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Discussion Starter #1
I somehow got "voted in" by my neighbor who is the President of our youth football league, to paint 50 helmets. After selling a 1 qt. cup gun that I hardly ever used at a recent garage sale, I am down to an airbrush. No way am I going to attempt to paint 50 helmets 2 oz. at a time.:eek:

I am looking for a CHEAP gravity fed gun to spray the helmets. The most severe job it would ever see is applying primer to an RC boat or something. It will not be used to paint cars, etc.

I do not need a $300-$400 gun from Eastwood. Im talking more along the lines of $50-$75...like something from CP or CH. Does anyone know of a decent place online or other place to get one? I also tried NAPA, but their site would not load.

Chipmaker, or any other knowledgeable painter- any advice on a decent choice of "cheap" gun, or where to look? Lowes has a couple, but is there a better choice?

BTW...I figured more people would see this here, than in the resto garage or other forum. :)

Thanks,
Greg
 

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Fusion
For a cheap gravity feed gun you could try sunex or astro. Either will cost under $100 and when cleaned properly will last for years with occassional homeowner useage. If you want to spend a little more for hvlp, both of these lines offer one just over $100.
You might want to try some of the wd's such as weisstool.com or medco. There is eppy's tool club in brooklyn ny that will sell to the public at almost jobber prices. If you want to step up from these cheaper guns try sharpe or devilbiss but those range from $150-400? Sata makes excellent guns also but are a little pricey. AS for any guns branded by a tool company or major reatailer, they are all made by someone else and your only paying more for there name on it. All these guns will have a 1 year warranty with the exception of sharpe which is 2 years.
 

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As sixchows says, you cant beat the Astro for the money. A great gun to have around for these types of jobs. And for around 100, WAY better then the other cheepys out there.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Cool...thanks for the info. The Devilbiss doesnt look bad either, but its a little more than I wanted to spend. I will think about it throughout the day. Gonna have to do something pretty quick, as I only have 2 weeks to get the helmets done. Is Astro really a decent brand?

As of now, I have 20 of the 50 disassembled, and 15 of those are sanded and ready for prep. My fingertips are bleeding from the 400 grit paper.

Thanks again,
Greg
 

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Dunno about cheap, as I always looked at a spray gun as a one time investment that would last a lifetime with proper care, but I se where your coming from on needing a cheap one to get a one time job done. When the word cheap comes out, the first place that comes to mind is Homier tools, or Horrible Fright. I did take notice that they did have HVLP guns on sale at my local HF last Tuesday. Don't exactly remember the cost, but it was well under the three digit figures. I had contemplated getting one myself but thought I had sufficient spray guns to last me annd my heirs a lifetime, so passed on it and picked up 2 of the 1" clear water pumps (both of which had to be returned becasue two out of two refused to run new out of the box..........need I reinterate the word CHEAP annd Horrible Fright stuff?:D

I used a Sears / Crapsman gravity feed gun one time at a friends house to spray paint some of his siding for him and it seemed to work ok, but don;t know about the cost of them. I know of folks with C-H guns and they seem happy as long as its not a fine finish on an auto etc that your looking for.

How about one of those door jaamb or touch up guns, holds about a pint or half pint of paint, nice and light and would be more suitabble in the future for yur RC painting. Seems only one manufactuer of them in china and they are sold under varius trade names, and they all seem to work just fine,. I love the ones I have and usually find myself grabbing one of them for a spray job if the areas is not large as its fast and easy to clean up and light in weight to use.
 

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Greg
Just a few more choices. These are pretty much what the pro auto body painters are using. There are 3 more pages that I'm posting. A nice step up from the astro (which is a relatively good gun for the price) would be the sharpe cobalt series with a 2 year warranty 1.4 mm air cap sells for $163.50. Fully servicable now and in the future.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the replies. I have mixed emotions now. I love the atomization from my "average" Paasche airbrush, but again, the paint capacity is an issue. But then again, on an RC boat, I still wetsand and polish the topcoat. The bottom line is that I do not want to, and will not wet sand the helmets. It will have to be smooth from the gun. I wish they made like an 8 oz. or so bottle for an airbrush.

If possible, i'd like to steer clear of HVLP. The helmets do not have to be perfect, as they will just be thrown around and beat up...but i'd like to make them look good. The paint I am using (furnished by the league) is Sherwin Williams Ultra 7000 urethane.

Sixchows and Chipmaker...do you think the Sharpe or Devilbiss guns will provide an adequate finish? I could pay $150 or so if I have to, but again, every dime I spend subtracts from what I make, and I will again only use it for basic tasks. Is the Astro up to the task?

Bottom line, for what I need, what would you guys opt for. I trust your judgement.

Thanks again,
Greg
 

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Sure a Devilbiss gun would make a professional finish. A devilbiss gun is not a iece of junk by any means annd are considered equal to a Binks gun. Sort of like Chevy vrs Ford thing. Certainly nothing wrong with a Sharpe gun either, as long as its not abused, they will give a pro finish.


