How a Spray Gun Works


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Figure 1: A cut-away of a conventional spray gun.


Inside the Spray Gun:

Equipment varies by brand and model, but here’s a basic configuration to study (Figure 1)


The basic premise for most equipment used to spray is a device that combines air and fluid material together through a spray nozzle at a specific point – literally a blunt “needle” - breaking apart the liquid into tiny droplets through atomization.


An air line is connected and set at the required air pressure (measured in Pounds per Square Inch, or P.S.I.)

Spraying Process:

The paint (let’s just call it this for now, but it could be primer, base paints, specialty colors or glazes, or topcoat) is thinned to the proper consistency as determined by the equipment and poured into a “color cup” that might be on the top of the spray gun (Gravity fed) or hooked up to the bottom of the gun (Siphon fed). For larger projects, instead of a color cup requiring constant filling, a siphon tube is slid into a 5 gallon bucket making it much faster to cover entire rooms rapidly. Spray guns are adjustable for controlling air pressure, product flow, and spray pattern size. Smaller areas might only need a light application of paint, and an airbrush or “touch up” gun is the ideal choice. Airbrushes are available in many shapes and sizes too, often with actual needles inside them to generate very fine atomization. The atomized paint sprays out of the gun and uniformly covers the desired surface without any direct contact as one would have to do with a roller or brush.

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