HVLP Sprayers investigation and review

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MikeJhn

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It has been suggested to me that this could usefully be posted in Tool Reviews so here it is.

This is a copy of some of my posts on a Forum discussion on HVLP units, some of the reading flow may be off as others posts are not included, my first investigations concerned trying different units available on the market.

1. Earlex 5500, two stage turbine, impressed in the first instance, especially on the lack of overspray and the control over the paint content of the spray, the patten control was also impressive, not impressed with the constant bleed gun as it kicked up a lot of dust when not being used.

2. Apollo 1200 again a two stage turbine, gun was not very good, considering the increase in cost against the Earlex, again a constant bleed gun, see later comments.

3. Apollo 1300, big step in price, but also spec, this is a three stage turbine with a professional no bleed gun, the standard of finish compared to the above two is a quantum leap over them, its a moot point if the €100.00 increase is worth the extra.

4. Fuji Mini-Mate, another €100.00 up in price, but what a difference, the one I used had a gravity feed gun of 600ml this was so much easier to use, (lighter) it also had a flexible tube feed which I found made the gun go where I wanted, I had not realised how awkward the others where until I tried this on the Fuji.

It seems as with all things, you get what you pay for, the lighter gun on the Fuji made use that much easier, the others had a 900ml bottom feed gun and where awkward to use in confined space’s (inside cupboards and draws) the main difference was the standard of atomisation from the given guns and turbines and the tightness of the spray pattern, without doubt the Fuji was the best turbine and gun, much more controllable and consistent with its delivery of air and paint to the gun and less overspray, the gun controls where easier to use and the standard of paint finish is up there with the best, I ended up with some glass smooth finished machined MDF, admittedly this took some work and a lot of de-nibbing on the first coats.

I did not get a chance to try different needles and spray nozzles in all of the guns and am sure this would make a difference to the finish achieved.

conclusion:

Earlex: perfectly capable of spraying outside furniture, fencing, handrails, decking and walls, but not a fine finish machine, let down by the constant bleed gun.

Apollo 1200: As above with the reservation that the gun is not as good as the Earlex.

Apollo 1300: Quantum leap above the other two, the three stage turbine and a decent no bleed gun does make a difference, handle on the gun got a bit warm, I think due to the short feed tube, could achieve a better finish with a smaller needle than the 1.8 supplied with it.

Fuji Mini-Mate: I am no guru where spraying is concerned, but this gear made me look like an expert, the finish was outstanding for not a lot of extra effort, whether it is worth the extra cost is up to you, if you want to finish furniture to a professional high standard, then this is it, this unit came with a 1.3 needle, I can only imagine what the Fuji four stage turbine spray units offer.

Had a chance to use a Fuji four stage turbine unit over the week-end: Drool Drool, not only even better, but so much quieter as well, more like a small domestic vacuum cleaner, did not realise how noisy the others where until I heard (or did not hear) this one, now it all comes down to what this poor old pensioner can afford. All say Ahhh.

Had a chance to use a few different spray guns over the last few weeks and these are my observations:

Some of the cheap guns on e-bay are very good, but must be considered a throw away item, nearly all of them have metal handles that tend to get uncomfortably hot after a surprisingly short period of use, if looking for a gun, get one with a rubber covered handle if you are going to spray anything of any size, but you do get what you pay for.

Needle size does make a difference to the atomisation of the material being sprayed, the finer the needle/nozzle set the finer the atomisation, not really a surprise, but the amount of work needed to get the correct viscosity of the material is a balance between the needle size and the power of the turbine, a four stage turbine can spry Emulsion paint without thinning with a fine pointed needle, therefore a better finish is achieved without too much de-nibbing in between coats.

The lower power turbines must use a courser needle to spray the same material, but will not have as fine a finish on the work, therefore more rubbing down between coats.

Of course all of this can be side stepped by thinning the material being sprayed, you will then get into the realms of trying to match the material viscosity between each mix, when spraying larger items this can be a pain, even with a viscosity cup especially the mess you tend to make of the bench and surrounding area.

I did not find a lot of difference between the Fuji T70 gun and the SES Silver-Pro, this gun is supplied with a lot of turbine units, but costs about €100.00 compared to €250.00 for the Fuji, the Fuji gun is a work of art and just gives that “I’m doing a good job” feel to the work. :wink:

Also been looking at building my own turbine unit, will post when I have the cost together.

