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Old 10-17-2012, 06:47 PM   #1
Garage Carpenter
 
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HVLP Sprayers & Latex Paint


I could really use some help on how to successfully spray latex paint with my Earlex 3500 sprayer. I am finishing kitchen cabinet doors and can't achieve a smooth finish. I am using Duthch Boy Cabinet & Trim paint. I am open to using a different paint if anyone has a better paint they have worked with or if they know some tricks for Hvlp latex spraying...Help!

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Old 10-17-2012, 07:38 PM   #2
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Hey Garage,
When I first used my HVLP it spit, had a spray pattern as wide as my foot is long and just didn’t perform like I thought it should. I thought I just wasted a thousand dollars until one day I began fiddling with the adjustments at the back of the gun. The bottom adjustment is the amount of fluid allowed at the nozzle. The top adjustment is the spray pattern. By turning either adjustment clockwise will reduce the width of the pattern and the flow of material. What you need to do is experiment adjusting those two screws.

Unless the material you’re spraying is extra thick (heavy) I wouldn’t thin it until I played with the gun first. It takes a little finesse to get it right. Practice makes perfect. If all else fails and you need to thin the material try thinning it with Flotrol by Flood. It thins the paint and makes it flow out as a quality oil base enamel. These are just the basics, you’ll get better by the time you’ve painted the kitchen the third time. Hang in there.

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Old 10-18-2012, 09:09 AM   #3
Garage Carpenter
 
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HVLP Sprayers & Latex Paint


Steve,

Thanks for the quick response. My Earlex sprayer is a cheaper model ($350) so it has the fluid volume adjustment but only has three preset pattern adjustments that I can make. I also have a 1.5 mm & 2.5 mm tips for the gun and I'm trying both with the different fluid adjustments, but no success yet. Also the Dutch Boy paint clearly stated not to thin it but I did just to see if it helped, but only a bit as I keep getting an end product suitable for use as a non-slip surface! Do you have any thoughts on a more sprayer friendly paint product I should try?
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Old 10-18-2012, 11:28 AM   #4
handpaintedbysteve.com
 
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Hey Garage,

I can’t say $350 is a ten cent tool, so you shot down that argument for me. Are you having trouble with too little material? if so look into a larger fluid nozzle and needle.

As for the material to use, I know I’m going to receive a lot of flack on this one, but I’ve been extremely impressed with Sherwin-Williams DTM (Direct to Metal). I know, I know, it was formulated for metal components, but it works beautifully…..period. A bit expensive, but the viscosity is such that it would be a great spray material. It flows out great, offers good open time to work with it and dries looking like an oil based product. If you have prepped your doors to receive the Dutch Boy, the DTM will be excellent. Talk to the MANAGER at a SW store and see what he has to say about it. He may recommend other products but may put you right back in the situation you are now. I speak from experience about the DTM.

I’m primarily an old oil base painter. Flood makes another product for oil base called Penetrol. Penetrol thins the material without breaking down the qualities of the product. The Flotrol does the same thing only for latex products.

Sometimes you have to think outside the box.
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Old 10-18-2012, 05:38 PM   #5
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Steve, Thanks! I did try a 2.5mm instead of the 1.5mm in came with, but it wasn't any better. I think I will try the SW DTM as long as they can match the DB paint and see how it goes.
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Old 10-19-2012, 12:35 PM   #6
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HVLP Sprayers & Latex Paint


