Croix Cx

APOLLO 700+: Apollo is the oldest manufacturer of HVLP systems in the United States and offers 11 different models. The "00+ is one of the company's midpriced systems. It's a high-quality two-stage system but lacks an air-volume control knob. I found the gun uncomfortable over long periods because the trigger feels too

_ ____wide. The quick-connect couplings

•An optional Tellon-coatcd cup makes cleanup easy.

finish with such force that it bounces (oversprays) all over you. the work, and the work area.

Because they operate on low pressure, HVLP systems are typically two to three times more efficient than compressed-air spray systems, and that saves money. When General Motors switched one of its plants to HVLP, it saved enough in four days to cover the $60,000 cost of the conversion.

This high efficiency also reduces air pollution and makes many spraying jobs easier. You can spray inside a cabinet, for instance, without having the finish bounce back into your face. And when you combine an HVLP system with one of the new water-based finishes. you don't have to worry about fumes as you would when spraying with solvent-based lacquer.

For this article, 1 tested 11 HVU> systems with pricc tags of less than $1,200. I tried to select a range of sprayers that would satisfy the needs (and budgets) of most small-shop finishers— from the basement hobbyist to the full-time professional.

How an HVLP System Works

'l"hc first HVLP systems were developed in the 1920s as accessories for high-priced vacuum cleaners, and even today many of the sprayers aren't

Accuspray 23i features a three-stage turbine that is relatively quiet. The spray gun and the air cap arc lightweight plastic-composite material. 'Hie gun has separate knobs for controlling pattern and material flow, making it very similar to guns for conventional compressed-air systems.

much larger than a shop vacuum. At the heart of the sprayer is a turbine delivering warm (about 135" to 145<5F). dry, clean air at pressures of 2 to It) pounds per square inch (PSI) and volumes of 50 to 200 cubic feet per minute (CFM). Compressed-air systems. by contrast, operate at 20 to 65 PSI and 4 to 7 CFM.

Since the turbines move air constantly, HVLP systems don't need the bulky storage tanks found on compres-

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