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Airbrushing and humidity


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This is the second full summer since moving to Wisconsin.  The last two weeks has seen temps in the 80's or better with humidity above 70%, long range forecast doesn't show any improvement .  I know not to bother trying to airbrush when it's in the mid 80's and above but never dealt with humidity this high.  How does humidity affect airbrushing?  If it's about water from the compressor does installing a water trap inline fix the problem.  Got 4 paint projects I'd like to move forward with but even if I try at 7 AM I'm still dealing with humidity in the 70 % or more.

Thanks,

Eric

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Yes, a moisture trap is essential in humidity like that. As the air compresses, water gets squeezed out and so a moisture trap is needed to keep that from getting into your airbrush and ruining your paint or splattering it all over your models. I saw it suggested once that if you have a tankless compressor, the best thing to do is mount the trap as close to the airbrush as you can without compromising flexibility.

 

Another possibility of you can: invest in a dehumidifier if you have an enclosed room with a sealed vent for the spraybooth. That will help remove a lot of the humidity and help any moisture trap work more efficiently.

 

I hope this helps.

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I had that problem for years. Bought one of those little in-line traps, but it didn't do the job. Then bought a proper water trap and installed it as they said right on the compressor, but it didn't work either. Then someone explained it to me like this. 

When you compress air, it heats up and hot air can hold more water vapor than cool air, so the air takes on moisture. However, when it leaves the compressor and goes into the hose, it decompresses and cools and the water vapor condenses in the line and it either clogs the line or shoots out your airbrush in droplets ruining your paint job. If the water trap is mounted right on the compressor, the air does not have a chance to cool down, so it retains its water through the trap until it cools in the hose after the trap. The solution is to buy a longer air hose. (Get it a a place like Harbor Freight where it's cheaper). Run it from the compressor for about 10 feet, then cut it and install the water trap there. Then continue the hose on to your airbrush. You may have to buy some fittings, but those are cheap. The air will have a chance to cool and the water will condense out before the trap so it can be caught there. Result, water-free airbrushing. I did it and have not had a problem since. Just remember if you've been painting in some higher humidity that you will have to empty the trap of water when you're done. 

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I live in FLA and build in my garage year-round. Humidity is a problem 75% of the year. I've used water traps...but they're only partially successful in high humidity environments. The REAL solution is to switch to a tank of CO2. A 3ft high tank will allow you to paint 10-15 1/48 single engine prop models over a year, including the CO2 used to clean the brush. It's silent, eliminates any worries about moisture in your system, and you can exactly set the pressure to your airbrush. The down side? You CAN run out! But, there's plenty of warning as to when you're getting low, so if you run out, you've just been ignoring the signs to trade it in on a full tank for too long!

 

Gil :smiley16:

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Ron and Gil have both spoken monumental truth! I live in Florida too and opted for a CO2 tank. One of the best modelling moves I've ever made.

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Most of the water build up is in the tank!  You need to drain it frequently.  A water trap only helps keep it from getting out of the tank.  I drain my at least once a month to keep it dry.  In a high humidity area after every use would be appropriate.  Oh and not every tank has the drain at the lowest point on the tank.  Most pancake compressors have it on the side slightly above the bottom.  Be sure to tip the tank to get as much out as possible. 

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3 hours ago, PeteJ said:

Most of the water build up is in the tank!  You need to drain it frequently.  A water trap only helps keep it from getting out of the tank.  I drain my at least once a month to keep it dry.  In a high humidity area after every use would be appropriate.  Oh and not every tank has the drain at the lowest point on the tank.  Most pancake compressors have it on the side slightly above the bottom.  Be sure to tip the tank to get as much out as possible. 

Agreed. I Also will run the compressor awhile longer after I open the bottom valve so the air will push it all out and dry it faster.

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Thanks all.  I drain the tank on my compressor after every use.  I've got a 10 ft. section of hose to air my car's tire so maybe I'll install it then my trap before connecting to airbrush.

Eric

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CO2 is the way to go, even when I was in humid Atlanta!

And a refill here in Pensacola for a large tank is about $12 IIRC.

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