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TheWalrus

Airbrushes, airbrushes, airbrushes

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I am sure in the dark abyss of past topics it has been covered but I was wondering if anyone wants to share airbrush experiences.

Ex.

  • What brands and models do you use and why?
  • Painting techniques
  • Siphon feed vs. gravity
  • Tip sizes you favor
  • etc.

My first was a Badger that was single action and siphon feed; then over the years I advanced to Paasche and then Thayer & Chandler; then I moved up to an Iwata which I still have. All are siphon feed. I liked them because of the "pistol" grip feel of control with the paint bottle on the bottom. My current favorite is the Grex Tritium TS2 because it gives me a really good had fit and control due to a growing arthritis and carpal tunnel problem. I am purchasing another Grex in the Tritium series but thd TG2 which is a gravity feed.

 

I had heard that an ultrasonic cleaner would really do a nice job cleaning out dried paint but frankly I was less than impressed. Good thing it was under $20.

 

My "air" supply is CO2. Very controllable and only noise is the airbrush hissing. No moisture problems either. I have heard some guys use notrogen bottles.

 

So anybody want to jump in?

Edited by TheWalrus

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Right now, I'm using a Badger 105 Patriot. I like the gravity feed plus the "single needle/tip" design--the gravity feed means using less air pressure. The single needle/tip means that I don't have to remember to match a tip to the needle, it keeps things easy. My air supply is a Badger 180-1 compressor that has served me well for about 15 years. As far as cleaning goes, I shoot acrylics, which clean up well with Isopropyl Alcohol. Stubborn stuff comes off with ammonia. If I want to ultrasonically clean it, I place it in a container filled with water and drop in a couple of denture tablets. Works like a champ...

 

Previously, I have used the following (in no particular order):

 

Badger 200 (my first airbrush)--great "starter" airbrush.

 

Badger 150 (my second airbrush)--Badger's dual action airbrushes gave me a bit finer control than the competition.

 

Badger 350--very good, easy to use airbrush.

 

Binks Raven II--After the 105 and 150, this is my favorite "traditional" dual action airbrush.

 

Binks Wren--another great starter airbrush, not as easy to find as they once were.

 

Paasche H--a standard of the industry, very easy to learn, some people think there is no need to get anything else in our end of the hobby. I've seen people do better paint schemes with an H than others who use the top of the line dual action stuff...

 

Paasche VL--not a bad dual action, but I found I got better control with the 150 and the Raven II.

 

Testor Aztek 470, nee the "Model Master Airbrush"--great tool when they came out, I bought mine right after they were introduced. You couldn't beat a Lifetime Warranty. The airbrushes and tips were rugged and reliable. As time passed, though, it seemed like the tips didn't last as long--my first set of tips lasted a good five years before the needed replacement. Later tips would last six months, if I was careful. Then, Testor's changed the warranty to a Three Year warranty. They tend to develop leaks internally--somewhere out there, somebody posted a tutorial on how to disassemble the body and fix the leak. If you bought one with a Lifetime Warranty, they'll honor that...

 

Testor Aztek 320--not bad for $28 at Wal-Mart back in the late 1990's. It is decidedly an entry-level airbrush, but it uses the same tips as the 470.

 

Iwata (various models)--Iwata seemed to replace Paasche and Badger as the darlings of the scale modeling world back in the late 1980's, and they aren't bad tools. Some say the tips are fragile (my wife's tip stripped the threads)...

 

I have only test driven a few of the Grex line--they seem to be supplanting the Iwatas as the new darlings of the hobby. Same for the Harder and Steenbeck line.

 

As far as which one is best, that's very subjective, and the answer is easy--the one that works for *you*. I always advise people to hold the airbrush, and if they can, give it a test. Also, make sure your local emporium carries parts--nothing worse than being in the middle of a session and lose an O-Ring, only to find that you have to order one, and it won't be there for a day or so...

 

Cheers!

 

Ralph

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Right now, I'm using a Badger 105 Patriot. I like the gravity feed plus the "single needle/tip" design--the gravity feed means using less air pressure. The single needle/tip means that I don't have to remember to match a tip to the needle, it keeps things easy. My air supply is a Badger 180-1 compressor that has served me well for about 15 years. As far as cleaning goes, I shoot acrylics, which clean up well with Isopropyl Alcohol. Stubborn stuff comes off with ammonia. If I want to ultrasonically clean it, I place it in a container filled with water and drop in a couple of denture tablets. Works like a champ...

 

Previously, I have used the following (in no particular order):

 

Badger 200 (my first airbrush)--great "starter" airbrush.

