Spray Gun Maintenance

Lubricating a Spray Gun
There are two parts on a spray gun that should be lubricated often: the fluid-needle packing, which is similar to a gasket and located just in front of the gun’s trigger, and the air valve just behind the trigger. You can also lubricate the pin that the trigger swings on and the screw threads at the back of the gun. But I don’t find either of these critical.

Use a type of oil that doesn’t contain silicone or petroleum distillate (thinner). Mineral oil is a good choice. Auto-body supply stores and many spray-gun manufacturers sell a handy oil-containing squeeze bottle with the correct oil.

If you use the spray gun on a daily basis, you should perform the lubrication at the end of each day. Otherwise, you can do it at the end of each project, before you put the spray gun away.

Cleaning a Spray Gun
If you spray only shellac or lacquer, it’s rare that you should have to disassemble the spray gun and clean it. The thinner makes the gun self-cleaning because alcohol or lacquer thinner dissolves any finish that might have hardened and caused blockage.

However, spraying any other finish or any paint can lead to blockage if you don’t clean the spray gun adequately after each use The easiest way to do this is to spray solvent through the gun. To remove blockage you will have to do a thorough cleaning.

Some manufacturers sell cleaning kits containing brushes, picks and needles of proper sizes for cleaning their guns. For this article I’m using a kit sold by Spray Gun Solutions (303-424-3741 or spraygunsolutions.com), which includes cleaning tools that fit any spray gun.

For a cleaning solvent, I’m using lacquer thinner. This is the most effective solvent to use, even if the finish you are cleaning is water-based. I’m using a Binks #7 spray gun for the photos. It’s an old-fashioned high-pressure gun, but its parts photograph well. Every spray gun is a little different. Use the following as a guide for cleaning your gun.

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