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That guy
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My new day job is for a company that makes custom barn doors and the hardware that makes them work (sliding on rails and all that goes into that). I am working on improving production.

After they build the custom doors they paint them by hand. One brush stroke at a time. With CHEAP brushes. (Some latex, some enamel, and some stains.)

Imagine my surprise when I find out that the hardware side is doing great (roughly 1 week delivery after an order is received) but the doors are as much as 50 days out.

With all of that in mind, what do you think? HVLP? Airless? I am not a painting expert by any stretch of the imagination. (To put it in context I recently bought the newest generation of Wagner turbine kits, Flexio 890, for my own small projects at home (like a garage door, and kids play set that needs to be re-stained). I am WELL aware that this is not a production unit.) In my own work I have always avoided painting whenever possible because I don't have the equipment (skills, experience...) to do it right and efficiently. And I hate rolling and brushing.

But now we need to become spraying experts for the sake of production. Where do we start? I'm inclined to pick up the little Harbor Freight HVLP that a lot of people like just to try out that approach, and maybe try a door or two with my plastic fantastic Wagner, but it seems like there's probably someone out there with a more intelligent approach. :)

Thanks!
 

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That guy
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
It's probably obvious, but I should emphasize that quick cleanup and color changes are major priorities. I'm thinking HVLP is probably the winner in that department?

Also interested in specific recommendations for paints and stains. They've been buying almost everything from Home Depot, even though there's a Benjamin Moore ACROSS THE STREET and a Sherwin Williams about 4 minutes past the Home Depot (which is nowhere near ACROSS THE STREET). A lot of these barn doors are used indoors. I don't know if you've seen it but it's a big trend. They were featured on HGTV and sales went nuts. But some is also used outdoors. Some of them are very tightly constructed out of high grade hardwood, while others are (by design) less precisely made out of tongue-and-groove pine. Occasionally they use recovered barnwood and such, though that is rarely painted or stained, but when it is they have to deal with the weathered gaps in the wood.

Anyway, specific lines of paints and stains along with the appropriate sprayers and tips and anything else I need to learn would be GREATLY appreciated! Thank you!
 

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I don't care if it's $10 for the HF setup.Why waste your time.If they don't want to spend a lot of money look into Graco airless.Good price,decent quality and good parts and service.Although something with a siphon feed quart cup would be better for small quantities and easier color changes.How much do you spray before changing colors?
 

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Sounds like there's a few ways you could go for this one.

My first thought is titan 440 with a short hose on it. Think 15-20 foot. I paint out of single gallon cans with my 440i all the time for trim and touch ups. With a short hose you would burn less paint and aave time during your setup and flushing. One issue you may run into witj this setup id tou have to change colors each time you move to another door would be the risk of watering down paint too much tryibf to save the paint in the line or runninf up material cost by dumping it each color change to ensure quality and consistent paint.

Tip really depends on what type of product and finish you are going for and would probably vary depending on which material you are applying the paint on as well. Some of the other guys here can probably give you better advice on tips than I can.

Another option that I've personally seen is using multiple HVLP guns and just swapping the air source from gun to gun. A shop I used to work for did this when we were manufacturing displays for Lowes. There were 4 colors that were used at random throughout the day every day. 4 guns got set up and then the air source was swapped from gun to gun to facilitate fast color changes. Obviously this wont work for your epoxy coatings.

This might also be an opportunity for something similar to a proshot. With a liner for the cup you could switch out colors pretty damn fast and I can't imagine it'd take hardly any time at all to flush the little pump and tip between colors.

Kind of depends on what you are going for I guess. The 440 will give you the mist versatility of material you can shoot and tips and finishes you can apply. The cup guns take the time out of changing colors if you are changing constantly throughout the day but your rate of flow is much less and therefore it'll take longer to cover what your shooting. I've never used a proshot so maybe someone else can chime in with whether that's even feasible of not.
 

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That guy
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I don't care if it's $10 for the HF setup.Why waste your time.If they don't want to spend a lot of money look into Graco airless.
The only reason I mentioned the HF gun is as a VERY cheap way to try an HVLP setup to see if it makes sense for our workflow. A cheap gun or two, hooked up to our existing air compressor (with proper moisture separator and such) just to see how it goes. Then upgrade to professional guns if we like it.

Our products sell for a premium and the owner is willing to pay for premium equipment. I just assembled/built/installed a powder coating oven and spray wall for him. He paid $50K for that equipment. We just don't want to spend $1K+ on a pro airless system if what we should be using is an HVLP system. Or vice-versa. Or something else? Those are the two with which I am familiar, along with my cheapie Wagner turbine deal; are there pro versions of that type gun? The Graco ProShot II is a compact airless, isn't it? I'm on my phone so I can't easily look it up while writing this. I just remember seeing them at Sherwin Williams.

I think any airless gun with even a short hose will be more work than it's worth. The paints are usually custom colors and a full door doesn't even use a full quart when brushed. Only a half dozen or so stains are used, but even then we are doing another door of a different type in between doors that use the same stain.

My goal is to get to the point where we can group doors that need identical coatings so we don't spend so much time changing out between orders, but that is probably a ways down the road.

Thanks again!
 

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go talk to sherwin williams, they have reps that can demo all kinds of stuff for you, also they can inform and help you understand all kinds of coating and stains, s.w. stores are all corprate owned so the help and info is all the same.
 

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That guy
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Because nothing that costs little EVER works well. </sarcasm>

I take it you're not familiar with the gun I'm talking about?
 