 

Badger 150 (my second airbrush)--Badger's dual action airbrushes gave me a bit finer control than the competition.

 

Badger 350--very good, easy to use airbrush.

 

Binks Raven II--After the 105 and 150, this is my favorite "traditional" dual action airbrush.

 

Binks Wren--another great starter airbrush, not as easy to find as they once were.

 

Paasche H--a standard of the industry, very easy to learn, some people think there is no need to get anything else in our end of the hobby. I've seen people do better paint schemes with an H than others who use the top of the line dual action stuff...

 

Paasche VL--not a bad dual action, but I found I got better control with the 150 and the Raven II.

 

Testor Aztek 470, nee the "Model Master Airbrush"--great tool when they came out, I bought mine right after they were introduced. You couldn't beat a Lifetime Warranty. The airbrushes and tips were rugged and reliable. As time passed, though, it seemed like the tips didn't last as long--my first set of tips lasted a good five years before the needed replacement. Later tips would last six months, if I was careful. Then, Testor's changed the warranty to a Three Year warranty. They tend to develop leaks internally--somewhere out there, somebody posted a tutorial on how to disassemble the body and fix the leak. If you bought one with a Lifetime Warranty, they'll honor that...

 

Testor Aztek 320--not bad for $28 at Wal-Mart back in the late 1990's. It is decidedly an entry-level airbrush, but it uses the same tips as the 470.

 

Iwata (various models)--Iwata seemed to replace Paasche and Badger as the darlings of the scale modeling world back in the late 1980's, and they aren't bad tools. Some say the tips are fragile (my wife's tip stripped the threads)...

 

I have only test driven a few of the Grex line--they seem to be supplanting the Iwatas as the new darlings of the hobby. Same for the Harder and Steenbeck line.

 

As far as which one is best, that's very subjective, and the answer is easy--the one that works for *you*. I always advise people to hold the airbrush, and if they can, give it a test. Also, make sure your local emporium carries parts--nothing worse than being in the middle of a session and lose an O-Ring, only to find that you have to order one, and it won't be there for a day or so...

 

Cheers!

 

Ralph

Wow, the Badger 200 is the same I started out with in '69. Saw it on the net today and it hasn't changed a bit, other than the price. I had the same Paasche too.

 

I really like the Grex Tritium series. The handle pistol grip makes it really easy for me with the hand control problems. It is double action which I can't easily control but you can pre-set the needle and effectively use it as a single action. Perfect for me.

 

I discovered the brand at Phoenix convention. Jerry Carter Air Tools is the guy at the conventions. I recommend him highly. The Harder and Steenbruck line are also really good. Convention is a good place to try out all the different brands.

 

You are right about the hands on feel and it may be more important than brand. Like all tools what works for the individual at the best quality you can swing financially will never cause regret.

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Badger 100 double action brush for general big jobs.

 

Pasche Talon double action with BS for fine camo work (the BS is for Bob Steinbrun, as its actually HIS old airbrush, and hopefully some of HIS modeling magic came with it!) :smiley4:

 

Iwata HP-C double action, recently given to me. I need to get an adapter fitting to be able to hook this up to my system, so I haven't tried it out yet.

 

I probably have at least 5 other airbrushes in the drawer {a Pasche, Badger, 2 Aztecs, and my first one- a Binks Wren B} that are missing parts, broke, or worn out.

 

I use CO2 for my air supply. It's especially convenient here in the humidity and heat of Florida, and eliminates the need for any water trap. I paint an average of 10 1/48 models a year and usually only need to exchange the tank for a full one about once a year, for @$30. I do have a small compressor as a back-up, in case I do run out of air.

 

I consider myself barley adequate at their uses, meaning I know how to make them work to paint a model and clean them well enough to keep them working. Past that, I'm not proficient with getting the "most" from them, especially for the tougher camo jobs!

 

GIL :smiley16:

Edited by ghodges

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Gil's post brings up something that makes me wonder--I have never found the need to reserve one airbrush for big jobs, one for fine detailing, one for metallics, etc. I use one airbrush. Period. In other words, I won't start a project with the 200, then fill in with the 150 or the 105, right now my airbrush of choice is the 105 and it does everything.

 

Anyone else do likewise? I'm always an advocate of "Whatever works"...

 

R

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Gil's post brings up something that makes me wonder--I have never found the need to reserve one airbrush for big jobs, one for fine detailing, one for metallics, etc. I use one airbrush. Period. In other words, I won't start a project with the 200, then fill in with the 150 or the 105, right now my airbrush of choice is the 105 and it does everything.

