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Correct Spray Gun Air Pressure is Crucial for a Successful Paint Job
In this post not will I only cover the correct spray gun air pressure that’s needed for a great paint job, but I will also touch on HVLP, LVLP spray guns and air compressors.
When I talk about air pressure, I don’t mean air cap pressure. I am referring to air pressure at the neck of your spray gun dial when the trigger is pulled.
Let;s get into it shall we?
High Volume Low Pressure Spray Gun (HVLP) Air Pressure Setting for Base Coat Clear Coat
When spraying base coat you want to spray at about 26-29 PSI. They way you read this is at your gun, trigger pulled air flowing through and your dial reading 26 psi.
When spraying clear coat I like to up the pressure 2-3 psi for a little more atomization and better flow out. Setting the air pressure to about 28-29 PSI for clear will ensure you having great flow out.
Most HVLP spray guns will use 10-14 scfm at 40 psi. This is volume of air pressure per cubic foot.
Low Volume Low Pressure Spray Gun (LVLP) Air Pressure Setting
10-15 psi when trigger is pulled for base coat is what most say to set your gun at. Personally I spray at about 17 psi when spraying base coat and 20-25 for clear coat using the low volume low low pressure spray guns.
The normal scfm that these guns use is 5-7 scfm cubic foot per minute. Volume of air used at 40 PSI.
Introducing the Atom Spray Guns! This line of spray guns are gaining a lot of popularity in the automotive world as it has a uniquely combined Japanese and Germany-style craftsmanship.
Excellent quality but at a fraction of the cost of the more popular spray gun brands. Learn more about the Atom Spray Guns on Zoola.
Air Compressor Needed To Setup Shop
When shopping for an air compressor, beware of the air compressor ratings.
Nowadays, compressor ratings are inflated (what else is new) lol…
You must check the rating number “under load”. This is the actual HP, horse power rating. Don’t pay any attention to what the number days on the big box or sticker.
Here is a great read on the big lie of air compressor ratings.
Spray Gun Air Pressure for DIY Use Air Compressor
A 20-35 gallon (75-133 liter) air tank that pushes out anywhere from 1.5-2.0 horse power under load is a great small setup.
You would be ok painting a small car or motorcycle using this tank with a LVLP spray gun.
The only warning would be condensation.
Be sure to have at least two water filters. One 10-15 feet from your tank and one at your gun neck to keep the water out of your lines.
When using a smaller compressor keep in mind that you’ll probably be using a 110 V outlet and the max HP a 110 can put out safely without it kicking off your breakers is 2 HP.
Check out the amazing Atom X Finishes Spray Guns here on Zoolaa now. With combined Japanese and Germany-style craftmanship, these high quality spray guns are definitely a league of their own. The Atom Spray Guns have both LVLP and HVLP as an option. Grab them now.
Hard-Core Hobby/PRO Use Air Compressors
A 50-100 gallon air compressor size (189-378 liter) with a horse power rating of 4-6 HP.
Of course this is will be using a 240 VAC wiring system. Similar to your home dryer or home central AC system.
To read more about air compressor ratings go here.
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10 thoughts on “Spray Gun Air Pressure Required for a Successful Paint Job”
Tony, this was a very timely post.
I just ordered an AES-507 from GleemPaint.com here:
I am going to also try their Wagner conversion gun here:
The Wagner for around the house and the 507 for our three cars.
Harbor Freight has a 29Gal 2HP compressor here:
that gets good reviews.
I just cannot afford to put thousands into
my painting right now so I’ll start small and see how it goes.
I was happy to see you post about these smaller tools.
Soon I will join the VIP course. Then I’m in!
Thats awesome Dave!
You gave the idea. Start small get your feet wet and go form there. Your skills and confidence can only go up. Heck, you’ll probably be making some money once you start working on friends cars etc… Good luck and I’ll see you in VIP soon!
Simple vedeos with good information
Hi! Tony I need your help. If you are using an HVLP gun How does the air needs to be set? What pressure should it be set at? Thank you!
I have specific blog posts about this. Please check out theses posts including my latest here: https://www.learnautobodyandpaint.com/blog/2013/05/02/hvlp-spray-gun-unboxing-sneak-peak/
Correct spray gun air pressure
the 50% overlay
Hope that helps!
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I’m entersted in learning more about painting. no one tought me the right way I ended up teaching my self I’m at 2 yrs expirance I ran into pretty much everything you can run into, from clear never drying to the paint bubbling up and paint cracking like the Mojave desert… I haven’t quiet got it down but it’s getting there. I’m still having trouble blending and clear coat. But I got most part I only know how to spray with solvent. From bare metal and rust what do you recommend I start with?
Anthony, I admire your determination but I’d recommend a great support system while you learn auto body and paint. Check out the VIP Program for a comprehensive training guide for auto body work and paint. I have a lot of videos for your question and concerns and I’m sure you’ll love it. Apart from over 100 hours of training videos, e-reads and bonuses, as a lifetime VIP, you’ll also get exclusive access to our thriving VIP Facebook group where you can interact with other VIPs – get their recommendations, insights and getting all the support you need for your car projects! Best of luck Anthony!
great information covered all the questions i had Thank You very much.