The Spray tips that you use for your airless spray job can make or break your finish. This How-To guide explains why choosing the right spray tip is important, how the three-digit code system works, and which tips are suited to which types of paint job.
Using the wrong spray tup can severly affect productivity and user satisfaction. When a tip is too large, it causes overspray, sags, runs and an all-round poor finish. This is problematic for several resons:
Using the correct tip can prevent all of these issues
The first step to identifying the best tip for your job is understanding how airless spray gun tips work.
As the name suggests, an airless spray pump pressurieses paint without the use of air. Instead, the coating is forces through the spray tip orifice under extreme pressure. This process atomises the paint and spray particles exit the gun in a fan pattern. The size of the orifice determines the flow rate and width of the fan pattern.
The key to knowing which airless spray nozzle to use is understanding the 3-digit number that is printed on the tip. In the example below, you can see the number is 517. The first digit (5) times 2 (10inch) gives you the fan width when spraying 12 inches away from the surface of the substrate. The following two digits (1 and 7) make up the number 17, which indicates the orifice size in thousandths of an inch (17 thousandths of an inch).
The first number of the 3-digit sequence represents the spray angle in degrees. Add a zero to the digit to get the angle.
Multiply the first digit by 2 = x fan width
So, in the case of the 517 tip, the calculation would be: 5 x 2 = 10-inch fan width
Multiply the first digit by 5 = x inch fan width
In the case of a 517 tip, the calculation would be@ 5 x 5 = 25cm fan width
NOTE: The fan width is based on holding the gun 12 inches (30cm) away from the workpiece
The second two digits in the 3-digit sequence tell you the diameter of the tip orifice in thousandths of an inch. So, a 517 tip has an orifice diameter of 0.017 inches, expressed as 17 thou. To convert inches to centimetres, multiply by 2.5.
0.017 inches x 2.5 = 0.0425cm
NOTE: Always check the manufacturer's details for your airless sprayer as they will often state a maximum tip size
The combination of fan pattern and orifice size will determine the thickness of your coating. Your actual flow rate will depend on your spraying pressure, and the type of paint you are using: high pressure equals high flow; heavier paints equals low flow.
Your choice of tip will depend on several factors:
poxIf everything in your production line is of the same type and size and uses the same product coaitng, you can take a 'one size fits all' approach to choosing your spray tips. For paint shops that spray items of different sizes from large flat panels to small, intricate components, you will need a range of tips to achieve the best possible finish.
The size the item that you are spraying will influence the airless spray gun tip that you use. Here are some general rules of thumb for common types of workpiece:
|Type of Workpiece
|Spray tip number
These require a low volume and narrow fan width
|209 for a 4-inch fan width and a 9 thou orifice size
These require a large tip to provide a consistent spray fan and reliable flow of paint
|517 for a 10-inch fan width and a 17 thou orifice size
The majority of structural steel workpieces are beams and columns that require a specified thickness of paint film, but you are also likely to have flanges and brackets thrown into the mix.
|317 for a 6-inch fan width and a 17 thou orifice size
Agricultural machinery & construction plant equipment
These types of workpiece involve multiple moving parts and intricate components. They are often high-value items that demand a flawless finish, for which a fins spray pattern and even paint flow is necessary.
|The fan pattern needs to be in the range of 6-8 inches, so the first digit would be between 3-4. The orifice size will vary depending on the type of product being applied. As a general guide, a 413 tip suits a multitude of agricultrual machinery and construction plant equipment workpieces.
NOTE: It is good practice to test-spray a few workpieces with different tips to gauge which one delivers optimal results
Often the type of coating will dictate the tip diameter. For example, high-volume solid paints can only pass through tips with a large orifice. Always check the product datasheet for information on spray tip requirements.
Here are some generally recommended tip sizes for common types of coatings:
|Orifice Size (thou)
|Orifice Size (thou)
|Acrylics 100%, latex int
|Membrane (Very Heavy)
|Lacquers (clear coat)
|Tung Oil (pure thinned)
|Latex Paint (exterior)
|Latex Paint (interior)
|Water Sealers (thin, clear)
We stock a wide range o high-quality airless spray guns and tips. Visit the Ultrimax Online Store to buy today!
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