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Need advice on setting up my 4000b hvlp. Am in Tech school and having trouble laying down a decent finish

#1
In Tech school , in an automotive bodywork and refinishing program. I would say painting and the whole prep process covers over 50% of our class time.


I am using my Sata 4000b digital HVLP for Primer, sealer, base and clear. I read somewhere here that the 4000b hvlp is best for base. I have the original factory 1.3 tip on it. I was using the RPS cups and then switched to the 3M pps and Sata metal cups. The later 2 cups deposit more material. I think I might go back to the RPS .

Every single paint job requires me to spend a lot of time hand wet-sanding with 1000, 1500 and 2000 grit. Now I know typically a decent painter's clear and base should be good enough to not require wet-sanding.

I tried out various settings on the gun . The oval shaped pattern tends to spray more and wetter on the top of the oval than the bottom and center. I also have to hold back further than 6" to get a wide enough spray pattern.

Is there any setting you recommend ?

- How many turns of the fluid control knob (if the base position is the knob being turned in all the way in)?
- Fan pattern control: Turned all the way clockwise or counterclockwise?
- Air micrometer: the middle setting or the wide-open?

I am just not getting a decent finish with Base and Clear.
Should I just get a different gun for Clear and keep this for base only?
 

Chris_Hamilton

Trying to be the best me, I can be
#2
The 4000 HVLP is not going to spray clear very well. It is an excellent gun for base though. You can spray sealer with it but the 1.3 is borderline for spraying it due to the nozzle size.
 

EddieF

Top Banana
#3
Also, you said it sprays heavier on top, less middle & bottom.
That tells me 1- you're not holding spraying it square at panel or 2- it needs to be cleaned thoroughly.
Fine guns need fine care. 1.3 should work but move slower right Chris?
 

Chris_Hamilton

Trying to be the best me, I can be
#5
Also, you said it sprays heavier on top, less middle & bottom.
That tells me 1- you're not holding spraying it square at panel or 2- it needs to be cleaned thoroughly.
Fine guns need fine care. 1.3 should work but move slower right Chris?
Been my experience that any HVLP Sata doesn't spray clear well. Tried multiple different techniques and never had satisfactory results. Especially with high solids clears.
 
#6
Also, you said it sprays heavier on top, less middle & bottom.
That tells me 1- you're not holding spraying it square at panel or 2- it needs to be cleaned thoroughly.
Fine guns need fine care. 1.3 should work but move slower right Chris?
It's super clean. I fastidiously clean the gun every time I run material (primer, sealer, base and clear) through it.
 
#7
If the pattern is not symmetrical, either the nozzle/needle/air cap has a problem, or you need to carefully check whether you're holding the gun so that the fluid needle is closely perpendicular to the surface being sprayed. But as Chris says (he's expert on Sata guns, the 4000 is not a great all-rounder. My personal preference back when using Sata was the original RP for clear. Most painters have at least one gun for each major function, primer, base, and clear. I happen to use my base gun for sealer also, otherwise I might have four.
 
#8
In Tech school , in an automotive bodywork and refinishing program. I would say painting and the whole prep process covers over 50% of our class time.
The only thing you left out is pressures you have at the gun and any filters. It is pretty clear getting better flow thru different cups mean you have to remove the filters. You get the liners with either 125 or 200 mesh in there, when you dont have a filter in a metal cup and one in the liner, it explains alot. Even turning the gun upside down to remove air from the liner makes a difference in how it sprays.

I am surprised prep and painting is not more than 50% of the time. Not everyone is a painter, not everyone is a body man. With todays replacement market, there is really not much that needs to be taught in actual body work, other than frame straightening and beating panels so there is not much filler.
 
#9
The only thing you left out is pressures you have at the gun and any filters. It is pretty clear getting better flow thru different cups mean you have to remove the filters. You get the liners with either 125 or 200 mesh in there, when you dont have a filter in a metal cup and one in the liner, it explains alot. Even turning the gun upside down to remove air from the liner makes a difference in how it sprays.

