I highly recommend that printmakers who are currently using roller coating methods consider the BreathingColor + Earlex sprayer combination.
- The “Timeless” gloss print veneer goes on at a very good rate with the 1.5m tip on my test prints. I’ve coated canvas, textured fine art, metallic and lustre substrates. Each substrate behaves differently on the first coat, you just can’t rush to blob on more because it appears thin in any one area. I’ve had mixed results on the metallic using the 1.0 tip, I need to test further to make sure that it isn’t just the reaction of the veneer atop the substrate itself. But beautiful results on the fine art paper, canvas and lustre. I’ve run the sample prints by several colleagues and they are impressed too.
- My cheesy home made spray booth works pretty well. I tested the concept and added a blower to accelerate drying, and even a small heater. With prints it’s not a good idea to have dust blowing all over the freshly coated surface so ideally you have more patience, keep that print area contained and let it air dry. The heater helps.
- One pleasant feature is that I’ve noticed I am not seeing clogging at any point. I’m not emptying out the paint cup and washing after every use; I’m spraying a few prints, then letting them dry and respraying. When I’m done I just shut off the unit. Perhaps it is just a characteristic of the veneer, but this is a good thing because for what I’m doing I’d rather just keep it loaded, and clean it up every few days. When I pull the tip out, I do see some measure of greenish-looking tint around the middle section of the brass tip. Not sure what the long term impact of that is. Earlex clearly says you should clean your spray gun after each use…
- I’m very happy with the performance of the sprayer and the 1.5m tip, and the coating from BreathingColor. I will be trying other coatings as well, but I think this is an excellent performing yet reasonably priced solution for the fine art printmaker whose print volume is like mine, maybe 25-30 a week.
BreathingColor: Timeless Laminate http://www.breathingcolor.com/action/bc_shop/160/ $89.95 /gallon; for a large print you may use one ounce after 3 coatings
Earlex HV3000 Spray Station HVLP Paint Sprayer, Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Earlex-HV3000-Spray-Station-Sprayer/dp/B000E24CDA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1287756870&sr=8-1 $140; make sure you also buy the additional fine finish tip http://www.amazon.com/Earlex-HVACC15USR-Fine-Finish-Needle/dp/B003ES42GI/ref=acc_glance_hi_ai_BST_t_2 $24
Spray booth made from Canon shipping container, a piece of self-adhesive foamcore for a roof extension, and a mattress shipping bag as a curtain. I’ve since cut a slit down the front middle for easy access.
Print hung before spraying on fine art paper (matte surface). I wanted to have a photo of me spraying the print, but that would have meant risking a lens coating I wasn’t quite ready to deal with. I think I’ll try doing that with a underwater housing, then I can do movies and just wash the housing off with a hose.
Print after spraying two coats. It’s gorgeous, keeps the characteristics of the paper texture but adds gloss. My next testing will be with the BreathingColor “matte” coating. I expect it to perform well.