Eastwood Chatter

  • How to Select the Right Paint Gun

    If you are the type of guy who likes to do everything himself, eventually you will have to go shopping for a proper paint gun. The paint job may be the last step of the job, but it’s likely the first part everyone sees . So getting the paint right is very important, and the right gun is part of that.

    There have been many changes in the past 20 years in the types of guns and paints that are available, and that are legal to use (depending on where you live). Your paint gun, air compressor and paint all have to be compatible with each other, so take a little time to learn about different types of paint, and look up your compressor specifications.

    Types of Guns:

    consour pro

    • HVLP - The high volume, low pressure gun (HVLP) has pretty much become the industry standard for the 21st century. They were created to spray paints with less over spray, and therefore less environmental pollution. The best feature of these guns is that they use less paint to cover the same surface, so you save money. Less over spray also means you don’t have to mask off your whole garage before painting to avoid everything getting covered with paint. Most paints these days are formulated to work with HVLP guns.


    conventional spray gun

    • Conventional - The standard, old school paint spray gun used a low volume of air, at a high pressure to atomize paint. Some paints and coatings with higher viscosity, or higher solid concentration, still go on best with conventional spray guns. If you are spraying something like chassis undercoating, truck bedliner, heavy duty industrial or tractor paints you may need the high pressure air from a conventional gun to get good atomization without excessive thinning.


    compliant gun

    • Compliant/Green Guns - There are also guns called simply “complaint spray guns” or sometimes “green guns”, or “reduced pressure (RP) guns”. These guns are a hybrid of the conventional and the new HVLP. They meet the letter of EPA rule 40 CFR Part 63 (6H) because they still use a low pressure at the spray head, and reduce overspray, but they spray more like old school guns so you can paint faster and the transition is easier for people with conventional gun experience.


    turbine system

    • Other - There are also new LVLP guns, which means low volume low pressure, and all in one turbine systems that don’t use an air compressor at all.


    High Volume, Low Pressure or HVLP

    concours pro teardown

    If you are just learning to paint with a spray gun, HVLP is the way to go these days. It’s the current standard, so there are plenty of different guns to be had for not a lot of initial expense. Eastwood alone offers nearly a dozen options from our own Economy line, our higher featured Concours line, and top brands like Binks, Iwata and DeVilbiss. Since most modern paints are formulated to spray through HVLP equipment, it is going to be easier to get good results with it.

    There is no need to jump into the deep end either. You can buy a lower cost gun and learn how to spray automotive finishes, then relegate that gun to primer only duty and buy a higher price gun for your next paint project.

    When buying a HVLP gun, be sure your compressor can flow enough volume to run it. What is the point of saving money on the gun, if you are going to have to upgrade to a bigger compressor to run it? This is also a good time to look at your compressor fittings, hard lines and hoses. Too small of a line, or a bottle neck anywhere can result in less volume reaching your gun. Remember, these are high volume air guns.


    Conventional Guns

    conventional gun cut awat

    These high pressure spray guns have been popular since the turn of the last century, and many people still prefer them. The good news is that they are still available new, and still supported by most major brands. The EPA even granted home users an exemption from the federal low VOC spray rule, though your state, county or city may have other rules. The bad news is that you typically need a much larger compressor to run them.

    If you plan on spraying ElastiWrap, bedliner, Plastidip, Lizard Skin, or heavy industrial coatings a conventional gun may be your best option. These types of thick heavy coating take a lot more pressure and energy to atomize out of the spray tip. Often times low pressure guns just can’t deliver a satisfactory spray pattern when applying them.

    If you have a compressor, and experience with a conventional gun, you may just want a new version of the gun you are familiar with, but you should also consider the new RP compliant guns as well.


    Compliant Guns

    In order to satisfy the needs of their customer base, and the federal EPA mandate, most big spray gun makes have designed these new versions of conventional guns. These new reduced pressure (RP) guns have redesigned spray heads to comply with the EPA rule for pressure and overspray to reduce VOC emissions. These guns spray very much like the old style guns, but still reduce the amount of wasted paint oversprayed into the atmosphere, which also saves you money.

    Besides the way they spray, RP guns are also typically faster than a HVLP gun to cover the same amount of surface. One of the only downsides for compliant guns is they tend to cost more than the HVLP, because they are aimed more at the professional user. Look for the letters RP or the word Compliant to identify these types of guns.

    Turbine Systems

    Turbine base

    One of the latest developments in automotive paint application is the all in one turbine system. Typically it consists of something like a vacuum cleaner, with the hose connected to the spray gun. These typically are low pressure systems of various volumes. The nice thing about them is you don’t need to buy an air compressor, air dryer, or regulator, and the spray gun is perfectly matched to the air supply.