I am surprised prep and painting is not more than 50% of the time. Not everyone is a painter, not everyone is a body man. With todays replacement market, there is really not much that needs to be taught in actual body work, other than frame straightening and beating panels so there is not much filler.
Our incoming pressure is set above 80 psi. We can adjust it to be higher if we want. With the trigger fully pulled back I set the digital gage on the gun to 24psi because the Sata recommended 29psi is just a bit to high for my liking. I am still fiddling around with settings though. I was spraying better when I used the Sata RPS cups that came with the gun. I just got myself a plastic cup but don't see it being any different to the Sata metal cup I used. The circular mesh and cylindrival filters in the RPS cups restricted the volume which I think helped me.

Removing dents, using hammers & dollies was a big part of the learning process along with lots of classroom time. Then we had instruction on alignment and using the various computer systems to categorize and price repairs. We learmed about plastic welding and had a dedicated class on Autobody metal welding. And another class touching on the mechanical side of things . Cumilatively (with last semester included) I'd say painting/prep was about 50% of class but lately it has been about 85% paint and prep this Semester.
 

Chris_Hamilton

Trying to be the best me, I can be
#10
@kraftformer, Like I said earlier it's gonna be an exercise in frustration trying to get that gun to spray clear well. Sata HVLP's just don't do well with clear. Especially a 1.3. Best bet is to plan on another gun for clear. If you decide you are going to be on the paint side you'll eventually want at least 3 guns. Dedicated sealer gun, dedicated base gun (your 4000 HVLP is a good choice) and a dedicated clear gun. Sata 5000 RP or 5500 RP are as good a clear gun as there is. If you are leaning toward the body work side of collision repair I'd say save your money as you won't be doing any painting. And don't spend a huge amount on a primer gun as you will find you'll end up replacing those quite often. Primer gun look for something in the 1.8-2.2 range

It is a good idea though to try to become as proficient as you can in all aspects of the trade. Many Techs today are simply part swappers and bondo butchers. Aspire to be more than that. Learn as much as you can from as many different sources as you can. Don't think you know it all once you graduate from the school because you don't. You don't even know what you don't know yet. I have mentored a lot of young techs over the years at the Shops I worked at. Trust me Tech School it just gives you a foundation. Listen to the guys in the Shop whose work looks the best. Not the fastest or loudest ones. Don't just take an old guys advice because he says he's been doing it for however many years. Look at their work.

Read the Tech Sheets of the products you use. Even if you have to look them up online. Always be thinking how can you do this better, higher quality, faster. Speed should be the least of your concerns until you master the techniques. If you are at a shop that only cares about speed, start looking for somewhere else. Be prepared to move around a lot until you find a place that fits. Never be satisfied with your work. Always try to do it better. You do that you'll have success. Good Luck to you.:)
 
#11
Our incoming pressure is set above 80 psi. We can adjust it to be higher if we want. With the trigger fully pulled back I set the digital gage on the gun to 24psi because the Sata recommended 29psi is just a bit to high for my liking. I am still fiddling around with settings though. I was spraying better when I used the Sata RPS cups that came with the gun. I just got myself a plastic cup but don't see it being any different to the Sata metal cup I used. The circular mesh and cylindrival filters in the RPS cups restricted the volume which I think helped me.

Removing dents, using hammers & dollies was a big part of the learning process along with lots of classroom time. Then we had instruction on alignment and using the various computer systems to categorize and price repairs. We learmed about plastic welding and had a dedicated class on Autobody metal welding. And another class touching on the mechanical side of things . Cumilatively (with last semester included) I'd say painting/prep was about 50% of class but lately it has been about 85% paint and prep this Semester.
That air pressure just adds to the atomization of the paint. so when you say you are heavy at top and bottom, it sounds like it wants more or you are closer to the panel at the top on an angle. The other thing is volume. Things change when you start dragging around a 1/2 inch hose and that pressure is always there, but you need the compressor behind you to do that.. Go thru low flow quick connects or a 1/4 inch air line will vary that pressure when you are spraying. It always seems like the suggestion here is set your pressure at the wall so you get the 29 at the gun at all times. If you are 5 pounds down from recommended, then you need less fluid and will have a smaller pattern. So pull the trigger and get your pressure, then hold it for the length of your spray pattern on a vehicle and make sure you always have that pressure there. If you dont, you need to up the incoming to make sure you have it consistently.

