Choosing a Spray Gun for Auto Paint

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This article will guide you through the basic steps of choosing a spray gun for auto paint.

  • Decide on your goals. Your purchasing decision will be different depending on whether you're planning to paint one car or many cars. Adequate spray guns for auto paint can cost as little as $100, and professional spray guns for auto paint may cost more than $500.

  • Choose an HVLP spray gun for auto paint. HVLP stands for high volume, low pressure. It's a newer technology in spray guns for auto paint: more efficient, less dangerous to your health and less dangerous for the environment. Especially if you are just learning to paint with a spray gun, HVLP spray guns for auto paint are preferable. Some states have regulations that prohibit the use of any other kind of spray gun for auto paint. Disadvantages apply mainly to experienced users of spray guns for auto paint; they sometimes like to stay with the older equipment they already understand and know how to use effectively.

  • Your choices among HVLP spray guns for auto paint are many. First, you'll need to choose between gravity-feed and siphon-feed. Gravity-feed spray guns for auto paint store their paint supply above the nozzle. Siphon-feed spray guns store their paint supply beneath the nozzle. Gravity-feed spray guns have decisive advantages. First, they use almost all the paint, because there is never any left in the bottom of the container. Second, the design makes it easier to see when you're running out of paint, and to avoid spraying with too much air and not enough paint. Third, they're often easier to maneuver in tight spaces.

  • Another choice you'll need to make is tip size. If you're on a budget, you'll probably opt for a spray gun with a single tip. Tips range from about 1.3 millimeters to 2.0 millimeters. The larger the tip, the heavier the paint it is designed for. One in the middle range can be used effectively with several different weights of paint. This is important if you plan to apply primer (heavy), then color (lighter) and finally a clear coat (lightest). However, don't pinch pennies and lose dollars. If you apply a clear coat, then it's apparent that you want a very high-quality finish. In that case, it makes most sense, given the cost of paint, to spring for a spray gun with interchangeable tips, which should include a 1.2 millimeters tip for applying the clear coat.

  • Choose an air compressor that meets the requirements of your spray gun. Obviously, you'll need to factor in air compressor specs when you are choosing your spray gun. Spray guns are rated by CFM (cubic feet per minute) at a given psi (air pressure in pounds per square inch). Choose a spray gun that does not demand excessive CFM or psi, so you won't have to buy a world-class air compressor just to keep up with it.

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  • Photo Credit red car detail image by .shock from Fotolia.com
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