Join Date: Apr 2002
You really need to know what basecoat you are going to use before you choose the proper gun, especially with waterborne basecoats. Coverage, mil thickness, orientation, color, overall appearance, etc.. are all dependant on having the approved gun for the material you are working with.
There are some waterborne basecoats that recommend a HVLP gun, others recommend compliant guns like the SATA RP mentioned above. If you know what materials you prefer/are comfortable with, look for the manufacturer recommendations for that product. Matching the proper gun with the material you are using greatly benefits the final appearance. You do need a gun that is waterborne compatible, most are at this point(stainless needle, coated passages, outer coatings to help with cleaning/corrosion resistance).
I would recommend the same approach for clear. I have six different clears in my mixing room infront of me right now, they all have different recommendations for tip/nozzle size, HVLP/compliant, flash times, bake temperature etc... To achieve the desired appearance and longevity I always try and follow all recommendations from the manufacturer as close as possible.
It is possible to find one gun that will work for you for both base and clear, just might take a bit of homework. If you can try a gun before you buy one that always helps. If you are used to the conventional guns like "Dennis" spoke about above, I would recommend spraying with an IWATA before you buy one. They are great guns, but they are probably also the farthest thing away from what you are accustomed to.