How to use an HVLP spray gun

Mastering the art of spray paint can be gratifying, especially when it shows off a finished product that has been completed by your own hand.

Whether you’re someone who is a professional artist or perhaps a hobbyist with an eye for detail.

Using an HVLP sprayer

Setting up and creating a work of art that is worthy of showing off is easier than ever thanks to HVLP spray paint gun technology.

In this post of mine, I will teach you guys “how to use an HVLP spray gun” properly so that you people out there.

Who can be an amateur in this profession don’t mess up stuff and getting disappointed?

Don’t worry I will try my best to teach you guys the best use of an HVLP spray gun in my post.

On the other hand, I have to admit that HVLP gun sprayers may seem a bit more difficult to use at first. However, you will discover that they are basically pretty similar to other sprayers out there.

In fact, if you’re familiar with HVLP sprayer parts, you will no doubt find it easier to use one of these particular machines.

How to use an HVLP spray gun

What is an HVLP sprayer?

In short, an HVLP spray gun is a spray gun that uses much less paint than a regular paint gun. One of the main benefits of an HVLP spray gun is that it reduces paint waste.

Although the price tag may be much higher than a traditional spray gun some are affordable in the market also.

And the lower amount of paint consumed per project can actually save you money in the long run, which is great news for many DIY enthusiasts.

These spray guns are also much less messy than traditional paint guns.

Parts of HVLP sprayer

Since they are more precise, they are able to completely cover all areas without running or dripping.

HVLP spray guns also provide you with excellent control over your spray pattern, which means you are better able to spray a fine pattern, unlike with a traditional paint gun.

This helps you get a more detailed finish. These spray guns are also excellent at laying paint down extremely smoothly, and they produce a superior finish that is long-lasting.

Types of HVLP sprayers out there:

In fact, there are types of HVLP spray guns out there. However, they can be divided into two categories: air-powered and electric.

Air-powered HVLP spray guns use air pressure to deliver paint to the surface.

The air comes from a compressor, which also supplies air for the paint cups. Air needs to be filtered, so it does not blow any debris or other foreign particles into the paint.

The other type of HVLP spray gun uses electricity to produce pressure. The electricity goes to the high-pressure pump, which in turn creates pressure that pushes the paint out of the tip.

Some electric HVLP guns are corded, while others are cordless. However, they both have the same advantages.

Electric HVLP guns are quieter and produce less vibration, which is why many people like them.

They are smaller, easier to handle and a lot easier to use. However, some people dislike them because.

They can be a bit too complicated but they are not if they read the manual which the company sends with the product.

Things you will need to get the job done (My suggestions)

Make sure before starting with the project you have these things with you to make your work easy and with satisfactory results

  • Paint sprayer which suits you
  • The compressor can be needed sometimes
  • Nozzle
  • Coating
  • Cardboard piece to check the sprayer
  • Protection is a must like goggles, face masks, gloves, etc.

The process to set up the HVLP spray gun

When learning how to set up an HVLP spray gun, it very much depends on whether you’re using a pneumatic or turbine-powered unit.

But as the fundamentals are the same, I will keep it to four simple sections — preparation and how to properly adjust your HVLP spray gun.

Preparation of sprayer

First of all, the preparation of the sprayer is a must before doing anything.

When DIYing, preparation is key. The first step is to read your owner’s manual for any specific details.

From this, you can determine the exact air requirements for your device and have the correct-sized compressor at hand (in the case of a pneumatic spray gun).

The way I started painting my house was very simple. I wanted to remove the weathered finish, so I decided to prime the surface.

Doing so would provide an even base layer in preparation for repainting it with a fresh coat.

Selecting the appropriate type of paint spray tip is all part of the how-to choose a spray gun process — it’s not a case of one size fits all.

For example, if you’re planning on using a dense coating on an expansive surface area, you’ll need a larger-sized tip to the size.

Which your spray tip can atomize and project your fan pattern is going to determine the coverage you ultimately get for your body material.

This is where a sprayer such as the Wagner FLEXiO 5000 could be a great bit of kit — there are two different tips included with this high-quality HVLP gun.

The first is an x-large .50 mm wide pattern that offers great coverage over large surface areas while being a super fine finish;

And second, there’s also a .60 mm wide ultra & extra fine pattern option with this model, which should suit those looking to do more intricate detailing work!

Adjustment and testing of the HVLP sprayer

Before you start to work on a project, it is important to test out your equipment.

You want to make sure that everything is calibrated correctly so that when you actually begin working it will roll out right away.

