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  #1  
Old 4th January 2011, 02:04 PM
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Doubledealer Doubledealer is offline
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Default Airbrushing

The purpose of this thread is to detail any tips, tricks or techniques for all things airbrush. This is also the place to ask any questions you may have about airbrushing which should hopefully come in handy for people just getting started/wanting to find out more.

When it comes to airbrushing Transformers, I recommend a dual-action gravity fed airbrush. With this type of 'brush you get better control with the dual-action (allowing real-time adjusting of paint volume) and easier cleaning & the ability to spray at lower air pressures with the gravity fed paint cup (at the sacrifice of holding less paint than a siphon fed airbrush).

For those who already airbrush, I'd be interested to know which brush/compressor combo you use, what psi air pressure you set the compressor to (do you ever change the psi?) and any discoveries you've made since practicing this method of painting.

Local prices for quality brands (Iwata, Badger, Paasche for example) are a bit ridiculous so I looked online and ended up buying an airbrush & compressor combo from http://www.chicagoairbrushsupply.com/.

I went for this particular combo which is great as it allows you to pick exactly which brush you want (I went for the CR after all the great things I'd read about it in forums). The total cost for this set was US$331 including shipping to Australia. The CR itself is a brilliant piece of kit, I especially love how you can remove the end nozzle to spray super fine lines of paint.
http://www.chicagoairbrushsupply.com/iwre.html

One thing I will say about this particular compressor (Iwata Sprint Jet) is that despite it saying in the write up: "Working pressure from 1psi to 35psi", I've never been able to get it higher than 23psi despite everything being correctly/firmly connected (for the uninitiated, the working pressure is the psi once the airbrush is releasing air). Strangely, if I set the psi anywhere between 55-80 (idle, not working pressure) it still always maxes out at 23psi. Not really sure what's going on there but ah well.

While we're on the topic of the compressor, and being that we live in Australia, I strongly urge that you buy an 'in-line moisture trap' if you're using a small compressor such as my one (yes, even if it has it's own built in moisture trap). Trust me, when it's a hot/humid day those little moisture traps just can't cope and you will most likely end up with an airbrush that spits out water every now and then effectively ruining an otherwise perfect paint job. Putting the compressor on the ground can help with this but I still recommend the second inline moisture trap - all you need is one of these for $10 shipped http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/AIRBRUSH-MINI-...#ht_1835wt_905. (don't pay 5X for a brand model that's exactly the same thing). You can thank me later.

Other than that, another essential purchase (which I still haven't bought, lol, good one DD) is an airbrush holder. I can't tell you how many times I've knocked my CR over and spilled paint everywhere! Last night I tried to balance it on the compressor, I of course then bumped it which ended up with yellow paint on the compressor, its cables and my workstation. Oh joy.

Here are some other bits and pieces I've bought along the way, all of which I'd consider must have airbrushing equipment:

-3M 6200 Respirator with 3M 60921 P100 cartridges (when spraying Enamels)
-Dust Mask (when spraying Acrylics)
-Windex (to clean airbrush)
-Thinner (Acrylic or Enamel)
-Spray booth (I made one out of an old box & sheets of plain white A4 paper)
-Paints (duh!) - I've used Mr Hobby & Tamiya only, don't have a bad thing to say about either of them although my preference goes to Mr Hobby (you can pretty much spray it straight out of the bottle it's so thin)

I could go on but that's a good enough start. I don't even know if anyone will use this thread (!) but hopefully someone finds it useful.
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  #2  
Old 4th January 2011, 04:52 PM
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bruticus bruticus is offline
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thanks for the tips mate.
i cant believe that you ghetto'd a spray booth out of paper... nice...
what did you end up using for an exhaust fan?
post a pick of it when you are free.

im not as crafty as you and ended up buying a sparmax spray booth instead... however, it doubles nicely as a photobooth. lol.
havent had issues with the moisture trap on mine yet so never thought about using a second inline moisture trap as well.
talk about "double bagging" dude. lol.

