Different Airless Tips?
Obviously choosing the right tip size for your machine and product is really important as this can reduce the overspray, give you greater control and overall a better finish. If you use an orifice size too big you will get too much paint on the surface & if the hole is too small you will get blockages and no end of problems.
We are focusing on Airless Spray Tips for now
Choosing the right tip depends on a few different factors:
What material are you painting? If you are spraying a thin product such as a stain then you will need a tip with a small orifice size whereas if you are spraying plaster then the orifice size must be much larger to get the product through the tip. Most product data sheets will give you an idea of the orifice size you will need.
What substrate are you painting? Walls, Ceilings, woodwork etc – large or small area? Do you want a smaller more controlled fan to work on architraves or picture rails? Are you working on Spindles? If this was the case you would need a smaller fan size. Are you mist coating a large area or are you spraying a small ceiling? If this was the case then you would need a larger fan size. The wider the fan size the faster you paint larger surfaces and the smaller the fan the more control you can have and less overspray when working on trim especially.
What is the maximum flow rate of your machine? Your machine has a maximum orifice size that it will go up to and this is determined generally by the pump on the machine.
Is my tip worn?? This is a really hard question because it really does depend on what you spray and how often you spray! We always use a new tip when we are spraying final coats on a new project, but that doesn’t mean that we throw the old tip away! We just take a little nick out of the plastic casing and keep it as a spare or for mist/priming coats where it doesn’t matter so much.
All major suppliers sell standard tips for their machines as this is the most common available. It’s important to understand the sizing on the tips and what they mean as this will make a huge difference on site when it comes to choosing which tip you will use.
Most machines come with a 517 tip as standard which for a small residential project is too big really. You need something more controllable that delivers less paint on the surface you are working on.
Using a 517 as an example:
Lets break down the numbers – the 5 is the fan size. This makes this tip a 10″ fan but because the numbers could get huge they decided to make the numbers smaller.
So, take the number and x 2. The 10″ fan is based on you being the required 12″ away from the surface. If you are too close or too far then this fan size will change.
That leaves the 17 – this is the orifice size – 0.17 thousandths of an inch hole that the paint flows through.
You need to look at your machine to see what the maximum orifice size is that it will take.
Low Pressure Tips
It doesn’t seem like all the major manufacturers do these low pressure tips for their machines however the tips will fit all the machines (providing you have the correct tip guard)
The tip sizes work in the same way as the standard tips however we have found that there can be some discrepancies in the fan sizes – some come up smaller and some bigger so it is good to have a range of tip size in your armour at all times.
These tips work differently to the standard tips in that they can work at a much lower pressure and give a softer fan pattern. Some suppliers say up to 50% lower pressure which obviously reduces wear on the tip and the machine so its a win win!! – we have got a 110 Tritech Ultra tip down to 500psi on spindles! This cuts down on overspray massively and is a real game changer for sure.
Tips are as much a preference as the machines – some prefer the Graco FFLP (Fine Finish Low Pressure) tips and some prefer the Tritech Ultra tips – all we would say is try them out for yourself and decide before you make any judgements.
Originally we used the Low Pressure tips for woodwork only but there seems to be a bigger range of sizes on the market now so we tend to use them for walls and ceilings too.
We have had a few comments like: “They are more expensive” – yes they may be but you have to change them a lot less often so comparably they are probably cheaper in the long run!
Heavy Duty Tips
It doesn’t seem like all the major manufacturers do these heavy duty tips either for their machines however as we said before, the tips will fit all the machines (providing you have the correct tip guard)
The tip sizes work in the same way as the standard tips in principle but you would have to test them with different products. Obviously the product being sprayed through these is a lot thicker so the minimum size would be something like 0.23-0.31 orifice size but these tips go up to 0.71 which is massive!!!!
These tips are generally for spraying block fillers, fire-retardants, mastics, epoxies, ashphalt or silicate/mineral products.
We are often asked if the imported unbranded tips are ok to use.!? – The answer is that it is up to you really however you need to note that these tips are either not pressure rated at all OR they are not pressure rated to our standards.! In the UK the requirements are for all products to be pressure tested to 4 x their maximum expected pressure! This means that a tip would be pressure tested up to around 12,000 psi before its deemed ok to use. I am sure Graco do exactly the same but we know that Tritech test EVERY single tip to the 4 x pressure before they send them out. – Would you want a problem with a tip when using a machine at 3000psi and over?