The selection of a spray gun is a very important decision to make, so here’s a simple guide to help make your choice easier.
Fluid Tip Sizes
In general, the thicker the viscosity of the paint, the larger the fluid tip size needs to be. The lower end of the scale is for thinner materials like single-pack paints, and metallic. Spray guns with 0.5mm to 1.2mm are generally used for spot repair/touch up work. General paint shop spraying requires a fluid tip of 1.3mm to 1.6mm. A fluid tip of 1.8mm or above will spray most automotive and industrial type primers.
Suction Fed Spray Guns
These spray guns are tough, usually cheaper, carry more paint and you are able to set the spray gun down anywhere without the need of a spray gun holder. The pick-up tube must remain in the fluid to function. Also referred to as Siphon feed guns, and are available in air spray and HVLP.
Spraying is achieved by compressed air entering the gun and moving through it to create a vacuum at the air cap. Outside air is allowed to enter through vent holes on the pot lid. The difference in air pressure produces a siphon that draws material up the fluid tube and into the gun. The material is drawn through the fluid tip where it mixes with the air coming from the cap and is atomised.
Gravity Fed Spray Guns
These guns are more efficient, as they use less air pressure to deliver the same amount of paint, as it does not have to draw fluid. They also use every drop of paint and are brilliant for spraying in tight spaces, where a siphon/suction gun may accidentally touch the painted surface. Due to the clear or semi-transparent cups, you can see when you are running low, thus avoiding the risk of paint-flow interruptions.
The force of gravity allows the material to flow down into the gun, eliminating the need for a fluid tube. Like suction-fed guns, vent holes allow air to pass through the top of the cap ensuring constant flow of material.
Ideal for small to medium projects and can be used in many different positions, such as overhead spraying. They are lighter and give better balance, which takes the strain of the operator’s wrists.
Pressure Fed Spray Guns
Pressure in this system is provided by an external source such as a pressure pot tank, through a hose. They are used in larger industrial applications, where vast amounts of paint are to be sprayed. The air in the cup may be pressurised, which in turn forces the fluid to rise through the dip tube in the pot. Air atomisation is achieved using a separate air hose.
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