Apollo hvlp 1050vr: Function and Form

Written by on January 27, 2012 in HVLP, Sprayers with 41 Comments

1050vr

Editors Note: Apollo Review in APC ’12

In our ongoing quest to make sure that the paint industry fully understands that there is much more to spraying than straight up airless blasting in the 3-4000 psi range, Topcoat Review has pushed further into HVLP spray technologies by initiating testing on Apollo hvlp equipment.

We have done a lot of research and testing in the spectrum of HVLP  turbines. Most of us paint contractors come from airless spraying backgrounds, where we are accustomed to spraying in high pressure ranges all the time. Going down to the 3-10 psi range with a precision gun is counter-intuitive, but can really create a pleasurable spray experience with minimal overspray and a fine finished product.

The most recent entry into our shop and field based testing is the Apollo 1050VR. We have tested numerous HVLP rigs, but this one gives reason for pause. It is smart, pretty and built.

HVLP testing

Frequency of use directly impacts tool ROI…

If you can imagine a compact turbine with a filtration system that looks like the air cleaner on a ’68 Firebird – in a good way, with one of the prettiest guns you ever saw on the other end of the hose, that would be close to the visual appeal of this rig. The major sprayer manufacturers all seem to have an HVLP line, but what makes Apollo different is that they are a small company that specializes in HVLP only. They do one thing, and we will see how well they do it.

We have been running this manufacturer supplied test unit since late 2011. If you have had the pleasure of running an Apollo, please speak up!

Also, click here if you are interested in our Prep to Finish HVLP training workshops.

Scott Burt

Scott Burt is a contractor and freelance writer whose column "From the Field" has appeared in American Painting Contractor magazine (www.paintmag.com) since 2008. His writing and projects also appear in other print and digital venues. This site is an extension of Scott's publication work, and he encourages readers to leave comments and questions about articles published here. Hope to hear from you!

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41 Reader Comments

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  1. James McElroy says:

    Scott,
    I am trying to evaluate various turbine hvlp systems for purchase as a novice. I have come to the conclusion that I definitely want a 5 stage unit so that I can spray latex paint etc on trim (occupied house). I will also be using the unit for finishing cabinets and furniture.
    I would like to have a unit where I can adjust air pressure downward to minimize bounceback as necessary. I have been told that the only way to dial down the pressure on an Apollo 5 stage unit is to get the very expensive Cadillac of HVLP Precision 5 model because it is equipped with the electronic dial to adjust pressure. i have also been told that the other Apollo units don’t have the air ball-valve adjuster because it can damage the turbine due to excess heat. Allegedly that is why Apollo does not supply air ball valves with their 5 stage units and the only 5 stage model they have that is pressure adjustable is the precision 5 model with the dial. However I see that the Graco 9.5 comes with a ball valve, an artisan valve also and a lifetime warranty on the turbine. i am not crazy about the fan/flow rate being married to same adjuster on the Graco Edge gun. However I have never used one so I could change my mind. 😎
    I guess the main question is really how useful is the air ball valve, and if i got the Graco (which has a great promotion at the moment, and a lifetime warranty on the turbine) and coupled it with an Apollo gun, would that be the best of both worlds for quite a bit cheaper than purchasing the Apollo Precision 5?

    I know this was a very long post covering many aspects and I appreciate your patience.
    Thanks, James

    • James McElroy says:

      Looks like there is some false information floating around the net regarding the “lifetime” warranty on the Graco turbine. I called Graco and they dispelled that myth. They do offer a lifetime warranty on some of their airless motors but not the hvlp turbine.

  2. Bryan says:

    Scott, thanks for all the reviews, I have been using an older model accuspray with a graco gun for many years, and was wanting to upgrade to a more powerful turbine sprayer, I am torn between the graco 9.5, the apollo1050vr, or the titan/capspray 115. I found a great deal on the Graco with the comp kit and remote cup for under $1,500 I spray mostly clearcoat,lacquers, and varnishes on stain grade , but sometimes do custom metallics in waterborne paint ,clearcoated over. The Apollo I have used in the shop an eco 3 hasn’t impressed me , but it came with a cheap gun. Anyway Don’t know if you have tried the capspray, but it’s a six stage turbine,not sure if that is a factor or not. I like the adjustable turbine on the Apollo, what do you think is the best machine for the money? Thanks,Bryan

  3. James McElroy says:

    Scott,

    Forgot to ask this question in my post:

    Would you recommend the siphon or gravity gun for that Apollo Precision 5? What is your preference?

