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Airbrush Woes
FinneganBojangles
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New Jersey, United States
Joined: May 01, 2013
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Posted: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 01:22 PM UTC
Hello everybody. I currently have four 1:48 kits in the pipeline, several are assembled, primed and ready for painting, but... I'm terrified of my airbrush. I can never get the thing to work properly. I've read pretty much every single 'how-to' guide I've found on the net, but no matter what I try to do, I always seem to get the same result: no paint seems to come out unless I have it open all the way, and it just sputters all over everything, giving a very inconsistent finish.

I use a single-action Paasche H, powered by a compressor with a PSI regulator and moisture trap. I operate it at 25 PSI. I use Testors enamel paints and I thin them with Testors brand-name airbrush thinner. I do the whole consistency of skim milk blah blah blah. As far as I can tell, I'm setting up everything right, but I just can't seem to get good consistent results out of the thing. I nearly ruined some of the cockpit details on my La-7 because the paint was coming out in a totally inconsistent stream and glomming all over the details.

Is it possible I'm not cleaning the thing properly? Is it at too low of a PSI? Those are the only things I can really think of that might make it so that the paint only sputters out when the needle on the airbrush is all the way open. I'm desperate for any sort of help or input, because I don't want to ruin any of these kits with a crappy paint job.
Siderius
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Tennessee, United States
Joined: September 20, 2005
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Posted: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 01:36 PM UTC
Hi Kevin. Do you have interest in going to a double action airbrush, I use the Aztek 4709 by Testors. I enjoy how it works, and it extremely easy to use and clean. Take a look at the photos on my profile page to see the results. Let me know. As to the airbrush you have, I will someone who is more familiar with the one you have talk to you about it.
It is important to thin some colors more than others. Enamels do work fine, but I prefer acrylics because of the ease of use and ease of cleanup. Model Master, Acryl, again manufactured by Testors is what I primarily use. Hope this helps some. Take care, Russell
Delbert
#073
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Pennsylvania, United States
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Posted: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 01:45 PM UTC
Howdy

this is just for general information.

Have you tried a complete tear down and cleanup and check that any seals are ok.

and also have you checked for a bent needle or cracked nozzle.

Delbert




FinneganBojangles
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New Jersey, United States
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Posted: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 03:47 PM UTC
Russell: I'd like to upgrade to a dual-action but unfortunately that's breaking the bank a bit too much right now.

Delbert: I wouldn't really know where to start. I do try and clean it by running first mineral spirits and then distilled water through it after each use, but as far as completely disassembling it and inspecting it, no, I haven't really done that.
Keeperofsouls2099
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Florida, United States
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Posted: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 03:47 PM UTC
Agree with delbert.also try different psi.different paints react to different pressures. And I use an iwata never had a problem I clean my brush with 100 percent acetone been doing it for a few years with no problems on the same brush only replaced the needle once
suntze
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California, United States
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Posted: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 03:56 PM UTC
Agreed with Delbert. I would check the nozzle and needle very carefully to see if the nozzle is damaged. That happened to me once, and paint started to build up inside and create the similar problem to yours.

I just replaced the nozzle and the needle.
Delbert
#073
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Pennsylvania, United States
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Posted: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 04:52 PM UTC
Howdy again

Here is one more thing to try, a kind of self check.....

Water needs no thinning.

(using a clean airbrush, don't mix with paint.. LOL)

put water into your paint cup

set your pressure starting at around 20 psi or so for this test.

have your spray area well lighted so you can see the spray pattern of the water exiting the airbrush.

If you have a nice steady straight cone of well atomized water with no pulses, surges, splats, or inconsistent spraying,

then your airbrush might be working correctly and the problem there in might (but you can't be 100% sure) lay in your paint and/or paint thinning.

If your airbrush can't spray a nice even steady cone of atomized water, then there is most likely something wrong with your airbrush itself.



Delbert

Grauwolf
#084
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Quebec, Canada
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Posted: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 05:35 PM UTC

Quoted Text

but as far as completely disassembling it and inspecting it, no, I haven't really done that.



How many times have you used this airbrush? and what
size needle/nozzle do have on this AB, at the moment?

Jessie_C
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British Columbia, Canada
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Posted: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 06:53 PM UTC

Quoted Text

... but as far as completely disassembling it and inspecting it, no, I haven't really done that.



