How To Set Your Spray Gun Air Pressure – Day 5 Boot Camp

Want a Killer Paint Job? Then Pay Attention To Your Spray Gun Air Pressure

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’m referring to air pressure at the neck of your spray gun dial, and when the trigger is pulled.

HVLP Air Pressure Setting for Base Coat Clear Coat (High Volume Low Pressure)

When spraying base coat clear coat systems, you want to spray at 26-29 PSI. You measure this PSI by pulling the trigger and letting air flow through the tip of your gun with your dial or digital readout saying 26-29 PSI.

When spraying clear coat I usually like to up the pressure 2-3 psi for a little more atomization and better flow out. 28-29 PSI being the sweet spot in my opinion.

Most HVLP spray guns will use up 10-14 scfm (air volume) at 40 psi. (Volume of air pressure per cubic foot).

(LVLP) Air Pressure Setting (Low Volume Low Pressure)

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. Which I rarely do because I have enough air supply for my guns.

The normal scfm consumption for LVLP guns are about 5-7 scfm (cubic foot per minute) and volume of air used at 40 PSI.

What Size Air Compressor Do You Need To Set Up Shop?

When shopping for an air compressor, beware of the air compressor ratings.

Nowadays, compressor ratings are inflated. Here’s what I mean…

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 says on the big box or sticker.

Here is a great read here on the big lie of air compressor ratings. <<==Click There.

Small DIY Application Air Compressors

spray gun air pressure

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 shop or home garage setup.

If all you’re painting is a small car or motorcycle, using this tank with a LVLP spray gun would be a good option for you.

The only warning would be condensation. But again, that happens to bigger tanks as well.

Just make sure you have at least two water filters within your setup.

One about 10-15 feet from your air compressor tank and one at your gun neck to keep the water out of your lines. You know the small $5 plastic water filters that you thread on the air inlet of your spray gun.

We sell them at our spray gun store here. Check out our Warwick spray gun line too if you go there. They are a great quality spray gun and affordable.

Keep in mind, when using a small compressor, you’ll probably be using a 110 volt outlet. The max horsepower a 110 volt line can put out safely without it kicking off your breaker is around 2 HP.

For Hard-Core Hobby and PRO Use Air Compressors

Get a 60-100 gallon air compressor (189-378 liter) with a horse power rating of 4-6 HP or higher. The 60-80 gallon being the most popular in size for shops and home garages that want some power.

Of course, this setup will be fed by a 240 VAC wiring system similar to your home dryer or home central AC system outlet. Or a larger 3 phase system.

Introducing the new Atom Spray Guns! This new line of spray guns are gaining a lot of popularity in the automotive world. With its combined Japanese and German-style craftsmanship, this spray gun will definitely leave you in awe! Check them out now on Zoolaa!

So, Are You Ready To Become an Auto Body and Paint Samurai? … Then Join Us!

Hai Sen Sei,

I’m ready to learn more about auto body and paint so I can kick butt and chew bubble gum.

What are you waiting for?

Join us like THOUSANDS of other like minded members in our Private and Exclusive Auto Body VIP Course. We will take you by the hand and guide you step-by-step from A-Z.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a total newbie or an advanced painter looking for new tricks. I’m sure you’ll get value out of it. In fact, we back it all up with a 60 day money back guarantee!

In a nut shell, you won’t be left out in the cold anymore, and you’ll be part of a community who cares about your success.

Hope you liked the post and video! Keep us posted ok?

Talk soon!

-Tony

18 thoughts on “How To Set Your Spray Gun Air Pressure – Day 5 Boot Camp”

  1. I am 89 years old and have been in the motor engineering trade since I was 14. I have a fair knowledge of bodywork repairing and some experience of paint spraying (cellulose only). Several months ago I obtained a small Vauxhall Corsa with mechanical troubles and a dented rear off side door, I have completed the mechanical repairs and now I want to sort out the bodywork, to this end I have purchased a small workshop compressor…50 Ltrs tank with 9cfm available. I recently paid for a De-Vilbis gun (the same one you show in one of your videos) which included a pressure gauge to attach to the spray gun ( also this is seen in this latest email) so Now I’m all set to make a start. Thank you for your emails which are very explanatory including your free downloaded book. Wish me luck.

