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Which paint gun should I buy?

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11-26-2012 17:56:29

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Hi, I have a family member that offered to buy me a paint gun if I would paint his tractor at some point. I have not painted much, just a couple of small one shank subsoilers. I Have at least four tractors I want to paint in the future. My question is what would everyone recommend for a paint gun. Looking for a nice paint gun that will last and do a nice job. thanks

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12-13-2012 14:33:46

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 Re: Which paint gun should I buy? in reply to littleschnebs, 11-26-2012 17:56:29  
Thanks. After I took the picture when it was in primer I did dampen the floor down.
Masking paper is a MUST next time I do something like this.

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12-13-2012 14:25:57

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 Re: Which paint gun should I buy? in reply to littleschnebs, 11-26-2012 17:56:29  
You will learn alot every time you paint one. Maybe not on a tractor, but on your next vehicle you paint, If I could make a suggestion. If its in the budget, get masking paper, and mask around the wheel well openings and run paper to the floor and tape the paper to the floor, under the rockers, front, rear, you wind up masking the vehicle to the floor all the way around it. That will keep dirt from cycloning under the vehicle and bringing dirt out in to your paint job.

Also, any hole you can tape, like door handle holes, side marker holes, any opening in any panel will keep air from going in the hole and disturbing any dirt or dust. You will be amazed at the difference those little things make.

I couldn't tell from your pictures, but if you dampen the floor, that helps alot. No puddles, just damp. Good job tho' for first timer.
This post was edited by MO8N4ME at 14:29:05 12/13/12.

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12-13-2012 12:40:38

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 Re: Which paint gun should I buy? in reply to littleschnebs, 11-26-2012 17:56:29  
I learned a lot from the process, one of the biggest things was masking properly. Plastic is ok if you are only using it for one coat then re-masking. After the first coat, any subsequent coats blow the dried paint/clear right off the plastic and on to your paint. Masking paper would have been a much better choice but I was also on a budget and I'd already blown it when I reached the paint stage. :oops:
There is some trash in the paint, some of which only I can see but next time, and there will be a next time, I will do much better. I'll probably practice on a couple of tractors in between. Might just have the shiniest TO-35 on the face of the planet when I'm done.

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12-12-2012 20:57:04

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 Re: Which paint gun should I buy? in reply to littleschnebs, 11-26-2012 17:56:29  
I have the HF "purple gun" set with the big gun and the small one for touch ups. The large gun comes with 2 different tips, one for primer, one for paint and clear.
I use a 30 gal Craftsman direct drive oil-less compressor which seems to do ok although even it is a little small for big jobs (like a whole truck). I bought some disposable inline filters to keep moisture out of my gun and went for it. This is my first attempt at painting anything big. third party image third party image third party image third party image

That was in April of 2011. It has since had all the body moldings and decals put back on. For a first try I think it came out ok. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do it a certain way or with certain tools. Prep is HUGE, taking the time to learn a bit before you start is big and practice practice practice! BTW, the paint is Martin Senor Crossfire two stage from Napa.

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12-13-2012 09:55:35

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 Re: Which paint gun should I buy? in reply to Inno, 12-12-2012 20:57:04  
Looks really nice. I love it when a person can turn out quality in less than ideal situations. It looks to me that you went about it the right way. Good job!

My opinion on the oil-less compressor was just my experience. What ever works for someone else is great.

Really my post above was just my opinion...I think some times we go overboard buying materials and equipment, thinking that is how you get quality. It really is about prep work and the guy behind the paint gun.

Sata guns are great, I used to own one, but really that kind of precision is mainly for the pro that needs dependability time and time again. I used to think the same thing about the old Binks #7, but when times and materials change, you need to change the equipment.

I've seen differant painters use the same equipment in a pressurized downdraft booth. One painter will paint a car without more than 1 speck of dirt in it. The other painters paint job will be full of dirt. Same gun, same high dollar spray booth. One job is washed and sent out the door, the other requires a day of sanding and buffing to be able to sell the job.

