Marc – On today’s show I’m
going to give you some tips for buying one of these, and HVLP turbine sprayer. And the Wood Whisperer now
features 50% less thyroid. – [Voiceover] Hit it! (upbeat music) – So I don’t want to go too
far on a personal tangent, but I did just have surgery, had half of my thyroid removed. Maybe TMI, but there was a growth there. It turned out to be benign, but it was causing me
issues, and it had to go. So I’m healing up from that,
got a nice, sweet scar. Chicks dig scars, right? So there’s that. All right, let’s get to our email. Brian Prusa wrote in to ask, “I’m buying a new spray system. “Should I save up to buy a FUJI Q5, “or do you think an Earlex or
Rockler turbine will suffice? “it’s quite a large price difference!” Well, I happen to know a little
something about turbines, and I’ve got a few right here. But first, it’s disclosure time. Well, as you can see, I’m
pretty much a Fuji man. I’ve tried a lot of different
systems over the years. Fuji is one of my favorites. I’ve been lucky enough to establish a working relationship with them. But I’m not here to
sell you a Fuji turbine. There are a lot of good
brands on the market. You should look into them all. You’ll find that there’s
quite a few similarities in the higher grade turbine systems. What I show you here you might find applicable to other brands as well. Brian asked pretty much
about the top of the line, and sort of what would be the
bottom of the line, I suppose, and what the differences are. So let’s go through, because we kind of run the gamut here. When it’s all said and done,
you’ll have the terminology and all the tools you need
to look at these things and decide which unit is right for you. Let’s get to that terminology. HVLP, most of you probably know this. It stands for high volume low pressure. The idea is, lots of liquid coming out but not a lot of air. That limits the amount
of overspray and waste, so it makes it a much
more efficient process when it’s high volume low pressure. So, what’s a turbine? Well, you’re looking at one. Basically it’s a simple
box that contains a fan. That fan blows air out into a hose, which connects to a gun, and that’s what sprays the liquid. The advantage of these things is that they’re super portable,
easy to move around, and it’s a fully self-contained system. You might have heard the term stages with reference to turbine. That’s really a reflection of the power. Now, I don’t have everyone here, but I’ve got a single stage, a 3-stage, 4-stage, and a 5-stage. The more stages, the more power. Stages really are nothing more than the number of fans inside. So a single stage will have one fan. 5-stage has five fans, and that just pushes more air out, and it makes it a more powerful unit. Now a final term is viscosity. This little guy here that
comes with the turbine system is called a viscosity cup. The idea with viscosity is it’s the thickness of the material. So is it like pancake batter, or is it like orange juice? You basically pick up a
certain amount of your finish. Obviously this is just water. The idea is you have certain time ratings for how long it takes it
to lose all of that liquid, and the thicker it is,
the longer it takes. Most manufacturers will
give you guidelines to say, dilute your finish
until it can run through the viscosity cup in this
particular amount of time. That’s how you gauge whether or not the unit will be able to atomize the finish you have on hand. Some finishes are just too darn thick, or the unit is not
powerful enough to push it. A thick latex paint, for instance, is going to have a whole lot of trouble in the lower powered units, but not as much trouble
on the higher powered. You might be able to dilute it to work on the lower power. You may not have to
dilute as much, if at all, if you’ve got a higher powered unit. Let’s talk pricing. This is pretty much an entry-level unit, sold by Rockler. You can find this also, very similar one, looks exactly the same, at Harbor Freight. It’s going to be about $115 to $149. A lot of times you can
get it on sale for $99. Single-stage unit, lots of plastic here, so this is not going to be the most durable thing in the world. But it can get the job done, especially if you’re just doing
clear finishes and stains. Now a 2-stage unit is
probably going to run around $300 to $400, and a 3-stage unit like this Fuji Q3 is going to be about $600 to $900. A 4-stage unit is going
to be at least $1,000. And a 5-stage unit also
starting at around $1,000, but most going up and approaching $2,000 Well, how do you know which one to buy? Well, it depends on two primary things. Number one, ask yourself,
what are you spraying? If you do mostly clear
finishes and stains, all you really need is
