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Airbrush work ? use / recommendation

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Blister

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Hi

I fancy having a go with a airbrush

I have sprayed cars when I was younger

I know absolutely nothing about the types and makes of brushes but do own a small worktop type airbrush compressor ( Never used by me although it is second hand )

I have seen some with open top paint pots and some with a glass screw on container underneath ?

Can anyone on here offer any advice or point me in a direction / forum

or maybe a idiots guide to airbrushing :lol:


Thanks
 

Blister

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Thanks for the leads gents

Some reading to do now :D
 

deserter

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I used to airbrush loads, onto hard substrates not wood, however I still say you can't beat an Iwata brush with a gravity feed ontop. If you do go down the Iwata route beware of imitations from the east, the needles are useless and don't seat in the caps properly.
 

JakeS

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I used to do a lot of plastic/resin kit modelling, which involved a lot of fairly precise airbrushing - if you're looking to do small-decoration airbrushing, I'd suggest a few things:

- While Iwata do make nice aurbrushes, they also make very expensive airbrushes. If you're not sure whether it's something for you, I'd still advise buying something cheap and generic like this to play around with airbrushing before you drop a lot of money on expensive kit. Unfortunately I can't vouch entirely precisely for that one since I've not bought from that particular seller, but I own a generic brush which looks identical to that and comes in exactly the same case, and for the money it's nothing short of superb. The one I have is definitely a good beginner brush... just don't get put off if you do find it has manufacturing defects; send it back and don't automatically assume it's your technique at fault. Don't expect to be able to achieve neat, consistent 2mm spray-lines with a cheap 'brush like that, but from the ones I've seen they're usually fine for general use.

- It's definitely worth having a dual-action 'brush if you're going to do anything other than laying down flat colour. You get a much larger degree of control, can feather between two colours more easily, etc. I also find it easier to clean dual-action brushes for the simple reason that you can run the air without letting paint through the nozzle in between sprays, so there's not so much build-up to clean out later.

- Gravity-feed is much easier to use than siphon-feed (the ones with the bottle under the body of the airbrush), in my experience. It's less fussy about the consistency of the paint, and while you can accidentally spill paint out the top if you tilt it too much, I tend to find that siphon-feeds splutter more easily. The advantage for siphon-feed is that you can keep a lot more paint in the bottle, so you can spray much larger areas without having to refill. I think my main gravity-feed brush has a 2ml well, but it's not uncommon to have 50ml bottles for siphon-feed 'brushes.

- You need a moisture trap on your compressor if you're working in a vaguely-humid environment, as otherwise the moisture from the air will gather in the compressor and tube and periodically droplets will come up the airpipe, come out at the same time as the paint and ruin your finish.

- It obviously depends on what you're airbrushing, but I found Tamiya model paints excellent to paint with an airbrush; thin them with isopropyl alcohol (available from a proper chemist/pharmacy; I get mine from Lloyds) to the consistency of milk and remember the adage that many thin coats is always better! You can re-use a lot of the technique of spray-painting from an aerosol can. (If you do use Tamiya paints, though, be aware that they're very fragile and absolutely require a varnish layer over the top. This goes for most airbrushed acrylic paint, mind.)

- Don't ever buy an external-mix brush ever. They're all, without exception, rubbish for fine work. These are the ones which are usually plastic-bodied, sold for £10 with a little can of compressed air on a cardboard backing as "starter hobby airbrush" and so on. I have no idea what they're good for, but it's not painting things. I'd also tend to advise people steer clear of Aztek 'brushes (with their weird miniature resin/plastic needle cartridges) but some people love 'em.

- Check the diameter and thread of the fittings on your compressor and be prepared to buy extra adaptors; they're usually pretty cheap if you know what you need. Unfortunately pretty much every major airbrush manufacturer has a different standard for hose fittings.

- I know you said you have a compressor already, but for the benefit of anyone else reading this thread: aerosol compressed air is fine for starting out, but it quickly becomes a very expensive way to run an airbrush... and has its own problems. Keep aware of how cold the can is while you're working, because every time you spray the can cools a bit (the liquid air inside is evaporating out into gas!) and once it cools too much you sometimes get bits of liquid air/propellant come out. Which obviously isn't good for whatever you're painting, and can burn skin if you carelessly spray onto the back of your hand to see if the 'brush is still working. Which I still have a faint scar from doing as a teenager!
 

