DIY How To Adjust HVLP Paint Gun For Car:Auto Spray Gun Adjustments Tips

[MUSIC PLAYING] -Hello, this is Donnie Smith. And today we’re going
to talk about paint guns and paint gun adjustments. And the different type of paint
guns, about what most painters use in the automotive industry
is what’s called gravity feed. And it’s the HVLP, which stands
for high volume, low pressure. And what that is, that’s
where the fluid comes and it’s fed by gravity
into the paint gun and sprayed onto the surface. This paint gun is one that
we use for our waterborne, spraying the base coat on. This is probably one
of my favorite guns, and most of the
students’ favorite guns. And what it is is
Iwata Super Nova. And it works real well. And it also works
good for clear. This is a 1.3. They make another
nozzle size, tip size that is a 1.4 that some
painters prefer for clear coat rather than the 1.3 to
get the fluid on there a little bit heavier. But I prefer to use the
1.3 for clear as well. But we’re going to talk about
a few of the gun adjustments. The first thing is
the air pressure. And you see I have
a gauge right here, and I can adjust the
air pressure right here. And the problem with
this is whenever you go looking on your
technical data sheets, a lot of times it says
the PSI at the air cap. That’s talking about how
much pounds is it actually getting right here. And I don’t see too– I’ve
seen a couple of guns, but most guns don’t
have a gauge up here. And what’s going in is
not what’s coming out, so it’s going to be different. So that’s why I like to
adjust it right here. And most products,
spraying is going to be somewhere between
18, 25 PSI at the gun. Now, one other way this
could be set is at the wall. And that’s where you
adjust it at the wall and then hood it in. You don’t have this regulator. But if you do it that
way, and some painters do prefer to do it to
a little more accuracy, but if you do that,
you’ve got to consider for each foot of hose, there’s
going to be a drop in pressure. So you’ve got to figure that
out, determine that out. What I recommend
is just finding out what the at the gun pressure is. Use one of these gauges. It’s the most simple way. And then fine tune
it from there. Because each gun may be
a little bit different. Like if it’s a 20 PSI, it
may not be the 8 to 10, or whatever it’s
supposed to be here. It’s usually about double
down here as far as Psi. So this is 8 to 10. I’d probably go with 18
to 22 PSI at the gun. OK. Talk about the adjustments. We talked about the air. Now we’re going to talk
about the fan pattern. That’s how wide
the fan pattern is. And you usually want a
pretty wide fan pattern. Some painters like to
have it open all the way, but I’ve found that if
you have it too wide open, it kind of creates
a dry overspray, and you can’t really
get the achieved effect that you’re wanting. So I usually open
it up all the way, and turn it about three or
four turns, or whatever. If you spray it and you kind of
start seeing it to narrow down, and it ought to narrow
just a little bit more, that’s going for base coat. Now, clear coat, I
don’t want it as wide. I want to narrow it even more
so that I get a full wet coat. Because base coat you
don’t want on too thick. You just want a medium wet coat. And a good, even coat spreads
the metallics or the pigment out. And then the clear
coat, you want to put that on
really nice and thick to get your mils and all that. So turned in just a little
bit from full width. Now, if you’re painting a
little primer spot on a car, obviously, you’re going to
narrow that down, you’re going to decrease your
fluid your air pressure. And you’ll prime
just a little spot. But for the most part,
paint a full panel, a complete– that’s some general
idea of where to adjust it. Now, this adjusts
your fluid here. And basically all
that does is control how far this needle pulls back. And you can see as
I turn that in, you can see that that
trigger is pushing out. So it’s kind of like
a water fountain. The more you screw
it in, the less you’re going to get until
you turn it completely off. And when you open it,
it allows the trigger to go back further, the more
fluid you’re going to get. So clockwise is
going to decrease, counter-clockwise is going
to increase the fluid. And the way I usually
adjust that is I pull it all the way
back and start screwing it in until I start feeling
the trigger move. So you have to have it
held back to feel that. I’m feeling it moving. And then I’ll usually
turn it about three turns and see how that sprays. For clear coat, that’s
