Bearhawk Aircraft Bearhawk Tailwheels LLC Eric Newton's Builder Manuals Bearhawk Plans Bearhawk Store


No announcement yet.

inexpensive small spray gun ?

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • inexpensive small spray gun ?

    I am putting 2 part water based epoxy primer on my sheet metal wing parts.
    I have tried the little harbor freight guns--- and they are complete junk. First one broke--- 2-nd one the paint just ran through it onto the floor.
    I would like a small top fed gun. I don't want to pay for a top quality type like a binks or a devillebis---- but I SHOULD be able to find something that
    at least works...… Does not have to be HVLP either---- just top fed. ( I like top fed because it uses almost every drop of paint and leaves very little
    in the gun to clean up...….

    I would like to find something in the 50-75$ range---- My good guns (full size) were about 200$ 25 years ago.

    Any suggestions on what has worked OK and not broken the bank ??????


  • #2
    I have had good luck with the Kobalt spray guns from Lowes.


    • #3
      It doesn’t meet your top fed criteria but I have used Speedaire item #48PX84 from for many years as my main priming tool. $73 and it leaves very little paint in the cup.


      • #4
        I got a Sharpe Finex FX1000 mini-HVLP and primed the ribs and spars with it. I forget which nozzle. It's a touch-up gun, sounds like that's the type you're looking for.
        Scratch building Patrol #275
        Hood River, OR


        • #5
          I have been using a little cheapie called a "badger" which Ive been using for latex based paints. Tried it with the 2 part water based epoxy from stewart
          It looks like the badger isn't atomizing as good as it could. Its just a crude thing...…….
          Another problem is that im not used to water based paints---- if its thick enough not to run--- its all rough or pig skin-ey. If I thin it enough to go on smooth-- it runs.
          I think this is happening because the water evaporates about 100 times slower than the reducers in conventional paints ( that use acetone or enamel thinner )
          It seems like what I need is more fine control of the spray pattern .

          I will check out the suggestions----

          anyone have any wisdom on how to paint this stewrts stuff ? The can recommends a tack coat and a 2-nd coat 5 to 10 min later. But If I make it thick enough not to run-
          it looks like the total thickness is too heavy. (heavier than optimal) From what I have read- you should be able to see through it slightly.



          • #6

            I don't know if this will help but when I was doing a lot of body work (race cars) I would spray down a thick coat and then go over the part with what was called a mist coat. It was largely reducer but with some paint. This would help the surface flow out. You would have to wait a bit for the heavy coast to start setting up. I did a lot of painting with 2 part systems, epoxy like Ditzier Durathane. I did use good guns to do the work.


            • #7
              Believe it or not but I used a Paasche airbrush with great results. The only downside is the size of the container holding the primer. But this was a minor inconvenience plus because I was mixing smaller quantities, I wasted less of the expensive Stits epoxy primer. The airbrush is very controllable and adjustable. I highly recommend it.
              Patrol #30


              • #8
                I have 3 functional full size guns--- 2 binks model 7 and a tiwanese HVLP called "CIA" brand. all 3 good guns--- but the top fed CIA is easier to clean and not a prone to air leaks.
                The binks is better for fine atomization though.

                I considered the airbrush--- but as you say it only holds a thimble full of product. Also I am concerned that the Stewarts base is a very high solids material-- it might be prone to
                plug up the ultra fine nozzle of the airbrush. That's why I was using the badger. Slightly bigger orifice. But spray quality is pretty much crap.

                S. Lathrop--- Yes I used to do that trick to on occasion. More often I would use that for a tack coat. Nothing sucks more than putting down a tack coat that has orange peel because
                it is a little under reduced. That tends to telegraph all the way to the final surface for some kinds of paint. But the BEST trick we discovered --- was to spray on a first coat (tack)
                reduced quite a bit--- mist it on very thin,,,,, then wait and come back with a single less reduced full coat. Then stop. Let that cure for about 1-2 weeks. ( Imron) Water sand it with
                600 and then 800 …… then come back and spray again. Basicly use the first pass of Imron as a primer. You can get a finish that is incredible slick, flat and blemish free. Kind of like cheating..... :-)

                Another trick that I recommend to everybody---- when you are spraying--- hold the gun in your right hand. Hold a floodlight in your left hand. as you are spraying-- keep the light
                way out to the left so that the reflected image of the light co-ensides with where the spray fan intersects the surface. This enables you to see EXACTLY how much product is going
                onto that pass. That helps hugely to not get too dry a pass and also prevents too heavy by being able to see the reflection in real time. An added benefit is that it reduces the need
                for a lot of extra external light. Ive even shut much of the normal room lights off at times while spraying. When you are spraying -for instance white-- it seems to be VERY hard to
                see how much paint is going on on a pass. The hand held light fixes that beautifully. My Cousin was painting dope on his ceconite - white-- and he kept getting orange peel. I think
                he needed a bit more reducer --- but most of it was he couldn't see how heavy (or not heavy) the pass was. I think he needed to reduce a hare more and then turn the gun up a bunch.
                (cause that stuff all most dries before it gets to the surface--- so you are fighting to get enough on while there is solvent so it can level out )

                Thought Id pass on the light idea. It was a game changer for me !

