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Thread: How to adjust your paint gun

  1. #1
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    How to adjust your paint gun

    This written below was first written in 2002, it is not the perfect paint gun adjusting solution but it will give you an understanding as to why you should adjust your gun and some starting points.

    PLEASE feel free to add any ideas that that may help!

    This may sound trivial to an experienced painter but the fact is very few painters know how to adjust their paint gun. This one item separates a sprayer from a painter more than anything else. The fact is a painter that knows how to fine tune his paint gun will turn a lot more hours and have a lot less problems because he is controlling the paint and is not letting the paint control him. This is why 80-90% of the painters today hate to spray High Solids clears. They vision runs or orange peel and if you don’t adjust the gun properly this is what you will get make no doubt about it.

    First of all the number one question I get is what tip should I use? My personal feeling is for basecoat a 1.3 or 1.4 and for clear 1.4. The exception on the 1.4 for spraying clear would be certain HVLP guns where a 1.5 is made for spraying clear. And of course a true painter is only going to use gravity feed gun. Leave the old siphon feed guns for the enamel sprayers that they are made for, as these guns have no place in today’s body shops that are using Urethanes and Polyurethane’s.

    What happens with an improperly adjusted paint gun?

    If you’re applying basecoat chances are you’re applying it way too heavy and your blends are showing, your metallic are not lying down or standing out like they should so your color marches are a problem and the base is drying slower between coats than it should.

    The number one clue the basecoat is going on too heavy is if you’re having a die-back problem with the clear after setting overnight (trapped solvents).

    If you’re applying clear the clear is controlling you instead of you controlling the clear. With a High Solids clear you try to spray it wet enough that the orange peel will flow out but hope that it doesn’t flow so much that it runs on you. The next day you tend to have a clear that looks cloudy or milky because of the trapped solvents and it requires a lot of wet sanding.

    The benefits of adjusting the paint gun properly will be faster application of paint and you will know what the final job will look like when you spray it and not have to guess.

    How do I properly adjust my gun?

    Place a piece of masking paper on the wall, then set the fan how you like it. Adjust the air pressure to the rate that you plan to spray with. Screw in the fluid adjustment all the way. Hold the gun from the paper the distance that you would normally spray (usually 6-8 inches) and give the trigger a quick squeeze and release. If anything comes out of the gun it should be very little and dry.

    Turn the fluid out one full turn and repeat this procedure half a turn at a time until you are getting an even pattern and the paint is even in build. If it is metallic the metallic should spray even as well.

    At this point go to a rocker or bottom of a fender on the car and make a 12-inch pass. You will most likely have to back the fluid out one-half to one full turn to spray at the speed you want then fine tune your air pressure.

    Now the gun is very close in adjustment, you should be able to lay the clear orange peel free with out running it, and metallic should spray even and wet with out much effort. Keep in mind this is not your last adjustment; every base color will spray a little different and may require a half a turn in or out for the new color. If you're going from a high solids clear for an all-over to a spot repair clear you will need to make a minor adjustment again.

    A simple formula to remember is orange peel is fluid adjustment and run control is an air pressure adjustment. If you’re getting a few runs try upping the air pressure 5-10 pounds more.

    One final note, spend the money for a good set of paint guns! This is your career and the paint gun makes or breaks you as far as labor hours turned. NASCAR drivers don’t buy their race engines at a parts store to save money, so why would a painter want a $200 gun? Spent the $400-600 for a good base gun and again for a good clear gun the payback will be faster than you think. You will always get what you pay for with a paint gun!
    Last edited by AndyK; 12-22-2010 at 06:12 AM.
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  2. #2
    Member roger1's Avatar
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    Iwata LPH-400 settings for base and clear.

    There were specific settings mentioned (as far as the spraying pressure and the turns on the fluid and fan knobs) for this gun on the old site that looks like is gone now. I wish I had saved it.

    I could sure use that info again.

    I will be shooing the Pro-Spray base with my '55 and there's only a hint of fine metallic in it. So, I am going to use the silver cap for both that and the Universal Clear.

    Edit:
    I forgot to mention. I've got a 1.4 cap.