 

Anyone else do likewise? I'm always an advocate of "Whatever works"...

 

R

Whatever works for you is what's best. Perhaps each is used for different jobs on a project. Or perhaps over time a collection is assembled much like a mechanic or woodworker. For example I bought my first airbrush in '69. As a mechanic in one of my past life's I had several screwdrivers and multiple micrometers, gauges and meters.

 

On the other hand perhaps some of us just like collecting airbrushed. Doesn't matter.

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I'm currently using 2 airbrushes, a Harder & Steenbeck Infinity, and a H&S Evolution. I picked up the Infinity at the 2008 VB Convention, and have been head over heels in love ever since. A couple years later I picked up the Evolution as a back up since the internals are pretty much the same as the Infinity. Now I have both of them hooked up full time with a manifold and change back and forth constantly depending on what I want to do. I keep the Evolution set up with the .2 or .4 needle/nozzle for doing general spraying and the Infinity set up with the .15 needle for stuff like free hand camo.

 

Both are gravity feed with small cups. I like the gravity feed because it requires less pressure, and with the smaller cup, I waste less paint. If I'm spraying a big job, I'll just mix up a bunch of paint in a 1 oz plastic cup and re-fill the AB cup as needed. I also find the smaller cup preferable as it gets in my way and blocks my view less than the larger cup. There are three things I really love about both brushes. First is the self centering nozzle which makes it possible to withdraw the needle out of the front end of the brush, which gets far less paint into the inner workings of the brush. Second is the design of the paint bowl. It is truly a bowl with no square edges for paint to collect in, making clean up very easy. And third is the action of the triggers. The Infinity is slightly smoother than the Evolution, but both are much smoother and easier to control than any other airbrush I've ever used. I've gone from using cheap Harbor Freight brushes, to a cheap a cheap Aztek, to a Badger Anthem 155, to a Bear Air Peak, to a Thayer and Chandler, and finally the H&S's. I also used a Hobby LObby 40% off coupon to pick up the gravity fed Neo by Iwata several months ago. Boy am I glad I only paid about $25 for that thing. Despite being a double action brush, it really only has two air flows, full on and full off. And it's really cheap on the inside. I don't think I'd recommend it to anyone.

 

As for an air supply, I've used the $89 Harbor Freight AB compressors for about 9 years. I've now got two of them and they work fine and are pretty quiet. I am also strongly considering moving to CO2. The total quiet is really appealing to me.

 

As for paint, I use Tamiya almost exclusively. Most of the time I thin it with 70% Iso Alcohol, but if I want a really smooth finish, I'll thin it with Tamiya Lacquer Thinner. It really lays down beautifully with that. But of course one has to deal with the odor and toxicity issues. Regardless of which thinner I use, I spray it very thin. At least 50/50, and more likely closer 25/75 paint to thinner ratio. It takes longer to build up, but I get great control and can spray anything I want with almost no build up on the needle of clogging. Sometimes, depending on temperature or humidity I imagine, I do suffer a bit with build up and clogging, but it really isn't often and is easy to address with a q-tip dipped in thinner.

 

But as I tell anyone who asks, what I said above is only what works for me. Anyone else will have to do what I did. Experiment until they find what works for them. Feel free to start from what I've said, but don't think it will absolutely work for you. I once listed for a friend everything I could think of that would or could affect how an AB session would go. It went something like this, in no particular order:

  • Airbrush type
  • Airbrush condition
  • Paint
  • Thinner
  • Paint/Thinner ratio
  • Air source
  • Air pressure
  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • One's mood
  • One's wife's mood
  • Phase of the moon/alignment of the planets
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Urgency of getting the painting done

I'm sure there are others, and I'm not so sure how much of a joke the 11th and last points are!

 

Mike

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I'm currently using 2 airbrushes, a Harder & Steenbeck Infinity, and a H&S Evolution. I picked up the Infinity at the 2008 VB Convention, and have been head over heels in love ever since. A couple years later I picked up the Evolution as a back up since the internals are pretty much the same as the Infinity. Now I have both of them hooked up full time with a manifold and change back and forth constantly depending on what I want to do. I keep the Evolution set up with the .2 or .4 needle/nozzle for doing general spraying and the Infinity set up with the .15 needle for stuff like free hand camo.

