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Well Built HVLP System, Instructions are Lacking
on June 30, 2014
I installed some raised-panel wainscoting in our sun room, and wanted to get a quality HVLP to paint the trim in place. After doing a significant amount of research I figured the Fuji Semi-PRO 2 was the best bang for the buck.
I used it to spray Zinsser BIN on all my molding and panels prior to installation, and the Fuji handled the BIN like a champ. But, IMO that's not saying much, since virtually any HVLP can handle BIN just fine.
The real test came when I was spraying Benjamin Moore Impervo Satin, which is extremely thick. I've tried in the past using cheaper HVLP systems (Wagner and such) with Impervo, and the finish quality was horrid. So, yesterday I took a shot with the Fuji. I EVENTUALLY was able to get a good finish, but that was after approximately 2 hours of trial and error out in the garage. In fact, I sprayed about 1.5 cans of Impervo on every piece of scrap MDF I could find (and several old doors I had in the shop).
After much trial and error, here is my procedure for Impervo:
1. Make sure your Impervo is fully mixed;
2. Strain Impervo using old pantyhose into the Fuji cup;
3. Dilute about 15% with paint thinner;
4. Add the appropriate amount of Penetrol based on Penetrol instructions;
5. Test viscosity with included cup until THE ENTIRE CUP runs out in 25 seconds;
6. Assemble Fuji and turn it on;
7. Open air control valve all the way;
8. Turn paint control knob clockwise until it is completely closed;
9. Turn pattern control knob until it is completely vertical;
10. Turn paint control knob counterclockwise 1 full rotation (you can mark it with a sharpie so you have a reference point);
11. Spray a test piece and you'll probably get a fair amount of overspray (and the edges of the pattern won't be fully atomized);
12. Turn pattern control knob about 45 degrees;
13. Spray a test piece, if you are still unhappy with it turn the pattern control knob fully horizontal'
14. You'll probably have to partially close the air control knob at this point.
15. Test again, you should have a fully atomized (albeit pretty small) pattern.
I think having a bigger tip would really help with this application, but I was in a hurry.
I checked my results this morning, and the finish was actually very, very nice. No orange peel, and minimal overspray. The hardest thing for me was seeing where I was painting, since the surface was already white with the BIN.
One note: the small filter that is on the bottom of the metal supply tube (that goes down in the paint) seemed like it was getting clogged as the paint started drying in the can. I seriously considered just taking it off, but after so much trial and error I was reluctant to change anything. But, if you've strained your paint in pantyhose I can't imagine why you'd need a strainer. The strainer is also very hard to get completely clean, since it is not made of metal.
Relatively speaking clean-up is quick with this model. Pour out the paint, fill with some mineral spirits (or whatever is appropriate for your paint), and spray until it runs clear. I did remove the nozzle so I could clean it out properly. Total clean-up time was 5 minutes, tops.
Finally, please be aware of the importance of the paint control knob (which you can think of as the trigger adjustment knob located on the back of the gun). I had it wide open for the first hour or trial and error, and didn't realize that my entire problem was I was feeding too much paint.
Once you've got the settings right for a product do yourself a favor and write them down.
So I've had this for several months, and have sprayed a ton of water-borne finishes through it (paint, primer, water-borne stains, poly, etc.). I've gotten to where I can set it up, mix the paint (or whatever), paint, and clean-up in about 20 minutes. I painted a bookshelf and kitchen table last weekend in less than 1 hour. This thing really is an excellent value, so I've upped it to 5 stars. Clearly getting some time on it helped quite a bit. IF I HAVE ONE TIP IT IS TO MAKE SURE YOU FULLY CLOSE THE PAINT CONTROL KNOB FULLY BEFORE SPRAYING (when it is close you can't pull the trigger). Then, slowly open it and spray a test piece until you get a nice, wet, smooth finish. I've found I don't need to thin it as much as I used to, and I've found that I typically can get to a perfect patter in less than 1 minute.
One other tip: try to avoid oil-based products if you can. The clean-up takes forever, and honestly I am getting such good results with water-borne paints I don't see the need for oil-based.