Air compressor and airbrush

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Established Member
24 Aug 2020
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Yeah that compressor will work, overkill and you'll need to keep the pressure down and regulated.
I have an Iwata Revolution HP-BCR which is very good quality but has a bottom suction feed, yours with a top cup feed is more convenient.

I'm no expert but the secrets are to get the paint consistency right and scrupulous cleaning afterwards, flow improver cvan help the paint then it's just practice, practice, practice.
Airbrush doesn't need much air. I'm sure your Stanley will be up to the job especially if it has a tank to smooth out the pressure.
For any sort of spraying, you do need a moisture separator inline (at the least if you are spraying solvent based paints). These aren't very expensive and you could just put one on a quick release plug and connect it when using the airbrush only if you prefer.

Iwata make all sorts of high quality spray kit. Some of their airbrushes draw hair thin lines, others are better suited to covering a bigger area.
I'd guess childrens toys won't have tiny parts that can be swallowed so your airbrush of choice will need to be able to spray a relatively wide fan pattern in airbrush terms so that you can get a nice even coverage.

The range is all laid out here based on what you need it to do ....
I recommend the brand because I use their LPH-80 spraygun which was developed for things like car wing mirrors and it is a very high quality tool. The LPH-80 is too big for your needs but this tiny spraygun was developed from their largest airbrush, not downsized from an existing spraygun. I need only 14psi for mine. I'm sure as Lons says, you'll need to keep the pressure well down for an airbrush.
The compressor will be fine.
I would say the Iwata will be a decent airbrush, they are generally nice quality.

However, I must recommend the Aztek airbrushes for a couple of reasons.

Firstly you can switch between single and double action, this is convenient as you can do very fine controlled work and quickly switch to filling in a big area, more traditional airbrushes are governed by the needle size, ie some for fine some for wide, within a range. The Aztek has switchable nozzles, and a range of different types of paint cups with are easily changed.
I have a few airbrushes and used to do quite a bit of it, if you only want to buy one then the Aztek is most versatile.

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some good food for thought here - thank you!
it is quite daunting when the last time I saw a airbrush was in the 1980s!
Iwata Eclipse CS is a great airbrush. Love mine. I use mine with Sparmax Zeta compressor.

Yeah that compressor will work, overkill and you'll need to keep the pressure down and regulated.
I have an Iwata Revolution HP-BCR which is very good quality but has a bottom suction feed, yours with a top cup feed is more convenient.

I'm no expert but the secrets are to get the paint consistency right and scrupulous cleaning afterwards, flow improver cvan help the paint then it's just practice, practice, practice.
I'd agree with all that. Especially using flow improver. I like Vallejo acrylic paints and tend to mix them 50:50 with Vallejo flow improver.

Learning to strip and clean the airbrush is crucial. Clean often and residue buildup will never become a big issue.
Azteks are nice ( I've got 4 ) but they are much more of an illustrators tool* that you need for spray painting toys.If you are just doing colour areas ( with maybe fades between colours , sunbursts )and not line detail the badger VLS will be an ideal workhorse for larger areas, and either a another cone and tip and needle for it for smaller fine work, or also buy the Badger VJS which has a finer set up for more detail.

re the moisture trap , unscrew the bowl and put some kitchen towel in there , then put it back together.

Pressure should be no more than 2kg ( 2 bars ) unless you are spraying thicker paints, in which case you can go upto 2.5 kg..more than that and the tiny O rings in airbrushes are able to move ( ignore what the manufacturers say, I've been making my living with airbrushes ( highly detailed illustration and custom painting , right up to huge fairground attractions, via Harleys and power boats and cars, trucks etc.) since 1975.

That Stanley will work, but the tank is a bit small, it will result in the air to the airbrush "pulsing" on large areas of colour. Bigger tank( 25 or 50ltres ) would be better, the HP doesn't matter much..Small tank silent models ,( based on fridge compressors ) with a 5 to 10 litre tank are what most of us use for illustrations, noisy compressors in the same room gets old fast..Noisy compressors can also disturb neighbours. 58db is quite loud, and with a small tank it will be running the motor a lot.

I have Iwatas too, and badgers and gracos etc etc, and brands that I can't remember, got a whole box of them, must have over 50 assorted .Mainly to avoid cleaning to change colour when working, clean up at the end of the day is best when you are doing it ( airbrushing ) all day every day.

*Reason I'd advise against Azteks for what you want, is that they modulate the air flow by pressing down ( squashing ) on their air supply tube inside their body, the airtube is like medical tubes for the oxy mask that goes into your nostrils. Open up an Aztek and its like looking at a high-tech sprung clothes peg crossed with a medical tube and a nostril hair cutter.

Other "classical system" airbrushs use plunger in the body which when you press down on the trigger as you are pulling back ( to allow more paint to flow to the tip of the needle ) allow more air flow to the tip be cause the plunger is pressed at the same time.The mix is constantly variable in these , they are "double action". Some similar looking airbrushes, EFBE have some models for example, where the Trigger lever does not move up and down like a double action, but is on a ting pivot , so as you pull back for paint, it pushes down to allow air, but always in a fixed ratio. This kind would also do what you need.

