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Thread: Airless

  1. #1
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    Airless

    This is not to give a lot of how-to about airless, but just how I do a few things with it. I built new houses for 33 years, doing all the work myself, including painting. There are often threads here about how to spray latex using something besides airless. I won't get into those, but airless will spray any of it right out of the can without thinning.

    Not thinning makes it Much easier to spray vertical surfaces without running, and house paint is designed to be used best without thinning.

    Today was mid 50's and Sunny, so I set up to spray the last of some bathroom cabinet parts in a rental house we have.

    No excuses for the way my pump setup looks. I bought it sometime in the mid '90's, and it's sprayed some number of hundreds of gallons. With today's better guns, and Low Pressure Fine Finish tips that can be used by those guns, you don't need a great pump. I've never done anything with this old pump but run water though it to clean it, change the filter every few years, and the filter in the gun when I think about it.

    The plastic box it's in came from Home Depot, and is about perfect for this pump, and all the stuff that goes with it. The little trashcan is to for water to run through the gun when it's time to clean it. I can also drop the gun in it to leave until tomorrow, or the next day whenever, and how many ever more coats are needed. There is a sheet that gets draped over the whole box when I'm spraying a ceiling over it, but you can see that's been forgotten more than a few times.

    The box also carries a bottle of pump oil, a bottle of Pump Armor, and a plastic jar with all the different tips. There are also a couple of extensions in there. Longer extensions are the only things that get used that are not in the box.

    The one low side is high enough to keep everything in it, but low enough to allow the pickup tube to be swung out and placed into a gallon of paint, or five gallon bucket. The pumps with wheels are more for someone in the painting business who drags it around a lot. Mine gets used a few days a year, so this take up less room.

    When I clean the rig out, all I do is put clear water in the little trashcan, put the pickup in it, and run enough through it until it's running clear water. The water does need to be changed a couple of times, and there is a lever that lets it pump only through the pump some too.

    After I'm finished painting, I run what's in the rig back into the can by pushing it with water in the little trashcan. I reverse the tip so it doesn't fan all out, and turn the pressure down so it doesn't make a mess splashing back out. When I see a little water coming out back into the paint can, I stop that, and then continue to spray clear water through it with the tip reversed.

    When the tip is reversed, it just shoots out a single stream. If I have room, like today, with a grassy area nearby, I'll run that cleaning water out on the grass, spreading it out as much as possible until it's running clear. After it dries, one pass with the mower makes it dissapear.

    If I'm spraying in a city, with not enough room to do that, it does down a sink. A small towel gets held over the gun and drain so none comes out. I let hot water fun when I do that.

    After clear water has run through some, I put the pickup in the bottle of Pump Armor, and run that until blue comes out the spray tip. When I start a new spraying job, I run it back in the bottle, pushing it with the paint. It can be reused several times. https://www.amazon.com/Graco-Inc-243...s%2C113&sr=8-3

    That, and adding pump oil may be why this old pump is still kicking.

    If you spray house paint to amount to anything, I suggest getting a cheap pump, and a good gun. A gauge where the hose screws to the pump will save you a lot of testing. I use a Titan gauge on this Graco pump that has a green zone on the dial. Put the pressure in that green zone with a LPFF tip, and you're good to go.

    The hose that comes with the pump will probably be longer than you need most of the time. I suggest getting an additional 1/4x15 or 25 foot hose so cleanup will go much faster. They make 3/16 hoses now, but I've never tried one, so can offer no advice on that.

    If you want to learn more about airless spraying, find the Idaho Painter on youtube.
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    Last edited by Tom M King; 01-14-2022 at 8:08 PM.

  2. #2
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    Thanks for your post, love reading it. I am still trying to conquer my airless, wish I could have look at pics but says I don't have permission. I have the 395 which I purchase yrs ago for just doing my projects and painting few cabinets. My problems is runs, mostly happens where spraying patterns overlap. I do watch Idaho painter, love it. Thanks again for your post and how you go about spraying.
    Figured it out, renewed my membership Yahoooo, can see your pics now
    Last edited by Carroll Courtney; 01-15-2022 at 5:25 PM.

  3. #3
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    Get a tip holder that will take the FFLP tips, and a pressure gauge for the rig. They probably take half the pressure of the standard tips, which almost eliminates bounceback (airless doesn't really have overspray, but there is some bounceback which acts about the same way). Not only is bounceback much lower, but it's not so much of a race in moving the gun on vertical surfaces like the old full pressure tips.