a single-stage unit. But these tend to not be built as well. You might not get as good results just because of the build quality. So people like to go a little bit higher. But I really don’t think you need to go much higher than a
3-stage to get good results with simple, standard
woodworking finishes like this. If you’re going to spray
latex occasionally, I would say get at least the 3 stage. If you’re going to spray latex a lot, you want to look at your
4- and your 5-stage units, depending on how much you’re
going to wind up doing. But you really need that extra power to push a thick-bodied finish and atomize it properly out of the gun. Now the second question to ask yourself is how often will you be spraying? If you’re a weekend warrior
and maybe you’re spraying every couple of weeks to
every couple of months, a system like this, the
Rockler or the Harbor Freight, will probably be just fine. But, if you’re on the road, you’re throwing this thing
into the back of a truck, maybe you have employees and you’re in some commercial setting, you really need a more powerful and a more durable system. Now what we’re talking about here is overall build quality, which does get better as you go to those higher-stage units. Let’s look at some of the
details in the equipment. Now let’s start off by taking a look at the Rockler gun. All right, it’s capable. But clearly it’s all plastic. You’ve got some metal parts here, but the majority is a rigid plastic. You’ve got a flow
control knob on the back. That’s pretty standard. You’ve got the ability to
adjust the fan orientation, so vertical to horizontal,
or something in between. But that’s really about
it for the adjustments. Your needle and cap set is in here. That’s of course
interchangeable with other sets. And you have a plastic canister. Now I don’t really like that. Plastic tends to not be
the most durable material. I really prefer metal. I also don’t really like the threads. If you get a lot of
gooped up finish on there that can sometimes create problems in putting the unit
back together like this. The other thing is you have your air hose coming in at the top above your hand. Sometimes people like that. Sometimes they don’t. It could be uncomfortable, and
you also might have trouble accessing the flow control knob here when there’s a hose right above it. Comfort-wise, not too bad, considering what it’s made out of. You do have to think about that, because you’ll be holding this thing for long periods of time. Now as a bit of a contrast, let’s take a look at Fuji’s gun. This is a fairly high end unit here. Lots of metal, looks really well made. Of course we’ve got a
simple flow control knob, very similar to the other gun, and also the ability to change the orientation of the fan. But we have an additional setting here. This little knob allows
us to change the pattern. Whether you go from a wide pattern that sprays very wide,
or something very narrow to get into tight places, you’ve got that control right here. Stainless steel, metal cup, metal parts for this little
siphon dealy-whacker. Of course, Fuji has some
other things you could buy, like filters and things
you can put on there. Clearly a much more durable unit. Another thing is, your hose
is connecting at the bottom. I mentioned before having
the hose go over your hand blocks that flow control knob. We don’t have that problem here. The hose is going to connect right at the bottom of your hand. Now when it comes to the hoses, the differences are pretty substantial between the inexpensive
units and the pricier units. You can see with the Fuji hose we’ve got a nice, rubber, durable hose, really nice quality connections, and some cool add-ons that
you can put on the hose that make it a little bit
more durable and usable. You can run this over with your truck, it’s going to be fine. We also have an extra regulator for even more control over the air flow. Just a simple plastic
hose on the Rockler unit. Nothing wrong with that, but it might not necessarily stand up to
the abuse of a job site. Now the final thing to
consider is something that affects your versatility, and that’s the variety of
needle and cap sets available. Cheaper ones generally have one or two, and the more pricey units will have a whole range of sizes that allows you to spray all kinds of finishes, so you can have them on hand. Just depending on the thickness, or the type of stuff you’re spraying, you could swap these out and
have the best spray possible. So what’s the conclusion? Well, if you’re spraying
clear finishes and stains and you’re not spraying all that often, go with a 1-stage unit. They’re pretty handy,
they’re very inexpensive, and it gets the job done. But if you’re going to spray quite often and you’re still sticking with those clear finishes and stains, consider a 2-stage unit. Now if you want to get a little bit into latex paint for the occasional spray, at least 3-stage. You can certainly go higher, but you can probably get away with 3-stage for a lot of those latex paints. But some of them are