yep... you're right about the airbrush holder... need to get me one as well.
actually i might duck into stanbridges now to see if they have any.

the suggestion i might add, is that if you can, try to get yourself a side gravity feed air brush. the cup is located on the side so it doesnt block your view when you paint close up, and it is still a gravity feed which is "suppose" to be better for control and detail painting compared to a bottom feed. its not essential, but if you are just starting out then why not.

also, if you can, try and get an airtank. its suppose to be better for the hot weather. what you do is paint using the air from the tank only and all the air compressor does is occasionally top up the tank when it runs below a certain limit (top up level is much at a higher pressure than your max working pressure so you still have a steady flow). that way if your air compressor overheats and hits a thermal cut out, you can still continue painting with the air supplied from the tank. plus the air compressor is not on constantly which means longer times for it to overheat.

lastly, an air brush is great for dusting and cleaning your transformers as well.
add a bit of water and bam...you also got yourself a nice way to cool yourself down in the summer...lol. (just make sure you clean it real good first )

not sure why your compressor is maxing out at 23psi though. it sounds like you havent adjusted your pressure control valve and its maxing out the output pressure at the valve level. but you did mention you cranked up your idle pressure to 50+ psi which means you would have adjusted the pressure control valve, so not sure whats happening there? maybe you have a second valve somewhere? i dont have an iwata or a second moisture trap so i dunno. just guessing.
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Old 4th January 2011, 05:23 PM
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Doubledealer Doubledealer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruticus View Post
thanks for the tips mate.
i cant believe that you ghetto'd a spray booth out of paper... nice...
what did you end up using for an exhaust fan?
post a pick of it when you are free.
Haha, well it's nothing fancy but it stops the paint from going everywhere (when I'm not knocking the airbrush over that is). Because I'm mainly using acrylics these days I just keep the laundry door open and that's about it. Do you recommend the exhaust fan option? Yours sounds pretty cool I must say. I don't really know much about exhaust fans in terms of airbrushing - does it have some sort of catcher/filter that absorbs the paint?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bruticus View Post
havent had issues with the moisture trap on mine yet so never thought about using a second inline moisture trap as well.
talk about "double bagging" dude. lol.
I dare say you've probably not had an issue due to using (at least I'm assuming you use) a compressor with an air tank. The issue seems to affect the smaller compressors like my little whippersnapper.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bruticus View Post
yep... you're right about the airbrush holder... need to get me one as well.
actually i might duck into stanbridges now to see if they have any.
Stanbridges eh? You'll have to let us know if they have anything up to scratch, otherwise I think many people use those cleaning station thingies that double as a holder.



