Q: What is the best way to contact Albion?
A: You have several convenient options for contacting Albion Engineering Company:
- Contact the Customer Service Department anytime
- Call: 856-235-6688 (M-F 8am-4:30pm USA Eastern Time)
- Fax: 856-235-9460
Q: Where can I purchase Albion guns and dispensing accessories?
A: Albion tools can be purchased from any distributor of professional sealants and waterproofing products in North America, plus many distributors of roofing, siding, general building materials, fasteners, adhesives, insulation and industrial supplies. If your local distributor does not stock the product you need you can also purchase through this web site but please tell us during checkout who is your preferred supplier (no personal info will be shared but this info helps us improve our distribution network). Many tools are also available on Amazon. If you would like a specific recommendation for an Albion distributor in your area, please call 856-235-6688 or send an email to Customer Service.
Q: How do I Load a Bulk Caulk Gun?
There are three primary techniques for loading bulk caulk. One thing they all have in common is that they require a properly maintained bulk gun. The barrel must be clean and lubricated, the leather pistons must be oiled and not excessively worn, and the rod should move freely back and forth when the recoil is depressed. 20oz and 30oz bulk guns, such as the Albion DL-45 and DL-59 guns, are the most popular sizes.
- Direct from a pail: In addition to lubricating the inside of the barrel with oil, spray a light bond breaker such as WD-40, 3-in-1, or cooking spray on the exterior barrel threads. This will help keep the threads clean. Some self-leveling (pourable) sealants can be loaded directly through the nozzle but most require that the barrel be open (cap & nozzle removed). Remove the cap and nozzle assembly from the gun. Immerse the gun barrel into the material to a depth of an inch or two. Use a circular motion with the barrel to completely wet the outside to ensure an air seal. Pull the piston rod back slowly, sucking the material up into the barrel. Pause every few inches to allow the material to settle and pressures to equalize. As the level of material in the pail decreases, sink the barrel deeper to avoid drawing air. When the barrel is full, remove it from the material. Clean the barrel first with a spatula or bucket scraper, then wipe the threads clean with a rag. Invert the gun and tap the side to burp out any air pockets. Replace the cap & nozzle and you're ready to dispense.
- With a Loading Sleeve: To help maintain clean barrel threads while loading bulk material, Albion has developed a Loading Sleeve. Slide the sleeve over the end of your bulk gun barrel before plunging it into the pail.. The nitrile rubber #33-10 is a convenient friction fit. After filling your gun, remove the sleeve and replace the cap and nozzle assembly. Consider using a plastic Skim Plate to keep air and job site debris off the material in the pail.
- With a Follow Plate: These handy accessories fit snugly inside 2-gallon or 5-gallon pails. There is a threaded ring in the center to connect any Albion 2" diameter bulk gun such as the DL-45 or DL-59 series. It is even cleaner than using a loading sleeve and has the added advantage of keeping air and other contaminants out of the caulking. To operate, place the Follow Plate directly into the caulking and press down firmly to eliminate air pockets. Remove the front cap from gun and advance the rod as far forward as it will go. Thread the gun into the Follow Plate. While exerting pressure down onto the plate, and pressing on the recoil or thumb release, pull back on the rod to fill the gun. When full, unthread the gun from the plate and replace the cap and nozzle on the gun. Cover the opening on the follow plate with a piece of plastic to limit material contamination and curing between fills. ENGINEERING TID-BIT: When the plate reaches the bottom of the pail you can break the suction and remove it easily by reattaching an empty gun and pumping air underneath the plate.
Q: Which Albion Piston Packing (Cup) is best?
A: Albion manufactures a wide variety of pistons. Choose the best one for your application based on the type of material you are dispensing:
#21-1 SOFT LEATHER: Low friction, tough and durable, excellent chemical resistance. Soak in motor oil to maintain. May swell then break down when used with water based materials. Oil more frequently or choose another piston below for acrylics. Add a #222-2 Expander in front of leather piston if you are experiencing leakage or blow-by. You can purchase these individually or as a complete replacement kit (leathers, washers, nuts): #47-7 is the kit with soft leather pistons, Kit #47-13 includes #222-2 expanders also.
