If you are learning how to paint your car using an air compressor, then you probably need to learn a few facts about them first. Air compressors are a type of gas compressor that increases the pressure of a gas by reducing the volume.
It can be compared with pumps as well. They both increase the pressure of the liquid to transport it through a pipe. As gases are compressible, then they reduce the gas volume as well. Choosing what way your car should be painted is a complicated one.
You can always follow your instincts while choosing equipment for your car, but discussing with a car professional won’t hurt. One should be fully prepared to paint a car with the specific air compressor chosen for the job.
You might want more information on air compressors, what size you need, what CFM it should have etc. Continue reading to find out more about air compressors:
Choosing an air compressor for car paint
To paint a car, you need to find a proper air compressor. When you are choosing a car’s air compressor, you have to keep certain factors in mind; those factors play a huge role when you are going to get yourself an air compressor for the car painting.
Your car paint is an essential part of your vehicle’s exterior. So, focus on the factors while choosing one, some of them are:
Air compressor CFM
To paint your car, you need an air spray gun/air compressor to create the automation of paint after getting paint injected in. The breakup of paint leads to spray paint on the car. It will cover more area faster than regular car paint methods as well.
The volume of an air compressor is referred to as CFM here. For a quality air compressor gun, you may need a certain amount of air pressure, such as 20 CFM, at least. This can affect the finish of the car paint.
For the car paint, you need to deliver a sufficient amount of CFM. To properly provide the required CFM, you will probably need a stage 2 air compressor that can be found in hardware stores easily.
It has five horsepower per air compressor to properly deliver the paint on the car’s surface in time. The compressor type can be suggested on its CFMA type and size, as well. There are two types of stage 2 compressors:
- Rotatory screw air compressors
- Reciprocating air compressors
The rotatory screw air compressors are low maintenance air compressors. That means they are also not that efficient as compared to the reciprocating ones; they would require oil, oil filter, and separators to do the job.
The reciprocating ones cost more, non-lubricating, and higher horsepower. So basically, to find out which air compressor you need, you will probably visit the hardware store and test out both the air compressors. The one that will suit you the best you can get it for your car painting purposes. The reciprocating one is obviously the best option.
If you think that you can work with the rotatory screw air compressor, then you might want to get yourself some other equipment that can help you use it. That will become more expensive and harder for you.
It’s better that you invest one time in something, which will help you in the long run and utilize itself.
Moisture and oil in the air can be affecting the air compressor. This is a potential issue in the functioning of the air compressor. If either of them is in your airline, then expect bad results.
To solve this issue, you need to get yourself a stage 2 or 3 air compressor that is connected to a pipe, and you might think about something more developed and upgraded, such as a refrigerant dryer that can act as an additional but effective part for your air compressor.
Cooling and rewarming of air will be done through it and it will eliminate all moisture and oil from your airline. Causing better functioning for the car paint.
Choosing the right air compressor for the job is really important on the basis of these factors. You have to make sure that it functions as you imagined it to and that it atomized the paint properly and delivers the best results possible.
What size air compressor you need for car painting?
You can paint your car in certain steps that require an air compressor. We have already discussed the factors that are involved in choosing one.
Consider a small-sized tank for an air compressor. You will find out that it doesn’t have enough CFM to paint an entire car in one go.
Your air compressor will struggle and fail. If you still want to use a small air tank, then do your car paint in parts. Don’t cover the whole car at once. People that have a whole lot of experience in painting cars know the tricks to use a small air compressor.
They know that even if you cover the whole car at once, you can be focused enough to feel if the air pressure dropped and adjust it accordingly along the way.
But as it’s already known, it still will have a lot of cons attached to it, such as condensation issues. A smaller tank gets hot really quickly, creates water, and leaks it because of constant usage.
When you are painting, and you have an air compressor with a tank that is 15-20 gallons. To be safe, you will have to drain it all out after every 2-3 passes. That is a hefty job, but you have to cope up if you want to use a small tank. To be cautious enough, you can also leave it cracked a bit to let the water drain out automatically after building up.
About 10-15 feet from your tank, there should be an inline water separator as well. One should also be present at the top of the neck of your spray gun. It’s a good investment for small air compressors.
Basically, a small-sized tank is not recommended if you’re painting your car at home all by yourself. You can always use a small-sized tank to paint your car, but it has its disadvantages, as discussed above.
You may overrun with problems on the clear coat stage. When you are laying clear on the car, you would like to spray it all at once. Waiting in between the spraying is highly unappreciated because you can ruin the paint with patchiness caused by irregular spraying.
Your car will have distinguished marks. There is a certain time frame when you are using a small tank.
It is basically recommended that you get yourself a large 60 Gal tank with a 5-6 HP compressor. It will be the least of your worries. Obviously, it will cost you more, and it will be heavier to use, but it will have enough CFM to cover the whole car in no time.
With one go, all paint will be covered all over the car and ready for its other steps. You should look for CFM in the range of 15-20 at 90PSI.
After the spray has been done and is fresh, the clear coat can become sticky, and more over spray can be created due to that. This happens when you wait for your tank to refill etc. this is because you are using a small compressor.
What you can avoid is that not focus on the whole car at once, but focus on the bumper first, then the headlights, front fenders, etc. after using the compressor, make sure you sand and buff your car properly to avoid tacky texture and over spray effect.
What you can do is apply two coats of base and two coats of clear coat each. Then after letting those dry out completely, mask all the painted parts. Then a few days later, paint the other parts than the other with days of gaps.
Do the trunk and rear bumper at the end to complete the job in a nice touch. It will take a total of 3 days to paint your car with a small-sized air compressor.
You need an air compressor with whom you can work properly. If you are ready to use the small air compressor due to lighter weight and cost, then carry on with it and focus on how to manage it like stated above.
If you want to go the easy way and invest in something dutiful, then the large-sized 60-gallon air compressor is your best bet.
This pack of information consists of everything you need to know about air compressors, how to choose one, and which size you need to paint a car.
Read and follow the instructions, and you will achieve your goal of painting your car in one go or in a three days period.
It is obviously up to you which size you are going to get yourself, but the recommendations are given.
Go with what you think is the best and also focus on every step and be careful when using an air compressor as it can ruin your perfect finish if not used properly.