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How to Find the Best Paint Sprayer for Car Paint
Since the 1970s, spray guns have evolved quite a bit. The modern HVLP spray gun does an excellent job when it comes to applying car paint in a finish that is even and smooth. Although other spray guns can give you consistent coverage, you'll be able to eliminate a lot of your overspray thanks to the modern HVLP design. This saves you a lot of time because you have less mess, which means you need to do less overall product prep.
You'll find that some HVLP spray guns come with multiple gun options. If you need automotive detail, then look for a model that gives you a detail gun option in addition to the standard spray gun. Gravity feed options for both of these guns tend to work the best since it brings the paint down effectively so it can be sprayed, even if your cup or canister is nearly empty.
You may also want to look for a spray gun that allows you to change out tips. When painting a vehicle, you'll want to use a 1.8mm tip for your primers, a 1.4mm tip for the top coat, and then a 1mm tip for any detail work that you’re doing. Look for at least 20 ounce cups for the primers and top coats, while a 3-4 ounce cup for the detail work is generally adequate.
Make sure that you check the CFM rating on your preferred spray gun. It is not uncommon to find a requirement of 9-12 CFM necessary for proper air consumption. If you wish to paint continuously, then you'll need to have a compressor available which can meet these demands or be able to chain multiple tanks or compressors together so you can get your work completed.
What About Airless Spray Guns for Car Paint?
You'll find airless spray guns, siphon feed sprayers, and other solutions are also available as you go through the shopping process. If you are well-practiced at painting vehicles, then airless spray guns can help you get the job done with even less mess thanks to lower overall paint pollution levels in the surrounding atmosphere. The technical skills here are what will help you stand out with this type of spray gun, so it is not recommended at all for beginners.
Siphon feed spray guns can also get the job done, but this requires the paint to be sucked up from a canister instead of having it fed directly to the nozzle. This is not generally recommended for automotive paint because it increases the chances of air getting into the lines and causing a splatter - not something you want to see when applying a top coat.
High pressure spray guns may also be available, but these should only be used with a word of caution. Higher pressures mean more paint is atomized, which means you'll end up using more paint or primer to get the job done. A practiced hand can make an automobile shine with this type of spray gun, but you'll pay up to 1.5x more for the paint or primer being applied.
6 Tips and Tricks to Paint a Car with a Spray Gun
- Your work area must be completely clean. If you are working outside, then take a hose and spray everything that may contaminate to your paint or primer. Do not paint underneath a tree or other item/object that could drop contaminants onto your paint job.
- Stripping away existing paint is important. Use circular motions with your sanding equipment and don't forget to hit your crevices and corners. Getting down to bare metal is your best option.
- Take time to mask up areas that you don't want to have painted. This is particularly important for your windows, windshield, and headlights. Plastic sheeting works the best, but newspaper can work in a pinch.
- Use a sweeping motion to apply your paint or primer. It is easy to apply materials in an arcing motion instead, but that will leave you with an inconsistent result. Practice your technique before applying paint or primer to your vehicle.
- Plan your time wisely. A good top coat usually requires 3-4 coats of paint. You'll need to plan for about 10-20 minutes of painting per panel and it takes about an hour for each panel to cure properly. Rushing through this process will only give you poor results.
- Don't forget to buff your paint after the final coat. Use circular motions with the buffer and keep it moving. If you stay in one place for too long, the top coat can burn and you'll be stuck needing to start over.
What Are the Prices of Paint Spray Guns for Car Paint?
Spray guns that work well with car paint can generally be found in the mid-range price points. This means you'll wind up paying about $50-$100 for a good spray gun. If you purchase kits or multiple guns at once, you can save on the per-unit cost with some manufacturers. The biggest cost, if you're starting from scratch, is to invest into a good air compressor that can handle your preferred automotive paint sprayer.
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