Turbines Versus Compressors for Spraying On Site

Finishers discuss their experiences with different setups for on-site finishing work. October 26, 2013

(WOODWEB Member:
I am trying to decide whether to go with a turbine or compressor HVLP system. I have a 3 stage turbine with a FUJI spray gun (siphon) that I don't really care for.

I also have a CAT Jaguar HVLP gravity feed gun. I used to have access to a good size compressor but no longer. So if I need to continue with the CAT sprayer I will need to go shopping for a compressor. But I'm wondering if the newer 4 or maybe 5 stage turbine would be any better these days.

Right now I am mostly spraying pre-cat/CV/CAB lacquer. I don't do this every day, and usually small jobs. What do you use to spray onsite and why?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor J:
Turbine with Accuspray 10 gun. Portable.

From contributor A:
Accuspray is what I started with. I bought a Graco pro comp 3800 3 stage. Graco products work really good.

From contributor D:
For smaller jobs I use a 4 stage turbine with an Accuspray 10GP. For large jobs I go with a compressor and a Merkur AAA.

From contributor R:
How big is the project? I do lots of raised panels, library, 8' doors and trim. Finally succumbed to the Kremlin 10-14 and 20 gallon compressor on wheels. Best investment for onsite work. But will only work in the summer months when I can properly ventilate. I still use solvent lacquers. MLC and ICA.

From the original questioner:
So far most of you are using turbines. How hot does the air get from your turbine? And does it make any difference in your product? I was told that the hot air dries solvent base material very fast and somewhat getting dry spray. I had this problem before using my turbine sprayer in summer months.

Most jobs I do right now are just small stuff. Painting crown molding, fixing cabinets and paint, touchup, and some built-ins. But I'd like to be able to do a full kitchen paint job. (We are getting a fair amount of calls from people that want their cabinets repainted.) We are not set up for that. Also maybe set up a spray booth at home for other projects.

From contributor T:
I'm sure aaa is the best way to go, but a four stage turbine will handle any size job. Use a pressure pot for better control and to reduce fatigue; and if dry spray might be a problem, use two sections of hose to dissipate heat. I use a Fuji 4 stage and Fuji gun with a CAT 2 quart pot on site and compressor pot and gravity guns in shop. I plan to buy a portable aaa rig in the not too distant future, but it's hard to beat the portability of a turbine.

From contributor M:
Even for small jobs I use my Kremlin 10-14 on site. My main concern when on site is overspray, and in my experience AAA by far is the best at managing this issue. AAA is worth every penny.

From the original questioner:
I have looked at a AAA system, but they are expensive and I think it might be a little too much for what I do right now.

But what about cleanup? Having to clean the fluid hose? Can you really go from primer to paint to stain to top coat without worrying about contamination?

Maybe if my career changes to full time finisher, I will look into it. But right now I want to keep the compressor style spray gun. I am also looking into the ASTURO 5008 WB with PPS cup. I was told that it uses very low cfm but gives really good finish. Anyone worked with that gun?

From contributor T:
I have an Apollo 1050vr with the atomizer gun, which is a 5 stage turbine that is adjustable in psi and also supposedly self-adjusts to the barometric pressure (I am up in the Colorado mountains and I thought it may make a difference). I really like the gun and how it lays different materials down. Limited overspray.

I also use the "third hand system" to build a spray booth on site. I have 6 poles for when I am working in large and oddly shaped areas. When building my booth, I try to have an fresh air opening/intake near a window on one side of the room and then on the other side I will have my exhaust fan with a tube going out the door. I do not like my exhaust fan and I am looking for a different model that is not so heavy and has a larger intake. Does anybody have suggestions for a new exhaust fan?

From contributor J:
Of you who have or have used both turbine and AAA, which has the least overspray?

From contributor M:
I bought the Asturo 5008wb gun when I first started finishing. I can easily run it off an 8cfm @40 psi compressor. Although the compressor will get a workout if the gun is wide open for a long period of time, I've never had to stop and wait for it to catch up. It's a nice gun for the money and atomizes good enough that anything the gun won't do I can adjust for chemically, if that makes sense. I would not, however, buy the gun again because of the limited range of tip sizes. I believe the smallest NN size available for that gun is a 1.3 which for my preference is too large for spraying dyes. You can if you have to, but it ends up very mottled. I also prefer a smaller tip for shellac. So I ended up having to buy another gun to meet those needs.

From contributor D:
Depending on the gun you have, the overspray will be different. The amount of overspray from the AAA versus the Accuspray turbine gun is not that great and would not be the deciding factor. The factor that would make the decision is how much product I would spray per hour and what I was spraying. If you are spraying an amount that ranges from cups to a gallon a day, then maybe a turbine would be the way to go. If you need to switch out colors or products in smaller quantities, the turbine and PPS would work well. However, if you are spraying a gallon to gallons a day, the AAA or an airless is going to be better for you.

If you spray heavy paints and thick primers, the turbine is going to require a bit of reduction and additional tips and caps as will an AAA. In that situation I would buy an airless as you can get tips to change out and you would not need the compressor plus they will spray thicker coatings. But they have less control and need to have better technique to not get runs and sags, especially inside of cabinets.

No one type of unit is universally better at everything. You need to match what you are doing and the product you are spraying to the best type of unit for that product.

From contributor G:
Titan Capspray 5 stage - perfectly portable.