Compressor and gun vs hvlp setup....

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Forum topic by pjswoodshop posted 06-08-2014 02:37 PM 2031 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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41 posts in 2102 days

06-08-2014 02:37 PM

First post here and hoping to get some insight. I have been researching and figured I’d finally ask. I had intentions of buying an Earlex hvlp setup. But was talked out of it by the salesman at Woodcraft. I mentioned that I have a 60gl IR compressor. He told me that a hvlp gun is all I need. And so far I’ve had pretty good luck with it. But I can’t help but wonder if a dedicated hvlp turbine setup would be a better choice. Or possibly a pot setup.
I mainly spray lacquer. But have sprayed the occasional poly as well as latex paint thinned with Flotrol.
And at this point business is good and I’m not opposed to looking at Fuji or other nicer setups.
Any input is greatly appreciated.

8 replies so far

View strandedpirate's profile


8 posts in 2089 days

#1 posted 06-08-2014 06:13 PM

I was in the same exact situation as you, but I bought the Earlex 5500 last year. I’ve sprayed lacquer, stain, poly, and latex paint with it with no issues.

The problem I had with my 60gl compressor is ensuring the water is removed from the air before it gets to the gun. For me the water traps never worked and I always ended up with spits of water screwing up whatever I was trying to paint. They make air dryers for this but they cost $800 or more. The Earlex delivers hot air with no water in it whatsoever. I’ll never go back.

There are better HVLP systems out there that have better atomization and can spray viscous paints with little to no thinning but the 5500 is a good starter. If you do get an earlex get the 1.0 mm needle and don’t waste your money or time on any of the other needles they sell. I only wish they made a smaller gun and paint container for those hard to reach places.

View NiteWalker's profile


2741 posts in 3215 days

#2 posted 06-08-2014 07:26 PM

For what you have, all you need is a quality gun. I know a lot of guys use the harbor freight guns and are happy with them, but personally I’d get a good gun that’s safe for waterbornes. Contact jeff jewitt at homestead finishing for his recommendation. He sells a line of great hvlp guns (qualspray). I had the QS-125WB for a while before I bought my turbine (fuji mini mite 4). It was a great performer in my shop.

But for you, since you have a beefy compressor, all you need is the gun, pressure regulator (most good guns come with one), in-line oil/water filter and a decent hose. I like legacy’s flexzilla air hose. It’s great.

Also, definitely go for a gravity gun setup. Much easier to clean than a bottom feed unless you have 3M’s PPS, which is definitely great (I use it), but can be expensive.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Kelly's profile


2690 posts in 3582 days

#3 posted 06-08-2014 08:44 PM

If you can afford it, the turbine systems will spoil you. You do have to deal with heat from the massive air flow, as opposed to moisture problems with a conversion system.

I have four stage Cap Sprayer and I can get it down to what a good air brush would put out on maximum, or I can open it up and spray a fence.

I’ve used my turbine to spray railing on decks and cut days off the project, without the over spray I get using my airless. The former shoots at about eight pounds, the latter at about twenty-four hundred.

I can swap needles on mine and even paint a car, if I choose. In the end, the advice to buy a good gun, if you can, is good advice. That said, I dumped a HF gun on a three stage I bought for a few bucks and got good results spraying book shelves.

My prejudices for the HVLP aside, a conversion gun would make you pretty happy too. Just install moisture filters.

View pjswoodshop's profile


41 posts in 2102 days

#4 posted 06-08-2014 08:47 PM

Right now I’m using a gravity fed gun from Woodcraft. Very pleased for a $40 gun. I have 2. One for oil and one for lacquer. Just considering going with a turbine setup if I’d be getting better results. If I went that route I wouldn’t mind spending $500-750 if needed. But I don’t mind saving money either.
Moisture in the compressor is kinda an issue. I’m in Texas and it’s humid a lot.

View AandCstyle's profile


3272 posts in 2895 days

#5 posted 06-08-2014 11:23 PM

I agree with nitewalker, call Jeff Jewitt. He sells turbines and HVLP so he will recommend the best option(s) for your specific needs. Also, I use this filter and haven’t had any water issues. However, I live in NM where humidity is considerably less than in TX.

-- Art

View Kelly's profile


2690 posts in 3582 days

#6 posted 06-08-2014 11:36 PM

I think your results are more dependent on skill and the quality of your gun (and a moisture filter) than on whether it’s a turbine or conversion.

Conversions usually require a lot of CFM, whereas the turbines are more about CFM than pressure. Little compressors aren’t going to work as good. They have to work harder, so you get a lot more heat and condensation moisture, as the air cools in the lines (then comes the spitting).

Since you have a sixty gallon tank, I’m inclined to assume you’ve a fair compressor too. As such, the gun and filter would be all you need.

In the past few years, I’ve seen several turbines (4 stage (four fans)) like mine for around four hundred. One, recently, went for a hundred, but without the hose and gun, or I’d bought it.

By the way, I have an Accuspray too and it’s just a glorified version of yours with a gun. It does super, and, I test drove it on a full on paint of my front room (it has a 2 gal pot) and it did great on that too.

View SamuraiSaw's profile


514 posts in 2602 days

#7 posted 06-09-2014 12:56 AM

Personally, I wouldn’t consider a turbine hvlp. The compressor you have is great for conversion guns and you’ll get a lot more bang for your buck. The effective transfer rate for conversion guns is on par with hvlp systems, and less expensive over all.

-- Artisan Woodworks of Texas....

View Earlextech's profile


1162 posts in 3328 days

#8 posted 06-13-2014 06:10 PM

Conversion guns are my least favorite setup. I’d rather just use a regular gun on a compressor. You still have to deal with the contamination issues that a turbine would eliminate. And you still have much more overspray and wasted material than with a dedicated turbine system.
For the money the 5500 is a great tool but you might want to see whats new – -
make your own decision, everybody has different needs and comfort zones.

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

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