You really need to find where you personally need to be. For the most part, the farther you get away from what you are painting, the more chances you have to bring dirt into the job.
The man makes the painter, the preparation is what makes the painter great. Great painters dont need thousands of dollars worth of guns.
 
#13
Chris gave some very good advice as he always does. This business is very challenging and the learning process never ends. The key is to never be satisfied that you know everything or that your work is good enough to pass. I am 57 years old and have been doing this since I was 17. I gravitated toward the finishing end, and never did much heavy collision work. In the past 8-10 years I have learned so much on that end because I pushed myself to. You reaching out for advice is a good sign you are on the right path. Listen to everyone, but pay attention to the techs that do really nice work, not necessarily the ones that run the most hours. I worked with a bodyman that did incredible work and also ran a lot of hours, because every movement he made was a step towards completing the job. He rolled a cart to the vehicle with every tool he needed to to do it, instead of walking back and forth to his tool box. He concentrated on straightening the metal to minimize sanding filler, which he hated. He put complete panels on instead of splicing. When he was finished with something, it was completely finished. Doing things once the right way is how he consistently ran lots of hours. What EddieF said above is good advice, also. Get a piece of masking paper hung on a wall, hold the gun 6 inches from the surface, and squeeze the trigger for a couple seconds. Turn your air cap 90 degrees and repeat, then 90 degrees and repeat again. If the patterns are different, or the horizontal pattern runs on one end, your fluid tip or air cap is dirty. Remove them from the gun and soak them and the needle in some gun cleaner or stripper. Thinner won't clean dried primer or clear.
 
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#14
@kraftformer, Like I said earlier it's gonna be an exercise in frustration trying to get that gun to spray clear well. Sata HVLP's just don't do well with clear. Especially a 1.3. Best bet is to plan on another gun for clear. If you decide you are going to be on the paint side you'll eventually want at least 3 guns. Dedicated sealer gun, dedicated base gun (your 4000 HVLP is a good choice) and a dedicated clear gun. Sata 5000 RP or 5500 RP are as good a clear gun as there is. If you are leaning toward the body work side of collision repair I'd say save your money as you won't be doing any painting. And don't spend a huge amount on a primer gun as you will find you'll end up replacing those quite often. Primer gun look for something in the 1.8-2.2 range

It is a good idea though to try to become as proficient as you can in all aspects of the trade. Many Techs today are simply part swappers and bondo butchers. Aspire to be more than that. Learn as much as you can from as many different sources as you can. Don't think you know it all once you graduate from the school because you don't. You don't even know what you don't know yet. I have mentored a lot of young techs over the years at the Shops I worked at. Trust me Tech School it just gives you a foundation. Listen to the guys in the Shop whose work looks the best. Not the fastest or loudest ones. Don't just take an old guys advice because he says he's been doing it for however many years. Look at their work.

Read the Tech Sheets of the products you use. Even if you have to look them up online. Always be thinking how can you do this better, higher quality, faster. Speed should be the least of your concerns until you master the techniques. If you are at a shop that only cares about speed, start looking for somewhere else. Be prepared to move around a lot until you find a place that fits. Never be satisfied with your work. Always try to do it better. You do that you'll have success. Good Luck to you.:)
My plan is to get a gun suited for Clear. I have come to the conclusion after reading posts here and watching YouTube videos that as you say the Sata 5000 RP and X5500 RP are good choices. Also the Iwata W400 Supernova Evo. I don't yet know how the Entech Iwatas stack up against the Evo . I would either be buying used on Ebay or new from that Italian or Japanese seller. How do you rate the Iwata Bellaria for Clear? It is about half the price of the 5500 RP from the Italian seller.