usually a good setting. Now, base coat, I don’t
want the full width, I want a medium width. So I’m using this for
the waterborne base coat. I’ll probably give it
a couple more turns. And then kind of get my test
pattern that I’m spraying on and see how that is. And then you’re going to have
to fine tune it from there to see if that’s
what you like or not. If you spray it and you
see that it’s kind of dry, you can increase the fluid. If you spray it and
you see that it’s just making runs and the
heavy orange peel, you can decrease the fluid. So we’ve talked about
the air pressure. We’ve talked about
the fan pattern. In some guns, the fan
pattern, the fluid’s always going to be
right here because it controls that
needle right there. So it’s always going to be
right behind the needle. The fan may come
in different areas. For example, the fan on
this gun is over here. Does the exact same thing. Notice this one has a
cup and this one doesn’t. This is a system set up
for the 3M disposable cups. You just hook that,
and when you’re done, you can just take it off. And it’s a lot easier
to clean up that way. This is the system that
I really like using. So we’re going to talk about gun
techniques just a little bit. If I could give you
one piece of advice, it’s just to be real consistent. Being a good painter is about
being really consistent. At the factories
they have robots that do the exact
same thing every time. If you can do that, the
exact same thing every time, you’ll have it down. Because the speed
and distance– you have to adjust the
speed with the distance. And that’s going to
make a difference. So if you can think like a
robot– I’m going to do this, for example. If you can think like a robot–
and this has to be straight. You don’t want to be like
that, because if it is, it’s going to be heavy up
here and light down here. So you can’t shoot like that. Have to be straight. And you just want to go
the same speed every time. And you don’t want
to arch either. Arch is where you kind
of lock your wrist and you go like that. And it may look in some
of the videos you’ve seen, that’s kind of how
painters paint. But it’s not really. They’re keeping it straight. You have to bend your
wrist to keep it straight. And then to realign
with the other panel, that’s where you
kind of come out, but you’re actually letting
off just to the air. And by the time it hits the
panel right, you pull it again. Notice that there’s really not
much straight areas on the car either. I mean, this panel,
you couldn’t just keep it like this
the whole time. So you’ve got to kind
of follow whatever contour you’re following. So you’ve got to keep it
straight by bending your wrist. And you’ve also got to follow
the contours of the car. So if you keep that in
mind, and no arching. And pull halfway– and
again, I didn’t mention this, but if you pull half way,
that shoots just the air. You’re not having any paint. And that’s whenever you
adjust your air pressure here to the 20 PSI or whatever it is. So get that adjusted. You always keep that
pressed down all the way wherever you have it set at. Just air, realign,
pull down again. So you want to keep it straight. You don’t want to arch. Set just to realign it. And when you do
arch out, you want to be sure that the trigger
is released half way. And then whenever you line
back up with the panel, that it’s pulled back The other thing you
want to concentrate on is your speed and distance. Recommend you start
with 8 to 10 inches. That’s going to give
you more control. About that speed right there. So keep about 8
to 10 inches away. And remember, if you
get closer, you’re going to have to move faster. If you get further away,
like you’re reaching over, you don’t want nothing to touch. If you have to get a
little further away, you’re going to
have to slow down. So that’s just
some of the things you have to get used to,
working with the speed and distance together. That is kind of hard
and confusing at first. But you kind of
get a touch for it, and you’ll develop
your own style. And it becomes
second nature to you. One last thing, like if you are
having to reach over something, if you’re short like me, you
may have problems reaching over the hoods and
things like that, sometimes you might have
to hold the gun like this. Or you can hold the gun
like that for the most part. Sometimes you’re
getting under things, you can even hold
the gun like that. So three different positions
you have to hold the gun. So that basically covers
your paint gun adjustments and some of your techniques. [MUSIC PLAYING]


