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AIRLESS PAINT SPRAYING 101

I sold an Airlessco LP500 last week to a new customer. It started like many other deals, with the customer asking for a price on a specific sprayer. We came to terms and I shipped him his sprayer. Later he asked me if there is anything he should know about this sprayer and with a few basic questions, I found out he has never used an airless sprayer before. I sometimes assume that everyone has been exposed to airless spray equipment and all I have to do is dis-spell rumors or fill in the gaps. This set me back for minute. Usually, I am with the customer and as I show him how to work his sprayer, I talk about all the tips and tricks. I have never had to do this via email. When it came time to write a blog page, I thought this would be perfect, so here is a starting point with airless:

A. Safety

1. Injection. I think I freaked my customer out when I told him to go to the hospital in case he injects himself and have it cleaned out. In 26 years I have only heard of injections twice, both simple, no amputations. That said, don't ignore it and wake up to a swollen hand or something. I'm sure the nasty pictures I have seen from the factory resulted from guys not doing anything about it until it got bad.

2. Static electricity. In my 26 years, I have heard of 3-4 cases where static electricity started a fire. This isn't such an issue with water-based coatings as the worse it gets is a "carpet zap" shock. When fluid moves through a hose, the friction causes static electricity. Airless hoses conduct electricity and the static generated gets grounded out through the ground prong on the cord or the grounding wire on your gas or air powered sprayer. When cleaning out epoxy or lacquer, keep the gun in contact with the bucket, that way it too gets grounded.

3. Moving parts. A lot of times you forget your sprayer is on during idle moments and then you hear it run for a second to maintain pressure. One of my competitors either forgot it was on, or didn't think it would turn on when he tried securing the little cap onto the packing nut when it turned on and squished his finger. These machine have a lot of power and it's all centered on making that piston go up and down. If you do any fiddling with it, be sure to unplug it and dump the pressure.

B. Maintenance

1. Wash out. If it's a water-based coating, use water. If you want to be really official, use warm soapy water. Don't leave the water in there long enough for the guts to rust and get damaged. If storing, use anti-freeze or spirits. If it's an oil-based coating, use spirits or stronger solvent if it's epoxy or lacquer. Don't leave the stronger solvents in for extended storage because it can damage the leather packings (if you have leather packings).

2. Oil packings. All piston pumps have a little reservoir surrounding the piston to hold oil. When the piston goes up, it collects a film of oil. Any debris or overspray sticks to the oil and not the piston. On the way down the debris goes into the oil bath and not into the upper packings. This prolongs the life of the upper packings as well as the piston rod.