4. Change tips when using driven machines. When using a Line Driver or Lazy Liner, consider using a tip with a narrow pattern. Graco's Mike McGowan says that with a narrow pattern tip you can raise the gun an additional 2 to 3 in. and still get the 4-in.-wide lines you need.
5. Match the filter to the tip you are using. All airless machines have an in-line filter, which needs to be matched to the tip size. Basile says a 3-15 tip has a small opening that can be blocked by a tiny particle of dried paint or trash. "Always use a filter with at least 100 openings per inch (a 100 mesh filter) when you use a small tip like a 3-15," Basile says. "When you use a tip with a large opening like a 3-21 or 3-23, you can use a coarser filter like a 60 mesh, which will not need to be cleaned as often as a fine mesh filter.
"We keep our spare filters in the tip bucket so they are always handy."
6. Take steps to avoid clogged tips. Tip clogging is often blamed on dirty paint or bad tips. But Steve Trowbridge, Titan Tool director of product development, says that more often than not the problem is caused by a dried skin of paint on the inside surface of the hose. The dried film breaks free during use and those particles are what cause the tip clogs.
A good way to prevent this is to add a simple extra step to your normal procedure: If you leave paint in your machine overnight, the first thing you need to do at the beginning of each work day is crank the machine and raise the operating pressure to it's maximum level. Then, with the spray tip off the gun, release the pressure by spraying back into the paint bucket. The increase in pressure causes the hose to swell slightly, and this breaks the bond of the paint film to the hose and allows the potential clogs to circulate on out of the system into the bucket. Circulate the paint from the bucket, through the system, and back into the bucket for a few moments, reduce the pressure setting, and replace the tip on the gun. Any potential clogs will be caught by the machine's filter before they can get to the gun.
Trowbridge says contractors should rely on this same principle when cleaning the machine. After the paint has been flushed from the system and the solvent is circulating, raise the pressure, release the gun trigger (allowing pressure to build), and then squeeze the trigger so that the pressure is released suddenly. Repeat this a couple of times and your hoses and pump will be cleaner because the sudden changes in pressure will cause any dried paint to break free and travel out with solvent.
7. Optimize spray gun location. This is a sure-fire way to get the best results from your striping machine.
"Just because machines come with guns on the front right side does not mean that is the optimum location," McGowan says. "Sure, that location is best to get right up to the curb, but it falls short on curved lines and is not best for the straightest lines either.
"Front or rear guns have their place and each offers important benefits to your everyday business," he says. "Front-mount guns make it easy for you to get on the line but at the same time it is easy to get off the line as well. With rear-mounted guns, once they are on line they tend to stay on line."
McGowan says many contractors have learned that moving the guns on the rear axle delivers excellent, fluid lines while still excelling on jobs — such as running tracks — where perfectly straight lines are required.
"Somewhere between front and rear is a happy medium to gain the quick response of front guns versus the great tracking of rear guns," he says. "Sometimes you want more responsiveness and control; other times you want the tracking. Lately, I have been locating guns at the front of the rear tire to get the best of both worlds."
8. Set up your dual guns for greatest efficiency. If most of your jobs involve single lines, why put both guns on the right side? Mounting the second gun on the left side of your striper adds to the machine's versatility.
"A good example is when you are striping angled stalls on both sides of the parking lot and both sides ending at the curb," McGowan says. "Having guns on both sides allows you to instantly stripe either side right up to the curb. It also helps immensely when you have to work around vehicles in the lot."