Do you know the meaning of the “orange peel effect”? Did you even notice the exterior of an orange? It’s not a smooth surface. It actually looks like someone did a very bad paint job on the orange peel.
From this, the concept of orange peel effect occurred. It is a concept referring to a bad paint job. When a paintjob is not smooth, instead, it has spots all over and doesn’t really look better than the existing paint the surface had, is what we know as the orange peel effect.
How is this concept related to the question of how to setup air compressor for painting?
Why does anyone want instructions while doing something for the first time? The object of instructions is to guide someone with something to get the optimum result.
To paint using a paint sprayer that needs an air compressor to run, it’s evident to know how to setup air compressor for painting. Because without that knowledge, we won’t be able to setup the air compressor and even if we do, the end result of that painting session will be extremely hideous.
What are air compressors for painting?
Most people think that they need some special type of air compressor that is only designated for painting. To be very honest there is no such thing as an air compressor for painting spray.
Rather, air compressors have only one job. Their job is to generate flow of air in a certain CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) and PSI (Pound per Square inch).
So, what do people mean when they say air compressor for painting?
For spray painting, the paint sprayers that require an air compressor to run, need an air flow having a specific CFM and PSI. So, the air compressors that can generate that amount of air pressure can be used for spray painting.
So, there is not specified air compressor for spray painting. The air compressors that can produce the optimum air pressure with the proper air flow can be used for spray painting.
How to setup air compressor for painting
Now, let’s find out how you can setup the air compressor before you can start painting. There are basically three parameters. Let’s discuss these three parameters, then we can proceed with the setup.
CFM refers to Cubic Feet per Minute. This is the indicator of how much air the compressor will produce. This is the volume of air.
While using a certain paint sprayer, it will have a specific CFM requirement. If you thinking matching that would do your job then you are wrong. To maintain optimum pressure at all times, you need to take higher CFM that the required amount. That way the air flow pressure stays nominal till the end of your work.
PSI refers to Pounds per square inch. It is the indicator of the pressure of the flowed air from the compressor. Just like a car needs to travel at a certain speed to reach a destination in time, air needs to have a certain PSI or flow rate.
The PSI amount will dictate at what rate the air generated in the compressor will flow. Unlike CFM, PSI needs to be accurate. If the pressure is higher or lower, the spray will not be accurate. Either the paint will not flow properly if the PSI is too low, or the paint will be sprayed too much if the PSI is too high.
And more importantly, the extra pressure can cause the mechanism of the paint sprayer to get damaged. So, try to match the maximum pressure requirement of the paint sprayer while painting.
The tank is where the air will be stored and will flow to the spray gun from the compressor. You see you cannot determine a specific tank size. It needs to be adequate according to the object you are about to paint.
So, always buy a tank bigger than the one you need. That way, you don’t to worry about the extra amount of air that you may need. If the tank is filled with extra air, you can use it if needed. But if the time of necessity occurs and there’s no air, you would have to wait till the compressor produces more.
Now that you know all three parameters, here’s an extra two for you to work precisely.
Air hose diameter
It won’t matter even if you produce enough CFM of air in the optimum PSI if the air hose that you are using to connect with the air spray is too narrow or too wide.
Every paint sprayer comes with an instruction regarding how the air hose should be. Always try to match that perfectly.
Air hose length
Again, if the air hose length is too much, the generated air will lose its pressure. So, only use an air hose with the recommended length by the paint sprayer manufacturer.
These are all the parameters there is. Now, let’s setup that air compressor.
Setting up air compressor for painting
At first, connect the compressor with the tank and the tank with the paint sprayer using air hoses that have the recommended diameter and length. Check if the connections are made properly or not. You can use Quick Disconnect Fitting for making these connections. They give good protection from leakage.
Set the optimum PSI according to the recommendation from the paint sprayer manufacturer. Match the PSI accurately as advised.
Set the CFM of the air compressor. Again, keep the CFM higher than the recommended amount.
Inspect the entire setup. Run the air compressor to see whether air is leaking or not. If not, you are good to go.
Follow these steps to set up the air compressor before you can begin with spraying the paint. But, do you know how to do that?
How to use an air compressor for painting?
Basically, using an air compressor for painting refers to using a paint sprayer that runs by the help of an air compressor. We will be very thorough about this. Let’s start from the prerequisites. You have already completed the prerequisite of setting up the air compressor. Let’s move forward with the next one.
Paint that comes in a bucket is not in the optimum condition to be sprayed directly onto the surface of your choice. It’s really thick.
If you try and pour some paint straight out of the bucket, it will definitely clog the sprayer. Thus, costing you a lot of money. So, as a prerequisite you have to thin the paint to the level which then, you can spray on your desired surface.
Preparing the spray gun
You have already set up the air compressor. All that is left for you to do is connect the sprayer to the compressor tank with an air hose.
Take a plank or an unnecessary item on which you can check the spray before you can begin spraying on the surface you want to spray. Run it a few times. Mostly spraying is done in a side-to-side action.
Don’t forget about picking the perfect nozzle according to your necessity. Try it out on the plain surface before using. Your spray gun is ready.
Using a spray gun depends on what sort of a surface you have chosen to work on. Each surface requires a different type of strokes to paint properly.
The safest stroke to paint any surface precisely is following the side-to-side method. With that you can make as many coatings as you want to.
What is the smallest recommended size for air compressor painting?
The term size in the case of air compressors refers to the CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) and PSI (Pounds per Sq Inch) of the compressor. The lowest Psi with which you can work is 12-15 PSI. And definitely the compressor needs to generate 15 CFM.
How many horsepower do I need for an air compressor for painting?
The minimum horsepower that a compressor needs to generate enough PSI and CFM for spray painting can be as low as 1.5HP. The safe amount of hp for spray painting would be 2.5 hp.
So, I hope I have covered everything there is to know related to the question how to setup air compressor for painting. If you have gone through every word that is on this article, you would’ve also learned how you can use a paint sprayer with an air compressor with ease.
Remember, spray painting can be as good as the prepping and the technique a person has of painting an object. If you have that skill in you, you can be a master spray painter.
You have seen graffiti works made using spray paint cans, haven’t you? These people are called artists because they know exactly how to use spray paint to make their art work.
You may not want to do that. But spray painting home appliances and cars can be artsy too if you can build the skill.