Air Brush Tips

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by TrainClown, Jun 13, 2003.

  1. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

    Apr 17, 2003
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    Air brushes are temper mental things and I thought I would post a few ideas I have come accross to help out those who might not know.

    The best thing to do is keep them clean. This will keep your rebuilding to almost nill. So when your finnished painting for the day there is a process you should go through depending on the type of paint you are using.

    For Enamils:
    You will be thinning your paint with Varsol or paint thinner and you should have a bottle of clean thinners ready to run through the gun as soon as you are through to clean out as much paint as you can. Once you clean it with the paint thinner then you should run some laquer thinner through the gun to remove every bit of paint. I shoot the gun into a white rag to see how clean the gun is getting and you should keep running the laquer thinner untill it comes out clean on the rag. I use the air brush at this time to clean any bottles out as the air brush works well at spraying them clean too. And I hate to just blow away that laquer thinner and wast it. Once the gun is clean, run it dry and it's reddy for your next paint day.

    For Laquer Paints:
    I bye my laquer paint from a craft store in spray cans. This is the most easy way to use laquer because you can spray the paint right into the air brushes bottle, or a tin can and then pour it into the bottle. The paint comes out of the can ready to spray for the most part and I seldom need to thin it. If you have a florral wholesaler near you, you might want to check out there paint section. Florral wholesaler's carry a paint called Floralife Floral Spray that is designed to paint fresh flowers with. (yes, they do that) Floralife comes in many more colors than Craftmaster paint that is usualy sold in craft stores. Laquer paint is the easyest to clean from the gun, with laquer thinner, of course.

    A Note On Laquer Thinner:
    You can get this stuff from PPG Paints called "Gun Wash" that is specialy made to clean out comercial spray guns. The problem with it is that it is an inferiour grade of laquer thinner than the stuff you normaly get from a paint store, and it can cause some enamels to turn to a sort of goo that will quickly clog thing up. If you ever see enamel turning to goo when the laquer thinner hits it, then you know you have a low grade of laquer thinner and you need to get a good one. Good quollity laquer thinner will melt and disolve enamel on contact with no problems. Most of the public dosn't know about the different grades of laquer thinner, but it is something worth knowing.

    For Water Base Paints:
    Water base paints are the hardest on your equipment so special care should be taken or you will soon have problems. You will be thinning your paint with water so have a bottle of clean water ready to run through the gun in between collours and as soon as you are done. The problem with latex and acrylic paint is that it has a tendency to leave behind deposits in the gun, even if you run clean water through it. Also, water will cause parts to rust inside the gun, even if you run it dry, there is still a small amount of water left behind. So after you wash it out with water then run some laquer thinner through the gun to remove the water. You will also find the laquer thinner removes more paint particles.

    When you have been using water based paint and you develop a problem anyway, you can run some "Goof Off" through the gun to desolve the paint. Goof Off is sold in paint stores. It is designed to remove latex and acrylic paint from rugs and just about anything and is safe for most surfaces. Put some Goof Off in your gun and use a pipe cleaner to scrub it a bit. The Goof Off works faster if it has a little help. If you soak your air brush in the stuff over night, it will desolve all the paint particles inside it.

    Cleaning Tips:
    Most air brushes will back fire if you hold your finger against the nozzel and cause the air stream to blow back into the paint bottle. This is a good thing to do when you are sertin your gun is cleaned out, as it helps dislodge paint particles. So put your finger in such a way to blow air back through the gun repeatedly 8 to 10 times to get every particle you can out of the gun. If you don't want to use your hand, then a rag will do the same thing.

    Most air brushes come with a crucible that is a metal cup with a tube to attach it to the gun. These work good for spraying small amounts of different colors, say when your weathering something, but watch out for slop if you move to fast. Crucibles are good for running different types if thinner through your gun.

    Be sure to use the thinner soaked rag to clean off the nozzel and have a small brissel brush just for cleaning the nozzel in those hard to reach spots. Tooth brushes tend to melt in laquer thinner so find a suitable brush for the job.

    I have five air guns from big ones for painting a car down to my little Badger air brush. My fave is a profesional quality gravity feed touch up gun used by car dealerships to touch up scratches on new cars. It paints just like an air brush and I originally got it to do flame jobs on motor bikes. I learned all about the rust thing when I used my big gun to paint a back drop with latex. I didn't leave the paint in the gun to long, I thought, but I was wrong.

    Just remember to try and keep your air brush as clean as the day you bought it, inside and out, and it will work flawlessly for years to come.
  2. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Feb 14, 2003
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    I don't use water with acrylics. I have found that they thin better with denatured alcohol, and it evaporates out of the paint for faster dry time on the model. In addition, even after acrylics have dried, denatured will disolve them. I takes some soaking for denatured alcohol to disolve dried acrylic paint, so if you have dried deposits in an airbrush, take it apart and soak it overnight in denatured alcohol.