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Painting is my weakest skill (mostly because I don't do it enough) and the only discipline that could prevent me from claiming the build to be completely mine.  Ultimately I probably will decide to have the body painted by a professional but right now I'm leaning in the direction of doing it myself.    To get off on the right foot I decided to upgrade my compressor, purchase a new HVLP gun and design/build a temporary paint booth.    

Old Compressor:  My original compressor was a 5HP 240V single stage Magna Force with a 20 gallon tank.   It displaced 6-8 CFM.  This was fine for painting with a conventional gun but it would fall short for an HVLP gun.  It was clear that this little guy would not keep up with  the demands of my pressurized sand blaster or new HVLP gun.  Equally important, I had to come up with a  better moisture/particle removal system. 
New Compressor: Since I don't have a 427 engine I decided to spend the extra money and get a "427" compressor.  I narrowed it down to the BelAire or Ranger... and would have been happy with either.  I choose the Ranger Tri-Max.   The Ranger tilts the scales at 650 lbs and pulls enough current to dent the hydro bill  - (30amps at 240 V with its 7.5 HP motor).   It has a 2-stage 3-cylinder pump  that produces 25CFM at 90 PSI.   Since my compressor requires a 240V 30A circuit and I really needed a few 120V 20A outlets and a few 240V 20A outlets, I ran a sub- panel to the garage to supply all my needs.        
Filtration:  A little harder to see is the air filtration system.  Basically the air comes in low and is forced up to "naturally" drop moisture into bleeder traps.   The air is split into two lines.   One line is for painting....it is regulated and uses a membrane  filter/dryer and a coalescent filter.   The other line is for air tools that require lubrication.... this line is also filtered and regulated but also includes an inline oiler.  Keep in mind that water is "created"  when the hot air from the tank condenses as it passes through the air line in your "cooler" shop.  Since the intent is to remove all the "potential" water from the compressed air you should try to have 20+ feet of air line between the tank and the filter system.  This extra line will go a long way to helping condensation occur.    
Booth:  There was no way I would paint in the garage unless I found a way to protect all the other garage toys from over-spray.    My friend (Alan) offered to loan me a temporary booth that he constructed using a light wooden frame but the hassle of getting it to my garage seemed to outweigh the savings.   As you can see I decided to use 1" PVC to construct the frame.   I wrapped this with clear 15 mil poly and taped the seams with duct tape.   The room is 18'x 8'x 7'.  The 7' height keeps the structure below the garage doors so that they can open/close.   Also - to facilitate easy disassembly I did not glue the joints.  


Booth:  To hold small parts, I tacked a few 3/4" steel tubes together to span the width of the booth.  You can see parts hanging near the back.   And yes.... I used two engine stands to allow frame rotation and ultimately facilitate painting.   Better pictures of this can be found in the Rotisserie section.  
Ventilation:  I knew that I would require ventilation to help the paint dry and most importantly to keep me alive.  I made a "filter box" out of plywood that holds two 16"x20" furnace filters.   I mounted the box to the outside lower front corner of the booth and attached an old blower (my dad gave me) to the other side of the box.   I vented the blower to the outside of the garage.  I don't know where this blower came from but when it was running it created a nice negative pressure (vacuum) within my paint room.  I went through eight cheap filters painting the frame and components.  Clearly there is no substitute for multiple large, specialized  filters but for me this system worked great.  


1. Air Fittings:  A really low cost way to get higher volumes of air to your tools is to replace all your 1/4" air fittings with 3/8" fittings.   This is absolutely mandatory for sand blasting or HVLP.

2. Air Bleeding:  If you think you might forget to bled your air system on a regular basis (which will lead to corrosion), you can easily install a few automatic purge valves.  Once installed the frequency and duration of opening can be set.   These can be found at most specialized air/hydraulic/plumbing stores.  

I can be reached directly at the Legacy Garage at:  klegacy@comcast.net (SR71 on FFCobra.com)
Last modified: Sept 1, 2009