  • Car Addict Garage

    Orange cap is 1.3 mm – Good for base coat and clear coat. Silver is 1.4 mm – Good for clear coat and primer sealers – Purple is a bigger cap for things like big metal flake, etc. I personally like the 1.3 for base and clear. Some people prefer the 1.4 for clear. It just depends on what you like better. Let me know if you have other question. Thanks for watching!

  • Bill D

    This helped me fine tune my hvlp setup properly for applying clear coat. Great tutorial!

  • Car Addict Garage

    I'm glad it helped. Thanks for watching!

  • Car Addict Garage

    Thanks for watching. Let me know if you have any questions.

  • Car Addict Garage

    Yes, pearl is very fine. The orange should work great. You may need the bigger cap when painting big metal flake like on boats. Thanks for watching!

  • Carlos Pulido

    hey can you use the same gun for paint and clear coat? ?? thanks vjdeo is awsome

  • Car Addict Garage

    Yes, just be sure to clean it good between uses. Thanks for watching!


    To everyone out there that is learning how to spray paint , trust me this guy knows what he is talking about , these are all the correct techniques to become a painter and a good one at that.

    very good video mate from england 🙂

  • Car Addict Garage

    Thanks for your support and for watching!

  • Michael Joseph

    Thanks for taking the time to make that video. I have a better understanding now of adjusting the spray pattern and whats up with the pressure at the tip verses the gun. Thanks that will help me a great deal. One question Im thinking of getting a LVLP Gun because I only have a 5 hp compresser and it runs all the time. I hear that a LVLP gun will help reduce cfm. Willt he results still be similar and will I need to go slower with my stroke when laying down the paint? Thanks so much

  • steve duman

    I would like to see close up on gun..I did not learn anything

  • sable merc

    this guy's good!

  • Car Addict Garage

    Thanks for watching!

  • Car Addict Garage

    Thanks for your comment and for watching!

  • Car Addict Garage

    We buy from Keystone Automotive and Car Color. If you are looking for PPG, there should be a paint store near you. Thanks for watching!

  • S N

    Do you need a filter on the gun if I have one connected to the compressor?

  • Car Addict Garage

    We don't use one, but our filtration system is pretty good. If you are having any water or contamination problem it may be a good idea to have a filter at the gun. Thanks for watching!

  • Weiszcracker

    Very helpful

  • S- DOT

    i didnt learn anything..this man cant explain this good maybe he should demonstr8

  • dufondutrou

    you are kidding right? who are you talking to? you said adjustment to the gun…. not basic use!

  • paskom ranger

    helpful information for beginner … awesome .

  • Car Addict Garage

    I am glad you found it useful. I have some other gun adjusting videos on my channel. Thanks for watching my videos!

  • Christian Carter

    Great video, are the gun adjustments different for using non waterborne paints… like celulose based paints?

  • Car Addict Garage

    I am not sure about cellulose paint, but for automotive waterborne paint, the adjustments are very similar! Thanks for watching!

  • Car Addict Garage

    This will depend on how much spraying you do or if more than one person will be using it at the same time. I would find the manufacture of the compressor you are thinking about buying and give them a call. They will be able to give you a specific answer. Thanks for watching!

  • Car Addict Garage

    Let me know how it works or you. You're right, Iwata does use less air pressure than most others. If you are new to spraying, it may be better for you to spray a little further than recommended to give you a little more control. As you become more comfortable, you can move in closer. Remember, make the spray gun adjust to you, don't try to make yourself adjust to the spray gun. Thanks for watching and let me know how it works for you. It is a great gun.

  • Charles Feathers

    Thanks for the great information. I'm a HS art teacher and you learn the limitations of students and the common mistakes they make. An art term related to your suggestions of following the contours is, "line follows form." I can tell that you know students and you don't leave anything out. I have notes on your suggestions. One mistake I made before with my SuperNova was to starve the air coming off the wall. It doesn't matter if you have high psi off the wall when you have a guage on the gun.

  • Car Addict Garage

    Hi Charles, thanks for watching and commenting!

  • Car Addict Garage

    Good Luck!

  • tony smith

    should i use one gun for water base and another one for enamel or one for all?

  • Car Addict Garage

    Yes, I would recommend it. If you clean the gun very good you may be able to use one for both, but it is not really recommended.

  • tony smith

    thank you! thats what im going to do, one for water base and another one for enamel and a cheap one for primer.

    last question, i notice you prefer 1.3 for water base, me two but what you recommend for enamel 2.0?

  • Car Addict Garage

    I use a 1.3 for waterborne base, solvent base, primer sealer and clear coat. I use a 1.8 for primer surfacer.