    The main thing is not to get too greedy in your coverage. That will come with practice. Move too fast, rather than too slow.

    You can get by with just the tip adapter, but the best guns are so much easier to control, with lighter finger pressure, that I'd recommend getting one if you just have a stock contractor gun with the 395, if you can swing it. My first gun that came with that old pump was a four finger one that took all four fingers to pull the trigger. It's SO MUCH Easier with the good gun that only takes two light fingers.

    I wish they sold just the pumps that you could add what hose and gun you want with it.

    The fan shape is not really cat-eye shaped like a lot of regular spray guns, so you don't get even coverage with a half overlap. I think more of cutting in edges like with a paint brush, only 1,000 times faster. Do a quick blast onto a piece of cardboard to see what the shape of the fan is like. I do that when I'm getting to know any spray gun, regardless of what type. The little Iwata LPH80, that I'm great friends with, gets treated more like a paint brush, than a half overlap gun, for the same reason. The fan is pretty uniform, top to bottom.

    Any gun takes some practice. An airless is a lot like a nail gun. If you try to keep up with what the tool is capable of, you'll screw something up.
    Last edited by Tom M King; 01-16-2022 at 1:05 PM.

  4. #4
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    I ran the mower over that grass today where I ran the cleaning water. It's dormant Bermuda, so already pretty short. I didn't want to scalp the ground, but once it starts growing this Spring, the first cutting will finish it. This looks a lot better for now. A lot of the white you see in the second picture is the cut stuff laying on top.
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  5. #5
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    I ran the mower over that grass today where I ran the cleaning water.
    Athletic field marking paint is nothing more than the first flushing of the latex paint vats when they clean them between batches. They put water in the vats & run the high speed dispersers, then pour off that liquid and package it as athletic marking paint.
    My granddad always said, :As one door closes, another opens".
    Wonderful man, terrible cabinet maker...

  6. #6
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    During the garage door job, as seen in Bad Job Coming thread, I decided to do a little documenting of a cleaning process that will work for someone who needs to contain the cleaning up process more than my normal method of just spraying it up for the wind to take.

    To start with, I need to skip forward in the process some. When the airless rig will be stored for any length of time, it's filled with Pump Armor. Pump Armor doesn't freeze, and is good to preserve all the internals, and keep everything clean inside. It has a very strong blue color. The pickup fits into the wide top of the quart container. After you're pulling nothing but clean water through the rig, the pickup goes into the PA bottle until you are spraying blue out of the gun. It's pretty easy to see. It foams up a little bit when it hits something you're spraying it on.

    Since you can tell exactly when the rig is full, the volume it takes to fill the rig can be easily measured. This can be useful for pushing the last of whatever finish you're using back into a container. It doesn't hurt water borne stuff a bit to get a little bit of water back in it.

    I keep an empty Pump Armor bottle to do this last pushing out of finish with. I just put clear water in it, and when it gets down to the line I marked, that gets almost all of the finish other than a small amount stuck in nooks and crannies inside the rig.

    I keep three small trashcans with the rig for cleaning, and for containing messes.
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    Last edited by Tom M King; 03-09-2022 at 11:25 AM.

  7. #7
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    For the Totalboat Halcyon that I sprayed on the last job, it comes in nice little quart bags, so I poured it out of the bags into one of the clean little trashcans to pull it out of.

    When running water through the rig to clean it, after you've sprayed out a bit of it through the gun, you need to run some through the pump only. There is a lever you switch that throws it either through the hose to the gun, or out of the cleaning hose from the pump. I use one of the little trashcans to catch the cleaning water out of the pump.

    Once it's running clear through the pump, you switch the lever switch back to the hose, and flush the rest out of the hose. When not in use, the pump cleaning hose snaps onto the pickup hose to keep it out of the way. Picture of rig in stored position is just to show the pump cleaning hose snapped onto the pickup hose.

    The white plastic folding table, that I use for a lot of things, saves all the bending over.
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  8. #8
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    Normally, I just spray the cleaning water up in the air if the wind is blowing, out onto grass, or a pile of leaves. There was an empty 22 gallon trashcan in the garage, so I decided to use that to show more clearly what is going on with the cleaning process, and give some idea to someone who doesn't have the room to use my normal cleaning methods.

