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airbrush cleaning

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when u clean ur airbrush cups, what do you all use? im using q tips, but after im all done and go to paint, seems like it blows out small fibers.

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I use Iwata airbrush cleaner and Q-Tips. Haven't had a problem with fibers using the Q-Tip brand, but did using off-brands.

 

-dave

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Depends on the type of paint used. Oils get mineral spirits. Acrylics get water. For any stubborn build up, lacquer thinner cuts it all.

 

I use Q-tip brand swabs and some air-brush brushes I got at Harbor Freight.

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I use mostly acrylics and use alcohol to clean the brush. If it's stubborn, I'll switch to lacquer thinner. Art stores have some brush cleaners that would probably work, but I'd be careful with any non-metal parts in the airbrush.

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I too use a variety of things depending on what kind of paint I am using "as I spray". Usually a combination of Q-Tips, pipe cleaners, and lacquer thinner a few times each year to really do a good cleaning.

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I typically use lacquer thinner for cleaning...all of my current airbrushes are safe for that. I'll backflush and spray into a waste container a couple of times, then disassemble it. I use an old Testors cheapie paintbrush to stir-clean the gravity-feed cups, followed by a Q-tip or paper towel, depending on the size of the cup. The siphon-fed color cup and the tip soaks in lacquer thinner while I clean the needle and paint passages.

 

Once I clean this far, I'll reassemble the 'brush and spray fresh lacquer thinner through it, just to be sure...

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I also use Q-tips and pipe cleaners. I break the brush down and clean it between colors and when I finish. I'll clean the paint cup or bottle and run cleaner through it, back flushing. Then the tips are taken off and soaked in a jar of cleaner. While that's happening, I clean out the siphon tube, needle, and body of the air brush. By that time the tips are usually pretty clean and I finish them off with the Q-tip or pipe cleaner. Then I run more cleaner through the brush to make sure everything is clean. I then re-assemble the brush and continue on with the next color or store the brush.

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I use mostly acrylics, so isopropyl alcohol usually does the trick, acetone for the stubborn bits. Either way, the cleaner and airbrush parts go in a glass container, then partially submerged in water in a cheap Harbor Freight ultrasonic cleaner.

 

Jim

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One other item I use is annealed picture wire. I use it to clean the inside of the tubes on the lid of the paint jar you use instead of the cup. I take a length of picture wire and anneal it on the stove. Then I use it like a snake and twist it and turn it up the metal tube. I anneal it because it needs to be able to turn almost 90 degrees at the top and by twisting it in the direction of the twist of the wire, it snakes itself around. Gets all sorts of gunk and any loose fibres easily.

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:smiley20: I use acetone to clean my airbrush. Works on laquers, enamels and acrylics. Plus it evaporates quickly and leaves no residue. Also great for a quick color flush, soaking nozzle overnight etc. It's cheap and I buy mine at the local beauty supply store. Be careful though if you use it for color flush as a minute amount can be retained in the nozzle for a short time and the first burst from your airbrush could possibly blow the acetone onto your model creating havoc with either the plastic or the paint you already laid down.

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Airbrush??? What is that??? I strickly use paint brushes. Really, though. I use a mixture of materials to clean my Badger and always fire air through it before mixing up a another cup of paint.

 

Mark

Edited by Mark Aldrich

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I pretty much follow the exact steps that Keith P. has listed with a small modification that hasn't really been noted here.....

- If I have several colors lined up that need airbrushing (as many as 6 or 7), I quite often will apply them all in one sitting, where I only do a general wiping of the siphon cup with a rag and Q-tip and then flush the airbrush with one or two cup fulls of lacquer thinner in between each color. Each cup full is accompanied by a good wiping/sloshing around with an extra dedicated airbrush large mixing paint brush.

- Once I am finished with the session, then I do the total tear-down cleaning of the airbrush and cup with Q-tips, pipe cleaners and these nifty fine pointed foam like Q-tip cleaners that I came across in a beauty supply store. If during a session I need to apply a coating of paint or gloss/flat coat that I really don't want to get bunged up with boogers from the airbrush, I do a full cleaning right before the application.