Unless you have variable projection sets and air cap assemblies (probably not with the unit you have), it is difficult to atomize a traditional latex paint without thinning it. When you do that, you create problems with overspray, coverage, and transfer efficiency.
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Old 10-19-2012, 12:39 PM   #7
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HVLP units are great for lacquers, varnishes, stains, and alkyds (oil-based paint), not so good for viscous latex products.
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Old 10-21-2012, 04:28 AM   #8
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Did your Earlex come with a viscosity cup? If so, how many seconds did that particular latex paint take to pass through the cup? I have an Earlex 5500 and it definitely sounds like an atomization problem. You quite literally have to be a mad scientist and devote a lot more time to coming up with the perfect concoction in order to get decent results. If you don't already have some you'll need to buy a stack of paint measuring cups, with ounce lines on the sides, etc. Also make sure to get plenty of paint strainer filters. You'll actually want to use distilled water to thin the material, or really clean tap or bottled water. Flotrol is more or less a paint lubricant which can give you more open time and help you keep a wet line longer to blend your spray passes better. It might help with thinning your material slightly, but it definitely won't be enough to make any kind of a dent in that latex, enough to get the proper atomization anyway. If you have a means of measuring paint accurately start out with 4 ounces of the paint, 1 ounce of Flotrol, and 1 ounce of water, mix it very well, strain the concoction through a paint filter/strainer into your guns paint cup. Play around with the paint volume dial a bit on the back of the gun as you spray a piece of cardboard or something else that's disposable. Once you get a good paint volume level and comfortable spray pace, then try and lay down a few "for real" passes on the cardboard and see if you get any better results. You will most likely need to figure an extra coat for coverage when it's all said and done, but if you can't get the paint to atomize properly then you don't have a choice. Also, don't try and spray thicker coats thinking that you'll cut out the extra coat because you'll just end up causing yourself a lot more problems. The 4/1/1 is just a starting point, you may need to fine tune your mixture for optimal results, and remember, always dial in your gun and make a few passes on a scrap of cardboard before spraying your material. If your gut tells you it's not laying down very well then you'll have to adjust your mixture until it does. I keep a notebook near where I mix and make some quick notes regarding ingredients, amounts, etc.

Bah.. sorry for the wall of text, it's 4:30am and I'm not quite tired enough to sleep for some reason, and yet I'm too tired to use paragraphs when typing. ;P
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Old 10-21-2012, 08:05 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Garage Carpente View Post
Steve,

Thanks for the quick response. My Earlex sprayer is a cheaper model ($350) so it has the fluid volume adjustment but only has three preset pattern adjustments that I can make. I also have a 1.5 mm & 2.5 mm tips for the gun and I'm trying both with the different fluid adjustments, but no success yet. Also the Dutch Boy paint clearly stated not to thin it but I did just to see if it helped, but only a bit as I keep getting an end product suitable for use as a non-slip surface! Do you have any thoughts on a more sprayer friendly paint product I should try?
I see that model on Amazon for $129.00 and it's a step down from the model I used for kitchen cabinets. You have to be sure that the paint will go through the viscosity cup correctly. I added the Flocontrol stuff (sp)
and got a good finish on the cabinets only after practicing for a few days on a cabinet door, wiping off and cleaning between attempts.

I ended up getting the HV 5500 which was quite a bit more but more powerful and use it quite a bit for furniture and other small projects around the house. It took me a while to learn how to use it. One big thing I do remember is the manual, website will tell you to have the sprayer 12" away from the material but that NEVER worked for me and typically would be about maybe 4-6" away?
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Old 10-21-2012, 06:16 PM   #10
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It is my understanding that unless you break for the real high end $1500 to $2500 for like a 3 stage turbine unit then spraying latex is a problem. I also got a cheap one and you have to mess with a viscosity cup. Latex is just too thick. Sorry did not mean to say your model was cheap, mine was. Having said all that and I know you don"t want to hear it but I have 2 suggestions 1- and I know some will laugh but a wagner sprayer is cheap and does not do a bad job. I found out the hard way the secret is don't let it get over half empty. 2-somewhere on one of these threads someone (Rusty Baker I think recommend an HVLP gun that you use with a compressor) I liked the idea so much I ordered one. Otherwise I know it's a PIA but you have to keep thinning your paint. Hope this helps. let us know how you make out.
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Old 10-21-2012, 06:26 PM   #11
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HVLP Sprayers & Latex Paint


Quote:
Originally Posted by Garage Carpente View Post
I could really use some help on how to successfully spray latex paint with my Earlex 3500 sprayer. I am finishing kitchen cabinet doors and can't achieve a smooth finish. I am using Duthch Boy Cabinet & Trim paint. I am open to using a different paint if anyone has a better paint they have worked with or if they know some tricks for Hvlp latex spraying...Help!
That's the same unit I have, single stage. It will spray the latex with the 2.5 mm tip but you need to ignore any "do not thin" instructions. I finally got it spraying by thinning maybe to as much as 20%. Thinned to 10% with floetrol and the rest bottled water. Finally got good atomization but, as expected, very thin coats. Wasn't really a problem though as, thinned that much, it flashed off very quickly and I could go over it again in less than 5 minutes. Just keep thinning until it looks like a spray from a rattle can. Actually ended up with a very nice finish. I will be definately upgrading at some point but $1000, shoot, $500 is out of reach at the moment.

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