I recommend that you do that, and while you're at it, soak the parts in lacquer thinner overnight. That should eat up any dried paint which may be clogging up the works inside.
rochaped
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Lisboa, Portugal
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Posted: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 08:54 PM UTC
Hi Kevin,

Based on your description, if your AB only starts spraying paint when the trigger is pushed to the wall, then the main suspect should be dried paint that clogs the tip.
The other possible suspect is damaged parts, either the tip or a bent needle.

Since i never worked a Paasche i cannot help you on the dissasembling process, though most AB have similar designs so most parts do assemble in the same fashion

Hope you get the best of your AB fast
cinzano
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Indiana, United States
Joined: January 13, 2009
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Posted: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 12:37 AM UTC
Hello Kevin,

Very familiar with the H myself. I have several newer brushes but still turn to the H as a trusty work horse. In fact after 20 years of use I'm starting to get results with it I could only get with my "fancy" airbrushes. Its a good tool.

Now then. One of the great features of the H is it is super easy to keep clean. I keep several tips and rinse and swap with a Q-tip between every color I shoot. It may seem excessive but it is very easy and extends the service life of the tips.

As has been previously mentioned, you need to inspect both the needle and the adjusting cone of your spray tips. If there is any crack in the cone or damage to the needle replace with new parts.

You mention Testors paint is your medium of choice. Is that the Model Master series or the old fashioned enamal? If it is the latter, just chuck that stuff and move on to better quality paint.

Properly thinned I rarely need to set my regulator much above 20 PSI, however, I usually shoot acrylic enamel so the comparison may not help if you're using old style Testors.

Stay with it, Kevin. Its a good airbrush, but I might suggest rethinking your paint choice.

Cheers,
Fred
Joel_W
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New York, United States
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Posted: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 04:13 AM UTC
Kevin, I've been air brushing with a Paasche H1 for more then 40 years. I'm on my 2nd gun only because the newer replacement parts don't fit the old gun. Go figure.

The H1 is an external mix, single action gun. There are no internal parts to be concerned with as far as flowing paint is concerned. As others have alluded to, you only need to be concerned with the standard #3 needle and cone, and the air nozzle.

Tests:
no needle or cone. make sure that the air button on top of the valve depresses all the way, and returns to full off. Set your compressor to 20 psi. make sure that the air flow is steady coming out of the nozzle, and that there is no air leaking around it. There is a rubber washer to seal it.

Examine your needle and cone. Hold the cone up to a strong light source, and you should see the light, without anything blocking it. If there is, it's dried paint. As Jess said, soak in Lacquer Thinner for a hour or so. Clean with a pipe cleaner. Blow dry. The needle is harder to check. dunk it in LC and watch the flow out of the front. It should be consistent time after time. If not, soak in LC, clean with a pipe cleaner followed by a Qtip.

Now examine the needle very carefully, no bends or a dull tip. Must be perfectly straight. If you crank it down to hard into the cone, you just make the hole larger, but that doesn't effect the flow of paint. That's a separate issue.

Test the flow by shooting some LC through the gun rather then water. Start with the cone turned down and slowly turn the cone till you start to get a spray pattern. Then continue to open the cone up till you get a larger pattern. The flow should be consistent with no spurting. If all is ok, the next step is air brushing paint.

Since you're using enamels, we'll test with that. Pick any color that will be easy to see on a piece of paper towel. I thin Model Master enamels 2 parts paint to 1 part thinner to start with, but for this 1st test, thin it 1:1. Use any Mineral Spirits for thinning, it doesn't matter. The important thing to remember is thinner 1st in the bowl, then the paint. Done the other way around, you will always get some unthinned paint forced into the needle and cone, and there is a clogging issue. Mix in the bowl. Set your compressor to 20 psi. Now start to paint the paper towel. Open up the cone just till the paint comes out. At 1st it will be a little blotchy. That's because there still isn't enough paint to air mixture. Open up the cone a little at a time till you get a smooth flow of paint.

Once you're able to get the paint to flow correctly, you need to work on a basic mixture that gives you a good flow rate, and decent coverage without running. For enamels I like a 3 parts paint to 2 parts thinner @ 18-20 psi.

When you're done painting. clean the needle, cone, and cup in Lacquer Thinner not Mineral Spirits. Use a pipe cleaner to get all the paint out of needle. Cleaning at the beginning takes time. As you get comfortable with the process it goes faster, and there are short cuts. I use my gun to paint small parts that takes less then a min to paint, cleanup is always just 5 min.