Quote:
Originally Posted by bruticus View Post
the suggestion i might add, is that if you can, try to get yourself a side gravity feed air brush. the cup is located on the side so it doesnt block your view when you paint close up, and it is still a gravity feed which is "suppose" to be better for control and detail painting compared to a bottom feed. its not essential, but if you are just starting out then why not.
That does sound good actually, do you reckon the paint filters into the nib just as well? It would have to be on a bit of an angle wouldn't it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bruticus View Post
also, if you can, try and get an airtank. its suppose to be better for the hot weather. what you do is paint using the air from the tank only and all the air compressor does is occasionally top up the tank when it runs below a certain limit (top up level is much at a higher pressure than your max working pressure so you still have a steady flow). that way if your air compressor overheats and hits a thermal cut out, you can still continue painting with the air supplied from the tank. plus the air compressor is not on constantly which means longer times for it to overheat.
Excellent advice, and something I wish I knew before selecting my compressor! Can I ask, are these kind of compressors much more expensive, and do they make less or more noise than ones that don't have a tank?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bruticus View Post
lastly, an air brush is great for dusting and cleaning your transformers as well.
add a bit of water and bam...you also got yourself a nice way to cool yourself down in the summer...lol. (just make sure you clean it real good first )
LOL, you can also run a fake tanning business on the side, just don't let the girls make you rush that last coat of paint because they want their toosh to look like a baked bean!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bruticus View Post
not sure why your compressor is maxing out at 23psi though. it sounds like you havent adjusted your pressure control valve and its maxing out the output pressure at the valve level. but you did mention you cranked up your idle pressure to 50+ psi which means you would have adjusted the pressure control valve, so not sure whats happening there? maybe you have a second valve somewhere? i dont have an iwata or a second moisture trap so i dunno. just guessing.
My air compressor is one of life's greatest mysteries. I've called Jonathan Creek for advice but even he can't help.
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Old 4th January 2011, 06:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doubledealer View Post
Haha, well it's nothing fancy but it stops the paint from going everywhere (when I'm not knocking the airbrush over that is). Because I'm mainly using acrylics these days I just keep the laundry door open and that's about it. Do you recommend the exhaust fan option? Yours sounds pretty cool I must say. I don't really know much about exhaust fans in terms of airbrushing - does it have some sort of catcher/filter that absorbs the paint?
Well, im currently living in an apartment and when i first decided to get into painting it was winter time and i couldnt paint outdoors so i opted for a spray booth after consulting with the master spray painters on this forum (i.e. gamblor, rampagesss and loophole )
similar to this:
http://www.hobbytools.com.au/prod789.htm
it has an exhaust fan that sucks up all the spray vapours and passes through 2 filters before dumping out whats left through an exhaust hose. you are suppose to aim the hose outside a window but i was no where near a window and since i was paranoid about filling up my home with spray fumes, i ended up putting a fine white filter on the end of that exhaust hose. thankfully i did, cos i could see the gunk that built up on the 3rd filter! after a while, a friend suggested that if i couldnt find an extension hose suitable to make it longer and reach the window, then i should try dunking the hose into a bucket of water to suppress the residual paint fumes. so far thats worked. just dont kick over the bucket... or maybe the bucket needs a bucket stand as well? lol

Oh, the spray booth is also pretty good for catching most of the dust when im carving up plastics and epoxy putty etc with my dremel.. those fine dust particles are pretty bad. serves me right for doing mods indoors i suppose.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doubledealer View Post
I dare say you've probably not had an issue due to using (at least I'm assuming you use) a compressor with an air tank. The issue seems to affect the smaller compressors like my little whippersnapper.
yeah, maybe its because of my air tank. or maybe i havent fully abused my air brush in the full heat of summer? lol

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doubledealer View Post
Stanbridges eh? You'll have to let us know if they have anything up to scratch, otherwise I think many people use those cleaning station thingies that double as a holder.



boo.. stanbridges, perth city hobby and super cheap auto dont have them.
looks like i need to ebay it.
those cleaning pot thingies are pretty cool if they can also double as a holder.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doubledealer View Post
That does sound good actually, do you reckon the paint filters into the nib just as well? It would have to be on a bit of an angle wouldn't it?
mine has a 90degree elbow, but the paint still filters down alright. however, sometimes when the paint in the cup gets really low, it starts playing up, so you wont be able to really use the last few drops of paint in the cup consistently. but you shouldnt really let things get to that stage anyways and should be topping up the paint.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doubledealer View Post
Excellent advice, and something I wish I knew before selecting my compressor! Can I ask, are these kind of compressors much more expensive, and do they make less or more noise than ones that don't have a tank?
mine was relatively cheap and its pretty quiet system too.
i bought 2x gravity feed dual action air brushes, 1x air compressor and 1x3L air tank from the ebay a while ago all for around 200AUD posted. its some random chinese brand but it does the job and hasnt carked it on me yet... (touch wood). similar to this:
http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI....=STRK:MEWAX:IT
so the air tanks shouldnt be too expensive if you are looking to get one.

but fark man.. ive read of people using air straight from scuba tanks or a make shift air tank from large coke bottles so it really just depends on what you want.
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Old 4th January 2011, 08:29 PM
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Nice topic, it's good to hear about other experiences and techniques. Here's my setup which I've used for several years, Iwata HP-CS and basic Sparmax compressor. The compressor doesn't have any pressure controls so I have to use the screw at the bottom of the trap to adjust it. Not ideal but it works ok most of the time. I just have to be careful on really humid days which luckily are not that frequent. I'm surprised at how high the pressure you guys work at. For general work mine is 15-20psi and close in detail work is 5-10psi.