#21-7 IMPREGNATED LEATHER: Similar to soft leather piston but stiffened with wax to reduce water absorption and blow-by.
#21-16 NITRILE RUBBER: Good seal, elastic, moderate friction. Excellent for water-based materials. Preferred by chinkers. Not recommended for use with solvent-based materials. For a complete replacement kit order part #47-10.
#21-26 NYLON: Springy, moderate friction. Better chemical resistance than Hytrel.
#21-20 TEFLON: Very Low Friction, Excellent chemical resistance. Be careful not to nick or bend out of shape. Expensive. Excellent for bulk or sausage packs. For a complete replacement kit order part #47-42.
#21-24: HYTREL: Higher friction, good chemical resistance. Sharp edge makes it excellent for sausages.
#21-30: POLY PLASTIC: Lowest cost alternative cup. Popular for use with food products.
Q: How do I stop blow-by (piston leaking) in my bulk gun?
A: We use leather pistons in our bulk guns because they are tough, chemical-resistant and long lasting. However, they do require maintenance.
Whenever your piston cups become dirty, stiff or dried out they should be removed from the gun, cleaned, and soaked overnight in motor oil. Thoroughly clean and oil the inside of your barrel at the same time. Then, reassemble the pistons and supporting washers back into the gun. Be careful not to overtighten the rod nut as this can squeeze the leathers too tightly against the barrel. View our video on bulk gun maintenance for more details.
If you are still experiencing leakage behind the pistons, and they are not so worn as to require replacement, consider adding a #222 Piston Expander.
Confirm that your gun is developing enough suction for loading by sitting down with an empty gun. Remove the front cap, hook the recoil plate to allow backward movement of the rod, tuck the rod pull under your foot, place the flat of your palm against the open barrel and pull up. You should only be able to move the gun up a few inches before feeling a strong suction on your palm. If it does not hold the suction, spread the pistons a little inside the barrel by tightening the rod nut.
For the ultimate in piston control, consider using the patented Albion ADJUSTABLE WEDGE PISTON KIT. It tightens or loosens piston cups easily to compensate for variations and wear. Order #47-35 for leather pistons, #47-36 for Teflon pistons.
Q: How do I change over my Albion bulk gun to sausage dispenser (or vice versa)?
A: The primary difference between bulk and sausage guns are the piston assemblies inside the barrel. Changing the pistons requires just a wrench and the new piston assembly.
Generally, bulk dispenses best with #21-1 Leather Pistons.
For sausages, you have a choice of #21-24 Hytrel, #21-20 Teflon, or #29-H25 Polyfinger pistons. Teflon® is unique in that it can be used for BOTH bulk and sausage. These are best replaced as kits (includes washers, pistons & nuts). For a complete discussion of all our pistons and their intended uses read our other FAQ on that subject.
Remove the front cap of the gun. Push the rod all the way forward in the gun so the piston assembly is at the end of the barrel. Use a wrench to remove the nuts (and conical ejector, if so equipped) on the end of the rod. Remove the old washers and pistons and replace with the new ones. Pay special attention to the order of the parts and the directions the pistons face.
A clean barrel is key to successful sausage dispensing. If there is dried sealant on the inside walls of the barrel then the sausage wrapper will catch on it and be drawn behind the piston. To avoid "bag wrap" clean and oil the inside of the barrel.
Q: How do I prevent bag wrap when dispensing sausages?
A: Sealants and adhesives packaged in sausage packs (AKA chubs or sachets) are more convenient and economical than cartridges and less messy than bulk. They are dispensed with a sausage caulking gun, which is similar to a bulk caulk gun but with a plastic or Teflon® piston instead of leather. These synthetic pistons with their rigid shape and sharp edges scraping the inside of the barrel consistently outperform leather.
