Welcome To Signs101.com: Largest Forum for Signmaking Professionals

Signs101.com: Largest Forum for Signmaking Professionals is the LARGEST online community & discussion forum for professional sign-makers and graphic designers.


  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Question Paint Gun Set Up For Matthews

Discussion in 'Tips & Tricks' started by dcfab2018, Mar 9, 2019.

  1. dcfab2018

    dcfab2018 New Member

    Nov 27, 2018
    Let me preface this by saying, I am NOT a painter. I have a small sign shop and we build primarily lighted and architectural sign cabinets. I've got a couple of older Sata RP guns that helped get me going. But I feel it's time to get a new gun. Every painter I talk to has a different opinion on what to get and I just don't know. We exclusively use the Matthews Satin Conventional system and I'm wondering what you guys suggest. Anything from brand, to set up etc.
  2. equippaint

    equippaint Very Active Member

    Oct 10, 2014
    Bang for the buck, I buy devilbiss finish line guns for our painters and use 1.3 (maybe 1.4?) for urethane paint and 1.8 for epoxy primer. Theyre about $225.
    We also have a few pressure fed flg4s for a pressure pot, 1.4, 1.8 and 2.2 which I dont like as much. JGA conventionals with a 777 air cap are our go to for pressure fed.
  3. visual800

    visual800 Very Active Member

    Aug 4, 2010
    montgomery, alabama
    start out with the "purple guns" from the harbor freight. There is nothing wrong with these guns, as long as I have sprayed paint they function well and last if you know how to clean them. I do try and get conventional as I am not a fan of HVLP but thats my preference. Graco also make some good GF guns great price
  4. spectrum maine

    spectrum maine Member

    Nov 1, 2012
    biddeford, maine
    i use a lex aire hvlp, no compressor needed. very little overspray. delivers warm dry air which helps kick the paint faster. you have to slow down arm speed but its easy if you never painted conventionally. saves a lot on product usage. i painted an entire car w/ 2 quarts of matthews. a conventional gun would use a gallon.

    BALLPARK Member

    Dec 5, 2008
    Radford, VA
    Good thread... looking forward to seeing responses from those working with them first hand.

    We were looking into purchasing a UV dryer for our ACM art prints. But I was hoping that we could spray the the prints vs. the liquid protector / dryer equipment belt fed options on some prints. We would prefer to have options for spray and to use on the belt fed dryer systems, when possible.

    Do any of you currently use a paint gun setup to spray a liquid protector onto ACM or PVC uv based prints?

    If so, I would love to talk more about this and the options for gloss to luster like finishes for the ACM mainly. I really enjoy printing on ACM with our UV printer and we currently use rollers to add a liquid protector. Never thrilled with the results, so we want to improve the process.

  6. signbrad

    signbrad Member

    Jun 15, 2014
    Kansas City
    I believe a good painter can use a cheap gun or a nice gun. The cheap ones aren't machined as perfectly, settings may not hold as well, and parts may wear out quicker. But they work well enough for the quality of finish required for sign work. In most sign shops the level of quality does not usually equal body shop standards. If I had unlimited funds I would use the gun they used in the Matthews training schools that I have attended: Sata, with a digital readout ($800). You can really feel the difference in the way the gun handles. But the Harbor Freight guns work, too.

    Keeping the guns clean is essential. One Matthews paint instructor told me that if you are not spending at least fifteen minutes cleaning the gun at the end of the day you are not doing a good enough job. Fifteen minutes, really? For many of you, that's enough time to completely break a gun down, clean and lube the parts, and reassemble it. So, is running a half pint of thinner through the gun really adequate as a cleaning routine at quitting time?

    One of the advantages of Matthews Nuance (satin) finishes is that they don't show all your errors as much. At least, not like a high gloss autobody paint does. The paint is forgiving.
    Matthews is a good paint system. It is fast drying and very durable. It is also very flexible. Matthews provides detailed instructions for painting practically any substrate found in a sign shop. Their training manual contains a wealth of information on surface prep and troubleshooting. Matthews color matching resources are unrivaled.
    There is a comprehensive system of undercoats available, including a polyester primer made for HDU that dries quickly and sands beautifully.
    Matthews is backed by the technical expertise and resources of the largest paint company in the world: PPG. Matthews seems to be dedicated to serving the sign industry. That could explain why they bought the One Shot, Chromatic, Spraylat, and GripFlex brands, among others.

    If you use Matthews products you should be eligible for their two-day training schools. Even if you are an experienced painter the training is beneficial and you will learn. Matthews is not like most car paints. For example, it is designed to be applied in two successive medium-heavy coats, rather than the typical body shop practice of applying a light 'tack' coat followed by heavier color coats. Matthews is made for high production work.
    Also, at the school, I learned the "15 Degree" rule for estimating dry times. It's in the manual somewhere if you don't attend the school.

    Most Matthews products call for a 1.4mm fluid tip using an HVLP gun. But I have used tips as big as 2.0mm without repercussions that I know of. But that puts on a lot of paint in a short amount of time, and the paint booth better not be too cold. If the dried film thickness produced by that tip was too much for optimum durability, I never found out (Matthews durability is based on achieving the correct dried film thickness). But it looked good when I was done.

    Paint booth temperature is important for Matthews paint to cure correctly. And you can't just paint something and move it immediately outside into the cold. Catalyzing will die and never recover. At that point, the paint is no better than hardware store paint and you've wasted money using Matthews.

    I know I sound like a Matthews rep. Actually, if they were hiring, I would love to work for them.

    Brad in Kansas City
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • I Appreciate You I Appreciate You x 1
  7. GB2

    GB2 Very Active Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Connecticut, USA
    Once again Brad, I thank you for your thorough contribution to a subject. I always look forward to your response, enjoy reading them and always learn something. I will definitely follow some of your leads on this one.

Share This Page