I also have an Aztek which I don't really use anymore and don't recommend.



I also have a Harder and Steenbeck Infinity which is nice, but I haven't used it a lot as my Iwata does it all. I was planning to use it for fine detail work but I've found my Iwata is pretty good at that too. All the gradations are painted with the Iwata.



Quote:
Originally Posted by bruticus
also, if you can, try and get an airtank. its suppose to be better for the hot weather. what you do is paint using the air from the tank only and all the air compressor does is occasionally top up the tank when it runs below a certain limit (top up level is much at a higher pressure than your max working pressure so you still have a steady flow). that way if your air compressor overheats and hits a thermal cut out, you can still continue painting with the air supplied from the tank. plus the air compressor is not on constantly which means longer times for it to overheat.
This is a good idea. If my compressor dies then I would get a tank one with pressure controls. The pulsing on mine is very minimal, probably because of the trap but I think a tank would be better. That said it's still going strong and has never failed me on hot summer days.

I agree to that you need a good holder. Mine is attached to the compressor but I used to use a roll of sticky tape which got knocked over quite often.

Quote:
Originally Posted by doubledealer
-3M 6200 Respirator with 3M 60921 P100 cartridges (when spraying Enamels)
I use these 3m filters as well. I spray mainly Gunze lacquers and auto paints so it's a must. I also use disposable gloves.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bruticus
lastly, an air brush is great for dusting and cleaning your transformers as well.
add a bit of water and bam...you also got yourself a nice way to cool yourself down in the summer...lol. (just make sure you clean it real good first )
Good idea!
I always give the parts a spray of air to clean off dust before applying paint.

I have one of these Gunze cleaning pots, brand new if anyone is interested for $20 shipped anywhere.
http://www.hlj.com/product/GNZPS-257
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Old 5th January 2011, 06:28 AM
primatives primatives is offline
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just a question that air compressor at the top looks very similar to this one from total tools just without all the stickers and black paint. I don't know


http://www.totaltools.com.au/icat/pdf.php?id=358

i think its $169 and u can get it cheaper on sales
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Old 5th January 2011, 04:09 PM
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honestly, I have no idea what you guys are talking about, but it's good to know there is this thread when I finally do get an airbrush ( that is in line with some other stuff to buy list) at least I have a reference to go to and know who to ask for experience and such.
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Old 6th January 2011, 12:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruticus View Post
Well, im currently living in an apartment and when i first decided to get into painting it was winter time and i couldnt paint outdoors so i opted for a spray booth after consulting with the master spray painters on this forum (i.e. gamblor, rampagesss and loophole )
similar to this:
http://www.hobbytools.com.au/prod789.htm
it has an exhaust fan that sucks up all the spray vapours and passes through 2 filters before dumping out whats left through an exhaust hose. you are suppose to aim the hose outside a window but i was no where near a window and since i was paranoid about filling up my home with spray fumes, i ended up putting a fine white filter on the end of that exhaust hose. thankfully i did, cos i could see the gunk that built up on the 3rd filter! after a while, a friend suggested that if i couldnt find an extension hose suitable to make it longer and reach the window, then i should try dunking the hose into a bucket of water to suppress the residual paint fumes. so far thats worked. just dont kick over the bucket... or maybe the bucket needs a bucket stand as well? lol
I have the option of painting outdoors but I'd have to be tripping balls before I'd even think about trying it in Perth. Is it just me or is this city like living in a wind tunnel? Every day I ride to work I can hear this wretched voice inside my head saying 'You're not streamlined enough, stop eating so many Freddo's and maybe you'll get to work faster!'. Shut up! I retort as I pedal like a madman against a wind so fierce, I have to be on the 1st gear just to go down a hill.

