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Technical What kind of gun to paint a car with a small compressor??

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Al, Feb 6, 2021.

  1. LWEL9226
    Joined: Jul 7, 2012
    Posts: 306

    LWEL9226
    Member
    from So. Oregon

    Years ago I had a small compressor and borrowed another small compressor from a buddy and Tee'd them together so I could get more volume.... Wasn't perfect but did get the job done....

    LynnW
     
  2. gene-koning
    Joined: Oct 28, 2016
    Posts: 2,373

    gene-koning
    Member

    Several years ago I painted the top 1/2 of my coupe with rattle cans, from that experience, I can tell you you would be farther ahead painting it panel at a time with a paint gun. Even if your small compressor can't keep up, it will still look better then with the rattle cans. Buy a little extra paint, and do the panel at a time. The roof will be the worst part, but fortunately, most people won't look at the top of the roof that much if the sides look good. That purple HF gun works pretty well.

    The thought of renting a larger compressor is probably the cheapest way to get the job done.

    The next option would be to add another tank to your existing compressor, even another 20 gal tank will nearly double your paint time.

    It sounds to me like you have never painted a car before. There are enough things that can mess up a paint job, adding another variable like too small of a compressor is pretty well asking for trouble.

    When I painted the coupe the last time, I talked my buddy that ran a body shop into painting my car in his booth after hours one weekend, it was well worth the money I paid him! I taped it off, he sprayed it, and I removed the tape and got the car out of there Monday morning.. Gene
     
  3. saltflats
    Joined: Aug 14, 2007
    Posts: 10,731

    saltflats
    Member
    from Missouri

    The paint gun I used was a Astro gun bought years ago. The trick will be to wet out all your spray on a panel, then give the compressor a chance to catch up. You can back tape an area to help with over spray that can kill a paint finish.
    Just my armature painting experience, take it for it's worth.
     
  4. metlmunchr
    Joined: Jan 16, 2010
    Posts: 765

    metlmunchr
    Member

    What type of primer is on it now, and what did you use to spray it?
     
  5. southcross2631
    Joined: Jan 20, 2013
    Posts: 4,413

    southcross2631
    Member

    55 gallon drum with the top cut off enough copper line to make a coil from the bottom to the top . Fill with cold water. Fittings on both ends it will cool the air coming out of your little compressor.
    Otherwise you will be fighting water in your paint gun. A guy down in south Ga. showed me that trick.
    He painted cars for years with a little 30 gallon Sears compressor . had a water filter on both ends of the barrel. He also made a little shine on the side and had plenty of experience with copper pipe.
     
  6. hepme
    Joined: Feb 1, 2021
    Posts: 56

    hepme
    Member

    I've never forgot the quote: "it's not the equipment, its the painter". Very true.
    From a home built 1 hp compressor to the 60 gal. I have now, from deVilibiss to HF to the super expensive HVLP i currently own, I've used 'em all and will tell you this--don't waste your money on expensive paint and supplies w/out the proper equipment to shoot it. Compressor cfm rating (measured while spraying wide open) is one of the key elements. 12-14cfm will handle a lot with a large tank. Clean dry air is a must, volume hose is a must (3/8i.d.) clean strained paint a no brainer, and a plan how to shoot it (don't ask about overspray) are just a few points you might consider. And practice if you've never done not one, but a few. -----my first job on an el Camino was the most beautiful suede
    finish i ever saw, too bad it was supposed to be single stage gloss. and a refinish ain't easy or cheap.
     
  7. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 6,896

    BJR
    Member

    Buy another cheap small compressor, that the combined cfm with your old compressor equals what you need for the spray gun. Pipe them to the same tank and go for it. Providing that you have enough power to run both at the same time.
     
    LWEL9226 likes this.
  8. Al
    Joined: Feb 12, 2005
    Posts: 661

    Al
    Member
    from Duluth, Mn

    I am looking at compressors now. I saw one last night. $645. 60 gallon. 11.5 cfm @ 40psi. Would that allow me to paint with a HVLP gun??
     
  9. Al
    Joined: Feb 12, 2005
    Posts: 661

    Al
    Member
    from Duluth, Mn

    Spray can primer..
     