    Thanks,
    Roger
    Last edited by roger1; 09-01-2010 at 02:18 PM.

  3. #3
    Member shine's Avatar
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    iwata lph400
    fan wide open - turn in 1/2 turn
    fluid 3 -3 1/2 turns out
    pressure 20 -24 lbs

    this is a starting point , from there you adjust to your speed and distance from panel.

    this is for uv clear.
    SPI Thug !

  4. #4
    Member roger1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shine View Post
    iwata lph400
    fan wide open - turn in 1/2 turn
    fluid 3 -3 1/2 turns out
    pressure 20 -24 lbs
    this is a starting point , from there you adjust to your speed and distance from panel.
    this is for uv clear.
    Thanks Shine. Your a gentleman and a scholar!

    I sprayed the firewall about a month ago and forgot what settings I used. Today I'm spraying the dash and door jambs.
    I know, I'm poky.

  5. #5
    Roger, my usual settings are really close to what shine recomends, I usually end up with the fluid adjustment turned out 2.5-3 turns all dependant on what the paint/clear viscosity is. Keep in mind for smaller parts like your dash you can scale down the air and fluid for more control on smaller objects. I sprayed some detail areas tonight with 10psi and the fluid setting to match. It's like a carburetor-the air to fluid ratio needs calibrated to match the current demand.

  6. #6
    Member roger1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Hollinshead View Post
    Roger, my usual settings are really close to what shine recomends, I usually end up with the fluid adjustment turned out 2.5-3 turns all dependant on what the paint/clear viscosity is. Keep in mind for smaller parts like your dash you can scale down the air and fluid for more control on smaller objects. I sprayed some detail areas tonight with 10psi and the fluid setting to match. It's like a carburetor-the air to fluid ratio needs calibrated to match the current demand.
    Thanks Bob.
    I had already finished my dash with Shine's settings before you posted this. I used his settings and left it there and was quite happy with them. I used the same settings for the base as well as the clear.

    I will need to paint a bunch of small parts soon like door hinges and such and will scale down like you say.

    I love this Iwata gun! I have never been able to lay anything down this flat before. Except for a just a few dust nibs, I think it is perfect. I see no need to sand the whole thing and buff. I may just spot sand the dust nibs and buff out.








  7. #7
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    I am fairly close to shine's settings also, but i am about 4-turns out on fluid, but i think i could use to turn it back in a little bit, i'm starting to get more urethane peel than what I would like. so maybe turning it back in a bit and a little less hosing it on will help..

  8. #8
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    Why can't I lay epoxy orange peel free?

    It's not terrible, I'm just trying get better at this.

    Gun: Astro 9011 w/1.5 tip

    Pressure: 28 at the gun, wide open at the compressor

    Fluid: I started 1/2 turn out and increased until 1.5 turns (when I got a good fan on cardboard).

    I was getting some peel, so I took the fluid in to 1.25 turns out. (didn't help)

    I tried increasing pressure to 30 (didn't help).

    Epoxy was unreduced, and inducted for 1/2 hour before spraying.

  9. #9
    Member professor's Avatar
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    I figured out a trick to getting smooth epoxy......got the idea from this forum!

    I was having trouble getting my epoxy to flow like the last car I was working on. (summer time) I found the epoxy thickens alot when it's cold and does not spray well at all. My trick is to put a couple inches of water in a a small bucket and microwave it till the water was about 180 degres. Put a cup of mixed epoxy in the water (had to put a weight on it so that it would not float) and 10 min. later the epoxy was 100 degres. The differnce was like magic! It sprayed very smooth.

    Scott

  10. #10
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    Scott,

    I guess it is time for me to give that a try. According to my infrared thermo, my metal temp was 70 and the epoxy itself in the mixing cup was 65. I still tend to believe that the cause of my orange peel is that I still do not know how to properly adjust and/or use a sprat gun.

    Does 1.25-1.5 turns off the seat seem like too little fluid to anyone? It wasn't blowing the center out of my pattern so that's where I stopped opening it up. I know others have posted settings for spraying base and clear in the 2.5-4.0 turn range. Wouldn't more fluid = more peel in my case?

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