Have you ever wondered what it would take to paint your own car? Save yourself tons of money by doing the paint job at home. For years and years the go to standard spray gun was a Binks siphon fed gun. These spray guns were best used with lacquer based paint while holding huge distances from the panels to apply the paint. As paint technology increased so did the demand for new paint guns to lay smooth glass like finishes. Born were first HVLP (High Volume Low Pressure). These paint guns increased the efficiency of how much paint actually made it to the panel saving you from wasted paint. Now instead of holding the paint gun up to 18 inches from the panel these new guns have you spraying at 6-8 inches.
Now let’s get into the reason you all clicked to read this article, how to properly set up the spray gun to achieve the best possible paint job. The spray gun I will be using as an example will be our Concours Pro paint gun, which is pictured above. The first thing I will talk about setting up will be air pressure since this can and should be done before you even put paint into your gun. Each spray gun will have three controls and their locations may differ slightly. Check your instructions to ensure you move the correct ones. Since that is out of the way let’s show you where on the Eastwood Concours Pro you can find the air control.
The figure on the left shows where the air control is located. I always recommend leaving this control wide open for 99% of your painting. This way you can get a much more accurate pressure by attaching a pressure regulator as you see pictured to the right of the spray gun. This happens to be our Concours Pro Air Regulator. With this attached right at the base of your gun you can pull the trigger as if you were painting all the way back and start making adjustments to the regulator. We recommend painting between 25-30 psi while the trigger is pulled. You may see some paint tech sheets which refer to a painting air pressure of 8-10. Don’t set the spray gun to those as this measurement is referring to the air cap pressure right where the paint comes out. This is a measurement that only the paint gun manufacture has the gauge to read. But by setting your spray gun to the recommended 25-30 PSI at the base you will achieve proper air cap pressure.
This next image is of the location of the fluid control. This changes how far the fluid needle can be pulled back ultimately controlling how much paint can come out when you pull the trigger. If you tighten this all the way in you’ll actually be able to make it so you cannot even pull the trigger far enough to let any paint out. The recommended setting for this is a tricky one as it is more about personally preference. Most painters, including myself, recommend leaving the fluid control all the way open to allow the maximum amount through to create a nice wet coat each time you spray. Then, if you need just a mist of paint to somewhere such as a tight corner, you can just slightly pull back on the trigger to let a little bit of paint back.
The final control which is very important will be the fan control. The “fan” is how long the shape of spray pattern is. If you spray a test on a scrap piece of paper or cardboard for a split second you will want to see the paint resemble a football shape. The fan control allows you to change the shape from a football all the way down to a dot. For over all paint jobs such as an exterior of a vehicle we recommend taking your fan control and opening it all the way up and then turn it back down an 1/8 to a 1/4 turn. This will achieve the best atomization of your paint to give you the best possible results. Hopefully this will allow you to comfortably understand the settings of your new spray gun. If you’re still hungry for some more information we have an excellent video with Kevin Tetz which goes even further in depth to make sure your next paint job turns out right and makes people say WOW. Click here to jump on over to our YouTube channel to see Kevin in action.