I assume Robert(NailShooter) will see this.
As a normal Sunday visit to Lowes for all my stand misc. crap,
I got to see a cute little turbine HVLP sprayer made by Graco
being shown doing all the normal magic a HVLP can do.
The guy said he was shooting latex(thinned) and I have to say,
it looked pretty slick for the money.
This is very low end machine with most major parts plastic, but
does show some promise.
I'm curious if any of the crowd has jumped on this:
In the link, the first picture: That girl can sure spray paint a nice
sharp inside corner! The other pic of the girl spraying the window
trim: The window panes aren't taped, unless the panes haven't been
installed, but nothing is taped off. And the table being sprayed, on
the patio.... wonder how that white woodwork, in the background,
Hi, Pat. Good to see a new post from you!
I am not familiar with that exact model, but it may indeed be
something from the Earlex line, which is a mix/match of parts from
different vendors. It seems that it matches closely in some features
and performance. In fact, if you DAGS the Graco HV3900, you will get
results from the Earlex HV3900. Hmmmm.......
I have used some of those type of sprayers and I find that they have
their place. I think it depends on how much you are going to use
them, and what you will use them to spray.
I can point out what I see as the pros and cons.
- The unit is cheap. And if you don't like it you can return it
immediately. Lowe's has a generous return policy, so you can woodshed
the machine in practical application to see if it will work for you.
- Graco will undoubtedly offer different aircaps (on less expensive
units they are needle assemblies only) that will allow you to spray
different types of finish. Keep in mind that many finishes today are
made to spray, and are quite forgiving. If I am reading this
correctly, the larger unit comes with a 1.5mm aircap, which is a bit
small for latex with a 2 impeller turbine. This will make it good for
project sized work, but you can't throw enough material out of the
machine to make it a fast painter. At 1.5mm, you will undoubtedly
need to thin, and that will need you time to experiment to get it
- The largest unit comes with a bigger reservoir. Unless you doing
small work like doors, a bookcase, the one quart cup is a pain. You
- I believe (IIRC, I saw these at a Sherwin Williams home center
display) the two larger units have two impellers. Although not ideal,
this is adequate for spraying clean, thinned latex. I had a friend
that bought a used Earlex (sold by WoodCraft) that was a 2 module
turbine that he used to spray enamel onto doors in his residential
paint business. He thinned properly, then sprayed away. IF YOU USE A
GOOD PAINT, you can thin the daylights out of them and still get a
great finish. He used the SW line mostly, and hit it with about 15%
water and it sprayed out like glass. The good finish was part
excellent paint, part application technique, part machine. Thinning
is the key on these smaller machines
- If you are painting anything of size, say a house or a house
interior, you will work yourself to death with this thing since even
with the larger reservoir they don't carry a lot of material
- You need to learn how to thin paints. Some only need a little, some
more. I would start at 10% and study the dried (2 hours) surface and
see if I had the texture I wanted. Spray on a slick carboard box
(such as those that house electronics) and you can see every
imperfection. Don't thin past 20%. Don't tell anyone you thinned to
20% either or you will hear a wall of baloney that will make you
- The 1.5mm aircap isn't good for everything, BUT with thinning
practice and good material you should be able to put down a good
finish in paint. The good news is that the 1.5mm should shoot all
kinds of clear coats with minimal thinning. I would bet that if you
hit your lacquer or poly about 10%, you would be fine.
- I HATE HATE HATE those 6' long hoses they put on the units. They
don't give you any maneuverability, don't allow for ease of movement,
and don't let you get the gun motion right. I am 6'2", bare foot.
Unless I put the unit on a 5 gal paint can I can't reach the ceiling
or even the top of a door with that 6'. Fortunately, since the air
supply is all that is carried in line, you can add what you want or in
some cases buy another hose. This isn't a problem is you are using
the shoulder tank, but it is ugly when painting a project in your
So in the end, my thoughts are this: If you want a machine for light
use that will turn out a pretty good finish, this could be a good
buy. $140 is pretty tough to beat. On a bigger project or even a
couple of smaller ones, it would pay for itself in time and effort.
It won't due heavy work, and without practice won't turn out really
good finishing. But I wouldn't hesitate to use it as my buddy did, to
spray latex on doors, trims, built ins, and project work. He loves
that thing for shutters, too. He actually used it so long his guys
called it the "trim machine".
Not that you are actually that interested, but this could be a good
machine on which to learn to spray, too. I have always thought that
1/2 of good HVLP end product was learning to thin, and that takes
If it was a two impellor model, I would buy it and try it. If it was
just one, I would skip it.
As always, hope that helps!
Thanks for the always wonderful finishing advice.
Just as you say, I want this machine as a test vehicle
for a couple of really backed projects that would easily
"justify" in my mind, this fairly small purchase.
I got a pile of stripped director chains(ok,maybe 3-4 years)
and a 16' aluminum jon boat.
I also have a 1973 Unisaw that is going to get a rotissory
restore and that involves paint...
These are the type of projects that don't require a high level of skill
but I do want to get a decent finish and a brush finish don't cut it.
I am determined to learn the spray gun finishing and this just might
be a way to get in the game.
Graco does sell "needle sets" for this sprayer.
I "know" it's cheap solution but I did see some real potential for
these hobby projects.
As always, I appreciate your advice.
Amen. Even the best brush finishes aren't always the answer. Those
projects are perfect for that setup as you can thin solvent based
enamels and get busy with finishing.
> I am determined to learn the spray gun finishing and this just
Good for you! I hope you get in the middle of spray finishing. It
can be very trying and difficult, but the results are really
rewarding. It is no different than learning any other craft.
