81 Tech Support Visit
It's been awhile, since I've updated the blog. Why so long? This yield problem with the foam, and how to solve it, or whether it can be solved at all is the reason.
After several telephone calls to tech support lamenting my yield problem, and multiple discussions about spray technique, ie gun settings, foam, substrate and air temps, these calls confirmed that I was using correct technique. The next step was to send (at their request and cost) a cartridge of foam back to Soythane for them to test spray. They test sprayed it and reported they got an "overage" on yield; no yield numbers mind you, just an "overage". Okay, the technique is good, the foam is good; so why this yield problem. The only thing left to do was to send me a tech specialist, which they volunteered to do.
I have to commend Soythane for their tech support. We talked on Thursday morning and they said they can have a guy at my house Friday afternoon. Coming from Florida, I'm pretty impressed. He arrives and gives the equipment a cursory inspection and then wants to spray a cartridge himself. He sprays half a cartridge, stops, hands me the gun and says, "you're out of air". Of course I'm baffled because the gun was still spraying when he stopped, not quite as strongly as when he started spraying the cartridge, but still spraying none-the-less. So, now it's time to investigate. Having already looked at the compressor and pronouncing it more than adequate, and having looked over the gun and being satisfied with it, the only thing left in the setup is the hoses. He says they are not big enough diameter hoses to do the job.
Initially, way back when I started the compressor adventure I mentioned that I bought a 5/8" ID garden hose. I used that to spray the first half to two-thirds of my foam. But, then the connection between hose and spray gun started coming loose. I repaired it, but several canisters of foam later, it came loose again. I was very lucky that both times the connection came loose I was standing on the floor changing out canisters. Had it come loose during spraying it might have caused me to fall off the walkboard. Still, everytime the connection came loose the pressurized end of the hose goes whipping all around. Once it whacked me on the back of the leg, leaving a nice bruise. Not initially having any better way to better connect the 5/8 hose to the gun I switched hoses back to my original 3/8" ID airhoses (that did have tight, reliable connections).
So, the tech guy has sprayed half a cartridge on these 3/8 airhoses and said they are too small. I disagree because I had already asked tech support guy #2 (yes they have more than one) what size compressor and airhoses they use at the factory (they use 3/8 airhose there too). So, we start looking at the airhoses, close up. I have two x fifty foot airhoses. The first one is 3/8 ID I know because I had to cut through it and connect a new fitting. But the second airhose has a braided steel liner inside. You can't cut through that one. My tech support visitor looks at it and says it's 1/4 ID, not 3/8. There is one small spot on the hose where the rubber outer liner has worn away exposing the braided steel, and yes, I have to give him the benefit of the doubt, it appears to be 1/4 ID.
So, tech support guy says, there's your problem. Wanting to try to salvage the relationship, he says if I need any more foam they will give me a discount on it. I can't fault the guy or the company. They went way out of their way to help me resolve my problem. I commend them for that.
So, the next day, I convert back to the 5/8 airhose. In previous trips to the store I had a lot of trouble finding connectors to adapt hose size to gun size. I know I spent an hour looking for alternatives. They just didn't have what I needed to get the job done. I go back to the store again to try one more time to get adaptors, and of course, this time everything I need is right there on the shelf. It didn't even take 5 minutes to find a workable solution. Life can be so frustrating this way. So much grief and aggravation could have been avoided if only the adaptors had been available. Or maybe said another way, my lack of experience in spraying foam and solving foam related problems may have caused me to choose an alternative that couldn't work. Really, the main problem was not realizing that the steel braided hose was 1/4 ID.
So, I get all the 5/8 airhose hooked back up and test spray a couple of canisters, being very careful to measure exactly how much yield I get with each canister. I did not get the yield the company advertises, but I think the "underrage" on yield is 15-20%, not the 35% I initially thought it was. I'm not happy with the underrage, but I can live with it. So, I order some more foam. It hasn't arrived yet.