  10. Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Joined: Apr 20, 2008
    Posts: 4,254

    Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Member

    Build your spray booth and hang all the small parts that need to be sprayed before the car itself gets painted, and start practice spraying with your paint and compressor setup as is. Paint the dash, window garnish, underside of the hood, deck lid underside, and jamb the car, inner door surfaces, window openings, firewall, inner rear wheel wells, etc. Essentially, everything that gets painted before you assemble and prep the car for final paint.

    This will give you a feel for the gun and paint flow and let you make some adjustments to the gun and your mechanics. Better to get dry coats or runs now than on the outer body panel spray. If you're moving right along, it may enable you to witness how your compressor is keeping up.

    If it doesn't keep up, I'd shoot it piece meal. A lot of painters are going to shoot the fenders and hood separately hanging or set up on stands anyway. You're spraying white so it's not like you're laying down a candy fade job.

    Next option would be to rent a compressor for a day. Cheaper than spending $800 bucks on a compressor-unless that's on your wish list anyway?

    The other options that I haven't seen mentioned;

    • Rent a spray booth if one is available in your area
    • Hire the local (adult ed) vocational auto body and paint class to do the spray
     
    270bob and alanp561 like this.
  11. Rattle can primers may or may not be compatible with the planned top coat. If not, that means spraying a compatible primer first, and if using filler primer, at least a 1.4 tip would be needed requiring adequate CFM. Might be able to use a small gun with sealer primer.
     
  12. Maicobreako
    Joined: Jun 25, 2018
    Posts: 127

    Maicobreako
    Member

    Easiest solution is to rent a compressor, or You COULD roll it on. Stop laughing you guys. I rolled on my avatar due to certain circumstances and it turned out very nice. The trick is a lot of wet sanding, compounding and polish. Which you'll do anyways with a spray job, just not as much. My buddies still don't believe that it's a roll on job.

    Do some research into it.
     
    chopped likes this.
  13. Bert Kollar
    Joined: Jan 10, 2007
    Posts: 1,018

    Bert Kollar
    Member

    I painted my first car with an Electolux vacuum cleaner. I'm sure you can do it with an HVLP gun
     
    Blues4U likes this.
  14. Al
    Joined: Feb 12, 2005
    Posts: 661

    Al
    Member
    from Duluth, Mn

    I did have a though. The School where I went for Auto Body 50 years ago is now a College. They still teach Auto Body. I am going to call tomorrow to see if I can get the Students to paint my car. Back when we painted cars for Alumni. Maybe they still do it today. Something like you supply paint and other items, and 15% to the school. Cheaper than buying a new compressor. I can still use that one though it never shuts off. You turn it on, and just keeps running until you turn it off. Over 30 years old, but it still turns on..
     
  15. RodStRace
    Joined: Dec 7, 2007
    Posts: 2,559

    RodStRace
    Member

    There are a series of videos documenting a restoration on an OT car that covers a newbie painting his project. It was done a few parts at a time, not complete. It shows what is involved and the issues he had.
    It may dissuade you from doing the job, but it does a great job of showing the typical problems a first timer runs into. Look for "Ronald Finger". The painting starts at Part 11. There are of course many other videos, but this series is very honest with the problems he ran into.
     
  16. Al
    Joined: Feb 12, 2005
    Posts: 661

    Al
    Member
    from Duluth, Mn

    I do have a Gallon of High Fill Primer. That should be compatible with the paint.
     
  17. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 5,560

    Blues4U
    Member
    from So Cal

    In the old days we used to prep the car ourselves, and take it to Earl Schieb and let them spray it. I've heard of people today doing the same thing with Maaco. Another option would be renting a booth for a day. Still another option would be to roll or brush the paint on. Do a search on that topic nd readd the threads, or the rattle can paint jobs, there are more threads on that. Personally, in your situation I'd get a gun and do it myself, just like you're asking. That LVLP gun from HD looks worth a try. You know ahead of time it won't be an award winning paint job, if you're OK with that, then don't let the naysayers talk you out of it. Get 'er done. If you end up with some orange peel or less than perfect finish, some wet sanding and buffing can take most off that out. White isn't going to show as many flaws as other, darker colors.
     
