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I'd say neither , unless you're going to treat them as disposable guns . I've got a good quality Sharpe that came here used for free - that is a fine finish gun although someone put a huge tip in it and was shooting primer - plugged up but I got it cleaned out and working again . Grabbed a cheap Campbell Hausfeld from Wally's years ago on clearance for $20 - that is the main gun for doing larger stuff and it actually works really well for what it is .  Also have a very small HVLP gravity feed I picked up at TSC and use it for small parts/detail work . The thing about using name brand common guns is they take common parts - like tips and seals . Using high build primers , acid etch and such requires different tips - I doubt Harbor Freight sells parts for theirs .

 

Just shot 1-1/2gal through the CH painting my utility trailer and it's parts after a repair/blast ordeal - it was badly rusted due to them painting over mill scale when it was new , turned out pretty good for a trailer . Just used Rustoleum Rusty Metal Primer (red oxide, heavy) as a base and their Tractor and Implement paint in IH Red . It's cheap (on sale at TSC , $29/gal) and has enough high solids to use it with automotive reducer and alklyd enamel hardeners (be very careful with that stuff and wear protection) . After 1hr - it isn't ever coming off and will turn hard as nails in a few days with a pretty good gloss to boot .


Sarge

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I've had mixed results on HF guns - had been using one of the $15ish HVLP's with great results, so when it went wonky I just went and got another, and another, and another .... no joy with them. So, in desperation and needing a gun, and HF to far away, I ran to Home depot and got one of their HVLP guns (for $60!) and finishing up that job with it working nicely.

 

So, its like a lot of stuff from HF - some of it is really good and some not so. So, what Sarge sez is true, the name brand stuff IS hard to beat, but with me I just cant justify spending the $ for the occasional use I need for the expensive stuff.

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1 hour ago, pacer said:

the name brand stuff IS hard to beat

I had several DeVillbis guns when I was painting cars....can't beat the good stuff....just keep them maintained and you will never buy another....:twocents-02cents:

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I have one of those $9.99 HF gravity feed guns. I've used it for 6 jobs now and it works good for me. The key to keeping any spray gun is cleanliness. My gun still looks like I just took it out of the box.

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I purchased 5 of the HVLP sprayers a few years ago for about $7.99 each. The results were better than average. Here is a picture of my 416-H painted with one.

416H.jpg.99c6536872ef52069428d320b996b775.jpg

 

Consider the following;

1. I don't have a paint room, so I paint outdoors.

2. Because I paint outdoors, for things like the fenders and hood, I need to sand and polish when it's dry to get the bugs and dust out.

3. In order to clean the sprayer, I buy a gallon of lacquer thinner for about $15.00. For a complete tractor, I probably use every bit of a gallon.

 

So the question for me is do I use $15.00 worth of lacquer thinner to clean up the $7.99 sprayer, or do I just throw it away at the end of the job and break out a new one for the next job?

 

For me, as a non-professional painter, it's a no-brainer. Go with the gravityt feed HVLP.

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Is there a topic out there to teach first timers all of the steps to follow to get a spray gun, paint and primer, and how to set up the equipment, adjust it and spray their first paint job? Being able to do this is on my bucket list, but it seems overwhelming to even get started. 

 

Sarge, is that something you could put together? You seem to know what is what.

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:text-yeahthat:   Watch a few videos. Then paint some cardboard until you get the feel of the gun. I have been painting with a spray gun since the late 1970's. At that time, my older brother taught me how to refinish furniture. The basic technique is the same. My problem is that I don't refinish furniture anymore, and I only spray a tractor about once a year or every two years. In that time, I tend to forget everything that I re-learned the year before. So unless you do it every day, it's always a learning process, especially with newer paints and better guns. 

 

Having said that, Jay's comment about you-tube is dead-on. It's probably the best place to find actual real people doing real painting. 

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I've been using this HF HVLP spray gun.

20 oz. HVLP Gravity Feed Air Spray Gun with Regulator

CentralPnuematic.gif

 
 
Central Pneumatic® - item#62381
 
I got it 6 years ago.  It has been flawless for me, but I only paint about twice a year.  I bought a second one about 4 years ago when it was on sale and I had a coupon.  Its still in the box.

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I had pretty good results out of the 9.99 harbor freight spray gun.  I am not a skilled painter, and like others - I have to paint outside.  I sprayed this a year ago and I was very pleased with the outcome.  I think I used IH Red from tractor supply.