Have you considered making a larger capacity bottle for your Paasche air brush. I used to be into model rockets one time, and could not afford to buy all those bottles so I could interchange colors, and cleaning out a bottle for each color change got old. I know I made up some 4 ounce and larger bottles that worked fine. I used large 4 ounce bottles that used to hold rubber cement in them. I picked them upo on closeout at Office Depot one time for 50 cents a bottle of rubber cement. Enptied the contents and cleaned them out, and used the fitting from another broken bottle from Paasche to make a new bottle with. I also used a small pickle jar which had a lot ore capacity than the rubber cement bottle did. I used a piece of stiff vynil tube for the pickup tube. They worked fine. IIRC all I had to do was increase pressure to the air brush a little bit to increase syphon capacity on the longer tube but it worked fine.

How do you clean your air brushes. I made an air brush cleaner one time for a project and it made it into a model RC magazine. Made cleaning a air brush a snap, little to no loss of thinner and no excessive fumes and it worked like a champ. Check out the article at: http://www.ipmsstockholm.org/magazine/2000/04/stuff_airbrush_cleaner.htmAir Brush Cleaner and thinner recycler
 

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Most of the cheaper astro or sunex guns I sell are used for taxi's or primer. The cheap yellow fleet enamel is really hard to clean from a gun. They last for a long time but they are cheap enough to throw away rather than fix. DeVilbiss guns are a good choice but the Sharpe guns are much better. Just for the two year warranty alone. All the major tool co"s spray guns, snap-on, matco, mac, etc are made by Sharpe. The best guns are made by Sata in Germany, but cost around $500 for the top of the line. If you were to use a 1.4mm sharpe cobalt gun and mix the paint properly you should not have to wetsand and polish unless you get a run or dirt in the paint. The fluid tip size is critical to acheive the desired finish. HVLP is also desireable for the fact that you probably won't be spraying in a booth so with HVLP you will use much less air pressure to achieve the same paint flow. With the harmful isocynates in today's clears you really don't want to be making clouds of overspray and a simple cartridge respirator really doesn't offer enough protection. In confined areas this overspray will be absorbed into the body through exposed skin and eyes. I was a professional auto painter for about 16 years so believe what I say. I'm not trying to scare you but take the prcautions on the labels seriously.
 

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In fact I ordered 12 of those cheap guns....... use them untill the wear out, and trash them , Binks rebuilt my 15 year old gun 3 times. and it still is not as stable as the cheap one( Spits) just get used to they way it sprays, (Practice on a junker) then use it
 

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I have a Warwick spray gun and is good enough that I never use my $500 SATA anymore!! They are practically disposable at $79.99 each.

A little tough to find, but worth the effort.

They are a SATA copy essentially.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hmmmm...I appreciate all the thoughts and ideas. I mentioned this topic at another site I frequent, and a guy who does custom paint in Cali, and has also painted countless Cobra replicas suggested a simple detail or "jamb" gun. He claims they are good enough to use on custom motorcycle helmets, and will not produce near the amount of overspray that a larger gun will. That is a factor, as I am not sure how many helmets I can get out of the materials I have on hand. They are furnishing the materials, so that is not a problem. The problem is they have to be done in under a week now, so we will not have time to get more paint in the midst of "crunch time".

I however will be in the market in the future for a decent gravity gun, and I have learned quite a bit. I am also tired as hell, and I am sick of sanding helmets. LOL I will keep ya posted. I have also learned that thin gardening gloves keep 400 grit paper from making your fingers bleed

Thanks again for the replies,
Greg
 

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Becareful sanding, you should be using more of your palm than fingers. If you can see lines from your fingers you will see lines in the polished paint. This might not be so noticable on a helmet but it's something to keep in mind when spraying other larger flatter surfaces. Double Density sanding pads will prevent this and are soft enough to conform to any surface.
 

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Chow is right about the soft density sanding pads. They are great for contours like helmets. But on 400 grit. it is very unlikely that the sanding scratch would be noticable under a primer, base., clear coat scenario. Most body shops will scuff sand new panels with 280 grit or 320 grit and shoot primer and base. And that is using a standard backing pad, not a soft pad.

What the soft interface pad does is effectively makes the grit "softer/finer" another words a 400 grit would finish closer to a 500-600 grit finish. They are mostly used in final clearcoat sanding in instances where people don't want to wet sand. The grits normally used are in the 800-1500 grit range. With a soft interface pad and a DA sander w/ 1500 grit, you will get a scratch that is very close to 2000 grit finishes. Faster and easier than wet sanding and no mess!! Wipe the dust and simply buff to a sparkling finish!!!

My company sells sandpaper, backing pads, etc to the autobody trade so I know a little bit about the processes involved in sanding to prep for paint. I also am a PPG certified paint tech as a hobby. My dad and I restore a couple Model A's and T's a year.
 
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