Keeping the Tip Clean

Pre-screening, good filtering, and periodic quick cleaning should keep that air-assisted airless spray tip shooting straight. July 24, 2006

I just purchased a new AA spray gun and pump and need to know about straining waterborne products before I stick that product/fill tube into a gallon or five gallon drum. My concern is that no matter how well you think you strain the product that orifice is so darn small that anything will get stuck on the way out of the tip. I hooked up the system the other day and just shot some plain water to play with fluid pressures and air mix to get used to everything. Then I put some clear waterborne lacquer thru the system the next day and it came out sideways. The place I bought the system said the tip, which is a 1308 size, was probably clogged. Is this going to happen ten times a day when Iím spraying away? That opening is mighty small.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor A:
Getting the right tip is crucial. Your AA distributor should be able to help you there. With waterbornes we keep a cup of water and toothbrush nearby and scrub the tip every couple of parts - we leave it in the gun. It adds time but saves hassle.

From contributor B:
You should have a fine mesh filter at the base of your gun - most AA's have them. With the proper in line filter, this will trap particles that would be large enough to clog your tip.

From contributor C:
Take the tip out of the gun at the end of the spraying session and drop it in solvent or solution thatís compatible with your finish. A pint sized can works great. A .013 tip isn't really that small for an AA system. Correlate a gun filter to match the tip and also use an outlet filter between the pump and gun. You should spray all day with a minimum of plugging and downtime.

From contributor D:
It's a very good idea to strain your WB finish before putting it through your spray equipment. WB's can contain small clumps of coagulated finish, particularly if it's older and has seen some cold storage. But the bigger problem for me is that it coagulates on the outside of my fluid tip and when it does, it comes out sideways. A wet toothbrush fixes that as has already been suggested and resting your fluid tip in alcohol or water helps too.