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Pappy

Cleaning an airbrush

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I have been using a Badger 250 air brush for years and I have found out that cleaning a metal airbrush is easyest and it does no matter if it is acrylic, enamel, or lacquer paint. I use Testore liquid cement. Try not to run it through the airbrush because, it will melt down the plastic ring.

 

Hope this helps :smiley20:

Pappy.

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I spray a small amount of paint thinner (always same brand as the paint I'd just used) through the airbrush - also for cleaning the disassembled airbrush parts. :smiley20:

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usually I remove the needle (of the beloved badger 200) and shoot thinner thru the whole thing between colors. For really hard-core paint blockage, it spend a night or two in a jar of thinner, in pieces.

 

Found an abused '200 at an "antique store" for just 10 bucks. The user had clogged it with paint, given up and sold it. I gave it the jar treatment and now have a Code-1, super fine, back-up airbrush!

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Remember, Badger will clean and recondition any of their old airbrushes for free. They even pay return postage.

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As I shoot mostly acyrlics, I usually break down and clean my Badger 200 between colors with alcohol. I have two, a jar feed and a top feed. Wouldn't get rid of them for any expensive airbrush. They do the job I need, as long as I keep them clean. Also, parts are available at almost any hobby or craft store.

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I've used this technique on everything except water based paints which I don't use. Dedicate a specific glass jar for cleaning and put in a half quart of Laquer thinner. Find a vinyl plastic butter container, empty of course, and fill half way with the laquer thinner. Take out the needle (be sure you have a mark on top of the needle so when you return it to the airbrush it's in the same position) and wipe it clean. Put your air pressure on around 10 pounds and immerse the front of the airbrush into the container of thinner. As the thinner goes thru the airbrush put your finger on and off over the nozzle so it back feeds. Do that till its clean. Then run a dedicated pipe cleaner through to the end of the barrel a few times. Then put the needle back in using the mark you made on it to center it. When you look at the airbrush head on the needle should always be exactly in the center of the tip. If needed slightly bend the needle and insert again and repeat until it is in the center of the tip. Sounds like work, but the more you do it the quicker and easier it is to do. When you're done pour the laquer thinner back into its container. Any sediment will settle to the bottom. then take a paper towel and wipe the vinyl butter container and put away.

Edited by optimator

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If you have two airbrushes, fill one you're not using with thinner and have it on standby. When it's time to clean, wipe out as much paint as you can then spray thinner into the dirty brush while holding the air open and pumping the needle in and out. It's effective and seems to use less thinner. It also won't substitute for a real stripdown.

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I like lacquer thinner for my airbrush cleaning medium. I fill the cup and use a paint brush to loosen the paint from the inside of the cup. I then spray the thinner all out of the air brush using settings from off to wide open. With dual action brushed, that is pulling the top button or the trigger back and forth. With single action brushes, it is twisting the nozzle open and closed. I feel that this dissolves any paint inside the head and washes it away. Then, I remove the needle (dual action brushes) and wipe it clean. I then run a q-tip around the base of the cup (Sotar and Grex brushes) or run a pipe cleaner through the base and connection of the cup.

 

This seems to keep my brushes clean and working smoothly.

 

I use lacquer thinner because it is "hotter" and dissolves the paint faster and quicker. I use only enamel paints.

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I generally blast neat cellulose thinners through my airbrushes after each colour has been used, and using an artists brush to clean up the tip area. Just keep going until it sprays out clear and then follow on with a dedicated airbrush cleaner. This normally works well for me. I rarely have to strip the airbrushes out, but every now and again I will take them to bits for a 'deep clean' maintenance.

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ClareWentzel, I do almost the same except put the laquer thinner in a vinyl empty margarine container. I dip the head of the brush in there and while running at low pressure I will constantly take my finger on and off the nozzle to back feed. Then I put the cleaned needle back in exactly the way it came out. The thinner goes back in the large jar for use again as the sediment will collect on the bottom.

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A tool I have found quite useful is a set of spray gun cleaning brushes I got at Harbor Freight. There are six of them of varying thicknesses on a ring. The largest just fits inside my Paashe needle and the smallest is great for cleaning right down to the end of the tip. They were designed to do just this job, so they work great. $1.99, I think. Other places that sell paint sprayer gear probably have them as well. If/when they get gummed up, I soak them in lacquer thinner and "comb" them with a brass brush to clean out any residual "goop".

 

I use to use pipe cleaners, but even the good ones can leave bits of fuzz behind. These brushes avoid that problem. Also, you use less thinner sprayed in the air. Just run the excess paint out, put a little thinner in, insert the brushes a few times, spray out the residue, then run some clean thinner thru and you're done.

Edited by Ron Bell

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A tool I have found quite useful is a set of spray gun cleaning brushes I got at Harbor Freight. There are six of them of varying thicknesses on a ring. The largest just fits inside my Paashe needle and the smallest is great for cleaning right down to the end of the tip. They were designed to do just this job, so they work great. $1.99, I think. Other places that sell paint sprayer gear probably have them as well. If/when they get gummed up, I soak them in lacquer thinner and "comb" them with a brass brush to clean out any residual "goop".

 

I use to use pipe cleaners, but even the good ones can leave bits of fuzz behind. These brushes avoid that problem. Also, you use less thinner sprayed in the air. Just run the excess paint out, put a little thinner in, insert the brushes a few times, spray out the residue, then run some clean thinner thru and you're done.

 

Pretty much what I do.

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