I have about a month to go before graduation so I would really like to get the hang of painting , because I would have no opportunity to do so after I graduate since shops don't just start off new hires on the paint side of things at the start.

Thanks for all the assistace. And that goes for everyone commenting on my threads. I appreciate everyone taking the time to respond.
 
#16
That air pressure just adds to the atomization of the paint. so when you say you are heavy at top and bottom, it sounds like it wants more or you are closer to the panel at the top on an angle. The other thing is volume. Things change when you start dragging around a 1/2 inch hose and that pressure is always there, but you need the compressor behind you to do that.. Go thru low flow quick connects or a 1/4 inch air line will vary that pressure when you are spraying. It always seems like the suggestion here is set your pressure at the wall so you get the 29 at the gun at all times. If you are 5 pounds down from recommended, then you need less fluid and will have a smaller pattern. So pull the trigger and get your pressure, then hold it for the length of your spray pattern on a vehicle and make sure you always have that pressure there. If you dont, you need to up the incoming to make sure you have it consistently.

You really need to find where you personally need to be. For the most part, the farther you get away from what you are painting, the more chances you have to bring dirt into the job.
The man makes the painter, the preparation is what makes the painter great. Great painters dont need thousands of dollars worth of guns.
I don't have a regulator on the gun, so I set the pressure at the wall outlet. When I tried moving the gun further away from the panel for a larger pattern I ended up getting a dry spray effect.

I also have never fully pulled the trigger, only pulling it about half way from the point where the gun starts to discharge paint. Fully pulled back trigger seems to make the deposition far too wet and cause runs. I am not sure how fast or slow I can describe my movement but I don't think it is slow, judging by how fast/slow I have seen painters on YouTube move.
 
#17
Unscrew out till wide open the cheater air valve on bottom or back of gun.
Put a gauge (make sure its wide open if it has knob) on hose before gun & hold trigger wide open without paint.
That's how you set ballpark spray psi, never without pulling trigger.
Fluid knob back out till it doesnt stop trigger & then screw it in 1/2 turn.
Fan wide open for all above.
 
#18
Trying to regulate the fluid by only pulling the trigger part way is inconsistent at best. Most guns perform best by closing the fluid knob fully closed, then open 2-3 turns depending on gun and material sprayed. Again, hang some paper and pull trigger fully open to set fluid, fan, pressure, and distance, until it looks like you want. Every painter likes different settings, so you have to find what works for you.
 
#19
Unscrew out till wide open the cheater air valve on bottom or back of gun.
Put a gauge (make sure its wide open if it has knob) on hose before gun & hold trigger wide open without paint.
That's how you set ballpark spray psi, never without pulling trigger.
Fluid knob back out till it doesnt stop trigger & then screw it in 1/2 turn.
Fan wide open for all above.
When you say "cheater air valve" do you mean the Air micrometer, as indicated by the red arrow?



And I back-out the fluid knob (blue arrow) all the way till it almost separates from the gun?
 

Chris_Hamilton

Trying to be the best me, I can be
#20
No he means something like this.


or this


Your fluid knob should start by being turned all the way in. Completely. The when someone says 2 turns out you simply open it 2 full turns. Completely open is when you can pull the trigger all the way in. They should be teaching you this in your school.


My setup for base with Sata HVLP's is this. Fan open all the way. Fluid 2- 2 1/2 turns out (from fully closed) 30 psi (roughly it's hard to see and unsure of accuracy) at my wall regulator in the booth. No gun regulator. I adjust my air until the base is atomizing nicely.
If you were going to try to spray clear with the HVLP try this setup, Fan open all the way. Fluid 2 1/2 turns to completely open. 30-35 psi at the regulator. Gun overlap 75% per pass. Need to go slow enough so that the clear "fills" as you are making each pass.
 
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