Under normal circumstances, when a sausage is completely dispensed you remove the front cap to find a small compressed ring of the sausage wrapper that is easily disposed of. But sometimes you will find that the skin has wrapped, or slipped behind the piston and it is a mess to clean up. Following are the most frequent causes of bag-wrap:
Wrong Piston: We recommend our #21-20 Teflon (white), #21-24 Hytrel (orange) or #29-H25 Poly-Finger pistons for use with sausages in our Professional Line (DL-45, DL-59, etc.) guns. For Albion B-Line guns (B12S20, E12S20, B26S20, etc.) use piston #873-6.
Worn or Damaged Piston: Examine the piston inside the barrel. If it is nicked, bent or the edges are not tight against the inside walls of the barrel, replace it. The Teflon® piston is especially susceptible to damage in cordless guns. Do not dead-head this piston against a spent sausage at the end of the dispensing cycle.
Dirty Barrel: Examine the inside of the barrel - it must be clean and smooth - no rust or dried material. Lube the inside of the barrel with motor oil, mineral oil (3-in-1) or a cooking spray like PAM. These are better than WD-40 which evaporates quickly and can leave a gummy residue.
Dirty Sausage: Make sure there is no dry or wet sealant on the outside of the sausage skin. Also remove any paper adhesive labels - these can catch on the barrel and get pulled behind the piston.
Q: Which Albion gun is best for grouting or pointing?
A: Albion bulk guns have been use by many tradespeople to dispense grout and mortar neatly and efficiently. Our models DL-45-T13 (manual) DL-45-T13A (pneumatic) or DL-45-T13E (cordless battery) are the most popular for this application, but larger (up to 80oz) and smaller (as little as 10oz) guns work equally well; Just consider the weight when sizing a bulk gun. The DL-45 barrel is 14" x 2" with a capacity of 20oz. The standard ½" metal nozzle #32-55 allows for efficient placement of mortar between the stone or brick and clean up with water is minimal.
The standard round metal nozzle can be replaced with other round metal nozzles as small as 1/8" or as large as 3/4". If you are grouting between tiles consider choosing one of our metal slot nozzles. Or, substitute our #235-3 tapered plastic cone nozzle and trim the opening to any size from 1/8" to 1-3/4". The tapered shape of the cone will result in less back pressure compared to a straight metal nozzle.
To load the gun, remove the front cap, pull the rod completely back and load the barrel of the gun by troweling in your mix. Some polymer modified and epoxy products can be loaded by sucking them up into the barrel, the same method used with caulks. The finer the aggregate in the mortar or grout, the easier it will be to dispense. Polymer modified grouts and mortars will dispense much more smoothly and consistently than straight sand / cement / lime mixtures.
Tap the side of the barrel frequently when loading cementitious products to remove voids. Wipe the barrel threads clean before replacing the front cap. When using a cement-based mortar or grout you may need to modify your mix slightly for dispensing by gun; A wetter mix flows better, but too wet and you can get separation of the water and aggregate inside the barrel. The addition of a polymer (AKA latex or milk) additive will also make dispensing smoother and help keep the mix from separating. Some users have reported similar benefits from the addition of liquid dish soap to the mix. Clean the gun after use with water and then immediately dry and lightly oil it to prevent rust. For epoxy-based grouts latex additives are not recommended. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's recommendations for mix ratios and cleaning solvents. Periodically disassemble the leather pistons to clean and re-oil them (standard motor oil) and barrel to maintain a tight seal. If you are doing a large quantity of pointing with water based products and the leather pistons require frequent maintenance consider replacing the front cup with a #21-16 Nitrile Rubber piston.
Q: What is a high-thrust caulking gun? When is it recommended?
A: Albion manufacturers a complete line of manual guns capable of generating dispensing forces between 300 and 1,100 lbs. Choosing the right drive system is key to a successful project. View Bulletin 306 for more info.
