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Spray Paint Gun 101: The Basics of DIY Car Painting

Eventually, your car paint will wear down and you will have to fix it. Unfortunate as it may be paint jobs do not last forever. Luckily, for the modern DIY car painter we have a variety of tools at our disposal to get our finish back to that lustrous shine. 

One of these tools you will become intimately familiar is the spray paint gun.  These can be purchased from any auto body or parts store.  While there are a variety of brands to choose from, Sata, Sharpe, and DeVilbiss are the most popular and the industry leaders.  They are also the most likely to give the DIY car painter that pristine sheer that we all are after. 

There are two sizes of gun to choose from. The smaller gun, called a detail gun, offers a 6 or 8 ounce capacity cup and is for those fine details and crevasses. It also comes with a trigger assembly mounted on top. The standard gun, which is larger and better to suited for use on broad areas, comes with a handle grip trigger.

The prices for each gun start as low as £100 (about $163-164 depending on the exchange rate), but can go much higher depending on which brand you choose. Remember though, a higher quality paint gun will give you the best results.

There is also an air valve attachment that will enable you to fine tune your gun’s air pressure and achieve the perfect spray patterns.  A standard conventional spray paint gun will require an air pressure of at least 60 psi (and perhaps higher). This amount of pressure will blast paint at the surface which will result in 65% of the material escaping as overspray. In addition, this amount of pressure will disturb dirt and other debris particles, allowing them to fall into the fresh coat of paint. 

The expert DIY car painter will also consider purchasing a quality High Volume/Low Pressure (HVLP).  These incorporate a turbine instead of an air compressor and result in significantly less overspray. They also employ a much lower air pressure at 10 psi at the tip while still requiring about 60 psi for the inlet pressure.   Paint, as one soon learns, is expensive and using as much as possible is ideal for the painter working out of his garage.

Given these basic principles, one should be easily able to choose the correct course of action when deciding to paint their own car.

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