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Selecting The Right Air Spray Tip Size

SELECTING THE RIGHT AIR SPRAY TIP SIZE

 

 

1. What’s the VISCOSITY of the coating?

The heavier it is – the larger tip you will need.

  • High Viscosity/Heavy Coating – Larger tip (>2mm)
  • Lower viscosity/ finishing quality (high gloss coats) – Smaller tip (1.2-1.8mm)
    • Depends on the size of the items being painted:
      • Painting pipe spool work – use 1.2mm
      • Painting the side of a truck – use 1.8mm
    • In extremely small touch-up applications, like a small scratch on a piece of equipment – use a 0.8mm tip.
MATERIAL VISCOSITY TIP SIZE (mm) FLOW (Conventional) FLOW (HVLP or Compliant)
Extra Light 0.5 4-8 oz/min 4-8 oz/min
Light 0.8 4-12 oz/min 4-10 oz/min
Light-Medium 1.1 8-20 oz/min 6-12 oz/min
Medium 1.8 16-35 oz/min 16-20 oz/min
Medium-Heavy 2.2 16-40 oz/min 18-22 oz/min
Heavy 2.8 16-45 oz/min 20-24 oz/min

 

Typically, the paint DATASHEET will tell you what size air spray tip to use.

2.  Fluid Tips and Fluid FLOW Setup

We recommend that industrial painters use high wear resistant guns, and have a high flow air cap.

Fluid flow stream test for pressure guns. Regardless of what paint or gun you’ll be using always test and dial in the flow.

  1.  Turn off any air pressure to the pump.
  2.  Trigger release the paint into a bucket, dialing the top knob’s pressure until the breaking point of the stream is about 6-9 inches from the tip.
  3.  Ensure a consistent gentle flow, to allow atomization air to do its job.

Often, painters who want to paint faster will simply increase the air pressure to the pump.  If doing so results in a “jet flow” of paint, the atomization suffers.  The better way to do it is simply replace the current tip with a larger one.  This will allow more paint flow and is a better option than increasing pressure.

If the tip size is too large, and the paint seems to drip and fall out (not achieving the 6-9″ reach), simply replace with a smaller tip.

3.  Hose Sizes

It’s the air hose that does the work, don’t ever let your gun be starved of air.

When running on a Warrior pump/pressure feed spray gun, the minimal air supply to your pump should be at least ½”. If you’re running suction/cup gun,  3/8” is sufficient for lengths of up to 50 ft.

NOTE: all these hoses need to be rated to minimum 150 psi, do NOT use airless hose. They are far too inflexible.

FINAL THOUGHTS

A good spray gun is a critical factor for success of painting. It’s always recommended to have 3 different sets of guns and hoses for air spray. Get a different one for the different types of coatings you spray – a zinc set, a top coat/fine finishing set, and a general purpose set.

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