Running a Shop Tools

How It Works: Iwata LS400 Supernova

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Iwata LS400 Supernova
A Louisiana painter reviews the newest Iwata gun.

The Details


Training: Instruction manual included. Troubleshooting available on product website.

Uses: A manual spray gun for painting vehicles.

Cost: $750


The Reviewer

Dakota Free has worked in the collision industry for going on five years. Through plenty of training and an intense passion for his work, Free currently works as a painter at CBS Collision, one of the largest collision repair centers in northern Louisiana.


The Shop

CBS Collision has three locations in the Shreveport area. Its location on East 70th Street is 12,000 square feet and employs 14 people.

With painters making up nearly one-third of the shop’s staff, CBS does its best to provide top-of-the-line equipment to get the job done.

Free was first introduced to the new Iwata gun when a sales representative came into the shop and demonstrated the tool. After playing around with the sample gun for a couple of days, Free and the painting team at CBS Collision decided to purchase the tool. Their personal guns arrived about two weeks after they ordered them.


How It Works

Between its ability to match metallic paints 85–90 percent of the time and upgrades to efficiency, the newest version of the Supernova manual gun is basically a different product than the original model. The gun matches the new metallic finishes that factories produce better than before.

The gun sprays in a typical fashion. However, when atomizing, the gun delivers a consistent droplet size and spreads in an even pattern to help reduce application issues.


The Review

“If you can paint a car, you can use this gun,” Free says. “It’s extremely user friendly.”

Free and his coworkers have yet to come across any noticeable flaws in the gun’s design.

“The only thing that we thought might be a flaw at the beginning is just how much material it saves,” Free says. “It led us to wonder if it was putting enough paint on the vehicle.”

But after running it through a mill tester, the Iwata gun seems to perform as promised.

Free says that he tends to use the gun on every single medium to coarse metallic paint job. It’s not as great for spraying solid colors and really fine metallics, but it’s the perfect gun for jobs that need metallics to be laid exactly how they’re supposed to be.


The Return

Free says the team at CBS Collision was skeptical at first. A lot of the painters he knows and works with are headstrong and aren’t always willing to change their routine. When the sales rep from Iwata first presented the gun to Free and his coworkers, they ignored the claims. However, the gun delivers in big ways.

“The best thing that the gun has brought to us is how much material it’s saving while still putting enough on the panels,” Free says. “It costs nearly half of what it would normally take to paint a car.”

According to Free, the team at CBS Collision sees savings of 25–35 percent or more on mixes alone. Where they would normally mix 10–12 ounces for a job, now he says they mix 4–6 ounces.

Even Free, who labels himself as a heavy sprayer, says that the new gun cuts back his material significantly and it’s been a game changer in the booth in terms of efficiency.

“We move pretty quickly at CBS Collision,” Free says. “The gun really keeps up with our movement and workflow. It doesn’t make us less efficient or slow us down at all.”

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