  4. James McElroy says:

    Scott,

    I am a novice looking into possibly getting an Apollo Precision 5 HVLP. I will be using it mostly for finishing kitchen cabinets and spraying trim with latex etc. Since this machine’s pressure can be dialed down, would it theoretically result in less overspray if spraying trim with latex paint in an occupied home vs a 4 or 5 stage machine whose pressure cant be adjusted?

    thanks!
    Jim

  5. Jeff Monti says:

    Dear Scott,
    Quick question pertaining to HVLP turbines. Currently own a 3 stage Accuspray 23 system and am ready to upgrade to a 5 or 6 stage system. I do like the Apollo 1050VR however am also interested in the Titan / CAPspray 115 6 Stage system. I am a small scale side business handyman type and do not require any speed machine however I’d like to use the system to paint interior rooms and potentially outdoor small shed type structures. Where the Titan has more power one would assume that it would be the way to go. However the design/features of the Apollo turbine and gun (and small dedicated company) is really appealing. I would potentially be spraying latex finishes at a minimum. I further assume Apollo will be coming out with a 6 stage model at some point in the future as well. Anyway thought I would potentially get your feedback to help with my decision should you have the time to respond. Thanks for any feedback.
    — Jeff

    • Scott Burt says:

      5 stage is plenty of power. Go with the one that is best designed for your purposes and with the features that are most intuitive to you. And the better gun.

      • Jeff Monti says:

        Coincidentally I just ordered the the Apollo 1050VR system with the 7500 pressure feed gun today (5/23). Believe it will fit my needs and then some due to its options/flexibility. Will provide updates once I begin to use it. Thanks for taking the time to respond to my inquiry. Have a great Memorial Day Weekend.

  6. Grant Lyman says:

    Do you have any news to share on your testing of the Titan Capspray 115 6-stage HVLP unit?

    • Scott Burt says:

      Hi Grant, back in May, I thought the 115 had been sent for testing, but it was actually the 105 (5 stage) with a transfer pump and a couple of different gun configurations. Hoping to have an update out on that system soon.

  7. Nick says:

    Thanks Scott for your answers. I purchased the Apollo 1050VR. I have yet to shoot paint with it, I’m testing it with water now. When I turn the knob to max power the display shows 7.0 with the gun and everything attached. The unit is rated at 9.5, so why is it showing only 7? What is yours displaying at max power?

    Thanks

    • Scott Burt says:

      I’ll check our unit and respond later. What size tip did you have on it, Nick?

      • Nick says:

        I have to amend my report I’m not getting a 7.0 reading, more like 7.9 / 8.0. Still not 9.5 though.

        For now I have the standard 1.0 mm that comes with the gun but I will follow your advice and get the 1.5 mm with the “High Solid” special air cap…

        For now waterbornes have not been kind to me and I get microbubbles and dry spray in my finish.

      • Nick says:

        Hey Burt did you have a look at your max psi setting on the 1050vr?

        Also what tip/cap and psi setting would you recommend for Target Coatings EM6500?

        Thx

        • Scott Burt says:

          Nick, ours pretty regularly will spike up to 9 and fluctuate. We rarely if ever have to crank that turbine all the way up, even in latex primer and paint. It’ll do those at 8, or even slightly under.

          You are losing pressure somewhere, and the first place I would look is at your hose connections. Check the QC on the side of the turbine, and make sure it is tight. Check the connection at the gun, and the gun itself to make sure everything is tight, right down to the cup seal. It doesn’t take much when you are dealing with so little pressure, to see a noticeable reduction. Double check all connections. That LED display should be an accurate representation of the atomizing pressure. For TC EM6500 or any wb tinted lac, I would use the 1.5 and start at about 3.5 on the dial. Before you go into product, put water in the cup and check everything, as above. Let me know what you discover. I think something is not right with the way it is currently set up.

  8. Nick says:

    Hey Scott, another question…. How does this 6 stage titan 115 compare to the Apollo 1050VR especially for thicker finishes? Has your review progressed a little?

    • Scott Burt says:

      Nick, we are working with the Titan 5 stage, and it is very early on. But, I can tell you that it is very good, and I can only imagine that the 6 stage would be comparable to the Apollo in ability to move medium to higher viscosities.

