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  • Recycle/reuse rattle can?

    I recently wanted to paint a small bracket, using some original* Rustoleum. It was a small job, less than 20 sq in, and a rattle can would have been perfect. Google turned up new re-fillable rattle cans & even videos of re-using empty rattle cans.

    But I'm thinking that it might not be so easy. It might be especially hard to get the viscosity right. I can see trying a too-thick paint and having it clogged to a PITA state.

    Anybody ever done this & how hard was it to get the right viscosity? Trial & error, or is there a known viscosity to use? I suppose that I could take a little-value rattle can, empty it, & measure the viscosity - how well might that work?

    Thanks, Bob

    * - the honest-to-God fish oil stuff, probably 40 - 50 years old. Still good.

  • #2
    Considering you can buy a air touch up gun for about $20 at harbor freight, is it worth screwing around recycling rattle cans? How are you going to clean out the old contents residue before refilling for example? The touch up gun is adjustable as well which will help with good results and the tank comes right off for easy cleaning.

    Now if you were stranded on a deserted island, the recycling rattle can method might be a consideration.

    BTW, harbor freight also has spray cans that are refillable with a schrader valve for pressurizing but I suspect they would be inferior for paint and intended more for penetrating oil and similar non critical spraying.

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    • #3
      I agree with Sparky. There are a few Youtube posts of people attaching an old tire valve stem to a rattle can so they can "repressurise" them. They looked to me like a good way to become an unintentional suicide bomber. ---Brian
      Brian Rupnow
      Design engineer
      Barrie, Ontario, Canada

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      • #4
        How about the Preval spray gun-

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhfx2vzqUKA

        The complete kit is $6 at the local Orange box store
        https://www.homedepot.com/p/Preval-S...B&gclsrc=aw.ds

        Refill power head is $4
        https://www.homedepot.com/p/Preval-P...-202533739-_-N

        Extra jars are $1.27
        https://www.homedepot.com/p/Preval-6...266/203826740?
        I just need one more tool,just one!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by brian Rupnow View Post
          I agree with Sparky. There are a few Youtube posts of people attaching an old tire valve stem to a rattle can so they can "repressurise" them. They looked to me like a good way to become an unintentional suicide bomber. ---Brian
          With flammable solvents I think using compressed air for something like that could be nasty. But if one were to use the argon or argon-co2 mix then at least we're not compressing the oxidizer that could lead to easier combustion.

          I can't see doing this for paint for the cleaning reasons mentioned already. If we want to do something along that line then there's the cheap touch up guns out there as well as rather low cost small open pot airbrushes for quick little jobs. Not to mention that when thinned a touch the standard Tremclad and Rustoleum paints flow out nicely when applied with a larger size artist's brush. And it's a lot less trouble to clean a brush afterwards than a touch up gun or airbrush.
          Chilliwack BC, Canada

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          • #6
            i have been pressurising cans for years, when they were out of gas. even had a thread about it on here a while ago. but reusing/refilling cans?

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            • #7
              I have a small pint size air touch-up spray gun left over from my hot-rod building days. It works great. It is also a pain in the arse to clean after having used it. First consider the cost of the paint itself. Then consider the price of whatever you are using to thin the paint to the right consistency. Then include the price of the laquer thinners you use to clean the gun after each use. Don't include the price of the respirator you should be wearing, since you probably won't be wearing it when you use a rattle can. Also keep in mind that you must have an air compressor.--That begins to make the price of rattle can paint look pretty damned good, even if you do run out of pressurizing agent before the paint is all used up.
              Brian Rupnow
              Design engineer
              Barrie, Ontario, Canada

              Comment


              • #8
                I found that small paint projects are best served by my $12 "touch up" gun. I've put a lot of paints through it, most worked when thinned properly. Even gloss black Rustoleum out of a quart can sprayed out pretty nicely on sheet metal with a little thinning. Use of some kind of hardener would probably help. Clean up of the small gun and cup is a snap. I found more joy in working toward results than I was messing around with the delivery apparatus.

                Can refilling might be an interesting experiment, but could have potential down sides already mentioned. Be careful.
                S E Michigan

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                • #9
                  These are great for solvents and the like but they specifically do NOT recommend using paint.
                  HF used to have a larger size that was almost clumsy but they vanished from the store. This size is comfortable and doesn’t tip over at the slightest breeze.
                  A little steep on the price but I’ve owned and used them for decades and am glad Eastwood carries this when free shipping makes it worth the order.

                  https://www.eastwood.com/true-power-...e-sprayer.html
                  Illigitimi non Carborundum 😎
                  9X49 Birmingham Mill, Reid Model 2C Grinder, 13x40 ENCO GH Lathe, 6X18 Craftsman lathe, Sherline CNC mill, Eastwood TIG200 AC/DC and lots of stuff from 30+ years in the trade and 15.5 in refinery unit operations. Now retired. El Paso, TX

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by brian Rupnow View Post
                    I have a small pint size air touch-up spray gun left over from my hot-rod building days. It works great. It is also a pain in the arse to clean after having used it. First consider the cost of the paint itself. Then consider the price of whatever you are using to thin the paint to the right consistency. Then include the price of the laquer thinners you use to clean the gun after each use. Don't include the price of the respirator you should be wearing, since you probably won't be wearing it when you use a rattle can. Also keep in mind that you must have an air compressor.--That begins to make the price of rattle can paint look pretty damned good, even if you do run out of pressurizing agent before the paint is all used up.
                    Yes! I didn't elaborate when I said that a rattle can would have been perfect for my small job, but its perfection is in the no-clean-up! Doing a full blown gun clean up after spraying each coat on 20 sq in (that's both sides of a 2-1/2 x 4" piece) would have been really annoying.

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                    • #11
                      A little more elaboration: the YouTube videos re-pressurize with air - I would not do that. The re-filled can couldn't be stored like that - the oxygen in the air would cause the paint to set, at least make a skin on top. I would use propane, as is used in commercial rattle cans.

                      I saw the Preval cans, but there are too many 1-star reviews on Amazon.

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                      • #12
                        One of my local paint stores will put anything they mix in a rattle can if you want. High quality paint and good spray.
                        Southwest Utah

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                        • #13
                          I know people have done it before, I've added a touch of pressure to a few cans over the years where the pressure had become too low to finish using the contents probably due to clearing out the nozzle too many times. But I've never even considered filling one with paint.

                          Our local auto body shop used to custom mix touch up paints and put them in aerosol cans but that was probably 20 years ago or so. Probably too much liability and not enough call for it.

                          As someone already pointed out the viscosity would have to be just right. I have half a dozen different spray guns ranging from full size Binks, Sharpe and DeVilbiss, small touch up guns and a few air brushes so attempting something like this is nothing I would ever have to do.

                          This would be a much safer alternative for you............. https://preval.com/ I've used these before. they work just as good as any rattle can and you can thin the mix until you get it to spray just the way you want it to. You can use catalyzed paints and primers which are far better than any air dry paints.

                          JL..............
                          Last edited by JoeLee; 02-07-2021, 06:15 PM.

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                          • #14
                            For really small work and touch up type stuff, these work pretty well and are quick to clean up. You can even get a number of the small jars to keep filled with frequently used paints if you are so inclined:

                            https://www.amazon.com/Hobby-Air-Bru.../dp/B001IE4HMY

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                            • #15
                              How about a cordless airbrush with built in compressor?
                              https://www.neatandhandy.com/collect...I&currency=USD
                              Sole proprietor of Acme Buggy Whips Ltd.
                              Specialty products for beating dead horses.

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