Still looking, but so far have sourced a three stage bypass vacuum motor at about £120.00, : http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/LAMB-AMETEK-1 ... 0560838921 I would have to build my own housing at lets say £20.00, gasket material £5.00, filters £10.00 x 2, hose with fittings £35.00, gun £100.00, feet and handle for case £10.00, sound deadening material £10.00 come to £320.00, the Apollo 1500-3S is available at £324.00 here: http://www.airsupplies.co.uk/apollo-pro ... o_s=gplauk so it sounds like a waste of time and effort to make one, unless I can source a four stage vacuum motor for the same cost, have only found four stage units in the US so far.

Thought this may be useful information:

Bypass motors work independently from the vacuum/blower air. A separate fan is used to direct cooling air over the armature and field. It is important to ensure that the cooling air does not mix with the vacuum or blower air. Cooling air is typically made available through an filtered egress in the equipment housing. Bypass motors come in two configurations: Peripheral Bypass and Tangential Bypass.

Bypass motors are available in single and multiple stages. The stages are used to create more pressure if used as a blower or more lift if used as a vacuum.

Found this on e-bay: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Lamb-Ametek-1 ... 1207650000 with two of these I would end up with a six stage unit, so using some additional costs for a bigger case to hold two motors, housing at lets say £30.00, gasket material £20.00, filters £10.00 x 4, hose with fittings £35.00, gun £100.00, feet and handle for case £10.00, sound deadening material £15.00 come to £383.00, the Apollo 1500-3S is available at £324.00, but that is a three stage unit so for £60.00 more I can build a unit twice as powerful to allow thicker paints to be sprayed, shame I have already bought the Fuji four stage unit :lol: But I may build one just for the fun of it and see how it turns out.

Unfortunately flow is not the only critical element of the HVLP system, consistent pressure is also required at the nozzle end of the gun, as the delivery tube is decreased in diameter the pressure drop caused by the restriction becomes more important, that is why a multi stage unit even though it may produce a lower CFM holds its pressure better any two stage unit as generally found in most vacuum cleaners, two stage HVLP systems typically deliver a pressure of 4:5 psi, as the stages are increased the pressure increases until the maximum required at the four stage units at 10psi, beyond this bounce back and overspray start to become a problem again, even at the lower pressure restriction valves are often required when working inside a closed sided work piece, e.g. a bookcase or draw.

Most manufactures of vacuum motors quote CFM unrestricted, this unfortunately bears no relation to the performance of the cleaner itself as at the end of the hose the CFM has reduced considerably.

But buy your vacuum cleaners now, since September 2014 the EU issued an edict that banned motors above 1600watts from being manufactured or imported to the EU for vacuum cleaners, soon this wattage is to be lowered to 900watts, so CFM/efficiency will become more important to vacuum cleaners than ever before.

Quick update, anyone who has painted raw MDF especial cut surface’s will know the difficulty of the raised surface and the need to de-nib, spaying with the HVLP heats the paint as it mix’s with the air in the gun, this dries almost instantly it hits the surface and does not raise the surface as much as any other treatment, the need for de-nibbing is greatly reduced and makes life much easier, still playing with this as I am sure with a bit of experimentation I could reduce this further.

Hope someone finds this useful.

Mike
 
One of the annoying things about spraying is the capacity of the gun against its weight, more paint the heavier it gets, Fuji have brought out a 2Quart remote pot that does not need a compressor to run it, if you have a four stage turbine or over it has the capacity to pressurise the pot and supply paint to the gun: http://www.axminster.co.uk/fuji-2qt-pre ... kit-101564 I have not taken delivery of mine yet, but will report back on its usefulness.

Mike
 
Interesting 144 views and not one comment.

Mike


I'm happy to comment :D
great post Mike, HVLP is something thats on my mind, i have an old Apollo spray master thats done 12 years service, it only sprays sealer & base coat on my work. all my work is cylindrical & i find the spray master is not the best with flow no matter what i do with prepping the coating, I'm looking right now at a upgrade as i want to do more with it, didn't know if i should just get a better apollo or look else where, fuji keep popping up, this has given me some great info to work from.

Gareth
 
Thanks Gareth.

What Apollo Spraymaster do you have? Cylindrical work, my first thoughts where of a turntable to turn the work is that what you do?
I use a Morrells High build pre-cat lacquer that sprays straight from the can.

Mike
 
Thanks Gareth.

What Apollo Spraymaster do you have? Cylindrical work, my first thoughts where of a turntable to turn the work is that what you do?
I use a Morrells High build pre-cat lacquer that sprays straight from the can.