Its all about care and pride...plus what are we 'shooting' for here. Are we painting a 1963 Ford Galaxie for a SEMA show or a '55 860 that's going out to bush hog the back 40. My 2. :)

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12-12-2012 19:53:33

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 Re: Which paint gun should I buy? in reply to littleschnebs, 11-26-2012 17:56:29  
20 oz. HVLP Gravity Feed Spray Gun $13.99

Central Pneumatic - item#47016 ON-LINE

20 oz. HVLP Gravity Feed Spray Gun $13.99

Central Pneumatic Professional - item#67181 IN STORE


Item #38518

The above items can be viewed at Harbor Freight on-line

Both of the 'Purple Guns' I listed above I believe are the same. The part numbers are different for on-line purchase or in-store purchase and the 47016 I bought has a 1.4mm nozzle and the 67181 has a 1.5mm nozzle. Also the box that the 47016 came in says the gun requires 14CFM-I believe that is a mistake.

Paint guns and compressors are rated by CFM Usually at 40 PSI and 90 PSI

The manufacture states that the 'Purple Gun' requires 6 CFM @ 40 PSI. That is kind of typical for inexpensive guns being sold today.

My local Walmart has a very nice Campbell Hausfeld compressor for $409. It is a belt driven oil-type compressor and is a 30 gallon 2HP 110 household electric plug and play. It is rated- 6.8 CFM @ 40 pounds. I have had no luck at all with oil-less (One unit motor and compressor) compressors if you "work" them.

If you paint a couple of tractors a year and run a few tools, i.e. air sander, impact wrench, this is all you need.

The one big advantage to the aluminum cup I listed above is that it is easy to clean and has a snap off lid. No threads to clean. It also holds a full quart of material. Another big advantage to the gravity feed cup is, you can mix small amounts and it uses it all. With a siphon feed gun, it can not use ALL of small amounts.

You should start out painting with 'Good' paint and avoid the high priced urethanes until you get the hang of it, or you may even decide, enamel or acrylic enamel is more than adequate for what you want.

Sata guns and high priced equipment along with expensive materials are all over-kill on hobby/farm equipment unless you are building high point truly show vehicles...or you have something to prove.

I have painted with a lot better and I have painted with a lot worse than the recommendations I'm offering here.

If you prep well, follow the paint directions and use a catalyst or hardener in your paint, You can have a quality durable paint job that most would be proud of.
FWIW- I painted my 8n chassis and dash with the 'Purple Gun' #47016 and a 1HP compressor. It turned out very nice.

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El Toro

12-07-2012 06:10:21

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 Re: Which paint gun should I buy? in reply to littleschnebs, 11-26-2012 17:56:29  
third party image

I have this hvlp gun along with a hvlp touchup gun. I also have an old Devilbiss gun I bought used and rebuilt it over the years. I like it since it's easier to clean. Hal

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David G

12-04-2012 15:35:16

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 Re: Which paint gun should I buy? in reply to littleschnebs, 11-26-2012 17:56:29  
I have a SATA, nice gun but not cheap.

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Jason S.

11-29-2012 06:12:22

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 Re: Which paint gun should I buy? in reply to littleschnebs, 11-26-2012 17:56:29  
As far as air compressors, I would stay away from the oiless direct drive compressors. They make better water pumps than air pumps because all they pump is moisture. I ran two water traps in the line, put an extra tank in line and put two disposable filters on the end of my gun and would still occasionaly get moisture thru the gun. That was with a 5hp 33 gallon Craftsman compressor. I got rid of it several years ago. Get as big of a compressor as you can afford even if it is a used one because if you are going to run a D.A. or sand blaster much it will run a smaller compressor to death.

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11-29-2012 06:02:27

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 Re: Which paint gun should I buy? in reply to littleschnebs, 11-26-2012 17:56:29  
i have all sata guns here at the shop. anest iwata is also a good gun, comparable to the sata guns. they are pricey. depending on the model, either gun will set you back 400 to 600 dollars. all are gravity feed hvlp guns. ebay has a lot of used ones in the 200-300 dollar range. rebuild kits are readily available, as are different tips and cup options. a good gun in the hands of a novice painter with a little practice will give good results. a cheap gun that doesnt atomize correctly with give bad results. shooting something like acrylic enamel or single stage urethane. you are gonna have 400 in materials. base clear, figure 500 at least. the hvlp has way less overspray, and will put down considerably more material than a siphon gun, saving about 25 to 30 percent material costs. a good gun will pay for itself in a couple of paint jobs.