To do this simply place some pieces of scrap cardboard or paper onto the top of the motor drive tray, and create a two-inch border of space around all sides.

Next set both the volume and angle controls accordingly – make sure that they are not too far apart, but also not setting controls too close together as this will give off an inconsistent coating.

HVLP sprayer patterns

To get the best out of your sprayer, keep the sprayer six inches away from the surface and gently pull on the trigger for a split second, then release it to deliver a quick burst of coating.

Once you see that even pattern with each such burst, that’s when you’ve got your pattern length set just right.

And unless you want a new design every time you open up your paint can don’t touch any more dials!

Now, hold your spray gun at a distance of around nine inches from the surface and spray another short burst of coating.

This time, there should be one pattern that is between nine and ten inches long. The pattern should provide total coverage in the center with an even fade away toward the edges.

You might find that the spray gun you’re using isn’t performing well at low RPMs. If you’re using a pneumatic gun with an air regulator, slightly reduce the pressure output on the regulator.

You can then begin the test again to fine-tune your settings and retry it until you achieve good results from all angles.

Once you finish this test and feel that you don’t need to make any further adjustments while working, then you’re ready to paint!

Some sprayer techniques I use

These are some of the techniques which I often use with HVLP spray guns for my projects.

I am gonna share these so that you guys get help with these while doing your projects with the HVLP sprayer.

I hope these techniques or some of these might help you out in some way or the other.

Let me know in the comments section if any one of these techniques helped you out while painting the surface or object

Uplift your project

If you’re working with a smaller-medium-sized object (think hobby-project sized rather than full-scale project)

It can help to raise your work so that you can use the HVLP system at a comfortable height to keep your posture safe and sound.

If you work in an area with a workbench, cover it with something to avoid damage and wear – like an old drop cloth shall we say? – and place your object on top.

If you don’t have a permanent workspace of your own just yet then don’t worry. You could use an old cardboard box or similar to hold up the object (carefully!) while you spray away.

Keeping the arm straight

You don’t need to walk a line between a tight, uncomfortable grip and a loose/limp hand.

Just keep your arm in a straight line with the HVLP spray gun nozzle while spraying on basecoats and stains — this will ensure even coverage of your favorite coatings.

Apply thinner coats

When you’re painting you should be aware that the thinner your coats, the easier it will be to get a smooth finished surface.

It’s easy to see when the paint is applied in an uneven manner and you’ll end up with drips, which not only looks unprofessional but is also a time-waster for sanding it down after as well.

Going with the Grain

When staining or painting a wood-based project, go with the grain. Much like music, this directly follows the lead of a headliner act as well-known and widely regarded as Wood Grain.

By following what naturally comes to you once exposed to it through an HVLP paint sprayer.

You’ll achieve a finish that won’t soon be forgotten by anyone that might happen to lay eyes on your masterpiece of DIY!

Check the weather before starting

At one of my friend’s places there’s always raining so he also checks that if the weather is clear a little bit then he is good to go or he covers the stuff if he had to paint while in little rain.

Not all work days are made equal. It’s a good idea to choose a non-breezy day when working outdoors.

Because you don’t want your project to end up looking like a Jackson Pollock painting in the end.

Trade-offs can be made of course, if the time crunch is real but we recommend coming prepared so that the choice is not yours to make.

Protect yourself

I’d like to point out that it’s vital to wear a face mask, eye goggles, and coveralls while spraying.

Not only will this protect your clothes and avoid getting the coating on yourself, but you can also prevent any irritation to your skin.

How do you use an HVLP sprayer?

  • Prepare the surface to be sprayed by cleaning and sanding it.
  • Mix the paint or stain according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Fill the sprayer’s cup with the paint or stain.
  • Turn on the air compressor and adjust the pressure according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Hold the sprayer about 8-12 inches away from the surface and pull the trigger to begin spraying.
  • Move the sprayer in a steady, back-and-forth motion to apply an even coat.
  • Release the trigger when you’re done spraying a section.
  • Allow the paint or stain to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Clean the sprayer according to the manufacturer’s recommendations before storing it.

How do you mix paint for a HVLP sprayer?

  • Start by reading the manufacturer’s instructions for the paint you’re using.
  • Measure out the appropriate amount of paint and pour it into a separate container.
  • Slowly add the recommended amount of thinner or reducer to the paint. Stir the mixture well to ensure it is fully combined.
  • Use a paint strainer to remove any lumps or debris from the mixture.
  • Pour the paint into the sprayer’s cup and use the sprayer according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Be sure to use the correct thinner/reducer for the paint you are using, some paints may require a special thinner/reducer to work correctly with HVLP sprayers.
  • It’s also a good idea to test the paint mixture on a small, inconspicuous area before starting the main job to ensure that you have the right consistency and that the paint will spray correctly.

