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Old 06-18-2003, 11:54 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: USA
Posts: 699
Recommendation for a good (and cheap) HVLP spray gun for a home project?

Dear friends:

I plan to repaint my 300SD because its exterior paint is all messed up. I have a regular 2 HP air compressor at home and think it may be a good opportunity to learn something about car painting. Could someone please recommend a cheap and good HVLP spray gun (gravity feed conversion type) that can be used with a regular 2 HP air compressor (not a gun designed for very duty air compressors or HVLP compressors)?

Thanks a lot!

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Old 06-19-2003, 03:01 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: S. Texas
Posts: 1,237
To start with you might want to contact some local paint and body shops in your area and see what they say. Secondly, you might want to practice on a few old cars before you tackle you MB. Auto paints are VERY expensive and VERY tricky to apply.

By the same token the price for a professional paint job esp. on a MB and ESP. in your area (my wife is from Palo Alto) can cause your heart to stop. It might be worth the effort to take your car down state to LA or some other place where the competition is stiffer and the prices a bit lower.
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Old 06-19-2003, 04:59 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: CA
Posts: 531
Try Bayshore Auto Body

Just up the 101 from you. Their work on my 300SD is here. Net, net, I think you may find it cheaper to have a (reasonably priced) pro do it if you want a decent job.

Call Don Hamblin at (650) 344-7010.

I paid $400 for the roof strip and respray (took out the sliding part for them). I would guess $2000 for the whole car, PPG paint, professional quality. Now that's more than good HVLP gear, but where are you going to find a good dust free shop?

You may be able to get away with just doing selected panels - Don did a great job of matching my slightly faded paint.

I'm going to get him to redo the bumpers next - $200 each, he does the R&R.

The Tim Phillips (Blu420SEL) variations were a bit of fun Tim had with Photoshop - cheapest paint job I ever got!
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Old 06-20-2003, 01:16 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: oregon
Posts: 2,013
about as much chance finding a good cheap cigar as a good cheap gun. Car painting is a true art, you need to have near perfect prep, a spray booth a good gun (4 to 5 hundred dollars),and practise to get a presentable job especialy on an MB that is noted for it's fine factory finish.But if you can get to that level it is very satifieing to paint your own car, There are also health hazards to painting especialy base coat clear coat witch is the way to go..........
William Rogers.......
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Old 06-20-2003, 09:41 AM
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I am just getting aquainted with a 3 stage GRACO turbine HVLP spray unit. Once you get the hang of them - they are GREAT! The air from the turbine is heated so the gun handle gets quite warm. The atomization of the paint is unbelievable. I am practicing by painting an old Jetta for starters. Here is what I have found so far:
1) The HVLP lays down a coat that is smooth as glass - no problem. HOWEVER - get any speck of dust in the air and you will see it in the finish. A dustfree spray area is a MUST.
2) The HVLP laydown is so smooth - ANY imperfection in the body work will be magnified. Sanding with 400 grit paper, washing with paint prep and finishing with a tack rag MUST BE DONE. To that end - more attention to prep body work, priming and sanding must be done to get the proper finish.
So far the HVLP Turbine unit is much easier to use than the old spray guns and there is very little paint in the air from spraying. My automotive paint supplier used to sell me 1 gallon of paint to paint a Jetta with the old style regular guns. Two quarts of paint will do the same Jetta with the HVLP without even trying to be cheap with the laydown. 70%-90% of the paint goes on the car as opposed to 30%-40% with the regular air spray gun.
So far I am very impressed with the HVLP gun.
I have read about the HVLP conversion guns that allow you to hook up to a compressor instead of a turbine unit. My only thoughts on that are:
1) make sure you have the volume of air at the right pressure going to the gun from the compressor or you will get orange peeling.
2) make sure you have an oil and water trap on your air line to remove these contaminants before they hit the gun.
3) I like what the heated air of the turbine does to the paint atomization and laydown - I don't know if cold compressor air will give the same effect.
These are my thoughts on HVLP spraying for DIYers. Hope they are helpful
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Old 06-21-2003, 05:01 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Western Mass.
Posts: 324

you hit the nail on the head. i've painted several cars, some good and some not so good. Air quality, humidity, dust in the air , water in the air and even walking by the car can cause dust in the paint There is no first time that ever comes out that doesn't look like it was painted with a broom. When a few people asked what I used to paint with my rely is always "WITH A BRAND NEW BRUSH"

03 C240 4matic wagon
95 300E 234,000
7 prior 240;s 5 still going
81 300sd gone
65 230sl gone
49 Studebaker Champion
90BMW convert.167,000
60 Dodge D-100
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Old 06-22-2003, 12:59 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: USA
Posts: 699
Dear friends:

Thanks a lot for all your precious information (especially moedip).

Actually I don't try to have a perfectly painted and glossy car. All I want is too give my car an uniform paint color, so I think it's OK for me to practice my first paint job on this car :-)

Question for moedip and ricali: How long does it take for the paint to be completely cured (dried up?) after painting?

Thanks again.

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Old 06-23-2003, 09:10 AM
Posts: n/a
Depending on speed of reducer used - paint sets up from 1-4 hours hours after spraying. If you used a fast reducer - it usually sets up within an hour - a slow reducer - about 4 hours. When you buy your paint ask the guy about what reducer to use taking into account the room temperature and humidity you will be painting in. A faster set up is preferred because bugs seem to like the smell of the paint and love to land on it. I just painted a car on Saturday and a light weight bug with 1" wingspan got his legs caught in the wet paint and was doing the mambo. I left him there as it would do less damage than trying to remove him. I will buff out the little marks his legs left. Don't know how he got into the spray booth - it is well sealed - but he did. I usually leave the car untouched for 24 hours to make sure the paint is hard before touching it. Full cure takes place in about 7 days.
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