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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello. New member here and apologize in advance for lengthy first post. In my intro I mentioned I work for a small commercial cabinet manufacturer and we're adding painting after 20 years due to necessity (demand, shift in market, control over our schedule, unable to find a dependable paint sub to partner with, etc.). We need to spray MDF cab doors and df's and other components. We have plenty of compressed air and not really interested in adding a turbine unit. Also, to be candid, we're not looking to use conversion varnish and deal with mixing the acid catalyst. My main "guy" who is trying to be our painter has very little actual painting experience but is giving it his best shot (pun intended).

We started and hoped to stay with water borne (SW Hydroplus, Renner, Gemini, PPG Breakthrough) first using a 3M High Perf HVLP gun, then a siphon gun, then a Binks Trophy HVLP, then a cheap ($90) HVLP and no real success after weeks and weeks of trial and error (make that mostly error!). We have a choice of orange peel or micro bubbles but apparently do NOT have the choice of neither!

We're now evaluating precat lacquer and are still struggling to get a smooth finish. The micro bubbles are gone but the some orange peel remains. Our discriminating (designer) clients are expecting a better job, comparable to large mfr's with robotic equipment. A paint rep came in and demoed an air assisted airless pump (with both water borne and precat). It looked great on cardboard but neither really flowed out any better on actual MDF parts than our HVLP guns.

Are there any recommendations the community can share before we give up on this? If it helps, parts are cut on a panel saw or CNC router, sanded (to as much as 320 during a plethora of tests), 2 coats of primer. We've tried light coats (1-2 wet mils) and heavy (4-5 mils), sanded between coats and before topcoats. One or two topcoats (light and heavy with wb, and heavier with precat). We're monitoring temps and RH in the booth and have tried reducing/retarding accordingly per mfr. recommendations, but can't seem to find the right material/equipment/environmental combination.

Thanks in advance for any constructive ideas...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hello "Holland." We have a modest sized commercial booth exhausted to the outside of the building. We shop built an enclosure with filtered doors. We've been spraying adhesive for our thermofoil press for years. We did a deep clean of the booth and did NOT run any dust producing machines for a few days before starting this paint odyssey. We have not tried an airless (I have one that painted my house with!) because the various paint reps said it puts out too much paint for us novices to get a cabinet grade finish.
 

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If your doing production work you're going to want an AAA unit. CAT, Kremlin, Wagner (UK version)... For HVLP you'll want a gravity fed or pressure pot fed into a 5 stage turbine.
Most of the water based materials your using you'll want to use a 1.5-1.8mm tip on the apollo 7700 with a high solids aircap for example.
Here Louis sprays renner with a 1.8mm and a remote pot. Recommend to thin renner maybe 10% with a 1.8mm. *he starts off spraying too light, and has to open up the fluid and air a bit half way through.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the responses so far. Sometimes you wonder if things just aren't meant to be! We're very good at being precision "wood machinists" but this paint thing, not so much.

It was a Kremlin used for the demo. It sprayed great, very little overspray by comparison. But the paint didn't layout as well as expected. He said maybe our prime wasn't heavy enough and the MDF was telegraphing through. If the AAA is the answer (particularly to allow us to stay with water), We'd buy it immediately! We do need speed to meet the price targets of our wholesale customers. We are not selling direct to consumers and really don't plan to do "on -site" painting.

The three HVLP guns have been gravity fed and we have a 2 gal. pot in the bull pen if any of them worked well enough. We've tried tips at 1.4, 1.6, and 1.8 for the 3M gun, and 1.4 on the Binks and cheapo HVLP. Pressures were tried at 16psi on up to 32. We added a water separator/filter at the booth too.

The cheap siphon gun has a 1.8 and we ran it between 50 and 60 psi. It gave pretty decent results (overspray aside). Our SW rep is suggesting we look at an LVMP gun next. Maybe I should bring in my old airless and give it a try! We just really need that smooth "hand" for the clients to be happy.

Just saw a recent response about specifics. I mentioned the brands in the first post. For precat, we're trying Gemini and SW Sherwood. Our compressor is an 80 gallon (if I recall correctly) and we don't have a refrigerated dryer, just filters/water separators at the compressor and each machine. We also have a larger (120 gallon??? or more) that needs a new mag switch I could use.
 