  • Travis H

    should you look for 22 psi on the gauge when you pull the trigger? Or while the gun isnt spraying?

  • Car Addict Garage

    I prefer the 1.3 if it is going to be for both base and clear, but that is just my preference. I think either one will work good for you.

  • Car Addict Garage

    The 1.4 works real good for clear. If using it for base coat, you may need to decrease the fluid a little more when spraying. I prefer the 1.3, but there are many who prefer the 1.4. If you have done a lot of spraying, I think you will adjust to the 1.4 fine. However, the 1.3 will give you a little more control if you do not spray often. Either one should work great.

  • Car Addict Garage

    Yes, you can put a different cap on it. It will take the needle, fluid tip, and air cap to change it from a 1.3 to 1.4.

  • Car Addict Garage

    Yes, thicker coatings such as primer surfacer recommend a 1.6 to 1.7. That should work fine for that. The 1.3 will work for primer sealer, base coat and clear coat. Thanks for watching and let me know if you have any other questions.

  • chadatwork

    Donnie, I am new to painting and have somewhat of a limited resource on buying equipment until I find out for sure I can produce the results I want. I have bought the Devilbiss Tekna Copper gun, it can with both 1.3 and 1.4 tips. I know it is supposed to use less air pressure then other common guns. My question is have you used these and if so what do you think of the results? Thanks and I really enjoy your videos.

  • MrBikedrummer

    I just subscribed to your channel. Great stuff. I have a general question: Regardless of air pressure/tips and gun variances, what is a good rule of thumb for determining the amount of air pressure and paint flow you want for a good spray?

    I have done combinations of high pressure and played with the paint volume as well as low pressure. I am not sure what an optimum mix is because I can make them both look ok. I would like to be able to judge good mix based on a spray sample. thanks

  • Car Addict Garage

    I have a web page with more info. but I can not add links on here. You will need to replace the (dot) . collisionblast(dot)/2012/11/17/spraying-painting-tips-how-to-adjust-a-spray-gun-to-produce-professional-paint-job/

    See if this helps!

  • StealthShadow5

    Butler which is the best air compressor for one guy who will start in this business I mean how many cfm @ 40 psi I need? I know whit a cheaper compressor the gun I will use is a lvlp. Waiting your answer and thanks for your free videos Ps:sorry for my English

  • Car Addict Garage

    The best thing to do is to ask your compressor salesman what tools you have and have them help you calculate the compressor size you will need. Tools like a DA sander will require more air than a spray gun.

  • anwar ulla Khan

    sir i am using liquid spray coating machine. i am not getting proper spray. what will be the pressure and liquid flow to have a smooth and proper coating.

  • david vestnes

    Good Video propely good settings for The low presure Iwata Supernova !
    But What would be a good setting for the new Iwata Supernova Hybrid.iwata says something like 26psi and full fan and full feed. A local auto paint shop have the hybrid iwata and they use 30psi and full fan and feed but they say its on the edge of running.would 30 psi be to much if I lower the feed and fan ? anyone who has a good setting for this gun, a setting where it doesnt run easy.Fan feed and psi please Thanks

  • Car Addict Garage

    t depends what you are spraying. I open the fan all of the way for base coat. Clear I will close the fan a little to get a wetter and heavier build. The Iwata Hybrid uses less air pressure than many other guns. I only use about 22 psi. So I guess personal preference and technique is going to play a part of it. According to the Iwata Hybrid technical data sheet, they recommend 14 to 18 psi at the gun, which creates 10 psi at air cap. Hope this helps.

  • Car Addict Garage

    lol… saying I need to lose weight! I agree, I've been thinking that for a long time. Maybe I need to spend less time blogging and vlogging and more time jogging!

  • david vestnes

    I checked again with anest Iwata The Iwata LS400 supernova is supose to be aboute 19psi while the Iwata LS400H Hybrid is supose to be around 25psi these are two different guns models Hybrid being the newest, so I guess you have the older version Ls400 which is supose to be at 19psi. you crank this one up to 22 for better atomization while paintshops who have the Hybrid version 25 psi crank theirs to 30psi for best atomization. so I guess 22 psi for LS400 is good and 30 psi for LS400H is best

  • Danny Preciado

    gracias me suscribo buen video !!!

