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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just got a new air compressor and some pneumatic tools. I was wondering if there was an alternative to spray paint for finishing some of my projects, like maybe a paint sprayer attachment or something like that. I don't need anything that would paint huge surfaces, as I build small things like picture frames and small furniture. I am looking for a nice, smooth, spray.

Any suggestions are appreciated
 

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I just got a new air compressor and some pneumatic tools. I was wondering if there was an alternative to spray paint for finishing some of my projects, like maybe a paint sprayer attachment or something like that. I don't need anything that would paint huge surfaces, as I build small things like picture frames and small furniture. I am looking for a nice, smooth, spray.

Any suggestions are appreciated
Airbrush. eBay one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Can the airbrush go on the end of a bigger compressor? Sorry if this is a dumb question, but it is a whole new world to me.
 

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Google "detail paint spray guns" and you will find many that will do what you want.

I would not use an airbrush for the small furniture. OK for frames but takes too long for much more. I did use one once to paint the inside of my 1969 El Camino so that I would not get paint where I did not want it. And it will do a good job, just slow.

George
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Will they spray a nice, fine mist? I guess the only ones I have seen have been the house painting types,and I want something closer to the finer mist tyoe of spray.
 

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A good airbrush can paint a line like it was drawn with a pencil or feather in a the colors of a costume pair of 24" butterfly wings. With Dinair products, I can do a wild job of makeup in less than 30 minutes.

Paache, Aztek, Thayer & Chandler, Badger are some of the better brands for parts, service and repairs. I run a pair of Badgers, the #100 and the Crescendo, anywhere from 25-30 psi with inks to 45-50 for heavy acrylic. 20 years of stagecraft & makeup, they're quite durable. I run off a tank of nitrogen thru a regulator (had to be silent, backstage, if I had to work there.) With a compressor, I'd check with an art supply like Dick Blick for an in-line oil & water filter.

You can buy a really cheap single action AB and spray some food coloring on paper to see if that's the direction that you want to go. Then there's the Paache Turbo, weird machine, I know a lady that makes, fires and paints replica china doll heads, right down to the eyelashes.
 

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Will they spray a nice, fine mist? I guess the only ones I have seen have been the house painting types,and I want something closer to the finer mist tyoe of spray.
There is a variety of "paint sprayers". For very small detail type painting...like the artwork on cars and motorcycles there is an "airbrush". Paint supply is small. Most compressors will support one, as their CFM requirement is low.

The next size up would be a "detail gun". This size is also available as a "gravity feed gun". These sizes are available either in siphon feed, or gravity feed.

And then you have full size spray guns. These are available in conventional siphon and HVLP, with 1qt cups. Also available are gravity feed guns with 20oz cups.

You can get a self contain HVLP spray system like this.

Each gun has its own pros and cons. Depending on the output of your compressor, some guns may require a higher CFM/SCFM output as do many air tools.

The larger guns have more media capacity per cup. Better to have enough than to run out. A lot like chocolate stuff.






.
 

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It doesn't have to be an expensive sprayer to finish wood. I use a Harbor Freight sprayer 97855 that runs about 25 bucks and they are offering 25% off coupons now. You could finish something the size of a chair with a little smudgepot compressor.
 

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Good stuff above.hopefully I can add to the discussion without undo confusion.And believe me,air compressors/spray guns/finishes are very confusing.

How about this.....look at the size of the AC(air compressor) and the size of the gun,not so much related to each other.....but sized to fit the project.

Using a detail gun to spray a table top would not be a good matchup.Likewise,using a "hoser" gun(large tip sizes for heavy bodied paint)to spray a 1" wide art frame probably wouldn't be the best pick.So,first you size the gun to the project.

Now AC's.And this is going to be a little harder to describe than the guns.Look at your AC's tank size as a gun/firearms magazine.This is what "ammo" you have available "at the ready".Might be a 5G tank....might be 30G...might be 80.This is the amt of air(ammo) that you have without the AC coming on.An example......you have a 60G tank,shooting a detail gun and doing an art frame.You'd more than likely not even have the AC come on......this is a good thing.

But what happens when you've exhausted your AC's tank air supply?Well,the compressor kicks in to refill the tank.But now we're using a big hoser gun and laying down large amts of finish.What happens is the compressor simply can't keep up with demand.....we're running out of ammo,fast.This is NOT good.