going to be very thick. The more you dilute the latex paint, you’re kind of screwing
with the chemistry, and you’re probably going to want to use an additive, a thinning additive, instead of just water. So if you’re going to have to deal with all that stuff a lot, and you really know you’re going to be spraying latex a lot, you’ve got to go up to that 4- or 5-stage, because that’s going to let you spray those thicker finishes without having to dilute them so far, and you get better quality out of it. If budget just isn’t an issue, I would say go about 4-stage. You’re going to cover your bases. I think only pros who are really going to beat the crap out of these things and use them constantly
will need a 5-stage unit. All right, so, it’s a little anticlimactic to talk about spraying and
not really do any spraying. But I don’t want to do a full run-off test on all of these units. So let’s grab some paint just for fun, because that’s really the test that hurts these things, right? Let’s see how the Rockler unit does, and then I want to test that Fuji Q5 because it’s super powerful and probably could shoot
a hole through the wall. We’ll just put a couple
of scoops in the cup, and believe it or not, this is the color we let my son paint his room. It is awful. Now as I mentioned before, you really want to use something called Floetrol for this, but for this fun little experiment water will do fine. Generally 5-10% is a good dilution. You don’t want to go too
much higher than that. But, you know, for thicker bodied stuff you may need to go a little bit higher. We’ll see how we do. Let’s get this guy set up. My buddy Ron actually was doing an install at one point and asked me for some help. This is the unit he had, and he had to spray a bunch
of cabinets with this, I think we were just doing a white primer and then white paint. He swears by it. For the price and what you can do with it, he loves it. We got all these cabinets sprayed down, and it was effective. It got the job done. Now let’s plug it in,
get our hose connected. Now we can certainly
mess with the dilution a little bit more. We can mess with the settings,
the needle and cap set. But you can see it’s very
a orange-peely finish, kind of blotchy. What that means is it’s spitting out large chunks of paint, as opposed to atomizing it evenly into
a nice spray pattern. So that’s not ideal,
but not too unexpected for what this unit is. Now for the Fuji. I’m not going to dilute this at all. This thing is a 5-stage. It thinks it’s all that. Let’s see what it can do. Now the Fuji has a lot
more settings to dial in, and obviously I’m kind
of rushing through this. You could spend quite a bit of time getting the perfect settings for that. But even with no dilution, the orange peel factor is better. There’s still a little bit here, but this is definitely getting closer. So with a minor amount of dilution, this particular paint, and maybe a little bit more fine tuning, we could probably get a killer finish. But the gun certainly had no
problem pushing this through. Well, not too bad. That’s what five stages does for you. Now, look, I realize that was a completely unfair comparison. We’re talking a high end unit and an entry level unit. Of course one is going to
do better than the other. But that’s the easiest way to show you something like this, because if we look at each individual one it’s shades of gray, or shades of orange, as you go up in quality, right? So this is a good way to show you how a higher powered unit
is much more forgiving. For me, I’m not really that patient to get all the settings just perfect and my dilution just perfect. I like a more powerful unit because it’s much more forgiving for someone who’s a little bit lazy in how they change and
tweak their settings. Whatever one you choose,
just get into spraying. I really think it’s a great way to go. Nothing wrong with a hand-applied finish. But once you get into the spraying game, it’s kind of hard to turn your back on it. All right? Thanks for watching, everybody. Be sure to hit Subscribe and Like, and all that fun stuff that we do. Thanks for watching. See you later. (light upbeat music) Oh, you’re still here? Well, thanks for watching
to the bitter end, and here’s your little prize. You have a chance to win this HLP turbine from Rockler. I really don’t need it, and I only bought it to do this episode. So I’m going to clean out
this garish orange paint and send it to someone who leaves a comment in the section below that says, I don’t know, “It’s not a Fuji, but it’ll do.” If you leave that commend,
I will message you, let’s say a week after this video releases we’ll pick one winner,
and you’ll get this unit. Pretty cool stuff. Thanks for watching, catch you next time.