Mike


Hi Mike, think its just known as the spraymaster, didnt know there was more than one in this range, cant remember there being one when i bought it in 2003, it looks like an upturned bucket, 1100 watts i think, i will grab a photo of it when i can.

i think the lack of adjustment & being able to change to different needles is my issue with it not being the most versatile, i would like to get onto using it to spray fades & bursts & some effects with dyes & paints (i make musical instruments & currently do most of these buy hand) its actualy ok at spray the sealers & primer (waterbased)

i have turntables in my booths for sure, i have a wet booth for spraying sealer & primers, a dry booth for when im spraying flake & other such finishes (which then get sealed after) ... my top coats are not sprayed as i use purpose made machine to apply UV cured top coats

it was not an expensive unit when i got it, just been thinking i should upgrade as im doing a full workshop refit right now, i keep landing on the fuji models :)
 
My post seems to have disappeared, still think I can remember what I wrote.

Sounds like a basic unit, even a gun upgrade with changeable needles would be an improvement as you say, although I would have thought for fades and burst an air gun as they are called would be more suitable, the Iwata gun I have will do some amazing things that I did not know I was capable of LOL, if you go that route, get a two stage gun they are much better on controlling the flow.

I have one of these: http://www.paintspraytools.co.uk/Turbin ... _info.html and find it a perfectly capable and controllable gun, used on a four stage Fuji turbine unit its does everything I need it to on undercoats and varnish's, the Fuji gun I keep for finish work.

Mike
 
My post seems to have disappeared, still think I can remember what I wrote.

Sounds like a basic unit, even a gun upgrade with changeable needles would be an improvement as you say, although I would have thought for fades and burst an air gun as they are called would be more suitable, the Iwata gun I have will do some amazing things that I did not know I was capable of LOL, if you go that route, get a two stage gun they are much better on controlling the flow.

I have one of these: http://www.paintspraytools.co.uk/Turbin ... _info.html and find it a perfectly capable and controllable gun, used on a four stage Fuji turbine unit its does everything I need it to on undercoats and varnish's, the Fuji gun I keep for finish work.

Mike

its a very basic gun, plastic body etc.. almost no adjustments other than spring/needle adjustment.

thanks for the info i will look into it & probably keep this turbine & gun setup just for what its currently used for (i have 3 guns just for this system) and invest in a slightly better system & guns for more refined. work...
 
Questions asked on another thread, thought it may be helful here as well.

"Hi Mike

I know it's been a while since you started this thread but if you're still about and checking it I'd be really grateful for your advice.

I've been looking at the Fuji HVLP units for many years but other than cost I've always been nervous that they won't deliver what I hope....namely a top pro finish on furniture (mainly mdf) and spray walls and ceilings around the house (possibly with the addition of the pressure pot).

It seems like you've had good experience with Fuji and other units so I'd be grateful for your advice:

1. Is the Fuji Q4 capable of delivering the above?
2. Do water based paints (Dukux Diamond for walls etc and Rubbol Satura for satin finish mdf) need to be heavily diluted or spray well out of the can?
3. Can it spray zinsser BIN primer (my other concern with this is cleanup but maybe a cheap gun could be dedicated to it?). I do like BIN on mdf so a quick way to lay it on as a single or two coat primer would be great!
4. Although likely out of my price range Axminster sell a Q5 now. However I've not been able to find any reviews on it. Would this be worth the extra over the Q4? PSI is only a little higher and also could the added psi not result in more overspray especially for a total novice (ie me! :) )
5. Btw how did you get on with the pressure pot you got for your MM4?

I know I've directed this post towards Mike because of the nature of the thread he started but it goes without saying that I and I'm certain many others on the forum would greatly benefit from the advice and experience of others with Fuji and other HVLP setups.

Many thanks for any help and advice you can give!!!

Thanks a lot!

Aidan

PS - are the Morells coloured lacquers and other finishes better to spray especially for mdf than BIN + Rubbol etc? Ie cheaper, less toxic, dry faster, more durable finish, clean easier, etc?"


Reply to above post

1. Is the Fuji Q4 capable of delivering the above?
The Fuji Q4 is a very capable machine and will do all I require of it, as I said in the above review it heats the paint as it passes through the turbine and lays onto the workpiece very evenly and dries almost immediately, this prevents excessive de-nibbing of MDF and I find it a great boon

2. Do water based paints (Dukux Diamond for walls etc and Rubbol Satura for satin finish mdf) need to be heavily diluted or spray well out of the can?
With the different needle and nozzle combinations available I have not found a paint I can't spray without dilution, takes a bit of experimentation, but is possible.

3. Can it spray zinsser BIN primer (my other concern with this is cleanup but maybe a cheap gun could be dedicated to it?). I do like BIN on mdf so a quick way to lay it on as a single or two coat primer would be great!
I have never used that medium, so am unable to advise its use.