- On rare occasions, I can and have left the airbrush sit without the full tear-down cleaning. Usually after using enamels. But I never leave the airbrush sit without the full monty after I have applied an acrylic and especially after applying Future floor wax. I have had occasions where once either of these were left to dry too long, it was way too difficult to clean out. Even with Lacquer thinner. I've never tried Acetone for fear that it would eat up my rubber seals. Anyways, that's my 2 or 3 cents.

Edited by Weedeater

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A problem that I've been having with my Badger 150 is that the nozzles never get clean. Right now the fine and medium nozzles are both clogged but soaking in thinner. And I can't figure out how to unclog them. Everytime I use them they get clogged again. So what are some techniques to getting them unclogged besides poking the small needle through all the time and after use how would you keep them clean? Or is it just better to get new nozzles?

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After a painting session, shoot the appropriate thinner through the brush until it comes out clean at the nozzle. That will get most of the "big" stuff out. However, every once and a while you should take the whole thing apart and really clean it. I always do this when I finish a project and/or switch colors dramatically, like blue to yellow or anything to clear. Take the needle out by loosening the set screw in the bottom of the mount. Clean the whole thing, inside and out (see below on what to use) Inside the nozzle itself is a small nut. Get a small slotted screw driver and take it out. Past that is a nylon gasket. Remove it as well. Now clean everything, including the inside of the nozzle with a micro brush or pipe cleaner. Don't push too hard or you'll distort the opening at the business end. Use whatever thinner/cleaner works. For really built up gunk, I cut to the chase and use either lacquer thinner or Testor's liquid cement. Obviously, ventilation is required and keep away from open flames. The usual stuff we hear. Then re-assemble the whole thing. Only tighten that screw inside the nozzle just enough to "squish" out the gasket to form a tight seal around the needle. Don't go too much or you'll distort the gasket permanently and/or damage the nozzle itself. Hope this helps.

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After a painting session, shoot the appropriate thinner through the brush until it comes out clean at the nozzle. That will get most of the "big" stuff out. However, every once and a while you should take the whole thing apart and really clean it. I always do this when I finish a project and/or switch colors dramatically, like blue to yellow or anything to clear. Take the needle out by loosening the set screw in the bottom of the mount. Clean the whole thing, inside and out (see below on what to use) Inside the nozzle itself is a small nut. Get a small slotted screw driver and take it out. Past that is a nylon gasket. Remove it as well. Now clean everything, including the inside of the nozzle with a micro brush or pipe cleaner. Don't push too hard or you'll distort the opening at the business end. Use whatever thinner/cleaner works. For really built up gunk, I cut to the chase and use either lacquer thinner or Testor's liquid cement. Obviously, ventilation is required and keep away from open flames. The usual stuff we hear. Then re-assemble the whole thing. Only tighten that screw inside the nozzle just enough to "squish" out the gasket to form a tight seal around the needle. Don't go too much or you'll distort the gasket permanently and/or damage the nozzle itself. Hope this helps.

 

 

Is what you described for airbrushes in general or the parts you described go with the badger 150?

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Well recently I have been using enamil paints,and I think that lacquer thinner and enamils don't go together.So if you are using enamils as paints what would you clean the airbrush with besides lacquer thinner?

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I have been airbrushing with enamels for over 30 years and have always used laquer thinner for a thorough cleaning and have never had a problem.

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Well, that depends largely on the paint I'm using...

 

For the most part I use Tamiya acrylics. To clean up after these I use either rubbing alcohol or Windex.

 

When I'm using enamels I use cheap Walmart paint thinner.

 

I've never had any problems with either.

 

:smiley20:

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Well, that depends largely on the paint I'm using...

 

For the most part I use Tamiya acrylics. To clean up after these I use either rubbing alcohol or Windex.

 

When I'm using enamels I use cheap Walmart paint thinner.

 

I've never had any problems with either.

 

:smiley20:

 

How frequently should you do an overhaul on the entire thing?

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How frequently should you do an overhaul on the entire thing?