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11-29-2012 03:12:08

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 Re: Which paint gun should I buy? in reply to littleschnebs, 11-26-2012 17:56:29  
I bought a small touch-up gun based on a reccomondation here and was glad I did. They are easy to maneuver and it was almost like an extension of my hand.

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Wayne Wiseman

11-28-2012 17:35:43

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 Re: Which paint gun should I buy? in reply to littleschnebs, 11-26-2012 17:56:29  
I have painted three tractors using different guns. I'm well pleased with the last one I purchased from Eastwood. It cost $99. and is call Evolution. It is the best gun I have used. I'm not a trained painter but the results with the Eastwood Evolution Gun does make a difference. I paint with NAPA single stage urethane paint. It makes the tractor look like a show tractor. There is a difference between show cars and show tractors.

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11-28-2012 14:16:57

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 Re: Which paint gun should I buy? in reply to littleschnebs, 11-26-2012 17:56:29  
I got the husky pro one from home depot.

Really just because I was itching to paint one day and it was the only option for an impulse purchase. Think it was around $100

I was nervous that I should be spending a little more on a gun - but it's painted a tractor, implements, hammer mill, truck panel, and a few odds and ends. I'm happy with the results.

First time painting with anything but a brush or rattle can so I can't compare it to anything.

But - no regrets.

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11-28-2012 10:31:01

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 Re: Which paint gun should I buy? in reply to littleschnebs, 11-26-2012 17:56:29  
Back around 30-40 years, i was working in Auto body repairs, and painting. I couldn't afford the high priced spray guns sold then, so i'd buy the el-cheapos at the local flea markets, about $35 or $40! They worked as good as the $200 ones. I never had any complaints about the quality of the finish, or how it looked. There were some folks who disparaged my use of the cheap guns. I always figured--if ya know what yer doing, you can make the job look right, they're ok to use. But, it takes practice, with many months of spraying primer and laquer, before venturing into enamel paints, which always had the tendency to run off, if ya got too much in one spot! forty some years in the trade, until the paint got to me. Now, 10 minutes in a working auto body/paint shop, and i can't breathe. Be fore-warned about the hardeners and other drying chemicals now in the paints. I now use sponge brushes to paint anything, except Laquer and primer.

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11-27-2012 17:34:08

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 Re: Which paint gun should I buy? in reply to littleschnebs, 11-26-2012 17:56:29  
go grab a 15$ harbor freight one, and a piece of old roof tin, and do a lil practicing. you can learn alot on a cheap gun.. whether you decide to stay with a sub 100$ gun.. or go to a nicer one like a DB.. the practice don't hurt.

many times you can find a DB knock off in the 20-30$ range at a chinese store.

I have a collection of different guns.

a syphon for primer and another for color.. plus a touch up with small can and butterfly on it. I also have a pressure pot and an hvlp.

none were over 60$.. and at least a couple were under 20$. I've painted dozens of tractgors and a few vehicles at this point.

neither paint, nor the gun was the limiting factor in quality of finish.

prep on the body is almost alays the bulk of it.

100$ a gallon paint out of a 400$ gun, on 5$ of prep work looks like a 2$ paint job.

30$ a gallon paint thru a 50$ gun, on 2 weeks of prep work can look real nice.

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11-27-2012 05:36:02

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 Re: Which paint gun should I buy? in reply to littleschnebs, 11-26-2012 17:56:29  
If you are planning to paint a lot of tractors buy a decent gun. I have guns that range from about $150 to $400 -- I am not a professional painter. The $400 one is visually better than the $150 ones. If you are disassembling the tractor you will find that a small touch up gun will paint a lot of small parts and waste less paint. You should have a gun dedicated to primers, particularly if you are using high build primers or surfacers. Tips for the topcoat and epoxy primers should be 1.3-1.5 mm, for high build or surfacers about 1.8. My painting compressor is a 60 gal single stage that will put out 15 cfm at 100 psi. I also have a 23 cfm 80 gal compressor primarily for sand blasting and air powered sanders. Once you get a compressor you will find that you want to do more with it than paint. If you are only going to paint one or 2 tractors a cheap compressor and gun will work. I have been doing this for 10 years, and hope to continue -- thus I buy better equipment.

