Let’s talk about feathered edges, that light airy and fluffy edge we all dream about, yeah that one. The one you get with an airless spray gun that is spraying just right. A nice feathered edge with no tailing. With a few tips and tricks I am going to teach you how to get the perfect and consistent feathered airless sprayed edge.
Now the first tip I have to share is patience, this takes time to learn and mess around with before you start understanding your pump and guns PSI levels and what to gauge it at for the perfect finish. It took me many years to understand what PSI I had to be at and what that even meant, with patience and consistency I picked it up and so will you.
Getting the proper spray pattern is typically related to pressure. Demonstrated in this video I will be running multiple pressures with a couple different tips to show you that every tip is different as well as what it looks like with too low of pressure and too high of pressure. I will also be spraying with one product because when switching products the pressure will be different since the consistencies of the product are all unique. I am using a Titan 440 which does not have a digital pressure readout but I do have a Titan HEA gage set up so that I can read what the levels are at. You can use what ever sprayer you have available. It is essential to know the pressure so having a gauge at your gun is useful to get a feel and understanding of what the PSI should be at. Once you get dialed in the gauge will not be necessary but in the beginning I highly recommend having one. More expensive sprayers have a digital read out on them showing you what the PSI is at the pump.
I will be starting off using a regular high production tip with 700 PSI and I see fingering immediately. Fingering is caused when there is not enough pressure and it looks as if there is a split in the spray pattern on both sides that didn’t get any product. Tailing is related to lack of pressure at the run the majority of the time. I’ve bumped it up to 1000 PSI now and the fingering is starting to go away because more pressure is coming from the gun. I bumped it up to 1500 PSI to try and completely eliminate the fingering and it is looking good. Now do not get frustrated because you may have to try this a few times before you are happy with the results and there is a nice feathering on the edges. The edge can have a more pronounced edge or a gradual feather depending on the tip. Titan HEA tips are designed to give you a more pronounced feather whereas the Titan high production tips are designed for a sharper edge. More on Titan HEA tips Click Here.
If the pressure is too high you will see a lot of kick back, fall out and over spray from the gun. If fingering occurs and your pressure is not too high, another reason behind that could be a clogged filter. Clogged filters restrict the flow of paint and therefore pressure at the gun. A clogged filter could possibly split the gun filter and ruin it. A gun filter could last a lifetime if you clean them after every use. Adjusting pressure to get the proper spray pattern takes effort and time to understand.
One step I never forget and make sure my fellow coworkers do not miss is straining the paint before we use it. Straining the paint will eliminate clogged filters because todays paints and the lack of quality control by some paint manufactures causes manifold and gun filters to clog fast. The majority of airless guns have a filter and the airless pump has a filter and finally there is a rock filter on the end of the intake tube. Check and clean all these filters and any restrictions can cause bad spray patterns.
If you are still having issues with pressure at the gun and you have clean filters, it could be related to your packings and I would suggest seeking professional advice. The packings are what seal the piston as it pumps paint through the system. After every job I clean any debris off the rock guard, gun filter, and manifold filter because paint will dry and wrap around it cause restrictions.
Rare but I have had a bad tip that was new right out of the package. Test using another tip and even various sizes if tailing persists. I have run into a few paints in my career that simply are not designed to spray and tail and spit bad. Sherwin Williams SuperPaint in ultra deep base being one. Sherwin Williams fast dry oil primer with any tint added causes severe spitting. This is always my last thought, if the paint is not coming out of the gun and is spitting. If you are getting spits here is my video on eliminating spits Click Here. I go through everything starting with looking at my pressures to checking the filters and then looking at the paints. Some products may make the spray patterns easier or harder, you should always try out a few strokes before starting any job.
In the United States the majority of paints are designed to spray and and spray without thinning as approximately 80% of painters spray here. I have had the opportunity to travel to many countries and train a lot of professional painters and it is quite different the here. Europe, for example, is quite different as only approximately 20% of professional painters spray and very few paints are designed to do so. It is very common outside the USA for painters to thin the paints to get them to an airless consistence that sprays right. What I noticed in my travels is significant thinning which can severely degrade the quality of the paint. Whenever possible do not thin you paints. Only a handful of times in my entire professional painting career have I thinned paints going through an airless sprayer.
With these few simple tips and tricks you are going to notice your spray patterns being more consistent. I hope these few tips helped you out today, you can click here for the full video and a link to my channel. If you have never operated an airless sprayer here is a video that will get you on your way Click Here.