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Earlex 6000 Series HVLP SprayPort - Tool Review

by Jeffrey Fleisher
New Market, VA

Click on any picture to see a larger version.

The Earlex 6000 Series HVLP SprayPort with Pro-8 Spray Gun is perfect for the serious amateur woodworker or small professional shop. It is an extremely portable system that provides high performance and is easy to use. Best of all, it provides professional, quality results.

Earlex Inc. is a worldwide company providing a wide range of finishing and refinishing products from paint sprayers to wallpaper strippers. Earlex's U.S. Headquarters is based in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Earlex 6000 Series HVLP SprayPort system is driven by a 1200 watt motor and is available in either a 2-stage or a 3-stage configuration.

The term 'stage' refers to the number of fans inside the turbine, which provides the air flow and pressure to the gun. A 2-stage turbine will have 2 fans whereas a 3-stage turbine will have 3 fans. A 2-stage turbine is suitable for spraying thin to medium finishes, while a 3-stage turbine provides a higher air flow for improved atomization of thicker coatings, such as water-based finishes and diluted latex paints. A 3-stage turbine is also built to maintain a longer run time than the 2-stage turbine. The Earlex SprayPort model 6002 is the 2-stage system while the model 6003 is their 3-stage system.

The SprayPort comes with what Earlex calls their 'HyperFlex hose' which is an extremely lightweight and flexible hose. This hose is very nice because it reduces the chance of kinks or tangles when spraying into tight corners. You can spray yourself into some strange body and arm positions when spray finishing and this flexible hose doesn't get in your way while moving the gun in all directions. Finally, I've stepped onto the hose more than once so I can say it passes my 'informal stress test' and is rugged as well as flexible!

You have an option for the type of Pro-8 non-bleeder spray gun that you can use with the turbine. The Pro-8 is available as a pressurized cup gun or as a top cup, gravity-fed gun.

I used the pressurized cup gun for this review. Both guns are pressurized from the turbine to assist with material feed into the gun. You can see in the pictures, the small plastic tubing that runs from the gun to the cup in order to pressurize the cup. The guns come with a 1.3mm needle/fluid tip and mating air cap which is fine for thin to medium viscosity finishes. The 3-stage, model 6003, system includes an additional 2.5mm needle nozzle kit for the gun. The 2.5mm needle is used when spraying thicker viscosity liquids such as latex paint. I use the 1.3mm needle when spraying water based 'lacquer' finishes and get excellent results. In addition, optional needle kits are available to cover a broad range of finish viscosity.

I mentioned that these are non-bleeder spray guns. This means that the air flow is stopped when the trigger is released. For consistent fluid atomization, the two-stage trigger mechanism allows airflow into the gun before mixing in the fluid. There are two controls on the gun, one for controlling the fluid volume and the second to control the width of the spray pattern (fan). The air flow from the turbine is constant and cannot be adjusted.

One nice little feature is the gun support that rotates in and out on the side of the body of the turbine.

This little hook can rotate into the body of the turbine when it's not needed and then pulled out to provide a place to rest the gun when not in use. It is a nice little feature because resting the gun on a table can become awkward with the hose attached, and it prevents the gun from tipping even without the hose attached.

So, how does the SprayPort 6000 work in practice? The turbine is a little loud but I think that is true of many of the HVLP systems that I've seen. The good part is that the system puts down a nice surface. I have used the 6000 with water-based pigmented lacquer to 'paint' some display cabinets and the surface was perfect, with very little need for any type of rub-out after the final coat.

As a side note, surface preparation is the key to any successful finished surface. Make sure you remove all glue squeeze out and sand and prepare the surface for finishing. You can refer to my article in the October 2012 issue of this newsletter on a technique called trace-coating. This technique improves your sanding skills and helps to remove all surface blemishes prior to applying any coloring or top coats.

For this review, I used some water-based pigmented lacquer to shoot some different patterns onto a large piece of cardboard. This should give you a feel for the range of fan patterns you can get from the gun:

When the fan control is completely turned clockwise you get a small circle pattern. The circle is about 1-1/2" in diameter with a very opaque center and then feathered out to the edges. Then, as you rotate the fan control counter clockwise, the pattern slowly flattens and broadens out. The very top line shows a slight increasing of the pattern width followed by the bottom two rows. All spray patterns were very uniform and consistent. Obviously, as you broaden out the fan pattern, you may have to use the liquid flow rate control to increase the amount of fluid being sprayed. Finally, you can rotate the gun nozzle 90-degrees to change the fan pattern from vertical, as in the photograph, to horizontal.

If you are a serious amateur woodworker or a small professional shop then the Earlex SprayPort 6000 HVLP system would be perfect for you. This is especially true if you do not already own a large compressor or do not have the room for one in your shop. I would recommend the Model 6003 because of the broader range of liquids that you can use and it will let you grow into the system in the long run, especially as you spray more and more water-based finishes, which tend to be a little thicker.

CLICK HERE to find out more about the
Earlex 6000 Series HVLP SprayPort

Jeffrey Fleisher has been a woodworker for approximately 20 years and a professional woodworker for the past 6 years. He is the president of his local woodturning club, the Woodturners of the Virginias and past president of the Northern Virginia Carvers. You can see some of the furniture he has made at www.jeffswooddesigns.com. He can be reached by email at furnmkr@gmail.com.

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