IMG_0111.JPG

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HF sell a HVLP set with a 20 oz and a 1 qt. cup  I use them for primer. I have an old Devilbis siphon gun I picked up at a garage sale for top coat. PS  I recently learned there are gravity cup upgrades for some of the old top of the line siphon guns. If birthday wishes come true I will have one soon

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I use the hvlp HVLP gun, I've never used a good gun to compare it with. I do have a love/hate relationship with the disposable cups. They make the clean up easier, but they will drip on your work at the worst possible time.

 

image_13123.jpg

Edited by Thor27

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Learning how to run a paint gun is an art form and I really respect the folks out there that can lay down a superior job on a vehicle and get it right the first time . I'm by no means any sort of a pro - just been painting stuff for a lot of years and have friends that are body guys that are excellent at what they do - 3 of them produce some serious award winning show cars . Another key resource to have to do a great job is a place to buy the chemicals and supplies - my local guy here is the last one left in the area and he's a solid 20yrs older than I am - without him I'm done . Knowing mix ratios and where to find the data required to shoot hardeners , using auto grade reducers and not killing yourself or making a chemical bomb is really key - you must have a supplier that can provide this information if you want to use this stuff . Be prepared for some serious expenses as well - one quart of medium heat range reducer is $35 alone . Using etching primers is even worse - primer itself is $40/qt and the 1:1 activator is the same cost - that's just for a base coating to put builder primer over the top of it ....base/clears can easily hit $300 for the supplies alone . Screw up the coating window times , mix ratios or use the wrong reducers can render a boiled paint job that will never harden properly and you start over . This is the reason I stick to single stage enamels with hardeners - much cheaper , very durable and can be buffed out easily if you lay down your coats correctly . I generally use nothing more than a medium or light grade Scotch brite pad between coats as long as each coat flows out correctly . If it doesn't flow out right - you need to sand it down with 320 or so to remove that rough surface . The more prep work you put into a job results in a better and tougher coat of paint - try to rush things and you'll have less than desired results just as fast ...

 

For example , the second coat of red oxide primer on the trailer went past the limit on heat/time due to the sun shining on the metal - even with high temp reducer the stuff came out of the gun very dry - nearly a powder that was wet enough to stick . That resulted in doing a lot of hand work to knock it down again and a waste of material and time . Using off the shelf stuff like Rustoleum along with alklyd hardener means you throw out their instructions with the exception of re-coat timing - most enamels and primers will be 24hrs for a re-coat , some are after 48hrs depending upon humidity . Shooting this stuff outside of a controlled environment is a real trick - you have to know the upcoming weather 3 days out and you can never trust a forecast past 12hrs in my region , most times it changes every 6hrs on a regular basis around here in Illinois . Most of these types of acrylic enamel will require using far more reducer than the manufacturer wants - this stuff is really designed to be brushed on , not applied using a commercial paint gun . Over mixing ratios with reducer will allow it to atomize better and flow out to a smooth , glossy finish - you need to slow down the process of the hardener on that top coat or it will come out very rough , and hard , lol . Now , using commercial chemicals with consumer grade paints has it's price too - it's going to take a lot more paint . I should have been able to shoot that trailer with right at one gallon - but having to use so much reducer due to the weather conditions and being out in the sun means it took 1.5gal to paint the dumb thing - not to mention the extra chemicals . Had to buy 2 cans of hardener from TSC since my local supply guru doesn't have access to his old stuff since they switched from being a Car Quest shop to Advance Auto . Due to the layout and shape of the trailer it was tough to control over spray as well - some areas of the frame are a bit rough from over spray but they are under the decking , and it's a trailer so I don't care anyway . Last part I shot was the outside perimeter and tongue - winds were 5mph the other day and lined up perfectly with the direction I needed to shoot , which is rare around here - we're surrounded by Wind Mills .

 