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You will not get a good understanding of what good equipment will do for you by trying cheap crap.
I agree; the cheap HVLP conversion guns are worthless.

You could do worse than pick up a Fuji Q4 and use the PPS 28-oz cups for small doors, and a pressure pot for anything really large. The PPS disposables are about $4/finish, cleanup is maybe 10 minutes per change of finish.

One thing to be aware of is that (at least in some states) spray finishing in a manufacturing environment is highly regulated, for safety and environmental reasons.
 

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That guy
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The Harbor Freight guns are part-for-part knockoffs of some of the most proven designs ever made. They work very well (not top if the line quality, but certainly middle of the pack), just not for very long. And they don't clean up quite as easily. Both shortcomings are because they are made of lower quality steel. But to argue that you can't get a feel for an HVLP production workflow because they're just crap guns is ignorance, plain and simple. MANY pro auto painters keep them on hand for primer and/or backup purposes. Some even use them for everything but clearcoats since you can get a dozen of them for the price of one pro gun.

I took my motorcycle tins to a buddy who shot it all for me, but not before doing a lot of research and seriously considering setting up my own spray booth. So while I don't have firsthand shooting experience to draw from here, I do have the mostly positive reviews of countless guys who do.

How about instead of debating the value of a $20 investment at Harbor Freight (as part of a Million dollar production) we just stick to the question of which spray system will make the most sense? I already said in my initial post that I wanted to skip that trial-and-error experimentation approach to solving this problem. If we go HVLP we will get real guns that will last.
 

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That guy
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
You could do worse than pick up a Fuji Q4 and use the PPS 28-oz cups for small doors, and a pressure pot for anything really large. The PPS disposables are about $4/finish, cleanup is maybe 10 minutes per change of finish.
I had been looking at Fuji. This is PRECISELY the kind of information I am looking for. Thank you!
 

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quality of finished product desired dictates what equipment is necessary.

Not every job that comes out of our shop needs the highest quality tool to get the desired results.

I've got cheap, $50 pressure cup guns that I've gotten very good results from for the applications they were intended. I've also got a couple cheap gravity feed guns that I spray clear with. I've layed some super sweet finish on high end cabinets with cheap guns.


I've got a titan 440 with a couple different fine finish tips that I break out for large jobs. I've also got one of the $300 graco's from Sherwin Williams that do an adequate job. It's reserved for paint only.

Having an understanding of what you're trying to accomplish, with the paint or finish your your using is more important than the equipment you're using to get those results.
 

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I believe I mentioned Graco in my first post,I have owned the Fuji and while it works well they have a needle in them that gets bent often and must be ordered.As far as HVLP conversion guns I liked the Accuspray the best.Easy to clean have cup liners.
Your comment on my ignorance is a little off base as I have been professionally spraying finishes for 40 years and have tried the cheapies and the best.
 

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If you are going to try the HF HVLP gun (which is a cheep POS, yes I do know their guns and many others) get their 2 quart pressure pot.

You'll most likely need to reseal the lid, I've heard most leak. A friend recommend 60 mil rubber roofing to make a new gasket. You will need at least a 1.6 mm nozzle (I use a 1.8 mm for paint) and needle to spray the paint. The air cap with the nozzle set should come matched (I do mix my air caps, depending on what I'm doing). The stain and finishes will require a smaller nozzle set.

Depending on the viscosity of the primer and paint you will be running the pot pressure between 40-50 psi for SW paints and primers. Air to the gun for the air cap should be around 10 psi. Make sure the compressor can handle the air cap volume.

Below is a picture of SW Super paint unthined shot through my Fuji Q4 hooked to a 2.5 gallon pot. The compressor I normally use to pressurize the pot is a Rolair Jc-10, air cap volume is supplied through the Fuji turbine. Left side is a momentary trigger pull with the pot pressure at 50 psi. The right side at 42 psi. The left side is a very poor pattern and atomization.

You'll need to learn what ever system you choose.

Tom
 

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Accidental Painter
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You are an employee. This stuff is not your concern. We can recommend all day long, but your not buying the tools. Your boss is, & he is obviously happy with the production rate.

If my employee came to me & said: boss, we'd be faster with an air assisted airless that can handle two guns...

I'd say quit spending my money.
 

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You are an employee. This stuff is not your concern. We can recommend all day long, but your not buying the tools. Your boss is, & he is obviously happy with the production rate.

If my employee came to me & said: boss, we'd be faster with an air assisted airless that can handle two guns...

I'd say quit spending my money.
That's why my dad is awesome! :clap: :clap:

Cause I just come back and say, we'd be faster with this, and we'd be faster with that. He hasn't yet turned me down I don't think...

That will probably happen when I ask for a Kapex setup that costs 2,500k... lol
 

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Accidental Painter
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Not to sound rude ( I just re-read my post). But there are many factors involved in production painting. Speed is only one thing. When you decide to change over your process you have to factor in training for the new equipment, maintenance cost of said equipment, then do a cost analysis of whether or not you really want the increased speed.

Your changing alot of things. Maybe its a good thing that your 50 days out on doors. As this ensures steady work. What happens when you speed up production so fast that now you have idle time? Now you gotta worry about start-up & shutdown of the assembly line, increasing marketing and sales to accommodate the increased production capacity, etc...

I did this in my current field, and experiencing these very issues. I now work myself out of a job on a regular basis. It's a good problem to have, but the trade-off is now I have to go make more sales to accommodate my ability to take on an increased workload.

Will the employees be willing to go down to a part time status for a short time?

Sometimes its best to just leave things alone, as dumb as that sounds.
 
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