 

Both are gravity feed with small cups. I like the gravity feed because it requires less pressure, and with the smaller cup, I waste less paint. If I'm spraying a big job, I'll just mix up a bunch of paint in a 1 oz plastic cup and re-fill the AB cup as needed. I also find the smaller cup preferable as it gets in my way and blocks my view less than the larger cup. There are three things I really love about both brushes. First is the self centering nozzle which makes it possible to withdraw the needle out of the front end of the brush, which gets far less paint into the inner workings of the brush. Second is the design of the paint bowl. It is truly a bowl with no square edges for paint to collect in, making clean up very easy. And third is the action of the triggers. The Infinity is slightly smoother than the Evolution, but both are much smoother and easier to control than any other airbrush I've ever used. I've gone from using cheap Harbor Freight brushes, to a cheap a cheap Aztek, to a Badger Anthem 155, to a Bear Air Peak, to a Thayer and Chandler, and finally the H&S's. I also used a Hobby LObby 40% off coupon to pick up the gravity fed Neo by Iwata several months ago. Boy am I glad I only paid about $25 for that thing. Despite being a double action brush, it really only has two air flows, full on and full off. And it's really cheap on the inside. I don't think I'd recommend it to anyone.

 

As for an air supply, I've used the $89 Harbor Freight AB compressors for about 9 years. I've now got two of them and they work fine and are pretty quiet. I am also strongly considering moving to CO2. The total quiet is really appealing to me.

 

As for paint, I use Tamiya almost exclusively. Most of the time I thin it with 70% Iso Alcohol, but if I want a really smooth finish, I'll thin it with Tamiya Lacquer Thinner. It really lays down beautifully with that. But of course one has to deal with the odor and toxicity issues. Regardless of which thinner I use, I spray it very thin. At least 50/50, and more likely closer 25/75 paint to thinner ratio. It takes longer to build up, but I get great control and can spray anything I want with almost no build up on the needle of clogging. Sometimes, depending on temperature or humidity I imagine, I do suffer a bit with build up and clogging, but it really isn't often and is easy to address with a q-tip dipped in thinner.

 

But as I tell anyone who asks, what I said above is only what works for me. Anyone else will have to do what I did. Experiment until they find what works for them. Feel free to start from what I've said, but don't think it will absolutely work for you. I once listed for a friend everything I could think of that would or could affect how an AB session would go. It went something like this, in no particular order:

  • Airbrush type
  • Airbrush condition
  • Paint
  • Thinner
  • Paint/Thinner ratio
  • Air source
  • Air pressure
  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • One's mood
  • One's wife's mood
  • Phase of the moon/alignment of the planets
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Urgency of getting the painting done

I'm sure there are others, and I'm not so sure how much of a joke the 11th and last points are!

Mike

 

I liked the H&S also when I saw it at the Phoenix and Omaha conventions. I already had a Grex purchased at a local art supply store and found that I could control the tool easier due to the pistol style grip. It is also a double action but I could use a pre-set that made it more controlable because I have difficulty with fine motor skills in my hands. I never had a gravity feed brush before but decided to give it a try by swapping out the feed style from side siphon to side gravity attachment on the model I had. I now have decided that the gravity feed is the way to go for the reasons you stated.

 

I switched from a compressor to CO2 and never looked back, several years ago. You won't regret it. All you really need to buy is the two stage regulator and perhaps a hose adapter. the bottle is cheap and once you have one you just take it back and they hand you an new one that is full. You just pay for the gas.

 

It's silent and all you hear is the airbrush hissing while you are using it. That way you can sneak out of the bed in the middle of the night and paint at 0200 or so. :smiley2:

 

Some people claim nitrogen is better, but I can't say one way or they other. I am still on my first CO2 bottle. The claim is that nitrogen is "dry" and you don't get condensation. I have never had a problem with that so can't verify.

 

I know some guys who plumbed a manifold with fittings for multiple brushes so they don't have to switch. Mostly graphics artist people, but it can certainly apply to modelers.

 

In my case, as far as thinning goes I just wing it. If it runs down the side of the mix container like skim milk I consider it good enough. Works for me. I used to use an eye-dropper and counted ou the drops of each, but what a pain, not to mention replacing the droppers on occasion.

 

Ever tried airbrushing a figure?

 

What do you use as a masking material? Frisket; tape; Parafilm? I never had much luck with the Silly Putty/Blue Tac stuff. I have seen some Brit magazines which demonstrate cutting a pattern and then using spaceres between the pattern and the surface to get a light feather. What do you think of that method?

 

I, too, use the Tamiya paints. Really like the acrylics for coverage, clean-up, and genral quality. I don't know what your Tamiya lacquer thinner is. I use their "X-20A" acrylic thinner. to thin the paint, but then do the clean up using Windex.

