Could someone give me a little education on mill thickness? I spray a lot of lacquer and have sprayed some CV but am no professional finisher. When you say CV should be a max of 3 mils, how do you gauge that? Dry mils, wet mils, etc.?
From contributor J:
You need to do some math with a wet mil gauge, or get a device called a positector to measure the dry film. I will assume you want to measure the wet film as it costs almost nothing. Most vendors will give you a wet film gauge for free. When you spray a part, you touch the wet film gauge to the part while itís wet (as soon as possible) and take a reading. You will probably find you are laying down a wet coat of about 3 mil. Now, find the solids by volume content of the product you are spraying (ignore solids by weight, itís a marketing measurement - you need solids by volume).
Letís assume your product is 30% solids by volume. Now for the math - wet sealer coat at 3mil and when dry, 30% of 3mil is 0.9mil so your first sealer coat has a dry film of 0.9mil. Scuff sand and remove a bit of that dry film. Letís say you are now at about 0.6mil. Spray another 3mil wet coat, and when dry you will have a total film of 0.9mil plus 0.6mil from the seal coat for a total dry film of 1.5mil. Keep subtracting a bit for scuff sanding and adding the 0.9 dry mil for each 3 wet mil coat sprayed and you will arrive at a very close approximation of your total dry film thickness.
Now if you add thinner to your product before spraying, you are reducing the solid content by volume of the product. Say you add 10% thinner to the mix. Your 30% solids by volume will now be reduced by 3% for a total of 27% solids. Typically for most lacquers and conversion varnishes, the product data sheets will recommend applying wet coats in the area of 3 to 5mil and they will recommend keeping total dry film at less than 5mil. Refer to the data sheets for the particular product you are using and this information should be there. You want to look for wet coat, total dry film, and solids by volume percentage. Combined with the math above, the only thing you should need is a wet film gauge. Just ask your finish supplier for one. It will either be free or about $5. If you exceed the film thickness recommendations, you can run into all sorts of problems such as cracking, lifting, wrinkling, etc. and some of the issues may not show up for a month or so after spraying.