Joel
golfermd
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Maryland, United States
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Posted: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 05:34 AM UTC
YouTube! There's at least one video for any subject you can imagine. That's how I learned to use and clean my Badger 360.
FinneganBojangles
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New Jersey, United States
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Posted: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 02:36 PM UTC

Quoted Text

The important thing to remember is thinner 1st in the bowl, then the paint.l



Aha, that'll do it. I always mix my paints the other way around.

I'll pick up some lacquer thinner tomorrow (I always clean it out with mineral spirits) and try and clean everything out that way. Thank you for the replies!
drabslab
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European Union
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Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 01:49 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Russell: I'd like to upgrade to a dual-action but unfortunately that's breaking the bank a bit too much right now.

Delbert: I wouldn't really know where to start. I do try and clean it by running first mineral spirits and then distilled water through it after each use, but as far as completely disassembling it and inspecting it, no, I haven't really done that.




There is a simple trick, fill the airbrush with plain water, take some brown paper and make a few concentric circles on that paper.

Hold the airbrush 10 to 15 cm away from that paper pointing at an angle of 90 degrees at the centre of those circles, spray a burst of water.

If the paper becomes wet in more or less of a circle then the airbrush functions well,

if the water hits the paper or on one side of the circle, then the airbrush may have a mechanical defect like a bent needle.

if the wetnnes of the paper is very irregular, then the airbrush can be full of dirt


In general, playing with your airbrush using plain water allows for experimenting with different air pressures (and learn the impact of changing the pressure), distances to the subject, learn how to follow a curve or reach difficult corners ... without any cost or harm done.



FinneganBojangles
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New Jersey, United States
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Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 03:23 AM UTC


*cough* yeaaah this is worse than I thought it'd be. The needle on the right looks like it may be damaged, but it may just look that way due to the paint build-up.

Also, I'd never noticed that the needles had a difference in thickness before. I'm guessing finer detail/spray patterns? Bear in mind I've only used my airbrush about 10 times in the past two years.
cinzano
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Indiana, United States
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Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 04:56 AM UTC
There are different sized tips. They are numbered. Make sure you match each needle to the corresponding same numbered adjusting tip.

Cheers,
Fred
Kevlar06
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Washington, United States
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Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 11:50 AM UTC
Kevin,
If you have mixed up the needles in the Paasche H set,you likely have enlarged the tips or worse, you may have split the tip. I used a Paasche H for about 20 years and couldn't figure out why it was "spitting" paint and would not spray at 15-20 PSI, I examined the tip magnified with a jeweler's loop and discovered a hairline crack that could not be seen with the naked eye-- as the needle extended through the tip while painting (or trying to paint) it widened the tip just enough to open the crack, causing the "spitting". I still use a Paasche, but it's a Millenium, which is much easier to use-- the H is very old school and prone to problems like this.

VR, Russ
Grauwolf
#084
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Quebec, Canada
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Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 02:54 PM UTC
YEEUP!

Those definitely need cleaning. Start with a good cleaning and see how it goes....also check the end of the nozzles for dents
or splits.

Cheers,
Joe
FinneganBojangles
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New Jersey, United States
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Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 03:07 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Kevin,
If you have mixed up the needles in the Paasche H set,you likely have enlarged the tips or worse, you may have split the tip. I used a Paasche H for about 20 years and couldn't figure out why it was "spitting" paint and would not spray at 15-20 PSI, I examined the tip magnified with a jeweler's loop and discovered a hairline crack that could not be seen with the naked eye-- as the needle extended through the tip while painting (or trying to paint) it widened the tip just enough to open the crack, causing the "spitting". I still use a Paasche, but it's a Millenium, which is much easier to use-- the H is very old school and prone to problems like this.

VR, Russ



Hopefully that's not the case, since when I swapped out the needles and cones, I'm pretty sure I kept them together and didn't interchange them, but I'll definitely be on the lookout for any damage like you mentioned. Thanks, Russ!
Joel_W
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Posted: Friday, November 01, 2013 - 03:13 AM UTC
Kevin,
Just took a real good look at your needle/cones/tips. I'm Surprised you got any paint to flow through them.

Look at the end of the shaft on both needles where the cup attaches. The one of the left has 5 lines, that's the #5 needle. The one on the right has 3 lines, that's the #3 needle. Now carefully look at the cones, use a magnifier if need be. The larger one goes with the #5, the other goes with the #3. They're not interchangeable. The tips also contain different diameter size holes. Find the one with the smallest opening of the two, that's the #3 tip. Make sure that the rubber washer is in good shape. Remove it prior to cleaning.

