How to Use an HVLP Spray Gun

What You'll Need
HVLP spray gun
Respirator mask
Safety goggles
Paint thinner

An HVLP spray gun, or high volume low pressure, is the best option for refinishing a car. If you go in a professional paint shop, you’ll see that they use an HVLP spray gun for their work. They’ve become the standard for the industry. There’s very low air pressure and a high volume of paint, as the name implies, which means good coverage as the paint goes on in a mist. You need to learn the technique and understand the controls in order to produce an outstanding paint job.

Step 1 - Compressor

When you’re using and HVLP spray gun, the first thing to do is switch on the air compressor that powers it. At the hose end you’ll need to set the air pressure to 90 psi. This is what arrives at the HVLP spray gun, and the gun has its own pressure regulator. You probably won’t need the setting on the gun to be so high, so you should adjust it down. The manufacturer’s manual will give you a range, but starting at 50 psi is a good point, and you can make adjustments from there.

Step 2 - Connection

When you have the compressor on, you’re ready to attach the HVLP spray gun to the hose. Once you’ve done this, press down on the trigger of the gun. Keep holding the trigger until the fluctuation at the gun’s base ends. At this point you’ll be ready to put the paint into the canister. Look at the chart supplied by the manufacturer to determine how much you need to think the paint for spraying. Hook the canister to the gun.

Don’t immediately start spraying the surface you want to paint. Instead, start by spraying a piece of plywood. You need to adjust the fan which is on the back of the gun in order to achieve the type of spray you desire. If the paint is running, speed up the fan. If the mist is too fine, slow the fan down.

Step 3 - Technique

When you have the fan properly adjusted, you’ll need to make changes to the fluid control of your HVLP spray gun. Ideally you want a mist of paint that’s heavy enough to be solid, without being excessive. Practice will teach you how to achieve this. Hold the gun between 6 inches and 8 inches from the surface you want to paint. It’s important that you hold the gun perpendicular to the surface.

Step 4 - Painting

You need to keep the HVLP spray gun moving horizontally. If you focus on one area for more than a few seconds, the paint will begin to run. Start at the top of the surface and slowly work your way down to minimize the possibility of paint running. Start your sweep before the surface and apply the trigger as your reach the surface. Release the trigger at the end of the surface, but continue the sweep for a few inches more to create the smoothest effect.