by Robert W. Lang
I first became aware of High-Volume Low-Pressure (HVLP) systems about 20 years ago. At the time, it seemed like a great idea – reduce overspray and eliminate the need for a massive air compressor chugging away. Since then, I’ve tried several HVLP guns and systems, but the performance never quite matched that of a compressor-based spray gun, or there were deal-killers such as excessive price, noise or heat.
I became a convert to HVLP this summer when I spent a weekend spraying several pieces of furniture with shellac using the SprayPort 6003 system from the British manufacturer Earlex. The power unit is compact, light and powerful, and the 25′ hose is flexible and easy to manage.
Inside the black box is a 1,200-watt, three-stage turbine that delivers 5.5 pounds per square inch of pressure to the gun. That’s not the most powerful turbine on the market, but it’s certainly enough power to deliver most furniture finishes efficiently and effectively.
The system price of about $550 is a real opportunity to step up to a quality spray finishing system for less money than a good conventional gun plus the compressor to power it.
For me, the best part of the system is the Pro-8 gun. I tested the pressure-feed cup gun (a gravity-feed gun is also available). I was expecting the constant flow of air from a bleeder gun, and was pleasantly surprised that the gun behaves much like a conventional spray gun.
The die-cast aluminum gun has controls conveniently located at the back, just above the handle to adjust both the volume of material and the width of the spray pattern. There are a wide range of adjustments available, something that I have found lacking in other HVLP guns.
It was easy to set the gun for optimal atomization and material flow with minimal overspray. An interesting feature of this gun is the air cap that rotates a full 360° to allow for a wider-than-average spray pattern. I didn’t need additional width; for me these features meant greater adjustability for reaching difficult areas.
The gun is lightweight and felt comfortable in my hands. Combined with an excellent hose, a user can concentrate on applying finish, and not have to deal with an achy arm or wrestle to get in position for spraying.
These days there are a lot of products that are “value-engineered.” Usually when I hear that phrase, I expect to see a decent product rendered nearly useless by cutting corners in all the wrong places. With this system, Earlex has done a remarkable job of delivering a high-quality product at a reasonable price.
If you’re ready to step up your finishing game with the addition of an HVLP system, this outfit will meet your needs without breaking the bank.
Web site: earlex.com
From the December 2014 issue, #215