A helpful analogy is to compare caulk gun forces (or mechanical advantage) to bicycle gearing. When you need to climb a steep hill on a bicycle you are thankful to have low (high-thrust) gears. Think of a vicious product like cold urethane or two-part epoxy or an extended nozzle like a big hill to be climbed. Your speed is decreased, but you can still handle the higher work load comfortably.
But, when you get back to a flat stretch of road, you will be frustrated with that low gear - you are spinning your cranks (pulling the trigger) too easily and your output is low. You need to switch back to a higher gear (lower thrust).
Thick sealants and adhesives are similar; you need a high thrust (low gear) gun to dispense them. But to use a high thrust gun for a low viscosity material will be frustrating.
So the point is, choose your dispensing tool power based on the material and application - the same way you would choose the gear on your bike based on the terrain.
Q: Can you explain abbreviations such as NPS, NEF and NPT used to describe the threading on Albion parts?
A: Nominal Pipe Size (NPS) is a North American set of standard sizes for pipes. Pipe size is specified with two non-dimensional numbers: a Nominal Pipe Size (NPS) based on inches, and a Schedule (Sch.). NPS is often incorrectly called National Pipe Size, due to confusion with National Pipe Thread.
National Pipe Thread Tapered (NPT) is a U.S. standard for tapered threads used to join pipes and fittings. Nominal Pipe Size is loosely related to the inside diameter of schedule 40 pipe. Because of the pipe wall thickness, the actual diameter of the threads is larger than the NPS, considerably so for small NPS. Other schedules of pipe have different wall thickness but the OD (outer diameter) and thread profile remain the same, so the inside diameter of the pipe is therefore different from the nominal diameter.
American National Extra Fine Thread Series (NEF) is used to describe the thread specification when the threads per inch are greater than 14, as used on our #187-3 Front Cap nozzle for the #200-5 and 103-15 guns which is threaded 7/8" 20 tpi.
Sometimes NPT threads are referred to as MPT (Male Pipe Thread), MNPT, or NPT(M) for male (external) threads, and FPT (Female Pipe Thread), FNPT, or NPT(F) for female (internal) threads.
Q: Which Albion guns are non-drip?
A: Dripping or run-on from a sealant or adhesive dispensing gun is due to several factors. Some of them can be minimized by the operator and the design of the dispensing tool, but others are outside of the control of either. Among the uncontrollable are the viscosity of the material (thicker products tend to drip less), the compressibility of the material (the less compressible the less potential for run-on), swelling of the cartridge (rigid cartridges drip less), and friction of the piston inside the cartridge (pistons that retract slightly after the pressure is released drip less).
You can prove this by removing a cartridge from a gun immediately after finishing a dispensing cycle. Some will continue to ooze while standing upright outside a gun!
Dripping or run-on from any Albion manual gun can be reduced by pressing the recoil plate with your thumb.
Pressure on the rod is instantly removed by releasing this tension. In addition, Albion Special Deluxe guns (DL-45, DL-59, etc.) have a non-drip mode. Hook the wire below the recoil over the edge of the recoil and rod will float backwards whenever the trigger is released. Several Albion guns have a full time non-drip feature. These include the B1, H10XD, and H10D models.
All Albion air powered guns are non-drip by design. As soon as the trigger is released, the pressurized air in the cylinder is exhausted. Albion cordless guns are also non-drip by design, as they include a feature in the electronic control that unwinds the gears when the trigger is released.
A caulking gun with a full time non-drip feature is, by design, inefficient. The first 1/4 to 1/3 of each trigger stroke is wasted motion bringing the ejector or piston back into contact with the material and repressurizing it before any new material flows out the nozzle. Except for applications that require the repeated application of very small quantities of material, Albion recommends that you use a standard gun with a well-designed recoil plate and release the pressure yourself to stop the dripping as needed.