 

Only when necessary--you shouldn't have to "overhaul" an airbrush that often, if ever. From Badger's "Airbrushing 101" link I posted earlier:

-----------------------------------------------

Cleaning –

Step one: The key to keeping an airbrush clean is to not let material set up (dry) in it. This can be done by

spraying the appropriate cleaning agent through the airbrush with reasonable frequency (when changing color

and when setting the airbrush to rest for any period of time). Two important things to remember: 1. Material dries

as fast in an airbrush as it does on the surface it is being sprayed on to. 2. Anything you think will take 2 seconds

will take 2 minutes, and anything you think will take 2 minutes will usually take at least 20 – so spray the cleaner.

 

Step two: Should material set up (dry) in the airbrush, it may be necessary to back flush the airbrush. This is

done by suffocating the air flow of the airbrush at the nozzle by carefully “pinching” a soft cloth or paper towel over

the nozzle’s end. This will deflect the air back into the airbrush chamber and loosen any dried material, sending it

into the cleaning bottle. If done correctly, the cleaner will bubble during back flushing. It is advisable to spray

fresh cleaner through the airbrush after you have back flushed it.

 

Step three: On what should be rare occasions it may be necessary to disassemble some parts of the airbrush for

more thorough cleaning. This should only be done if the user has neglected to do step one of regularly spraying

cleaner through the airbrush, and/or step two of back flushing is unsuccessful in getting the airbrush to spray properly

again. If disassembly is required, it should be only of parts that come in contact with the sprayed material; from the

material’s point of entry into the airbrush and forward. The included parts for disassembly are the nozzle assembly

and the needle. To thoroughly clean the nozzle assembly, use an ultrasonic cleaner or denture cleaner (yes, denture

cleaner – follow the directions on the package). The needle should simply be wiped down with a soft cloth saturated

with the appropriate cleaning agent. If residue on the needle is still apparent it may be removed by gently rubbing a

fine steel wool over the residual deposit area. While the needle and nozzle are removed from the airbrush it is OK to

run a pipe cleaner saturated with cleaning agent through the chamber of the airbrush, following the same path as

sprayed material, and out the airbrush front. For bottom feed airbrushes that is up the stem and out the front, for

gravity feed airbrushes it is down the color cup and out the front. Only do this when the needle and nozzle are

removed as forcing anything through the nozzle will damage it. After using the pipe cleaner, blow out the airbrush to

remove any pipe cleaner “fuzz”. After all nozzle/needle cleaning steps are complete the airbrush can be reassembled

and will be ready for use. This disassembly process should be rarely necessary if steps one and two are followed, but

it is recommended if storing your airbrush for an extended period of time.

------------------------------------------------------------------

 

So, unless you plan on using the airbrush and storing it for a few months, Steps 1-3 should get the job done. I have the two Badgers, and while I've replaced the needle in the 150 once, the tip and needle in the 200 once, replaced the spray regulator with a crown regulator, and the head O-Rings several times, the only "major" repair to either has been the replacement of the PTFE needle bearing in the 200--and that only because a friend once tried to be helpful and ruined the needle bearing. My 200 is now 32 years old, and my 150 is 20 years old....

 

Ralph

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I purchased avery small set of brushes from Harbor Freight that are ideal for cleaning airbrushes. I made a mistake when I got in a hurry. I was spraying acrylic and just shot some laquer thinner for a quick clean then changed to enamel,all of a sudden no paint comming out. Complete clog with a gooey mess.

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I disassemble and clean my Badger 200's between each color. Never had a problem with paint plugging.

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I have finally found a way, possibly described before , of a basic cleaning after each use. And that is take some Q-tips and clean the head and then clean the needle and using micro brushes clean the inside of the nozzle and head til you can see a full circle. And not just a small cresent or circle with bulges, cause then stuff is still in there.

 

Odd thing is I have a Badger 150 and with the tubes that transfer the paint from the jar into the brush through a small plastic tube, the past few weeks I've been thinking either the brush is broken, or the paint is too thick. Cause all that came out was air, no paint. Then I thought maybe the tube is right at the bottom. So I cut off 1/8 of an in and now it works. All that time for such a small problem. I hate that type of problem in life.

Edited by burner12

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Pat,

 

I use testors liquid cement to clean my air brush with Q-tips. Seem to remove any type of paint off of a model and same for a metal air brush. Hope this helps.

 

Pappy :smiley20:

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