    Reply
  2. Hi Bernard, welcome to LAPAP, hope we can kept in touch with our “Filler and Paint Jobs” 🙂
    I am always looking up to my seniors as I remind our youths; look for your seniors for the answers.
    I am 73 years to youth, soon to get back to 39. I did recreate from the grave a ’29 Ford Sedan Delivery, after many painful months working on the body with my body (broken back). and “They told me I could never do it.” Be Learning all of this with ya. Hope you join, it is well informative.

    Reply
  3. Hey Tony, getting ready to paint my 1985 mercury cougar. Thanks again for the video instruction as well as all the written articles. Very pain staking and time consuming but, well worth it to all who want to learn. Have a great day!

    Reply
  4. It appears that you are a ripoff like so many others.
    I have been a vip member for a long time , but your system no longer recognizes my pw or email
    and your support system is non existent.

    Reply
    • Hey David! We have recently updated our membership sites and I believe I reached out to all my VIPs in the past to register to the new one. What do you mean support system does not exist? Our support team is super awesome! Have you tried to email support? Reach out to them at [email protected].

      Reply
  5. Hey Tony thank you for all you do for us people who thought we could not do body work and paint you give us confidence in ourselves so thank you so much. I have a question about pressure spraying enamel with hardener is it same as spraying base coat clear coat in help and siphon ?thanks again tazman454

    Reply
  6. Hey tony I just bought the X21 mp gun going to paint my truck with Kirker Urethane paint with urethane clear med temp I in the south hi humidity 78 percent temp 76 to 80 any advice on this medium pressure gun pressure wise I am all earzs

    Reply
  7. Hello Tony,

    My name is Leroy 41 years oId and from the Netherlands. I appriciate youre tutorials and info about the bodywork and spraying.
    I have two objects that i’am trying to restore as good as i can het them.
    With youre info i dare to try it myself .
    A normal paintjob here will cost for a Caprice classic about 5000 to 7000 euro that will means they do everything prepping etc etc.
    For that kind of money i can try a few times in my own garage.
    I have one question that i couldt not find on the internet
    I have a 250 liter compressor thank 15 kw when i’am spraying after a few sprays the compressor Will kick in do i
    have to stop spraying till its ready and clicks off ?

    Thanks for al the advices and keep up the good work.

    Regards Leroy
    And my english spelling is not that well excuse me for that.

    Reply
  8. Tony, I want to spray a 1970 vw van. I bought,but can return, an air compressor. It might be to small or I might have the wrong spray guns. The compressor is a 26 gallon, 150 max work psi. 1.8 running hp,says [email protected] 6-scfm at 40 psi. The gun is a help spray gun. It says 12 [email protected] 40 psi.
    Compressor Requirement– 30 plus gal continuous, and 7-29 gal intermediate, 1-6 gal not recommended. Is this ok or do I have everything wrong. Alls new unopened. Please advise me on this.

    Reply
  9. Hey, Tony;
    I’m 71 and am producing a fine finish on a 1939 Pontiac Coupe. I was in the furniture and upholstery restoration business for over 35 years and was never able to bend my business toward auto restoration because of the area I lived in. Plenty of business for refinishing furniture and doing furniture upholstery but cars seemed to be strictly on the insurance gig. A no money area but we did upholster a few car seats and I collected a few cars which we did over in between other jobs. Now, I’m retired and built a big garage. I brought all of my equipment with me and I am using my T-30 Ingersoll-Rand compressor (80 gal air tank). Plenty of air lots of filters.
    Thanks, Tony for your excellent instructions.
    Steve in Calabash, NC

    Reply

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