Blister

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I dug out the airbrush compressor and its a

TI model , took the top off to see what type it is and disappointingly its a diaphragm type

it runs but has very little pressure :(

So looks like something for the scrap bin :|
 

henton49er

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Hi Blister,

Having seen Nick Agar demonstrating his airbrushing techniques at Yandles Show back in April, I too have been doing some research on airbrushing for woodturning. This has included discussions with Paul Hannaby when he visited Mid Wales Woodturners for a days demonstration earlier this month, other discussions with local artists and a large amount of internet research.

My conclusions are to buy a gravity feed dual action airbrush from a quality manufacturer (Badger, Iwata, DeVibliss etc) plus an inexpensive compressor with an air tank (evens out the pressure fluctuations) and pressure regulator. In terms of cost, the quality airbrushes seem very expensive for what they are, and I have homed in on the Neo (Iwata) which sells at about £45. I hope to pay about £80 for the compressor plus a few more bits and pieces bringing my total outlay to around £150. Iwata brushes have a five year warranty against manufacturing faults - compared to the more usual 12 months.

It is possible to buy a complete kit from eBay for around £80, but I have been warned off the cheapo airbrushes that are included in these kits. If you are, like me, planning to spray spirit stains, you also need to make sure that the airbrush fittings are solvent resistant, or the whole thing will go into internal melt down rather quickly. Also avoid airbrushes with plastic bodies - the connecting threads strip out for a pastime rendering the whole thing useless.

I think that a needle of about 0.3mm is suitable for general work, down to 0.2mm for finer more detailed work. If you want to cover larger areas rapidly then you would need a suction feed airbrush with a 0.5mm needle - but this is probably not necessary for decorating turned items, unless you are into very large pieces. I have also been recommended to get a cleaning kit to keep the inside of the airbrush as free from paint as possible.

The working pressure range is generally about 10 psi to 30 psi, so a compressor that has a cut off at about 50psi and a regulator to control the pressure delivered to the airbrush is ideal. Some airbrushes have a pressure adjusting knob buiult-in, which is useful if you need to frequently vary the paint delivery.

Every brush manufacturer seems to have their own standard fittings (mainly 1/4 or 1/8 bsp, but Badger use M5, for example) so you may need to get adapters to get you various components to fit together unless you get a kit from one supplier in which case they should sort this for you. :roll:

For paints, try Golden, availoable in opaque, transparent, pearlescent, irridescent etc. Not cheap at around £45 for ten small (60ml?) bottles, but good quality I am told and specifically made for airbrushing, so not straining to remove larger particles, thinning etc.

Sorry, a bit of a long and disjointed ramble, but I hope this helps. I plan to order some kit this week, but doubt I will have it set up in time to put some airbrushing onto my entry for the June Challenge - still, there's always next month! :lol:
 

JakeS

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henton49er":28sshhs1 said:
Some airbrushes have a pressure adjusting knob buiult-in, which is useful if you need to frequently vary the paint delivery.
For what it's worth, the two controls on a dual-action 'brush control "how much air you release" (up/down) and "how much paint you release" (back/forward), so don't worry too much about that, you have all the control you need there. If you have a pressure regulator on your compressor already, I personally don't see the need for any extra controls on the airbrush.

(In my experience, varying the pressure generally only needs to be done when the paint thickness changes, you need to adjust to find the correct point at which the paint is properly distributed and surface tension doesn't have the chance to readhere the paint into blobs. The controls on the 'brush are then sufficient to lay down more or less paint at once.)

henton49er":28sshhs1 said:
For paints, try Golden, availoable in opaque, transparent, pearlescent, irridescent etc. Not cheap at around £45 for ten small (60ml?) bottles, but good quality I am told and specifically made for airbrushing, so not straining to remove larger particles, thinning etc.
I forgot this in my previous post: one thing you can look out for when paint shopping is "liquid pigment" paints. They're more expensive than traditional ground-pigment suspensions, but they're far nicer, and maintain consistency much better when thinned. And, of course, don't have any large particles in which might clog up your airbrush.
 

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