                PS -- web research shows the Lowe's guns got horrible reviews just like the Harbor Freight it sounds like. Prob made in the same plant in china...
                so I wont be getting that one...… :-)


                • #9
                  Great advice with the flood light. I used the white Stewarts ekoprime and the lighting was critical if I wanted to see anything.
                  Scratch building Patrol #275
                  Hood River, OR


                  • #10
                    Yeah, thanks. Lots of folks with widely different experiences here.


                    • #11
                      Actually I was using baby food bottles for primer with the airbrush. Covered quite an area. Still a small amount but I would mix up 2 or 3 at a time and paint like crazy.


                      • #12
                        While not as inexpensive as OP requested, I’ve had great experience with the 3M Accuspray system.


                        The liners are disposable, so cleanup is virtually nil. The spray tips are sold as single use, but I clean mine at least 4 times before discarding. I drop the tip into a pint of solvent and wipe the needle. That’s the cleanup!



                        • #13
                          Originally posted by fairchild View Post
                          I have tried the little harbor freight guns--- and they are complete junk.
                          I am the least experienced painter around, but just wanted to say that I've used the $10 Harbor Freight guns exclusively with few problems. They are made cheaply, but for my purposes they haven't been a headache. My fuselage, all steel parts, and all wing parts have been painted with EP-420 and HF guns. Most likely, if I ever painted with a better gun I would also be dissatisfied with their quality. Just my $, $.01 cent.


                          • #14
                            Nich------ yes--- it doesn't have to be a beautiful spray pattern---- just no big spitting and not too prone to clog up during use. I have a surplus HF one-- the one with the joint on the bottom
                            of where the cup mounts---- I took it completely apart and cleaned it---- worked again with thinner. Northern has one where the cup screws into the top of the guns body casting--- like
                            a legitimate gun... :-) Its about 40$ --- may try that one...… The little purple HF one was only 8$ on sale. Bought a spare to avoid taking the first one apart to clean it---- but it was
                            missing a major seal and the paint just ran out on the floor. (not happy camper)
                            Will try the first one again now that its been cleaned. Don't like the way the paint cup is designed---- all most impossible to clean.



                            • #15
                              Went to Northern and got a small touch-up gun --- "vaper" brand. 1 mm tip was the only one they keep in stock at my store.
                              Its a mini HVLP touch up gun. Tested it tonight. works pretty much like my full size ones. The trigger is a bit uncomfortable---
                              and the paint screw is a bit hypersensitive---- but once you get it dialed in it seems to work great.

                              This is the first water -borne paint I have tried. I think I have figured out something that helps.

                              At first I was approaching it like it was paint--- doing a thin tack coat and then a medium build-up coat. Im thinning this stuff quite
                              a bit more than the can says. So because of that- I was getting runs. Not a disaster for primer- but none the less not wanted.

                              So I changed approaches. Turned the paint flow way down--- and the air fan fairly wide. Kept turning the paint down untill I could barely
                              see a mist. not quite enough to make a wet patch. It just made a fuzzy patch. Turned down like that -- the water flashed off in a few secconds-
                              without having time to run. Left it to sit about 2-3 min--- then came back with the paint flow turned up just enough to barely see moisture.
                              I believe -- since its epoxy---- you can sneak it on a little at a time and it wont care. I dont see ANY need for a "wet" coat. The new little
                              gun is nicely adjustable enough to now make that possible.

                              Another nice thing about the gun--- when you run out of paint --- there is hardly a drop left anywhere in the gun internally due to the top feed.
                              I flushed water through it about 4 times---- then some denatured alcohol and another water rinse. Took the air cap off and looked inside---
                              no paint showing in there.... In fact the only place I could find any paint was on the outside of the aircap --- which I just wiped off with a paper
                              towel. This makes me thing that it wont stop up too easy. I think im loving the water cleanup aspect of it.

                              All in all--- the gun seems ok so far. About 39$. Looks much better than the 15$ HF gun. At least its built like a real gun. :-)


                              PS-- many reccomend a 1.5 or bigger cap size for primer---- however as thin as I am running the product--
                              I think 1 mm is just right.