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A Look at Sata, DeVilbiss, Eastwood, Binks, and Harbor Freight Spray Guns

HOT ROD logo HOT ROD 8/10/2020 John Gilbert
a close up of a device: 01-paint-spray-gun-siphon-hvlp © John Gilbert 01-paint-spray-gun-siphon-hvlp

The advantages of a paint spray gun over using a paint brush or paint roller have been known for many thousands of years. The earliest recorded history of the paint spray gun's evolution is on the walls of the 15,000- to 17,000-year-old paintings in the Lascaux Cave located in southwestern France.

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That said, this fact wasn't known until 1940 when French archaeologist Henri douard Prosper Breuil discovered the Lascaux Cave paintings and somewhere along the timeline the method cavemen, or possibly cavewomen, used to paint the prehistoric art was to spit paint from a straw onto the walls. I learned all of this in 1970 while spending four years attending a two-year post-secondary. During the first year, I took art history at Mount San Antonio College.

From as young as I can remember, I wanted to be a custom painter. My career began in 1960 as an 8-year-old amateur painting an AMT 1/25th scale 1960 Chrysler Imperial candy apple red with a can of Pactra spray paint. From 1960 to 1969 all of my custom painting was done from a spray can with my favorite paints from Schwinn and Cal Custom. In 1970, I graduated from spray cans to using spray guns.

a close up of a device © John Gilbert

This Satajet 3000 is the current big dog of the paint spray guns I'm using in 2020. It's HVLP (high volume, low pressure) and can be used with any type of paint including water-based automotive paints like Auto-Air Colors.

a close up of a device © John Gilbert

I bought this DeVilbiss JGA 502 in 1971, and it was my "big dog" gun until siphon guns were made obsolete by HVLP spray guns.

© John Gilbert

Sometimes priced as low as $15 with a coupon, Harbor Freight's Central Pneumatic HVLP is the Saturday night special of paint spray guns. When it stops working, good. Just throw it away.

© John Gilbert

The Eastwood Evolution HVLP paint gun with its lightweight composite body is the Glock of spray guns. I use a 2.0 tip and the Evolution sprays thick paints like melted butter.

© John Gilbert

I bought this siphon feed DeVilbiss EGA 502 in 1971 to paint Harley-Davidsons. Its small size gets in tight areas like motorcycle frames and uses a minimum of paint. Some people call it a detail gun.

© John Gilbert

This is the HVLP version of the EGA 502. HVLP spray guns use half the paint of a siphon feed gun and consequently do not make nearly as much paint fog (overspray).

a hand holding a glass © John Gilbert

A version of a EGA 502, I couldn't resist buying this Chinese-made DeVilbiss from Sam's Club. The price was cheap, and the DeVilbiss brand name was on the box.

a stack of flyers on a table © John Gilbert

Sometimes car painters call these little detail guns an airbrush. This Sata Minijet 4 is my 21st century little "big dog" for painting small parts and bikes. A clean gun is a gun that works perfectly every time.

a hand holding an object © John Gilbert

Here's something I learned when I first started painting. I store my spray guns with lacquer thinner in the cup.

a group of items on a table © John Gilbert

At left is a pair of Binks Model 37 spray guns. The mangy one with primer on it was my first spray gun. I used three different Binks 37 guns, one for metalflake, one for primer, and one for colors.

a close up of a box © John Gilbert

Not shown are a Binks 62 and a Binks 69. Just like photographers like Canon or Nikon cameras, some painters like to stick to one brand. Someday I'll clean all these spare cups.

a close up of items on a table © John Gilbert

Here's another Eastwood HVLP gun. The key to getting perfect paint results (meaning no boogers in the paint) is to keep the gun clean and looking like new.

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