  • TheChaseair

    Nice to listen to a good teacher

  • kujoempire

    can you tell us about the supplies you use. what companies and why you prefer them? oh and the youtube closed captions translator is slaughtering everything your saying 🙂 excellent videos!

  • Jefferey Hart

    Thanks for the really thorough runthough of the adjustments on that gun. 🙂 Mine is similar, but the cup runs through a hose before it hits the gun. . . seems like it takes forever for the material to get to the gun and start spraying. It throws me off when I'm setting it up sometimes. (It's my mom's old spray gun from the 70's)

  • ruggeri5054

    Ive seen better spam from a can!

  • ghostranger96

    You really do a good job explaining everything. Its cleared up so much and taken alot of the stress away from doing body work for the first time. Thank you

  • #countryboycansurvive

    Might not be part of what you intended to touch on, but the over lap of pattern is something might want to add. And how it has to change when spraying a solid base, apposed to a pearl, or metal flake base.
    If you release the trigger all the way, make sure to pull trigger when restarting, pointing away (off to side) of panel so you don't get a burst of build up at the starting point. Especially with pearls.
    Always test pattern first on scrap, or wall.


    damm phone wont play this video

  • cody N

    hey dont ever use supplements to try to lose weight. EVER. i was using them for a while now, and now im stuck with a premature articular contractions.if you stop taking them you will gain more weight

  • Coolride17

    After awhile you can just hear if the pressure if right or not.

  • computerphonic

    Very informative, thank you.

  • Tomas Richards

    Guy reminds me of zach galifinakis in the campaign

  • Hitman799

    Hahahahahahahahahaha so true Thomas

  • clockman47

    Good information, i went to body back in the 60s in HS forgot a lot, THanks.

  • Bruni Auto

    Hey, I'm painting my car hood but the paint is rough instead of smooth, why is this?

  • Car Addict Garage

    There are several reasons, but too much air pressure is a common problem for this. This creates too much overspray that lands on top of the paint. You may also check to see if you are using the correct reducer for the temp. I hope this helps. Thanks for watching! Visit my channel and watch my guns spraying techniques. That playlist goes in more detail than this video.


    awsome video A++++++ your tip honestly helped me yesterday on an exellent paint job not bad for my first time i loved it

  • rob b

    great video, thanks mate

  • King's Raajput

    plz tell me sir about what is PSI?

  • Jack Black

    I love you Donnie Smith! thank you for being so kind and showing this.
    I wish I had a friend like You.

  • Jack Black

    I purchased the Sharpe Fx 3000 1.3 cap you recommended.
    I called manufacturer he said to set pressure 29 PSI "at the gun"
    You recommend 18-22. What should I do if I am spraying Refinish Solutions Urethane Clear over Matrix urethane basecoat? thank you kindly

  • Derek McCoy

    I'm still lost with all this psi crap. I have the same gun, what do you mean "psi at the gun"? My regulator is on the gun, just like yours. Do I set it with the air control fully open? It says 90psi when the trigger isn't pulled, then 20 psi when it's pulled. Does that mean it's getting 70 psi (90-20)? If I close the air control a bit, I can get it to 30 psi, but I can also close it more, open the regulator a bit, and still get a 30psi reading but the amount of air coming out is completely diffe

  • S H

    I was wondering the same thing. Watched other videos and the way you set pressure at the gun is – with no trigger pull the pressure on the gauge is the line pressure ( say 90psi) Pull the gun trigger half way back and the gauge may read 45etc. With the trigger pulled half way, adjust pressure to what you want at the gun 22psi etc.

    If you set pressure to 22 etc. at the gauge without pulling the trigger, you are going to have nearly no pressure at the tip.

  • Car Addict Garage

    Sorry I did not make that clear. But you are correct, you want to adjust the air pressure when the trigger is pulled back.

  • Collision714

    Would you used it for both base and clear??