4. Although likely out of my price range Axminster sell a Q5 now. However I've not been able to find any reviews on it. Would this be worth the extra over the Q4? PSI is only a little higher and also could the added psi not result in more overspray especially for a total novice (ie me! :) )
The main difference between the Q5 and the Q4 is the speed control on the Q5 this allows a reduction in pressure to the gun with the associated reduction in bounce back, but a better control of the paint volume, the only problem I see with the Q5 is that to turn this control up or down needs a trip to the turbine unit to turn the knob, whilst this may not be a problem once you have it set up, I see it as very waring when trying out a new medium.
The Q4 on the other hand has a volume reducing valve at the end of the delivery tube under the gun, so immediately available to experiment with a new volume setting, now whether this is better than a speed control, I don't know, one adjusts speed, hence volume and pressure and one adjusts volume only, would be interested to find out if anyone has the Q5 and previously had a Q4.


5. Btw how did you get on with the pressure pot you got for your MM4?
I actually have a Q4 not a MM4, the only difference being the sound proofing of the Q series, the pressure pot works very well, but I would not like to try it on anything lower than a four stage turbine.

Morells sprays straight from the can, dry almost on contact, can't comment on durability as its only been three years since I sprayed my wardrobe doors, but they still look good, with the correct spraygun cleaner, from Morells the gun and pot cleans up just fine, I use their second grade gun cleaning fluid and it does what its supposed too.

Mike
 
I think a lot of people will be seeing HVLP and thinking this is going to be about extractors :) I know I did.
 
Excellant post. Thanks. But reading it did end up costing me twice as much money .
 
Ah, but spreading the wealth has got to be a good thing. :wink:

Mike
 
One of the annoying things about spraying is the capacity of the gun against its weight, more paint the heavier it gets, Fuji have brought out a 2Quart remote pot that does not need a compressor to run it, if you have a four stage turbine or over it has the capacity to pressurise the pot and supply paint to the gun: http://www.axminster.co.uk/fuji-2qt-pre ... kit-101564 I have not taken delivery of mine yet, but will report back on its usefulness.

Mike

Having been prompted by a new post on the reviews thread, I re-read the above and realised I had not updated my findings: The 2Quart pot made spraying some large wardrobe door much easier, a complete coat could be done on four doors and then return to the first for a second coat without stopping to re-fill the pot, in all I managed three coats of four 2.4M x 0.600M doors in one session, I also found that by closing everything down on the gun and pot controls overnight everything was clear the following morning without having to clean down the gun and pot, useful if you are going to spray the other side of the doors the next day.
 
fuji are really nice but I do like graco stuff esp the edge 2 gun. it has a pressure bag and can spray upside down! the top of the range has a built in compressor for the pressure pot. this gives more oomph to the gun.
fuji have had melt issues with there 5 stage jobbies. also I've heard the q5 become noisier over a short time
bin is easy to spray . morrells stuff sprays really well and can be matched by them. I often spray 1k selemix this goes on a maxifull spray filler. stinks though . morrells Italian water based is also good to spray. the spray filler is very thick and could do with a 7 stage.
 
Three years in and never had a problem with my Fuji Q4, does not need an extra compressor to power the remote pot either, the oomph from the gun is sufficient to spray all the Morrells pre-cat lacquer I have used and it still seems to be the quiet unit it was when I first bought it, the Q5 may be a different matter, but I don't have one so can't judge.
 
I like fuji and I've had one since the q3 was tops. 10 plus years. I hated using the graco but after a spell I find it better. the new fuji gun is great. everything else feels inferior unfortuneatly . the filter the pipe. for instance the graco turns itself off if left then turns itself back on. smart start.
anyone whose used these getting annoyed walking to and from to turn them off. any pressure bled off ie to the pot is lost at the tip.
there are also many more used gracos around admittedly in 110v
 
I use a remote control switch on my Q4 which negates walking back and forth, don't understand your comment on the pressure bled off the pot being lost at the tip, I think there are so many used Graco's around for a reason.
 
have you used graco?hvlp conversion guns with big compressor are far superior to ANY turbine btw. I get you've got a q4 and on most (NEARLY ALL) work will be fine I've actually used both brands and am more impressed with graco. I dont expect to convert you but may inform others who only consider fuji(via there only outlet axminster). if you want full 9.5 psi at the tip you cant power a pressure pot from the turbine.
 
spraying pigmented lacquer is not really demanding pressure wise. it can be sprayed with a 3 stage and in summer can be a bit better(cooler)
water based paints can be really pressure hungry and say spraying a big wardrobe with water based quickly enough to keep it all wet needs a lot of pressure (big needle)( or airless)
 
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