Now soak all the number 3 parts minus the rubber O-ring in Lacquer thinner for a few hours. Take a Pipe cleaner that you purchase at a tobacco counter or store. You don't want the fancy thick one. And don't buy them at the craft store, they're also too thick and the color might come off of them. I cut them in half as you only use the tips, and they go twice as far.

Wet the pipe cleaner with lacquer thinner, and rotate it in the tip with some pressure till you just see it peaking out the other end. Remove, and repeat with the other clean end. Wipe the needle down with clean TC while the pipe cleaner is at the opening, repeat till a new pipe cleaner comes out clean. Now push and rotate a Qtip that you wet with TC into the cup end. Repeat till it's clean. Run some clean TC through. blow out excess TC, and let dry. Now the cone. Same deal with a pipe cleaner and Qtip. The LC should flow out of both smoothly when clean. You will have to touch the opening of the cone on some paper towel to get the LC to flow out. As for the tip, as I said, remove the rubber O-ring. now soak and use a pipe cleaner, repeat, blow through it till the air comes out smoothly. Do the other set. Now clean the whole gun of excess paint. Make it shine.

Now put the O ring back on and tighten down. Make sure that you line up the opening for the needle.

Like I said I've been using Paasche H1s for more then 40 years. With practice, some tricks and shortcuts, you can do 90%+ of what any double action brush can do.

Use the #3 setup for almost everything. I use the #5 for Pledge/Future, & Dullcoat. That's it. Do not use it for painting models. Way to much paint comes out. Turning down the cone to limit the flow too much, causes other issues. I also have a #1 setup that I do use for fine work. Sometimes I do use it for the start of a free hand camo paint scheme, but can come very close with the #3 setup.

I do not usually change the tip for the #5 setup, and have no issues. Just a slight psi adjustment is all that is needed at most.

It doesn't matter what medium of paint you're air brushing with. CLEAN WITH LACQUER THINNER. Mineral Spirits, Iso Alcohol, distilled Water, or whatever will never come close to cleaning your needle & cone that LC will.

Follow my earlier post. I will guarantee your air brushing issues will be a thing of the past. A clean needle/cone/tip comes before anything else.

Joel

FinneganBojangles
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New Jersey, United States
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Posted: Friday, November 01, 2013 - 08:23 AM UTC
Thanks for the advice, Joel. I soaked the parts in lacquer thinner and was able to remove most of the paint, I'll soak them again when I get my hands on some pipe-cleaners. On closer inspection, both of the cones are fine, it doesn't look like I mixed up the needles, but the very very tip of the #3 needle appears to be bent, so I guess I'll have to order another one.

Thanks a lot for breaking it down into layman's terms for me, I'll definitely take better care of the airbrush from now on.
StukaJr
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California, United States
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Posted: Friday, November 01, 2013 - 09:42 AM UTC
While you repair / clean your airbrush, question is "How do you spray?" Ala, do you point your airbrush at the model at the model and push the trigger?

If that's the case, you are likely to get bad results even with top notch airbrush - activate the flow of air/paint of the model, then sweep the model. As airbrush "fires up", it will most likely spit whatever residual paint that's collected on the nose cone from previous application.

Stopping in one area will produce hesitation marks (if you are trying to get layered coats) or paint runoffs.

Finally, enamels are quite taxing to spray and keep airbrush clean - try Tamiya lacquers (thins with iso alcohol) or Valejo Acrylics (airbrush comes pre-thinned or thins with water). I don't know if you have tried other options but I found the latter easier to maintain.

And since this is beginner section - hope you are working with proper respirator and well ventilated place.
FinneganBojangles
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New Jersey, United States
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Posted: Friday, November 01, 2013 - 11:01 AM UTC
Yup, I always work with a respirator and in the garage with all doors and windows open, though it gets difficult in the winter.

As for painting techniques with the airbrush, I'm significantly less inept at that than I am when it comes to maintaining and cleaning it I do know that you need to start away from the model, not directly spray at it. My experience with Tamiya's paints was... even worse than with the Testors Model Master paints. Though I think with Tamiya it may have been a mixing issue more than anything else, so I'm willing to give them another go.
Joel_W
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New York, United States
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Posted: Saturday, November 02, 2013 - 10:02 AM UTC
Kevin, if the tip of the needle is even slightly bent, order a new needle and cone of that size.

Soak, clean, soak over and over till there is no paint on or in the needle & cone.

Once your gun is in proper working order, the how to actually paint will be a lot easier. You'll be up to speed in less then a hour. It's not hard.

Joel