  9. Nick says:

    Hi Scott,

    What is the best needle/nozzle/air cap to use when spraying Benjamin Moore Advance with the 1050VR and the 7500 gun? Do you have experience with this particular finish? It’s a waterborne alkyd hybrid product similar to Sherwin’s ProClassic waterborne alkyd.

    Thank you!

    Nick

  10. Grant Lyman says:

    Hi Scott, I am also interested to learn if you have any experience with the Titan 115 (6 stage HVLP). Did you publish your final review on the Apollo 1050vr, if so can you post a link? Thanks

    • Scott Burt says:

      Hi Grant, we just recently received the 6 stage Titan for testing. Hope to have run it through its paces by Fall. If you follow our facebook, twitter, youtube, etc, I am sure you will see bits and pieces of test footage as we start to work with it.

      Here is a link to the review I wrote on the Apollo in American Painting Contractor magazine: http://digital.turn-page.com/i/89623/10

  11. Paul Klanian says:

    Hi Scott,

    I just found your website while searching for reviews of the Apollo 1050VR. I was wondering if you had issued your review of the unit and if so how do I find the review. I read the “Function and Form” article and saw the You-tube video. I run a small furniture shop and want to get into sprayed finishes.

    Thanks

    Paul

  12. Dani Sfeir says:

    Hi Scott!
    This is Dan from Premier Painting in Mass.
    I Very much enjoy your site as a painter, I love a good tools like Festools, and other good quality sprayers.
    I have one question please, have you tried the Titan HVLP Turbine 115? I am trying to see if there is a big different between the Titan and the Apollo 1050VR.
    Regards,
    Dani.

  13. Sam Meyer says:

    Hi Scott,

    Thanks for your review of the 1050vr. I was sorely disappointed with a previous HVLP sprayer I purchased (Fuji SE4) because it would not spray latex at all. Either very orange peely, or had to thin it down so much it was like spraying water, and then it just ran. So what caught my attention in your review was that you said this unit can spray latex without thinning. I do a fair amount of large kitchens with a lot of cabinets, on site, and in California, due to air quality laws and customer concerns, we use mainly latex, or hybrids like Advance. HVLP’s seem too slow most of the time(we also are spraying all the trim/doors/windows in these large San Francisco Victorian homes), but I am thinking of getting one just to do touch ups, or for small projects. I like the portability of them, and the low amount of overspray, which seems ideal when spraying in homes that are occupied, where you just have one bookcase to do or something.

    So my question is, will the Apollo really spray latex without super amounts of thinning, and also, do you find it fast enough to make it worthwhile?

    Thanks,

    Sam
    San Francisco, CA

    • Scott Burt says:

      Hi Sam, yes and yes. The apollo 1050vr will spray unreduced latex without a problem. The only thing that feels slow about it is that you are limited to a quart cup (in this configuration, but I believe a pressure pot is also available). But if its a small project (less than a gallon), its a very efficient way to finish. And clean up is so much easier than flushing a pump and hose.

      • james says:

        I would like to see you spray latex from the apollo without thinning and it look good. I have one and it ain’t happening.

        • Scott Burt says:

          James, this must be your lucky day, because that is exactly what we did in the video in this post! 6psi. Over, and over. What products have failed you on this?

  14. Jonathan Ives says:

    Hey Scott,

    Thanks for your article on the Apollo. I’ve got a Titan Multifinish which I just love. The only graco products i’ve ever owned have been the proshot and proshot fine finish. Not to sure about Graco quality but definitely convenient. After reading your article I think I’ll go for the Apollo 1050 vr instead of the Graco 9.5. It’ll be my first HVLP. Yeah it does look like a hot rod. Can’t wait.
    cheers,
    J

    Jonathan Ives
    Fine Residential Painting
    Shoreham, Vt

    • Scott Burt says:

      Thanks Jonathon. Yes, the 1050vr continues to impress. Every mfr is different. Apollo is like a really good microbrewery, you know the type. Glad to hear the thumbs up on the MultiFinish as well. Thats a great rig. Hope all is well.

  15. Damon T says:

    Hi Scott
    Is there a link somewhere here for the YouTube apollo video?

    Also, getting closer on your 440 multi finish reviews?

    Thanks!

  16. Damon T says:

    Hi Scott. Really looking forward to hearing your feedback in the Apollo! Thx,

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