For really lightweight freehand illustration with loads of fine hairline detail they are wonderful, and you can change the nozzles / tip asemblies easily as said, but they were designed ( I was a freelance demonstrator for them when they first came out many years ago ) to use dilute watercolours and special dye inks for illustration, like work on record sleeve designs.For that kind of work they are a pleasure to use and are unbeatable.You can use them for other stuff, but they are so light ( which is great if you are illustrating all day long ) that they can actually be harder to use for larger area coverage and sunbursts than a badger.Plus parts are harder to get for them, the "brand" and machines to make them changed hands many times, Azteks disappeared from the airbrush world for a time and then came back, even, now "internal" bits are like rocking horse carp to source, most of us who used / use them professionally for illustration learned to make our own spare parts.
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some good food for thought here - thank you!
it is quite daunting when the last time I saw a airbrush was in the 1980s!
Just a quick note on this, I was just looking for Aztek airbrush bits on the general internet and it looks like they have discontinued the product after being bought by the parent company of rustoleum paints.
So I still think they are a great product but parts look like they will be a problem, perhaps better to stick with Iwata or another brand.
I have had good airbrushes by Paasche, Badger, a German one that was really nice but I forget the name now.

I suggest looking at second hand ones. Also second hand dentists compressors are a good idea.

@mwinfrance We must have been writing at the same time !! I am interested to see your work now, I always wished I could do car cutaways like Yoshihiro Inomoto but never got that good.

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Hi all,

I'm a hobbyist and am certainly no expert, but I asked a similar question several years ago and I ended up buying an Iwata airbrush. (I cant remember the model).
After a few months experimenting, I ended up selling the Iwata and buying a Badger 150, due to the fact that the Badger accomodated a 0.75 mm needle amongst other sizes opposed to the 0.5 needle that my original Iwata used.
I found that this allowed me to spray water based varnish/lacquer of a higher viscosity, thus allowing me to achieve a quicker/higher build finish.

I hope this helps ??

Car cutaways is the kind of thing I was trained to do back in the early 70s, subject of my BA course, "medical and scientific illustration", that kind of work in airbrush was already becoming redundant due to early computers ( which were mainframed huge things ) so we were also taught COBOL and Fortran ( particularly Fortran ) ..punch card decks etc, so as to be able to program computers to do all the cutaways with shading and colour etc.

There used to be a couple of hundred medical and scientific illustrators trained up to degree level every year at that time , for about 10 jobs ! But it kept the lecturers in work teaching us , which some of us rapidly realised was the reason. Those of us who were good , spent our time on the medical part, which at the time involved a lot of drawing and photography in operating theatres and in morgues. Also a lot of "life drawing" ( which I taught for a while later ).

Many of us then moved on to "fantasy" airbrush artwork..

We airbush artists used to use another product which ( like the Aztek ) disappeared , line board.

Best was CS line board, British company., Collier and Southey, there was also a German product Schoellershammer line board .CS went out of production decades ago ( there is a market amongst older illustrators who have kept a few sheets or part packs ), Schoellershammer stopped production about he same time, shut their factory.Someone bought it a few years ago, built another alongside it, and resurrected their line board, but in a "nowhere near as good" version".CS was always the better product anyway. Nowadays white scraper board is as close as you'll get to CS line board.

Unless you are working ( airbrushing ) on 3D surfaces with many curves ? Digital printing has taken over from almost all airbrushing ( except maybe custom painting ) Artwork is done on graphic tablets with software tools which mimic airbrushes and other types of drawing and painting very well, this is far more versatile and far far faster and easier to correct and enhance than actual airbrushing. I've got 5 graphic tablets, my son has the same number, we have wacoms and x-pen, the x-pen are cheaper than the wacom and are just as good ,if not better.They are big, they are actual moniter screens ( thin) with full HD and very good colour fidelity and "colour space", you draw directly on top of the images on them, with no parallax , You can also use them to edit video or apply special effects to video. Thus hardly any illustrators or airbrush artists actually use physical airbrushes now. Unless one is making "one offs" original artworks.

I haven't done any physical airbrush work in about 10 years, When I was working on carny stuff etc I had a photo book of around 10% of my work which they would look at, like wise Harley owners and so on to give them some ideas if they did not have any preferences. Eventually I was sufficiently well knwon that they just bring the carnival ride or the bike etc and say we'd like this, but you are the expert, do what you think.Nice work, but the 2 pack cyano acrylates are toxic to work with. I might be able to find a photo of the last airbrushed sign I did , over the weekend. I'll have a root about, it was based on Lara Croft and Sly Stallone, it was to advertise a military surplus shop.It was two standing figures , life sized on marine ply , they were attached to the owners ratty little trailor and he placed them at the side of the dual carriage way near his shop.

Rest of the stuff is in albums in boxes. I work either on the x-pen tablets or in sculpture ( moving or static ) nowadays. We may be releasing ( self editing ) some comic books later this year or early next ( have the A3 Colour printers bought already ) and maybe some Tee Shirts , have the machinery for those too, used to do long runs of tourist type ones in the past.

If I can find the photos I'm thinking of , I'll scan them and upload. it will give the OP an idea of what can be done, they were done with a badger airbrush a VLS, took me a day to do both.

Tip .Unless you are experienced, varnish horizontally , lay what you want to spray varnish down on it's "back" and spray the upward facing horizontal surface, or you'll very likely get runs.If you want to be able to spray vertical and curved surfaces without runs, practice on scrap. Eventually after enough practice you'll be able to spray 2 pack clear on cars, trucks, boats and planes without any runs, or if you get runs, you'll know how to deal with them to lose them. You'll need a much bigger spray gun for them, at least a 50cm spray fan high volume gun. With overhead paint pot, you'll need strong arms too spraying with a 2kg( when fully loaded ) spray gun for 4 to 10 hours requires muscle, technique, concentration, a strong back, and an assistant to load the second gun so you can work without interruption.A strong bladder helps as you can't stop for "potty breaks" .
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some fantastic replies, far more detail than I expected, thank you.
a friend is going to lend me one with small compressor to test and I will go from there…