On a serious note, that spray booth looks brilliant! I just hope for your sake no one puts the bucket on top of a door on April fools.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bruticus View Post
yeah, maybe its because of my air tank. or maybe i havent fully abused my air brush in the full heat of summer? lol
lol, you could be right on that last point. Gotta keep the dream alive though, right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bruticus View Post
boo.. stanbridges, perth city hobby and super cheap auto dont have them.
looks like i need to ebay it.
those cleaning pot thingies are pretty cool if they can also double as a holder.
That's odd isn't it considering how necessary they really are. If you're passionate about your business you'd think you'd think of these things...Ah well, group order?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bruticus View Post
but fark man.. ive read of people using air straight from scuba tanks or a make shift air tank from large coke bottles so it really just depends on what you want.
Why did I just imagine someone using a Nitrous Oxide tank for airbrushing...It would certainly make the time between coats more enjoyable!

Quote:
Originally Posted by gamblor916 View Post
Nice topic, it's good to hear about other experiences and techniques. Here's my setup which I've used for several years, Iwata HP-CS and basic Sparmax compressor. The compressor doesn't have any pressure controls so I have to use the screw at the bottom of the trap to adjust it. Not ideal but it works ok most of the time. I just have to be careful on really humid days which luckily are not that frequent. I'm surprised at how high the pressure you guys work at. For general work mine is 15-20psi and close in detail work is 5-10psi.
That compressor looks remarkably similar to my own, do you ever get the spluttery water thing with yours, gamblor? Interesting to hear about the psi levels you work with. I might have to try some of the lower settings to see if it allows better control. I basically just stuck with 23 as I'd heard a lot of people work at 25psi and 23's as high as my stinkin' compressor will go. Not sure what the rationale is behind using 25psi though...

Oh and Bruticus, when are we going to see your customs mate?

Quote:
Originally Posted by primatives View Post
just a question that air compressor at the top looks very similar to this one from total tools just without all the stickers and black paint. I don't know


http://www.totaltools.com.au/icat/pdf.php?id=358

i think its $169 and u can get it cheaper on sales
You mean the one in the bottom left?? Sounds pretty good to me, although might be worth googling it to get some opinions on its performance?

Liege, it's all pretty confusing when you start out. That's why I created the thread! So any questions you may have now or in the future, let us know.
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Old 7th January 2011, 09:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doubledealer
That compressor looks remarkably similar to my own, do you ever get the spluttery water thing with yours, gamblor? Interesting to hear about the psi levels you work with. I might have to try some of the lower settings to see if it allows better control. I basically just stuck with 23 as I'd heard a lot of people work at 25psi and 23's as high as my stinkin' compressor will go. Not sure what the rationale is behind using 25psi though...
It's happened once or twice in about 5 years. It's annoying having water droplets ruin an otherwise good paintjob but it's a relatively easy fix.

I've found it's a balancing act between thickness of the paint, the air temperature, and air pressure. The higher the air temp, the thinner the paint and lower the pressure which I prefer. For me around 25 degrees is the perfect spraying temperature. Under 20 degrees the silvers and chromes especially go cloudy or less bright.
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Old 7th January 2011, 01:06 PM
Draksprime Draksprime is offline
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I got a Iwata 925 with the HP.CP airbrush for xmas and its working great. I too looked at chiacago but went with a local supplier which ended up around 100 dearer, but warranty is local which was a factor for me. The Iwata is super quite and has the moister trap built in.

The air brush holder is super cool but as its glass be carefull not to drop it, it smashes into a 1000 pieces

I built my own spray booth as most of my work is done at night. Just buy a big 120 - 150 ltr clear container from kmart and the like and go from there. I put 4 computer fans at the back to take the air out and so far so good.

I have the pressure for painting set really low most of the time like 10 -15 psi and use all kinds of paints from autos to Acrylics, (auto paints I only use outside).
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