A spray gun is a simple tool that can help around when you need to finish or paint any surface. Depending on the model, it can tackle surfaces like big walls, to even delicate tasks such as giving the finishing touches on a piece of furniture. Despite all the utility you get out of this device, it is quite easy to use, and anyone can learn it.
But before you take a gun and start spraying paint everywhere, there are some minimal prepping that you need to do. If you want the final result to be stellar, you need to spend some time preparing the paint and the gun. Additionally, you want to have a clear idea of how the device works.
No matter which type of spray gun you are using, there will be some controls that are universal. Learning to use those simple functions will give you a decent idea of how this unit works as a whole. In this article, we will take a look at how to set up a spray gun so that when you get to work, you end up with excellent results.
Overview of The Basic Controls of a Spray Gun
Typically, a spray gun features three controls to fine-tune its performance. You need to adjust these controls depending on the type of task you are willing to tackle. In the following section, we will walk you through the controls to give you a better understanding of what they do.
Fluid Control Knob
This part of the spray gun adjusts the amount of paint fluid that you allow through the unit with each trigger pull. By setting the knob all the way up, the paint will flow without interruption. When you are painting larger surfaces, this setting is usually left best at maximum.
However, for more precise tasks, you should set the level of the knob somewhere on the low side and check it out on the test board. Especially when you are painting furniture, you need accuracy and precision, and that can be achieved by setting the knob at a moderate value.
Usually located on the side of the spray gun, this knob allows you to control the movement of the fan to distribute air through the air cap. The atomization of paint is dependent on the flow of air through your device and also helps you disperse the paint through the nozzle.
The main job of this knob is to set the spread pattern of your spray gun. By setting the knob at full, you get what is called a flat pattern. On the other hand, if you turn down the dial, you will restrict the air passage and change the mode of spray. When it is fully closed, you get the round spray pattern.
Air Adjustment Valve
This option is not available in every spray gun. But if your unit comes with this setting, it allows you to control the air volume and pressure delivery to the air cap. By changing up these options, you can make small adjustments to the air pressure to finalize the spread pattern.
However, it is best not to mess around too much with this option as the concept is difficult to grasp for a beginner. So, you should consult the instruction manual and keep it at the optimal setting. In most cases, this setting is kept at max so that no pressure is lost in the spray gun.
Setting Up Your Spray Gun
Now that you know all the controls, it is time to set up your spray gun. Due to differences in temperature and other climate conditions, you need to set it up every time you are planning to use it. Make sure to use a test board to see if you have the desirable spray effect from your device before proceeding with your work.
- First, you should start with both the fluid and fan control set to max. It would allow the full delivery of fluid, ensuring that the amount of fluid and air are in the correct ratio according to your device.
- Additionally, the pressure and volume of air supplied to the gun should also be sufficient as per the instruction manual.
- After that, you can connect the air supply with the gun and pour the fluid inside.
- Make sure you are using the correct size nozzle for the task. If you are working with furniture, using a big nozzle would be asking for trouble.
- You will not have the precision and accuracy required for the task. So, use the correct nozzle size depending on the surface you are painting.
- Also, make sure that the fittings and air hose you choose to work with can supply sufficient air volume. If you are unsure, you can always consult the owner’s manual as it will list the required CFM.
- These days, it is the most important thing to consider for your spray gun to work correctly. The volume of air delivered to the gun is measured in PSI. Your device manual will give you an idea of the optimal operating pressure or PSI.
- Now that you have set all the controls, you should do a test run. Make sure that the paint is crisp and clear.
- What you want ideally with your result is to find a fully wet center with small droplets of paint in the outer edges for an elliptical pattern. When you find it, you are ready to start painting.
However, if you get bad results with inconsistent spread and delivery of paint, either increase the air pressure or lower the fluid control knob. It will help you get better atomization by finding the correct ratio. When you find the desired effect, you can get to work.
Frequently Asked Questions of Spray Gun Setup
Q1. Why use a spray paint gun?
A spray gun essentially is a form of paint applicator that delivers the paint by first atomizing it into tiny droplets and spreading it out through a nozzle with the push of a trigger. It is one of the most convenient ways to apply paint to any surface without giving too much time and effort.
The primary purpose of the spray gun is to make your painting tasks a bit easier. It allows you to work faster as the paint dries quicker than a brush or roll-on paint. And since the colors are atomized, you are left with a smoother finish that what you get with other paint applicators.
Q2. How far should I hold the spray gun while spraying?
The distance of the spray gun from your work surface depends mostly on the device that you are using. There are a few different variants of a spray gun, and the way they deliver the paint differs slightly. For instance, if you are using an airless gun, your distance should be at least 10 to 12 inches from the work surface.
For an HVLP spray gun, you should move your device a bit closer. In this case, the distance should be a minimum of 6 inches to a maximum of 8. If you are using an LVLP spray gun, your optimum distance is around 8 to 10 inches.
Q3. What is a spray gun filter, and what does it do?
Inside every spray gun, you will find a paint filter. The filter does exactly as the name suggests. It filters the paint before the final application. Furthermore, it keeps any outside contaminants such as debris or dust from entering the gun and prevents blockage in the nozzle.
They come in many sizes depending on the model of your unit. High-quality filters feature fine and smooth mesh; however, for latex paints, you can work with a larger one. Over time, they can get clogged, and then you need to consider replacing them. But cleaning them regularly can help extend the lifetime.
Q4. Which type of spray gun is best?
There is no definitive answer to this question. Each type of spray gun is built differently to cater to different projects and uses. Depending on the project at hand, you need to decide which spray gun to choose. The same paint sprayer used in construction sites will not work well in finish works.
That being said, if you are painting a house or large surface in general, your best bet would be to go with an airless spray painter. These units can be expensive but can cover prominent ground without much hassle. And for more precise tasks, an HVLP spray painter would be the way to go.
A spray painter is not a very difficult device to use, and with enough practice, you will be able to master it. So do not get discouraged if you fail the first few times and keep trying. It does take a minimal amount of patience and perseverance.
We hope you found our guide on how to set up a spray gun helpful and could use the information in your next big project.