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Without seeing your setup and work environment i am not sure is easy to determine what the problem was or is.
Also i did not understand you want to use Pump or Hvlp or something else.They all are oranges and apples.Not the same.
Pre cat is the most easiest and budget finish you can use and spray. I am a Cabinet maker and i run a shop and i finish my work in the house.
Please look to my posts.You will understand what i mean.
I use wide range of equipment and finish and they all have cons and pros to each other.
If you are asking that Kremlin is the right brand or the AAA pump is the right equipment i say absolutely YES.
If you are asking Pre cat lacquer is the way to go? i Say NO and YES.
If you are asking for the orifice size,anything more than 1.4 and smaller than 1.2 is a problem for the Pre cat (this applies to compressor feed hvlp gun.Not fore siphon or pressure feed or else)
Chepo or high end it is all about how you use them.
I am sure 30 dollars HF gun works better than the Kremlin Pump if you know what you are doing.Trust me on this.

Determine the type of equipment and finish.Start spraying and playing with them.try to find a sweet spot.If you cannot call your dealer to ask you troubles and problems or to us.
But i mean if your are going with a pump go with a pump do not try to spray and think it will be the same with compressor feed HVLP or airless or turbine or pressure feed etc.
 

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Which primer are you using.? Problem with HVLP is that is goes on very "thin" sometimes less than manufactures recommendation. It also drys too fast for alot of the single component products. Although if your getting eggshell and microbubbles, that to me would mean you are applying with way too much air. If I go with hvlp I'm running about 18-22lbs at the gun.
If you are going to stick with single component products in a high production facility, you may consider going airless with fine finish tips like a 308. Or AAA like others have suggested. I still apply my primers with hvlp for precision..I have a 60 gal tank and 3m gavity fed set up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Let me first express my gratitude for all the input from the community so far. In reading some of the responses I realize my question(s) may have been too broad. I provided as much detail as I could think of to offer a picture of what we've tried. There might not be a simple answer. At this point I am trying to funnel it down to a workable solution that gives us repeatable (and sellable) results with smooth paint (not stained) and no bubbles or orange peel, using CNC machined MDF doors and drawer fronts. Our play is frameless, quick turnaround, kitchen cabs (not our usual laminate commercial doctor's offices with 50-100 cabinets). So, to recap;

1: I wanted to use water borne for all the various reasons, but it has shown itself to be much more difficult for newbies (mainly micro bubbles). So, it's off the table. Precat for now and will revisit water later.
2: I didn't mean to bounce around on equipment choices and don't really have a preference. Was just saying what we've tried. Just want what will work best. It would be "better" if we could prove we can do this and sell a few "painted" jobs using what we already have (compressor driven HVLP guns). Then if we need more speed and capacity, drop $$$ on AAA (be it Kremlin, CA, or other). The only ones I haven't tried thus far is the LVMP gun or airless.
3: This is a shop set-up, not on-site work. We are providing finished product only (build and deliver), not the installations.
4: The primers/topcoats have been what the SW, Renner, and Gemini reps have recommended. SW Universal WB for Hydroplus, Gemini WB for EVO, Renner...I can't remember but Renner WB for Renner. SW Precat Primer for SW T77 Precat topcoat, Gemini Precat Primer for Gemini Precat topcoat.

Thank you again for helping us arrive at an answer!
 

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Based on high volume and quick turnaround times in a manufacturing type setting, especially when using repetitive coatings, I’d probably opt for investing in a plural component spray system and utilize 2 pack finishes….saves on labor measuring/mixing, clean-up time when using catalyzed finishes with short pot lives, and reduces material & solvent waste..the negative is the high initial investment cost..really need to conduct a cost/benefit analysis when considering plural component setups..
 

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Have Bryan Barocio with centurion coatings come out to your shop and show your guys how to spray waterborne ;)

For a high end vertically integrated shop precat is 'ok' but one coat of say ilva or melisi 2k is equivalent to 3 or more coats precat and much better finish.
 

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Have Bryan Barocio with centurion coatings come out to your shop and show your guys how to spray waterborne ;)

For a high end vertically integrated shop precat is 'ok' but one coat of say ilva or melisi 2k is equivalent to 3 or more coats precat and much better finish.
Based on what I've read in this thread, I would emphasize spending some money on professional in person consultation. I don't spray much at all, but what I read on PT, illustrates a requirement of much working knowledge with equipment and materials to deliver a professional end-product consistently.

It's a big jump you're trying to incorporate into your existing business.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Regarding automated spraying systems, that's out of our realm and budget. I don't mean to give the impression that we're a large high volume shop. We're looking at providing 1 kitchen or so per week, in addition to our other laminate stuff (which has slowed down quite a bit). The thought is to spray maybe one to two days per week, unless we can get the volume up to where it makes sense to add a dedicated shop employee to paint.

