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How to adjust your spray gun


Ever wondered how some people seem to get consistent quality finishes and make it look easy? It's not easy by any means, what you are seeing is typically years of experience or gained knowledge of the equipment or materials they're using.


We all have to start somewhere though and the best way to develop your technique is to make sure your setup gives you the best possible outcome. Spray guns are not complicated tools, they have 3 separate controls that influence the outcome of the spray pattern produced.


Making sure you're aware of which knob controls what is the place to start, the pics of the more common spray gun styles show their locations.


The three controls are;

A. Fan size control knob

B. Fluid control knob

C. Air pressure control knob








Every painter likes to set their guns up their own way, the type and and brand of paint you are using will also influence how you should set them. Some paints will have issues with solvent boil or sagging if you have too much fluid coming out, some paints will require less air pressure where others will require more to atomise correctly.


A good starting point I like for painting automotive panels or flat panels is;


  1. Wind the fan control knob A. anti-clockwise until fully open

  2. Wind the fluid control knob B. clockwise until it stops, then wind anti-clockwise 2.5 full turns

  3. Wind air pressure control knob C. clockwise until closed, gently turn anti-clockwise while triggering the gun until you see a consistent spray fan with even material.

  4. You can add less/more fluid or less/more air pressure depending on your preference and the paint type. I personally tend to prefer the fan control wide open.


Again I would like to make the point, every one and every paint brand is different!!


An ideal place to get more information on your setting up is from the Technical Data Sheet (TDS) from the manufacturer of the paint you're using. Ask for a TDS from your paint supplier or visit their website to view one. This is where you will see their recommended application (ie. number of coats, flash off times) and gun settings. Be aware though that some will still have some outdated old school pressure settings like 50psi.


A spray gun mounted air pressure regulator and gauge is also recommended. Being able to visually see the air pressure at the gun is a key to achieving and maintaining consistent results. To use these you wind your air pressure control knob C. fully open, screw the regulator to the air inlet of the spray gun, trigger the air only on the gun and wind the regulator knob until you see your desired air pressure.


Setting up a big piece of masking paper on the wall to test spray is highly recommended. This is where you can see if your pattern is even and consistent according to the paint material you're using. As a example, thinner materials such as pearl basecoats require less air pressure than an Ultra High Solid Clearcoat which will require a much stronger air pressure to atomise the paint consistently. Spraying a scrap panel or test piece is also recommended to ensure you are getting a good result, particularly if you are not confident or experienced. This will just save your hard work on the preparation of your actual job you're painting.


Hope this is of help to you, as always if you have any questions or would like any info on any of the items we stock please feel free to reach out!

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