    Turbine systems work just as well as HVLP guns used with a regular compressor with most coatings. If you have no reason to buy an air compressor, these self-contained systems can be very attractive. The lower cost ones, with the turbine, cost less than just the price of many high end spray guns. The higher end systems cost close to the price for a spray gun and compressor, but unlike your compressor they are always ready to go. To spray with the typical shop compressor you typically have to drain any excess  condensed fluid out of the tank, then run a line with dryer and regulator out to where you want to paint. In order to paint with the turbine, you just plug it into the wall and start shooting.

    Other Types

    There are other types of guns out there: LVLP, MVLP, etc. These are low volume, low pressure, and medium volume, low pressure, and are just further refinements of the HVLP systems by different brands. There is not much difference except for their air requirements.


    So now that we have gone over what is out there, how do you choose? First you ought to consider what you are spraying, now and in the future. If all you want is the ability to apply temporary ElastiWrap colors to your car every few months, we have a value priced turbine kit perfect for that. If your plan is just to do the prep and primer and let a professional finish the job, nearly any low priced gun will get you started. But, be sure to know the output abilities of your compressor before you go shopping for a gun, they can vary widely even among similar sized machines.

    If you are starting from scratch and want the ability to paint anything and everything, the HVLP or reduced pressure (RP) guns are the way to go. Not only will they save you money in wasted paint, they will save you money when you buy the matching compressor. You will also use less electricity powering the compressor to paint with a low pressure gun as well. The biggest deciding factor in the end though may be this, less over spray is better for you, and everyone who has to breaths air.


    Check out the Eastwood Blog and Tech Archive for more How-To's, Tips and Tricks to help you with all your automotive projects.  If you have a recommendation for future articles or have a project you want explained don't hesitate to leave a comment.

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  • Easy Way to Remember When to Change Oil - Quick Tip

    Trying to remember oil change intervals can be a hassle especially if you have more than one vehicle in your garage.  Even if your memory is spot on, its not worth taking the risk of damaging your motor from a missed oil change.


    Here is an easy way to keep track of all your vehicles oil change intervals without having to remember the mileage for each.



    After you've drained your oil and are getting ready to screw on a new filter, grab a perminant marker and write down the date and mileage of your car, or the mileage that you want the next change to be.



    Now all you need to do to see when to change your oil next is take a look under your car for the filter.  This is especially helpful on your classic that you only take out on the weekends and to shows.


    Check out the Eastwood Blog and Tech Archive for more How-To's, Tips and Tricks to help you with all your automotive projects.  If you have a recommendation for future articles or have a project you want explained don't hesitate to leave a comment.

    - James R/EW

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  • Epoxy Primer on Bare Aluminum Before Painting

    If your project includes painting bare aluminum, make sure you follow these steps to ensure the best finish possible.

    There is a common misconception that the same steps should be followed when painting all types of metal.  To an extent this is somewhat true but with each metal there is a slightly different process that should be followed to achieve the best looking and most durable finish.


    Aluminum can be tricky because it can sometimes be difficult to get paint to stick directly to it.  If paint is applied directly to aluminum without primer, sooner or later it will begin to bubble peel up or chip.


    In order to achieve a quality painted finish on bare aluminum, you must first clean the metal with PRE Painting Prep or some type of solvent.  This will remove dirt and contaminants from the surface of the metal.



    Next, go over the aluminum with 320 Grit Sand Paper on a DA Sander.  This step can be done by hand but for the best results a DA Sander should be used.  After sanding, use a blow gun to remove any dust and then wipe down the aluminum again with PRE.


    Screenshot 2015-11-09 15.09.09(2)

    Now mix and apply Epoxy Primer directly on to the bare aluminum.  If a normal primer is used the paint has a chance of peeling or flaking later on.  Eastwood Epoxy Primer has self etching properties that chemically bond the primer to the metal rather than just a mechanical bond achieved by normal paints.


    Screenshot 2015-11-09 17.22.36

    Depending on the goal of your project you have a few options after the epoxy primer is sprayed.  If you are happy with the the primer looks all that needs to be done is a quick scuff the panel with a Gray Scuff Pad or 400 grit sandpaper and you are ready to paint and clear.

    Screenshot 2015-11-09 17.26.11

    If you are going for a more finished look you can apply High Build Urethane Primer and level with 320 Grit Sandpaper on a Sanding Block.  Scuff the piece with a Gray Scuff Pad and wipe down with PRE.  With the surface now level it is ready for paint and primer.


