye. It's not so picky that you have to measure it with the drip cup. Then I close the nozzle all the way and open it slightly. Spray onto a test board and continue opening the nozzle to get the volume you want. If you see uneven dot sizes (splotches) then thin your paint some more and/or close the nozzle a little bit. That's all there is to it. One note thing to note about thinning the paint is that you may have to thin by as much as 50%.
Clean up is easy. Empty out the excess paint, fill with mineral spirits and swirl it around in the cup. Dump that out, add more mineral spirits and spray for a few seconds. You can then wipe the inside of the cup with a rag and disassemble the nozzle and wipe it down. I leave paint in my sprayer for several days without it drying or getting thick. If I need to leave it for longer then I'll stir it every day or two. I did leave paint in the sprayer once for about 2 weeks and it started to clump in the bottom. I ended up filtering the paint through a clean rag soaked in mineral spirits. Worked just fine. The cup is non-stick plastic.
Mine came with 3 nozzles but I'm only using one for my current needs. I'd recommend the sprayer to anyone who's on a budget and wants a decent paint job. Just remember that you need to learn how to paint, regardless of what setup you buy.
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Thanks Todd,
A spray booth of some sort is my next consideration. What kind of fan did you use for ventilation? My other problem is heating the area, without blowing myself up. It's too cold to paint here, about six months of the year.
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My unit came from Harbor Freight. I bought it about 5 months ago, if that makes a difference. I've seen some people say they got 1 nozzle with this unit but there were 3 in my box and they were all sized differently.
My paint booth is just a plastic lined room on my deck. It's only temporary because I'm a renter. My landlord would probably have a heart-attack if he knew what I was doing. I had trouble with bugs and dust getting in my gloss finish. I have a covered deck at the house with walls around it. I framed out 1 new wall with 2x4's and used 3 existing walls. Then I stapled plastic sheeting inside of it. My booth is 6' x 10' but doesn't have any ventilation. I use a respirator and try to get my painting done in 5 minutes or less. I wanted to ventilate but couldn't come up with anything because I don't have solid walls. The ideal situation would be sucking out the air with a belt driven fan. The motor would be outside the booth and a fresh air inlet would be put somewhere else in the room. In my case, the plastic would get sucked off the walls. I've stapled it really wall, using cardboard between the plastic and staples but I'm sure it would still compress if I sucked the air out.
Before I paint, I take a bucket of water and a rag in the booth and wipe the floor down. I leave it a little wet to keep any debris from floating around. I also have an air conditioner in there that I run for a few hours to filter the air. I looked for an old hepa filter at Goodwill but couldn't find one. I wish that I could have because I'm too cheap to buy one just for this purpose. I would expect the filter to eventually get paint on it and become clogged. The weather is getting cold where I'm at too. I think my painting days are limited but I'll consider running a heater in the booth before I paint and then take it out. Hopefully it'll stay warm long enough for the paint to cure. That probably wouldn't work on a really cold day.
Paint dries really slow without ventilation. Where I used to wait 24 hours to sand new paint, I'll now wait 24 hours. The room also smells for a long time.
If I had the money I'd get a garden shed and use that for a paint booth. For now my plastic lined room on the deck has fixed the problems I was having. No bugs, hair or lint.
I'd be interested in hearing from other people who have made a paint booth and how they've done it.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

sawmill creek had a couple of discussions of this recently. Check out http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?pC3155#poststop , and post #10 in this thread http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?p@8147#poststop
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

I'll add a "me, too" to this discussion. I've just bought mine, and so far have only sprayed oil-based primer on one project. But I like it.
I bought mine from Rockler, and was surprised to see a second needle/nozzle set for thinner materials. Rockler doesn't say that they provide this, nor does the packaging, so YMMV--I may have just gotten an accidental inclusion. Todd, if you got three sets, where did you get yours? Strange that there would be this apparent differentiation of otherwise identical units, with no one trying to promote the difference.
Todd and Barry, thanks for your tips here and in the other thread.
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wrote:

That's it!
The clean up is as easy as a Critter, maybe even easier. The gun is super easy to disassemble and clean.
If you're going to spray lacquer and shellac, cleanup gets even easier, as thinner will dissolve dried finish. I usually clean guns with lacquer thinner or acetone after varnish, before it cures.
If I'm spraying a bunch of lacquer, I'll leave finish in the gun all day.
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I forgot to mention...
This is the ONLY Harbor Freight tool where I've felt that I've gotten my money's worth, even at HF prices! <G>
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