How do you get a smooth finish with a HVLP sprayer?

  • Use the correct nozzle: HVLP (High Volume Low Pressure) sprayers come with different nozzle sizes, use the right one for the job. A smaller nozzle size can produce a finer spray and a smoother finish.
  • Adjust the pressure: Adjust the pressure on the air compressor to the recommended setting for the paint or stain you’re using. This will ensure that the paint is atomized properly and will result in a smoother finish.
  • Thin the paint: Thin the paint or stain according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This will make it easier for the paint to flow through the sprayer and will help to prevent drips and splatters.
  • Use light even passes: Hold the sprayer 8-12 inches from the surface and use light, even passes to apply the paint. Overlapping each pass will help to ensure an even coat and a smooth finish.
  • Use consistent movement: Use a consistent, back-and-forth movement to apply the paint. Avoid pausing or stopping in one spot, as this can cause drips and an uneven finish.
  • Sand between coats: Sand lightly between coats, Use fine grit sandpaper, this will remove any imperfections and make the surface smooth before the next coat.
  • Clean the equipment: Clean the sprayer and the nozzle thoroughly after each use. Paint buildup on the nozzle or in the sprayer can cause an uneven finish and can affect the quality of the paint spray in future uses.

FAQ’s of How to use an HVLP spray gun

No, but you must adjust your paint viscosity to the viscosity of the HVLP sprayer. If the paint is too thick for an HVLP sprayer then it will cause sputtering of the paint, which is what we want to avoid. Remember, you’re spraying this paint so we want it to spray well. Sputtering is eliminated by thinning the paint, and you don’t want the paint to be too thin (which will lead to an even greater amount of sputtering).

Depends on the material you are spraying, but as a general rule, I can say that HVLP spray gun should be set at 10-15 psi at most. Your gun should never exceed 30 psi.

To get a smooth finish, you need to have a good spray tip, and you need to set the air pressure at the right level. For this you need to know the psi of your pressure washer. Then apply the spray tip recommended. Spray at a distance of about 16-20 inches from the item. You can spray for 5-6 seconds and then wait for about 20-30 seconds before spraying again. In this wait time, you will have to change your position. Each time you spray, do a smooth, circular motion, and always keep the HVLP gun moving. This will give you a smooth finish.

No, the HVLP gun should not be cleaned between coats. In fact, if you clean the gun too much, you will make the paint go bad. Wipe the paint from the nozzle if you need to, but leave the rest of the gun alone until you go to the next room. Cleaning the gun more than once between coats is not necessary unless you get paint in places where it doesn’t belong.

It is a good practice to clean your sprayer as soon as you are done using it. If you have paint left over in the sprayer, then it will dry out. Moisture in the paint can interfere with your spray pattern. It can also form a crust on the inside of the tip. By cleaning your paint sprayer regularly, you will extend the life of the machine and ensure that you are getting the best results with each use.

Yes, you can clean a paint gun with acetone. Acetone is a powerful solvent that can work well to remove paint residue from the gun body. However, acetone is extremely flammable and its fumes can be harmful to breathe. So, acetone should not be used in an unventilated area. So, make sure to work in a well-ventilated area and wear protective gloves and mask when using acetone. The most important thing to remember when using acetone is to be very careful. Acetone can cause irritation to skin and eyes, so you should wear protective gloves and eye protection to avoid accidental spillage of the solvent onto your skin or eyes.

Conclusion on How to use an HVLP spray gun

Here it is, I have explained each and every point which I practice in my projects while using an HVLP sprayer.

Hope this post of mine helped you in some way. If you have any suggestions or tips do comment below so that others can also get help and I also can increase my knowledge.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this blog. If you already own an HVLP spray gun, what are you waiting for? Get out there and start using it!

If, however, you want to learn more about these devices before buying one, keep an eye out for my upcoming HVLP spray gun reviews.

Where I’ll cover all the kits you need to know about. Happy Painting lads!

Matthew Edward

Matthew Edward is a professional painter who loves to paint and wants to share useful tips and tricks which he had learned in many years of experience in painting. He also used many products that can be used for painting he has tried and tested each and every product to give an unbias opinion about it in his review. This blog is very useful for those newbies who want to learn painting without making mistakes.

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