One of the problems is this.....the more the AC runs,the hotter it gets.And hot air holds more moisture than cold air.It's this very moisture,and any by-products from compressor(oil blowby from crankcase)that causes issues with the air supply to gun.In the first example above...the AC never came on and we shot the frame,all's good.But the second example...the compressor was running wide open,not really keeping up,but generating large amts of funk getting pushed right through hose,into the gun and subsequently the finish.

So,when folks ask about an AC's CFM numbers....they're refering to the second example as a "worst case" sort of thing.It's about how much air you can pump without causing "stress"(which equates to moisture/funk)to the AC.

What can we do about it....lot's.First off shoot small projects,duh.But what about shooting that dining rm table?You need to read up on AC filter's.They come in a range of sizes and budgets.From cheapie hillbilly types that literally use toilet paper as filters....all the way through high dollar(Sata) dessicant filters....to refrigeration units.See why you should've stuck with the small projects,haha.

The key things are to learn how much air you have without stress.....and then using that amt VERY wisely.Size your gun to the project.Be prepared to make mistakes in some of your purchases.Always be searching for info and keeping abreast of safety issues.But the biggest single thing is....practice.Paint/finish everything.Paint your shop trashcan,paint the shelving,paint rocks.Each one of these examples presents different technique challenges.One is round...one is flat,with skinny edges...and the last has deep crevices.Be aware of gun speed....and distance away from object.Are you maintaining this relationship during the WHOLE shoot?Or are you getting tired and lifting gun at the end of each stroke?

I sprayed a bunch of small items yesterday,they all came out fine.....AC was happy.Guns shot well,paint and clears went on great.But that was yesterday....today could very well see new challenges?That's all part of the fun.Best of luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks. That was very informative.

2HP, 6 Gal, not a huge one, but I don't do huge jobs. Once I start, I will upgrade. We are just talking a nail or two at a time, or hopefully enough power to spray a picture frame or a step stool. Maybe a music box if I am feeling wild and crazy.

I just want to save money in the long run and stop buying spray paint in cans. I have found a combination of ways to finish it with the paint to get my desired effect, and brush strokes are not in the plan!

I just don't want to get all excited and get the first paint thing I see at the store and bring it home just to have it be all splattered in its application. As I build my tool supply, I want to stay away from the hillbilly type of rigged tools and get quality stuff, but at the same time, I don't want to kid myself. I don't need professional grade equipment, as I don't do this full-time, and I don't need enough to paint the side of a house, just what I tinker around with. Does that make sense?
 

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there is no real alternative to spraying

If you want a smooth even finish, spraying is the only way I know of.

I found that these spray guns will apply a smooth, even finish in a round or fan pattern with the the best of them and the price is so low you can by several in case of a complete failure:
http://www.harborfreight.com/20-oz-8-cfm-gravity-feed-spray-gun-67181.html

They require 6 CFM at 40 lbs of pressure...running full tilt., less air if just spot finishing. Your compressor will probably be fine. I use one like this and the delivered air at 40 PSI is 5.5 CFM , so it's very close. They are very loud, but very reasonably priced. Don't be afraid to jump right in a start spraying! http://www.harborfreight.com/2-hp-8-gallon-125-psi-portable-air-compressor-67501.html

Practice on cardboard with water to adjust the "volume" of the paint applied and the ""pattern" to see if you need a fan or a spot/round. Keep your "pressure" setting at around 40 PSI or so.

Thinning the paint is a very important part of the process. You know how thin paint is from a spray can ..... you don't have to get it that "watery" but for spraying, thinner is generally better. Not like cream, more like milk.
 

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this is a bump

hello mama? :blink: you there?
 

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A while back I needed to finish a small project via spraying. I bought a "Critter" siphon gun-the one with the pint sized glass jar as a cup.
Stupid simple gun, and worked like a champ. Since I was spraying shellac, I just washed it down with ammonia, rinsed and dried.
For small work, it has become my go-to device.
Check it out.
Bill
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Sorry I disappeared on you! I've had some health issues and I'm finally back up and running. I have read and taken into consideration all of your comments and suggestions. I ended up getting both a siphon fed and a gravity fed gun. This evening I'll get to play and post my results.
 

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Glad you're feeling better!
 
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