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Tom in MO

11-27-2012 04:42:10

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 Re: Which paint gun should I buy? in reply to littleschnebs, 11-26-2012 17:56:29  
Great question, Littleschnebs - I was about to ask the same thing.

I liked your answer, too, Stephen - I thought I'd need to spend a lot more than that.

A follow-up question: how much of an air compressor does it take to operate one of those spray guns?

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Stephen Newell

11-27-2012 05:19:06

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 Re: Which paint gun should I buy? in reply to Tom in MO, 11-27-2012 04:42:10  
The size of the compressor depends on how much you need to spray at one time. If a person had only one of these little smudgepot compressors made for a nail gun they would never be able to spray the cast body of a tractor. It would soon drain the tank and you would have to stop and wait for the compressor to catch up. Then it would show a lap mark where you stopped and started again. I have a small 1 hp speedaire compressor that is only rated at 4.9 cfm at 100 psi. It will deliver enough air to paint any tractor. I've even used the compressor to paint a house with a pressure pot when my airless was down. I didn't have to stop very often to let it catch up.

I'm a fan of Harbor Freight but I would stay away from their compressors. I bought a 2 hp compressor item #67501 and within a couple of weeks the pump started coming apart internally. There was no fuss in exchanging the compressor but the replacement is just over a year old now and it's worn out. Of course I'm using it professionally but it was to replace the speedaire that is 25 years old. In all fairness the speedaire would have been 4 or 5 times the price of the harbor freight compressor though.

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11-27-2012 17:29:21

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 Re: Which paint gun should I buy? in reply to Stephen Newell, 11-27-2012 05:19:06  
when I priced compressors a while back, I was looking at 60g 240v uprights, etc.

HF, lowes and home depot and northern tool.

lowes had the best price on a ? husky or some such H name.. and it was actually a CH unit, rebranded and painted red, not blue. surprisingly was cheaper than the chicago pneumatic... go figure.!

been a great compressor.

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Stephen Newell

11-26-2012 18:38:04

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 Re: Which paint gun should I buy? in reply to littleschnebs, 11-26-2012 17:56:29  
Unless you plan to paint cars I would buy a cheap harbor freight gun. It doesn't atomize the paint as well as a expensive professional sprayer but with a 20% off coupon it's only about $16.00. I have four of them and I have painted anything from fine furniture to tractors with them. It's item #97855. I also have one of their gravity feed gun, better known as the purple gun I don't care for. It comes in handy for small batches of catalyzed paint where you need to use every drop. The siphon guns take a couple of ounces of paint just to function.

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12-02-2012 14:31:55

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 Re: Which paint gun should I buy? in reply to Stephen Newell, 11-26-2012 18:38:04  
Anyone have any experience with the Harbor Freight 66222? It's the current version of the 43430 gravity-feed HVLP "Purple Gun" which became a cult item with DIYers of all stripes because it worked so well for the price ($30 to $70 depending on what the current sale is).

Supposedly a very good learners gun, being cheap, but capable of really good results.

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Stephen Newell

12-06-2012 21:48:17

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 Re: Which paint gun should I buy? in reply to kylemorley, 12-02-2012 14:31:55  
I have a harbor freight 47016 gravity feed sprayer and I hate it. Much of what I hate about it is after buying it is I find I can't stand a gravity feed gun. You can't just unplug it and set it on a table. You have to have carry a special stand around with you to hang it up on. Then if you are working on something that the paint needs to be in the gun for hours there is no way to keep it stirred. All the solids end up in the nozzle. You always have to pour the paint out into another container immediately after using it and rinse the gun. Then with this model, the thing has a plastic cup on it that has a screw on cap like a mason jar that you can't keep paint out of the threads and is always glued shut. I finally set the gun aside and only use it when I need a small batch of catalyzed paint that I'm trying to use every drop. Otherwise I use one of my siphon guns.

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