Matching the machine to the job doesn't necessarily mean cheap. I
have put a lot of finish down with inexpensive gear that looked
great. (Some not so great... but hey...)
The large setup looks like a perfect entry level machine, and you
should learn all the basics on it. Plus, as has been noted here,
there have been a lot of good finishes turned out on these less
I hope you get it and post away with any results and questions. Still
lots of helpful folks around here!
Lap I guess. Say you have a horizontal surface...do you start with the edge
closest to you - in which case the spray from each pass would sort of
feather out to the not yet sprayed area - or the area farthest from you in
which case the spray from the current pass would feather out into the
previously sprayed area?
In a perfect world, it wouldn't matter as the overspray/drift would
simply melt into the finish wherever it goes on the surface, providing
the surface is still wet.
However..... experience has taught md differently based on the "hot"
materials I like to spray. When the heat is on down here in South
Texas, I cannot spray a door with enamel and get to the other end
without the overspray turning to dust and sitting on the previously
Here's my solution.
Assume you are spraying some like a house door, laying flat. This
would also work on a table, since flat is flat. Since I know I have
the hose behind me and ** I will ** drag it across the previously
sprayed area, I tend to start away from me, and work my way back
towards the turbine, keeping the hose behind me. Maintaining the
proper gun position and distance to target is imperative here, as you
want to minimize any drift.
The natural feel is to tilt the gun back slightly, and this will push
overspray onto your previous finish. You need to keep the gun
perpendicular to the surface to minimize this problem.
Make your first pass by pointing the tip of gun at the edge of the
work, then spraying. While half of your spray will hit the floor, you
will start with a half lap, which will make your edges cleaner and
will make your finish thickness uniform over the piece. Likewise,
finish off the same way.
OTOH, if you are using long finishes such as alkyds and clear polys,
this isn't as crucial because they have such a long cure out. The
overspray (unless there is a lot) will simply melt into the previously
But remember, when shooting anything out of the HVLP, you have thinned
it (unless you get into a 3 - 4 stage machine), and it will dry out
faster. With latex, poly, long enamels, it shouldn't be a problem.
With lacquers in higher temps (+80F) it can be.
This reinforces the fact you should keep a recipe book of notes on
material, humidity, % thinned, temps, etc., when tailoring your
When I spray <vertical> surfaces, I always start from top and go to
bottom since the hose stays out of the way, and the drift will work
As a tip, you need to remember that these turbine units put out a
certain amount of air. With baffles on the machines, it may not be
too bad, but it can get the air swirling pretty good, putting dust in
the air that will foul your finish.
Why no one ever does this or uses it as a tip, I don't know... Put
the turbine on a box or stand, and keep it 24" off the ground. If you
think it will fall over, off, etc., secure it with a bungee cord.
This is crucial.
Keeping your turbine out of the crucial 8" constantly moving dust
layer will cut your dust distribution by 75%. Think of all the dust
and debris on the floor of the shop or spray area, and then think of a
vacuum cleaner or shop vac blowing all that stuff around. Not good,
right? I must say, I seem to be the only one that has noticed this,
Also, it will keep the filter on the machine clean. One old complaint
about the use of HVLP guns is that they get hot, then they spray hot
air into the finish, fouling the finish. If you find this to be the
case, stop spraying.
Most of the time, when an HVLP turbine overheats, it is because it is
working too hard. It works too hard because the air filter is clogged
with dust and debris (remember keeping the machine off the floor?)
that accumulates when the machine filters the air before sending it to
the gun. It strangles the air flow to the turbine. Dirty filters are
a no-no, and as cheap as they are I always keep an extra on hand.
One more thing, as a great way to keep that overspray (I shoot stuff
that is hot enough that it is powder before it drifts 3' to the
ground) is to put a cloth drop cloth of some kind under your spray
table. A crumpled drop cloth seems to catch a great deal of the drift
and keep it from circulating while you move around spraying your
My (limited) experience as well. Which is why I used to start close to me
and work away. As you so correctly noted, one is inclined to drag
hoses/cords/whatever into what was sprayed. I hate it when that happens :(
I have read most/all of his posts over the last few years
and I never fail to not learn something about the finishing
process. This was just part of one chapter...
Go back and look at some of his earlier posts.
You will learn something.
I've got a folder on my hard drive of all Robert's posts on finishing
for the last five or ten years ... no nonsense, hard earned, pearls of
finishing wisdom ... while his intellectual property, I may offer to be
one of his co-ghost writers one of these days. :)
I would like to see a finishing book written from the standpoint of the
wood. For example, given that one is working with redwood, what type(s)
of finish is good for sealing? For outdoor use? How about mahogany?
Or walnut that is exposed to sunlight? I'd buy a copy.
jo4hn (vacationing from the wingnuts)
On 5/27/2010 8:46 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
LOL ... just used that very phrase, in part, to effectively shut up the
touchyfeely, wannabe builder, architect of a potential client.
Won't be getting that job ... but boy did I dodge a bullet, or what! :)
You wouldn't believe the half of it ... I'm more astounded each passing
day at the unarguable ineptness of the current crop of supposedly
educated "professionals" ... it's a damn wonder IF anything gets done,
that it then stays together long enough to amortize, and that more folks
aren't killed in the process.
There is NO way in hell that a project like the Hoover Dam could be
built by the poorly educated, poorly raised, self delusional, pampered
idiots, and their companies and governments, populating this country in
the early 21st century.
For all practical purposes this country, as we once knew it, is toast ...
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