    flatford39 and Jim Bouchard like this.
  18. missysdad1
    Joined: Dec 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,993

    missysdad1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    No reputable paint shop would paint automotive enamel over spray can primer...and you shouldn't either. You'd be just begging for problems in all kinds of ways. Your best solution would be to pull the car apart, sand all the spray can primer off and reprime with either DTM (direct to metal) primer to seal off the metal and give a good base for the following materials. Then use a quality primer (regular or high-build), sand smooth, coat with a good quality sealer and then apply your gloss top coat. It's a lot of work...and that's why the paint shop quoted you $15,000. You can do it all yourself but plan on high materials cost AND a lot of your own labor. I just got done doing this on my '31 roadster that had been previously painted with RustOleum over a poorly prepared surface. Man...what a job, but the results are worth the effort.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. How long has it been sitting in spray can primer? Aerosol primers provide very little protection against moisture so if it has been in primer for a long period of time comparability or not (which is a very real concern)there is no way I would spend the time and cost of materials painting over top of that. I don't want to sound like a jerk but this project has disaster written all over it.
     
  20. Al
    Joined: Feb 12, 2005
    Posts: 661

    Al
    Member
    from Duluth, Mn

    Primer has been on there since last Summer. Had to cover the bare metal. In that garage it will rust a whole lot quicker without any primer on it. There is also some sort of yellow primer since I bought the car. Don't know what kind it is though. I could block it with 320, and it would take the primer I put on it pretty quickly. I bought a Gallon of a high fill primer. If I can get this car done at the School. They can do the job in their booth. A question though.. Why do they sell rattle can primer in Automotive paint stores in the first place then??
     
    Blues4U likes this.
  21. finn
    Joined: Jan 25, 2006
    Posts: 783

    finn
    Member

    Just watched a YouTube video on a LVLP gun that requires only 2.1 cam @ 40 psi, which would be within the capabilities of most small compressors. The guy thought it did fine, although he only did the front clip of a Town Car.
    You can get a gallon of single stage from Summit for about $100. Add a gallon of primer and some reducer, and you’re at around maybe $300 for materials.

    the gun in question was less than $100 from Amazon. Eastwood has something similar.
    Start with the jams, do the roof, then the doors/hood/fenders.
    Worst that can happen is it won’t then out , in which case you’re really not out that much money.
    Don’t fret about it....just go for it.
     
  22. speedster t
    Joined: Nov 19, 2019
    Posts: 20

    speedster t

    Sell your small compressor in the local for sale adds and buy a bigger one. Sound like you out grow your compressor. I did get my truck painted by the local collage automotive body shop class once did a very good job for the cost of material.
     
  23. Slopok
    Joined: Jan 30, 2012
    Posts: 2,632

    Slopok
    Member

    Try spraying it with the primer you already have and see how that works out for you.
    Then you will have a better feel of it.
     
  24. Al
    Joined: Feb 12, 2005
    Posts: 661

    Al
    Member
    from Duluth, Mn

    What about the rattle can primer I have on it now. Do I still have to sand all of that off??
     
  25. banjeaux bob
    Joined: Aug 31, 2008
    Posts: 6,037

    banjeaux bob
    Member
    from alaska

    .22 caliber Walther PPK
     
  26. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 6,896

    BJR
    Member

    Why do they sell rattle can primer in Automotive paint stores in the first place then??
    Because people who know little about painting a car will buy it.

    YES!!!
     
    flatford39 likes this.
  27. alanp561
    Joined: Oct 1, 2017
    Posts: 1,612

    alanp561
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I've got two compressors in my garage, both twenty gallon and both are supposed to run 4 CFM @ 90#'s. I don't think I'd trust doing a paint job with either but I have an Ingersoll-Rand gas powered wheelbarrow type that kicks out 11.5 CFM @ 90 #'s. I'm sticking a water separator and filter in line and, if I can find one reasonable, an air dryer as well when I paint. I've used the IR for arc gouging which eats up lots of air and never ran out.
     
  28. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 5,560

    Blues4U
    Member
    from So Cal

    This is crazy
     
  29. What's crazy about it? That he used the proper materials and procedures and got a good result?
     
  30. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 5,560

    Blues4U
    Member
    from So Cal

    Good question
     

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