One of the biggest problems you'll encounter is learning how to set the gun for the conditions when painting outside . I never shoot in winds over 8mph - it's a waste of time . You must remember that to properly coat a surface that gun must be directly facing the part - it has to be shot at 90* to the object or the coating thickness isn't correct . Get it wrong - you'll be able to see right through the top coat into the primer coat . It's a steep learning curve to swing the gun 90* to surface at all times , how to taper off the material range of the trigger back to the air stage to blend into the last overlap line . Keeping your air hose out of your work , not kicking up dust and doing everything in the correct order to get the best overall result is all part of the process . Getting the fan pattern adjustment (generally , the small knob on the gun) set properly first will help a beginner get a better result , then set the material mixing knob to get a fully wet coat in one pass , but not enough to cause runs . Then , it takes moving the gun steadily across the surface leaving a 1/2 pass overlap , tapering off into the trigger's air stage past the end of the part , and repeat again and again until it's done . You have to do all this quickly , enamels with hardeners and using reducers will make it flash off quickly - subsequent over spray will not flow out and leave a rough pattern on your part . The quicker the flow out and flashing off the paint - the better it can stay on a surface without causing sags or runs . Succeeding coats stacked on top of a wet surface will result in sags as the chemicals penetrate the prior coats that aren't fully cured yet - this is where most folks get runs and sags . Adding more passes than necessary doesn't result in better coverage - it results in more mistakes . Thin , very wet and easily flowing paint makes for a better overall job - some of the best paint jobs I've done were north of 6 coats of top finish . You get a deeper color that is also more resistant to UV fading and has better durability overall . Thick coats chip easier and can actually lift off later . No enamel can be shot with just one top coat - even pro level material will require at least 2-3 coats . Using off the shelf enamels and reducers makes it worse - it's the amount of solids in the paint and you get what you pay for . $29/gal on sale for Rustoleum means no less than 3 coats to get a full , rich color . Rustoleum Machinery paint still has a pretty high solids content compared to other brands - so watch what you buy and treat it accordingly .

 

I do highly recommend watching YouTube and other video sites - setting up that fan pattern is a real trick , it must be putting down the same amount of material across the whole pattern of that fan - otherwise your paint job will leave dry streaks in it . It's also about selecting the correct tip size to the material to be sprayed - high build primers will be at or near a 2.0 tip . Thinned top coats can be down below a 1.0 depending upon what paint you use and how it's mixed . You can get away with general tip sizes of 1.6-1.8 but you have to mix accordingly . The gun has to be able to atomize the material in a fine enough mist to allow it to flow out properly and get a smooth finish . It's a balancing act that changes constantly as temperature changes , humidity , wind and time passes . Most alklyd hardeners are a maximum of 2hp pot life - exceed that and you can toss that gun in the trash - you'll never get it cleaned out completely . That's another thing - use good quality mineral spirits , acetone or similar to whatever they recommend for cleanup and learn to fully disassemble that gun - paint will hide in places and ruin how the gun works . The old Sharpe I have was full of builder primer and it took half a day of cleaning with brushes and picks to get it to work right again - that was a very expensive gun at one time . Some of the older model Devilbiss , Binks and others are some highly sought guns - keep an eye out on ebay and such , sometimes you can score an old one pretty cheap and they are still better than most new ones available today . See if parts are available first , like needles and tips , face seals , air nozzles and tank seals - they do have a lifespan and leaks create problems . Needles can get badly worn and result in not being able to set the fan mixing properly - my CH needs a new needle and air tip already despite having little use on it - you get what you pay for .

 

I could go on forever trying to explain all this stuff - I suggest a few straightforward videos and just go out and practice . Your best tool is hands-on learning and a lot of large sheets of cardboard . Make sure to protect yourself and spend the time to learn how these chemicals can hurt you - most of this stuff is highly poisonous to a human and animals so treat it accordingly .

 

Sarge

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Sarge speaks the truth! But don't let him scare you off. I used to paint for a living many years ago and I am a glass and body man now. I would find something to paint before your tractor. A air bomb, wagon, something that could use some paint but if its not perfect, so be it. 

 

One way to get a little practice for free is to put water in your gun and adjust your fan pattern and air pressure, then spray it out on some cardboard. You will be able to see that your overlapping your strokes by 50% and so on. 

 

Use a pressure regulator on the gun or wall. Set it according to the manufacters guide line. 

 

When I paint at home now, I use pyrex measuring cups to mix my paint. So if it says to mix 8 to 4 to 1, I pick ounces or some other lines to make that happen. They also have disposible mixing cups with lines on them. 

 

LIght coat first, let it tack up well then your other coats. Always let them flash between coats. 

 

I would rather deal with runs than dry spray. So if your paint looks a little dry after your second coat, give it a little more time then lay on a pretty wet coat. You will have enough paint to do some wet sanding later if needed. 

 

I would buy a gravity feed gun over siphen feed. You will use much less material and can lower you air pressure some. 

 

Good luck and ask away if you have questions. Lots of experieced people on here! 

 

 

 

 

Randy

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You guys are scaring me! This sounds too hard. Ill never be a good painter. Too tedious. I'm just kidding, I'll do it 1 of these days. Thanks for the advice randy. Very good

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