  • jeromecarfan

    I really like your videos. Very educational

  • 420sonni

    i use the ls400 silvertip for seems to paint to slow for my style of painting. which is faster and thicker walking that thin line between a run and glass. would the 1.4 be better or would raising or lowering pressure help.i was told open fluid all the way up. where you say crank it in 4 times.need help

  • jc smoove

    At the shop I work at we use a 1.2 for clear

  • baris calıskan

    auto paint shop GO TO LİNK!

  • mevlüt demir

    auto paint shop GO TO LİNK!

  • Freddy Granados

    16 psi at the tip 

  • Dana Manley

    Thank you! after 30 years I decided to try my hand at a gun again after resorting to duplicolor cans for dings and touch up.  I have an RT Dakota I'm putting accessories on and it will be nice to shoot them properly. I appreciate the review!!!

  • joeblackakareaper

    Great stuff & thanks for the help . I'm getting a sprayer today to do some plastic motorcycle parts .



    thanks my man…….I have the same gun and never knew for sure……kinda nice to know as I've been painting things forever……lol……I have been off on my pressure…..oppps

  • effsixteenblock50

    Hey I'm not an auto painter, but I've shot hundreds of doors / jams / assorted millwork with alkyd oil through an HVLP, and your tips are right on the money, especially about the speed / distance thing. And of course, the best way to "get it" is by puttin' hours on the gun! Thanks for these great videos Donnie!

  • Don Saxon

    Thanks Donnie for all the advice…I have only painted about five cars over the last 20 years and they were all mine..a few looked good and a few looked like rattle can..I now have a big white 91 oldsmobile station wagon and I am ready to paint it a satin a gallon of black urethane primer and a gallon of Summits hot rod black satin acrylic urethan..using a cheap gun with an unknown tip size..I plan on setting up some test panels to try and get a good pattern and see how it looks..I know because of my lack of skill and professional equipment it will not be close to perfect but if I can get a uniform color all over even if its not as smooth as I want I will like it..

  • Kevin Coontz

    Thanks for the info, I grew up working in a body shop and learned a lot. Now  34 years later I am learning how things have changed and doing it myself ! You have great videos and explain in detail which is so much appreciated. Thanks again and keep up the good work .

  • thaalchemist91

    This is my recommedantion for corbandy car sprayer crusher, try to google it.Search car spray painting guide.

  • max58565

    Thank you so much 🙂

  • minatormyth

    great video brother


    GOOD STUFF! Thank you

  • Traveling Charlie

    You are an absolutely wonderful and informative instructor. ???

  • PSP

    interesting points ,if anyone else wants to learn about how to spray car paint try Sovallo Auto Painting Fixer (do a search on google ) ? Ive heard some interesting things about it and my colleague got cool results with it.

  • Stan Howe

    Love your video's, you've taught me a lot already. Thanks. I'm in the planning stages for body/rust repairs and full paint job on a daily driver. I have a porter cable HVLP gun that i've used for spraying lacquer etc in wood working. It only has a 1.5mm nozzle and It is an obsolete gun and I can't find any more nozzles. I'm looking at using the Eastwood, 2K surfacer, and their Epoxy primer, followed by urethane base and clear. Eastwood recommends I buy their Contour LT gun and 1.3 and 1.7 tips. I think I remember you saying in the Mustang video that you used a 1.4 for everything. Do you think I have any chance to make the 1.5 work or should Pony up for the new gun.

  • Hal Barnett

    I am getting ready to spray Nason single stage urethane with an HVLP gun. The can says to set the psi at 8-10. From what I am seeing online is anywhere from 14-20 PSI. Which should I use as a starting point for my test panel? 8-10 PSI seems a bit low.

  • Hazmat Hamzat

    Your videos are the best

  • Shannon Amend

    Im using woodprix instructions to make it and I do it already 🙂

  • Julia Bishop


  • Robert Rickermann


  • Shawn T

    Thank you for nice video, What is the brand of your spray gun?

  • jan rico

    is it ok to sand base coat ? what grit ? thank you

  • Mike Grover

    Thanks for the help on understanding my Iwata LPH-400 sprayer.!!!! I definitely like the idea of the disposal paint bags!!!!!! No wonder everyone but mine still looks slightly dirty after I use it!!! 🙂 Got me to Subscribe!!!


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