Ok folks, we finally decided to purchase a SprayTech 1420 by Apex at our local Lowes - since of course they are improving home improvement and so are we...
Here's my review of this beast...First impressions and research...
Just like any major purchase, I spent considerable time researching various makes and models. The world is filled with airless sprayers, and the 1420 is just one in a sea of many. A bit of research was very telling...The Titan 440i is the premier airless sprayer - however its price was just too much out of our range at this juncture. The Magnum DX was our other consideration, followed by the SprayTech 1420. I don't know how good or bad the Magnum DX is, but from the reading I've done, the Apex 1420 is a good, solid, and decent machine. At that point, my decision was made, and I went to my local Lowes and purchased the 1420. I would have bought it from Gleem Paint for about a $35.00 discount, however the job we were tasked with was coming up quick and Gleem's delivery time wouldn't accommodate our schedule. That's life, moving on...Assembly and Instructions
If you know your way around a wrench, putting together the 1420 is a piece of cake. All that's required is two adjustable wrenches and a keen understanding of the English language. Just tighten the high pressure hose to the engine, assemble the spray gun to the hose, and attach guard/atomizer the spray gun. You're almost ready to rock and roll at this point, and if you're a big fan of machinery, the excitement is really starting to build at this point.
From here, you have to purge the system because the manufacturer uses a type of preserving oil in the engine while the sprayer is sitting around just waiting for you to purchase it. The instructions Apex provide are very clear and concise on this procedure. They are also VERY clear about safety. It's absolutely important that you do not spray paint on bare skin. The way I understand this device, it's basically a pressure washer that instead of water, shoots paint at over 2800 PSI.
After the system is purged, you're ready to start painting...The painting process
I have to admit one thing. Before I purchased this rig, I came to understand that sprayers get paint EVERYWHERE. It is absolutely important that you cover/tape/conceal everything that you do not want paint on. Now, we've probably all had client like this, so let me give you a bit of background into the job we're doing:
The job we have requires us to prime/paint a newly finished basement. There's 1 main room, 2 storage rooms, 1 bathroom, and a walled perimeter around the furnace. Since this was new, the drop ceiling and molding wasn't installed when we first visited to come up with our estimate. We asked our clients to hold off on installing the molding and drop ceiling, as it would make painting a whole lot easier. "No problem," they told us. So you can imagine our surprise when we arrive to the site and all the wood molding and drop ceiling was installed. They even put the doors in for good measure...fun times awaited us...But at least they told us they installed the molding and ceiling BEFORE we gave them our estimate
At this point, we were forced to tape off just about every surface we could find. Additionally, since I anticipated some major over spray, we had to use strips of construction paper to extend the taping. Mind you, this basement is about 1,000 square feet. Add all the intricacies of the molding and ceiling, and you could imagine our disgust in taping and papering everything off. There was definitely a point where we were cursing our very career choice.
In any case, like any job, we finally got past the mundane portion and were read to have fun.Painting
All our bad taping memories were erased in an instant when we began painting. Despite the rather large size of the basement, we had the entire place primed in less than an hour. It was truly amazing. The next day, we went and put the white base coat on. Again, it was at blazing speeds. With the additional day's worth of experience, I probably covered the entire place with the white base coat in less time than it took to prime.
It takes a bit of practice to get the technique down pat. Also, safety equipment is a must. That includes using an adequate respirator, goggles, latex gloves, and a body suit. There is no substitute for any of this. If you're safe, your job will be that much more enjoyable.
There's one aspect of the machine that I haven't quite conquered just yet - and that's the occasional paint spatter. It seems that if a drop of paint sits at the end of the gun, it will shoot off and splatter on the wall. I have been able to fix this by lightly going over it with a brush, but I'm fairly certain it shouldn't be doing this. I think it's happening for several reasons: 1) The pressure isn't set quite right, 2) I don't have a swivel connector (which seems to be a must), and 3) my technique isn't 100% just yet.
Another thing about the swivel connector. The gun and hose becomes very stiff when pressurized, which makes control a bit difficult. I am almost certain my technique will improve once I buy a swivel. Unfortunately, the Lowes by me doesn't carry a swivel. The Home Depot carries a swivel for the Magnums, but I don't know if they are interchangeable. If anyone has input on that I'd appreciate it.Clean up
Like taping, cleaning the machine (for the first time) actually took longer than the actual paint job. Whether you have a garden hose or not, cleaning the 1420 isn't too difficult. Unfortunately we didn't have a hose at our disposal, just a large sink. But even then, it's just a matter of cleaning the suction set, immersing it in warm water (perhaps in a bucket), and running the machine. With the gun triggered, the 1420 will suck in the water and out comes whatever paint is left in the hoses, engine and gun. After that, remove and disassemble the gun, clean all its parts, and reassemble.Last Thoughts...
The Apex Spray Tech seems to be a well built and sturdy machine. The safety lock on the gun is a cheap piece of plastic, but the rest seems solid. I can pretty much say that my days of using a roller and brush are over, and we look forward to moving on with our painting endeavors with our new trusty friend. The great thing is, that this machine will still make a great backup for the time when we eventually move on to the Titan 440i. So if you're currently debating what sprayer to buy, give this one a shot. If time is currently on your side, this machine can be purchased online for less than $300.
Lastly, like all things new in life, there's a touch of a learning curve. Our first time setting up and cleaning the machine felt like an eternity, however after that, the time has markedly decreased. Painting by its nature is not a simple procedure. Time and patience are required to make a job come out right. Patience and perfection are not removed from the equation with a power sprayer, but once you're rolling with it, it makes the whole job that much smoother.
I'll have some pics up later if ne1 is interested!