It looks like Bryan is a west coast guy and we're in central NC. I'll see if I can search for a Centurion rep here. I brought in a "professional finisher" to consult last week and we're still "in discussions."

What is "ilva?" I've been waiting for two weeks for a sample of Milesi 2k, but the supplier can't seem to find the time to get it out the door. I sort of stopped bugging them, especially since I've more of less given up on WB to focus on precat.
 

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Regarding automated spraying systems, that's out of our realm and budget. I don't mean to give the impression that we're a large high volume shop. We're looking at providing 1 kitchen or so per week, in addition to our other laminate stuff (which has slowed down quite a bit). The thought is to spray maybe one to two days per week, unless we can get the volume up to where it makes sense to add a dedicated shop employee to paint.

It looks like Bryan is a west coast guy and we're in central NC. I'll see if I can search for a Centurion rep here. I brought in a "professional finisher" to consult last week and we're still "in discussions."

What is "ilva?" I've been waiting for two weeks for a sample of Milesi 2k, but the supplier can't seem to find the time to get it out the door. I sort of stopped bugging them, especially since I've more of less given up on WB to focus on precat.
Centurion has excellent customer support. That's what sold me on them other than they have a fantastic product
I like using HVLP for catalyzed products because of increased transfer efficiency and less wasted catalyzed material. You'll end up using maybe 1/2 the material you would via AAA at the expense of speed. Once you increase your volume maybe then it makes sense to invest in AAA.
ilva is another italian 2k manufacturer... Louis doesnt use enough PPE in his videos but here is an example of 2K sprayed with a cup gun:
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for the video. I've watched a lot of videos. Our spray looks every bit as "glassy" smooth when wet, but just just doesn't dry as well. It looks like the only Centurion dealer near us is a cabinet shop as well. I hate to sound ignorant but we haven't seen much difference between one WB coating and another. I think it's our inexperience and/or environment. When you're referring to HVLP, are you talking about a gun attached to a compressor, or a turbine unit? Thanks again...
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Sorry, I was asking for clarification on the last post from "cocomonketnut."

He said "I like using HVLP for catalyzed products because of increased transfer efficiency and less wasted catalyzed material."

He's mentioned HVLP with a turbine unit in a previous post and I've mentioned that we have three (compressor driven) HVLP guns already and not really interested in buying a turbine unit. For the cost of a quality turbine, I'd rather buy the AAA. He also mentions transfer efficiency with HVLP and to be honest, there was a lot less overspray with the Kremlin we demoed compared to any of our HVLP guns. So, just trying to make sure I understood what he was saying.
 

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Sorry, I was asking for clarification on the last post from "cocomonketnut."

He said "I like using HVLP for catalyzed products because of increased transfer efficiency and less wasted catalyzed material."

He's mentioned HVLP with a turbine unit in a previous post and I've mentioned that we have three (compressor driven) HVLP guns already and not really interested in buying a turbine unit. For the cost of a quality turbine, I'd rather buy the AAA. He also mentions transfer efficiency with HVLP and to be honest, there was a lot less overspray with the Kremlin we demoed compared to any of our HVLP guns. So, just trying to make sure I understood what he was saying.
@cocomonkeynuts he is absolutely right.He is talking about the very high end turbine is almost efficient or better than the most AAA pump on the market. I did use and saw this by my eyes.Since i have a turbine and 3 different AAA pump and 5 Different compressor HVLP i thought that i do not need.
Do not take this the wrong way this forum does not accept any questions from the diy ppl.They just basicaly shut down their topic when they need help. Since you are a cabinet shop and trying to achieve specific questions and answers while you have no knowledge and experience for me you are another diy guy.
Please donate to this forum since you are a pro so they keep the lights on for you and for us. i will gladly help you any specific questions for you free of charge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Understood, and thanks for clarifying "Technogod." I assumed high end turbine but wasn't sure. We'll keep trying.

And in the interest of reciprocity, one of your threads mentioned wanting a CNC router. I don't know your experience with them, but if I can be of any help to you, let me know. I see you're on the other side of the country but I can share information on brands and types of machines and drives, CAD and Cam software, tooling options and strategies, chip loads, material hold down, etc. You make beautiful stuff! You might consider a CNC dowel machine and case clamp. They don't take up much room, are simple to operate, can streamline your process and could possibly save a lot of time with Bondo.

Kindest Regards!
 
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