    Check out the Eastwood Blog and Tech Archive for more How-To's, Tips and Tricks to help you with all your automotive projects.  If you have a recommendation for future articles or have a project you want explained don't hesitate to leave a comment.

    - James R/EW

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  • Cars of SEMA 2015 – Friday Wrap Up

    And as quick as that, another SEMA show is over. All the show cars that were the least bit drivable got fired up and took a lap of the strip, headed from the Convention Center to the SEMA Ignited public after party down the street.It was another great show and thanks to everyone who stopped into our booth to visit and see our newest products. It will take days, maybe weeks, to wrap our heads around all the neat new ideas and trends we saw at the show, but when we do we'll post them here for you. For now, here are some of the cars that jumped out at us even after 2 full days of looking at amazing cars.

    Just to prove that guys will hot rod anything, here is a souped up Allis-Chalmers Model B tractor. They started making these in the late 1930s and kept making them for a while, so no telling exactly what this is. It goes to show you that nearly the same principles can be applied to any wheeled vehicle, just make them lower and wider and they will look meaner even if they aren't really any faster. The flat head 4 must sound great as it spits fire out of the short tube exhausts.

    SEMA 2015 1938 Allis Chalmers Model B

    This may seem like a strange jump, from tractor to Porsche, but one of the first things the German car maker put their name on was a tractor. These air-cooled 911s, in candy colors, all in a row, look like what all of us adult children dream of seeing when we look under the tree at Christmas.

    SEMA 2015 Porsche 911

    If you instead dream of playing in a pile of dirt,maybe you'd prefer this Jeep Chief concept. Look close and you can see how much 4 door Wrangler is still there. But the retro front end look, and the custom hard top make it look like a completely different vehicle. Jeep sure can turn out some sweet concepts, now lets see if they can put some more interesting trucks in the showrooms.

    SEMA 2015 Jeep Chief Concept

    Wagons have a great big open space to practice custom paint on, even compacts like this Mercury Comet. The asymmetrical, flaked and striped, super glossy green, over a suede black body really pops. As you can see there is a custom stitched interior in matching colors too, and it continues all the way to the back cargo hold. SEMA 2015 1963 Mercury Comet Wagon

    It is hard to imagine this 1968 Mustang shares most of its chassis with the Comet wagon above, which never had any performance goals at all. This tricked out pro-touring/road race/track day fastback has plenty of scoops and air dams to keep the air flowing where it needs to to cool the brakes and rear end, as well as keep the car stuck tot eh pavement. It is kind of akin to the Elenore "Gone in 60 Seconds" Mustang, only more purposeful looking.

    SEMA 2015 1968 Ford Mustang

    We'll also have some more posts later detailing the cars and builders who won this year's Eastwood Hands-on Awards. For now here is a recap of some of the standouts that went on to the Customer Choice category.

    SEMA 2015 1960 Oldsmobile 88

    SEMA 2015 1940 Mercury 4


    SEMA 2015 1953 Ford COE Truck 1

    SEMA 2015 1952 Chevy Gene Winfield Desert Sunset 3

    SEMA 2015 1927 Ford T-bucket

    SEMA 2015 1949 Cadillac

    SEMA 2015 1950 Metro Ice Cream Truck 1

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  • Proper Garage Door Lubrication


    Keeping your garage door in good working order is one of those things that can be easily overlooked.  While it may not see like an important task taking a few minutes every couple months to make sure all of the moving parts are functioning the way they should.  It'll save you from a large bill down the road if the entire door needs to be replaced.


    Lubricating the door rollers is by far the most important part of proper garage door maintenance but its not just simply spraying them down with WD-40.  Using that product will help in the short run but actually make the door worse over time.  Garage door rollers usually come packed with some sort of petroleum based grease.  Over time that grease will wear away and the door will start to make metal to metal noises.  If you spray the door with WD-40 it will lubricate the rollers for a little while but it will soon evaporate, additionally the WD-40 will act as a degrease and effectively remove any old grease that was originally there.  Any metal parts now exposed to the elements now have the potential to rust and possibly get stuck in place.



    To properly lubricate your door rollers you must replace the grease with a similar product that wont evaporate over time.  CRC White Lithium Grease is a great lubricant for any moving parts with metal to metal contact.  White lithium grease will not wash off, melt or freeze so it is perfect for any door or garage that is exposed to the elements.  All it takes is a quick spray into each of the rollers and hinges and your door is good to go.



    Check out the Eastwood Blog and Tech Archive for more How-To's, Tips and Tricks to help you with all your automotive projects.  If you have a recommendation for future articles or have a project you want explained don't hesitate to leave a comment.

    - James R/EW

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