From nearly the time automotive manufacturers stopped painting cars with a brush and began using paint spray guns, spray gun manufacturers have pursued the challenge of making a “better spray gun.” This competitive process has dramatically changed the equipment and processes we use today, even when compared to just a few decades ago.
Modern spray equipment delivers finer paint spray, more material to the surface, lower pressures to reduce overspray, and infinite spray gun adjustments. While these current high-tech marvels can produce amazing results, they can also be challenging for the hobbyist to adjust and troubleshoot.
Automotive paint and body professional Terry Wright takes the mystery out of getting the best results from our paint spraying equipment. Wright breaks down the three adjustment areas on modern spray guns: air, fluid, and fan controls. He further explains the idea is to “balance” the gun, or in other words, have all three controls adjusted correctly to deliver the best results.
It is best to do a test spray to fully understand how the gun is performing, but equally important is to correctly read the spray pattern to direct you to the adjustments that need to be made. Terry stresses the first step is to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. This includes not only the paint spray equipment itself, but the material being sprayed as well.
Terry takes us step by step through the various setup adjustments on the spray gun and provides insight into their adjustment and limits. Of course, Wright explains, no understanding of spray gun setup can be done without some discussion on safety, the importance of using a respirator, and the proper care and storage.
Next, he explains newer water-based paints and their application as it relates to the hobby painter. Terry demonstrates how to troubleshoot issues with the air cap and differentiate them from fluid-nozzle problems. He further demonstrates the variation and pattern changes with simple changes to the air, fluid, and fan controls. Ultimately, it’s all about finding the right balance to the spray gun setting to achieve great results.