Low-End Start-Up Spray-Gun and Compressor Choices

Is there a spray gun that will work with a contractor-grade air compressor? Well ... maybe. Here are some other suggestions. October 1, 2010

I am looking for spray gun to spray water based material to use with my contractor compressor. I am hoping such a thing exists. I know I will have to use water separator. My compressor will output 4.6cfm at 100psi. I used to share a shop that had a large compressor and HVLP guns. I am in a basement shop and cannot afford a big compressor/dedicated spray set up. I am a finish carpenter and I am getting more built-ins and cabinets, would be nice to finish my own work.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor K:
Accuspray Model 10 is great with SS parts. Not sure of the air requirements but your compressor should be ok.

From contributor N:
No, such a thing doesn't exist. The Accuspray 10 is an exceptional gun but requires a three stage turbine to power it. You don't have enough air to power any decent compressed air gun.

From contributor J:
You may want to look at some spray guns that operate at low CFM's. Asturo makes some but for most HVLP guns you need a big compressor that puts out at least 16 to 18 CFM. Trust me, I've been done this path for a long time. The alternative is a turbine sprayer or an air-assisted pump.

From contributor Y:
First off, how mush are you going to be spraying a week? If you are only spraying a few days a month the answer is going to be different than if you are spraying several gallons a day. Since you are working out of the basement I am going to go out on a limb and assume you will only be building a few things to go with the trim carpentry you install. In that case and due to your compressors size you can go to Grizzly and order.

If you are doing a bit more than you are comfortable with this setup, then I would suggest one of the starter airless units from the local Home depot for around 300 dollars to start with. Then if you are spraying more and more and want to step up to a higher quality unit then there are many ways to go. One thing to consider is how you are going to get rid of the overspray in a basement. You will have the most overspray with a cup gun but the airless will also need to have an exhaust fan setup to get rid of the overspray.

From contributor B:
That's how I started out, with a small compressor. I used various inexpensive gravity guns (Porter Cable). That was ten years ago. The first thing I'd recommend you do is switch all your fittings to 3/8" to maximize your air capacity. Two, I'd recommend a 2qt pressure pot sprayer, you be able to spray plenty with it (I use a 2hp 120 volt compressor for onsite finishing with this set up, the compressor runs alot but it puts out a good finish). Third get an LVLP gravity gun for small stuff these will work as low as 5cfm at 40psi which your compressor should do. You'll still be bit underpowered but if youíre only spraying here and there you'll be fine. I also recommend you find a good solution to exhaust the overspray. BTW I use mostly General Finish WB products.

From contributor C:
You don't have enough air for a HVLP, but there are plenty of conventional guns that would work fine. Astro makes a "Binks copy" one for under $50.00 and it uses 4 cfm, even less when you lower the pressure. I used one for years and it sprayed better than some of my more expensive HVLP's. All I had was a 3/4 HP compressor.

From contributor B:
There are a number of HVLP guns that run at low CFM's. Apollo 8000 series all run at less than 6.5cfm at 30-70 psi all the way down to 3-6cfm at 7-30 psi, 3M's 19c Pressure feed LO-CFM at 40psi. Air consumption 4-4.5 cfm, CA Tech's Jaguar gravity feed at 8cfm at13psi. So there are plenty to choose from.

From contributor C:
He only has 4.6 CFM, and with a regular compressor instead of a turbine, that means heat/moisture problems associated with a compressor that runs most of the time.

From contributor T:
His compressor puts out 4.6 cfm at 100psi, it's probably double that at 40psi or less. Contributor B gave the most appropriate and technically correct response including specific guns. Why confuse the issue?

From contributor N:
Guns that atomize well at low CFM tend to be pretty slow. I know this first hand having bought two of them for onsite work that run off of my five gallon portable. The do a pretty good job, but there is better, and definitely faster but you need a 60-80 gallon compressor and even that can be a little weak depending on the model. That being said I have done some pretty nice finishes with my 5 gal portable. I would definitely fry that poor little thing if I used it for all of my finishing though.

From contributor B:
Obviously, he's looking for an inexpensive solution. If he had an extra $600-1000 he could go out get himself a turbine rig or a new compressor and a nice HVLP gun. As I stated before there are plenty of work aroundsí. If he's just going to be shooting clears over stain he'll be ok. I probably did 20 kitchens and numerous built inís with an old inherited 1.5hp portable my first two years finishing and made good money doing it. It wasn't the fastest setup and you'd have to let the compressor catch up but I put down a nice finish with it.

I've upgraded my equipment over the years. My shop compressor now is technically a portable Curtis-Toledo 240volt, 5hp/23gallon,12.3cfm at90lbs 13.5at 40lbs , which will keep up with any of my spray rigs (Accuspray pressure feed gravity gun, Binks 2qt pressure pot/HVLP, FLG3 Binks gravity gun and a few gravity HVLP guns) . It'll recharge on the fly in 45 seconds while spraying with no change in velocity. So you don't even need a large, 60-80gl compressor.

From contributor D:
As a starting gun out of the basement what you described will work fine. While it would be great to go out and buy production capacity equipment for everything that in itself would cause problems. Letís say he went out and bought a rotary screw compressor to run his spray gun. Now, with all of that air just how is he going to remove the overspray from the basement he is spraying in? How much would that thing be making him sitting idle during the time he is installing the trim at the jobsite. I think you hit the nail on the head.