    The tips are easy to put in and out of the gun. You just push it it, and it stays in place. It also just pulls right out. They have an arrow shaped handle that sticks out one side. Point the arrow away from the operator, and it sprays a fan. Turn it 180 degrees from that, and it sprays a single stream. The single stream position is used for cleaning. Also, if you get a clog behind the tip during spraying, you just turn the tip around, and blast it right out. Turn it back to fan position and go right back to work.

    I ran about a gallon of water into the bottom of the trashcan to make cleaning it out easier. I sprayed the stream of cleaning the last of the finish out of the rig so you can see what happens. I could have run almost all of it out, but left about 3 oz. in, stopping short of the line on my empty Pump Armor bottle, so you can see what happens.

    Judging by that line on the empty bottle, this rig with a 1/4 x 25' hose holds about 18 oz. They do make 3/16 x 25 foot hoses now, but I haven't seen the need to buy one.

    The picture shows the 3 oz. of finish streamed onto the side of the trashcan. A five gallon bucket would work for this too, but I had this at hand. You can see the color of the varnish on the side of the trashcan, and at the top of it you can see the color change where the water got there. It will take running some more water through the rig until it runs completely clear. When it's running clear both from the gun, and from the pump, the rig is cleared inside. I then switch to running the Pump Armor into it.

    For the total amount of water it took, including putting about a gallon into the bottom of the black trashcan to start with, rinsing out the little trashcans after it was all done, and spraying until clear water was running through the system, it looks like it took roughly 2-1/2 gallons of water, and that was without trying to conserve any.

    I poured that out on a pile of leaves I had put in place for cleaning back when I sprayed the base coats of Target Coatings EM8000cv. The trashcan was cleaner when I got finished that when I started with it. There was no visible evidence on the pile of leaves the next day. If I was in a city, I wouldn't feel guilty a bit about pouring the low VOC few diluted ounces down the plumbing in a house.

    Edited to add: This is about 3 oz. of finish. There is no reason to leave that much in the rig to dispose of. I just left that much so I would have something to show. If you run it all out, the cleaning water will at first just look a little milky, like at the top of that on the side of the trashcan. Some of the 2-1/2 gallons was rinsing that down off the side to the bottom.
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    Last edited by Tom M King; 03-09-2022 at 10:20 AM.

  9. #9
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    I'm showing this picture again just to show it in the storage position. All my different tips are in the white plastic jar. The three small trashcans, a couple of tip extensions not too long to fit in the Home Depot bin are under the pump, a bottle of pump oil that you put in the pump once in a while, the empty Pump Armor bottle and the PA bottle with some left in it.

    If it's not going to be in long term storage, I run the pump armor in the rig back into the bottle, and reuse it several times. If I have no idea how long it will be until the next job, I put fresh Pump Armor in it. This pump is around 30 years old because I've taken care of it. It has done a LOT of work.

    This bin is ideal because it's large enough to contain everything, and the low side makes it easy to swing the pickup hose out, and into a container without have to take the pump out. Not seen is an old sheet I wrap the whole thing up with if I'm spraying overhead with it, but as you can see it took me a while to figure out to do that.
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  10. #10
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    I'm posting the link to this setting the pressure video again. I have a hard time thinking about what I need to do to make a good presentation. It may not be clear when I'm saying "fluid flow". When you see me duck off to the right, I'm relieving the pressure in the rig. It's easier to get it to the right pressure point if you let the pressure down some, and then bring it up to where you want it. It will hold what pressure it had last in it if you don't relieve it.

    This is for Target Coatings EM8000cv with a 1/4 x 25' hose. When I first poured the Totalboat Halcyon out of the bags into a pickup container I could see that it was some thicker than the 8000, so I cranked the pressure up from the 950 I had used for the 8000 to 1000psi for the first trial. It wasn't quite the fluid flow I wanted, so next try was 1050, and that was just what I wanted, so I went to work. I didn't make a video of that Halcyon trial, but it was done the same way as this video, only on a handheld smaller piece of cardboard.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mR9TCTSXyrk

  11. #11
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    When you have the right pressure and tip dialed in for any particular finish, write it down, and you can go right to it next time without wasting time and finish testing.
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