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Some people claim nitrogen is better, but I can't say one way or they other. I am still on my first CO2 bottle. The claim is that nitrogen is "dry" and you don't get condensation. I have never had a problem with that so can't verify.

 

If a business puts gas in a tank, it's dry. Doesn't matter if it's CO2, Nitrogen, O2, or just plain old air, it's dry. It has to be to avoid rusting and weakening the inside of the tank. When I was working as a diver, I owned 4 tanks and they had to be inspected on a yearly basis for moisture inside. There may be a very little moisture in your tank, but it's not going to be near enough to affect airbrushing.

 

I know some guys who plumbed a manifold with fittings for multiple brushes so they don't have to switch. Mostly graphics artist people, but it can certainly apply to modelers.

 

It's real easy to do. The fittings were about $5 at Harbor Freight, if that much.

 

In my case, as far as thinning goes I just wing it. If it runs down the side of the mix container like skim milk I consider it good enough. Works for me. I used to use an eye-dropper and counted ou the drops of each, but what a pain, not to mention replacing the droppers on occasion.

 

I don't drink milk, and I sure don't want to drink my paint, so I've never really been able to figure out what thinning to the consistency of skim milk looks like in the AB. I mix some paint and thinner up, and shoot it on a 3x5 note card. The paint obviously doesn't react with the paper like it does with plastic, but I've learned to tell by the spatter (or lack of), line consistency, and sound of the paint shooting if the paint needs to be thinned more.

 

Ever tried airbrushing a figure?

 

For priming purposes, sure. Never tried to do anything other than that with a figure and AB.

 

What do you use as a masking material? Frisket; tape; Parafilm? I never had much luck with the Silly Putty/Blue Tac stuff. I have seen some Brit magazines which demonstrate cutting a pattern and then using spaceres between the pattern and the surface to get a light feather. What do you think of that method?

 

I really prefer to freehand camo, but if it's hard edged, I mask with Tamiya tape. Between paint, glue and tape, I really ought to see if I can buy stock in the company! I have had good luck in the past using silly putty as a mask for a soft edge, and have also run thread just inside the edges of tape masks to lift them a bit for a soft edge, but still prefer free hand, but will readily admit it took a LONG time for me to figure out how to get enough control to actually free hand. One of my biggest troubles with either the silly putty/blue tack and the lifted tape masks was the need to keep the AB at 90 degrees to the edge of the mask. I found it too easy to get my brush at an odd angle to the edge of the mask and end up with some weird edges to the camo.

 

I, too, use the Tamiya paints. Really like the acrylics for coverage, clean-up, and genral quality. I don't know what your Tamiya lacquer thinner is. I use their "X-20A" acrylic thinner. to thin the paint, but then do the clean up using Windex.

 

Tamiya also makes their own blend of lacquer thinner. I suspect it's a little more pure and a little milder than your typical hardware store lacquer thinner. The nice thing about the Tamiya paints is that you can thin them with LT, and as I said, they spray just beautifully. It took me a while to try it, but once I did, I fell in love. One issue I've always had with Tamiya paints thinned with my typical 70% iso alcohol is that if I have to sand out something and re-shoot, it's really hard to get an invisible feather edge on the old paint. But with the LT, it's no problem at all. I don't always thin with the LT, as I don't find it's always necessary for the finish I'm looking for and I don't like the ill effects of the LT, but when you want a super smooth application of the paint, there is nothing that can beat it! As for the X-20A thinner, I VERY rarely use it. I get great results from the 70% iso, and it costs a pittance in comparison to the X-20A.

 

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A good thread. I generally use three airbrushes. Like Gil, I have one for broad painting, one for finer detail and one for Future. I use the Grex Tritium for broader work. It fits the hand well and is easy to sweep from side to side. I use a Sotar 20/20 for most finer work. I build 1/72 so I don't use a lot of paint. It is the easiest to clean so I use it more. I got mine at the Chicago Nats. Finally, for Future, I use an old Testors brush. My thinking is that everything in the brush is plastic so it is easier to get the future out of it.

 

I have used CO2 and loved it. My current problem is that I can't find a good source of refill where I live now so I am using a Badger Model 180 compressor. I run a tube from the compressor to my old CO2 bottle and feed the airbrush from the regulator connected to the bottle. That way, I can control the pressure plus, when the bottle gets full, the compressor will shut off. The compressor is also located a long way from my paint area so it is quieter. Finally, I use quick-connect connectors to attach the airbrushes to the bottle. It is easy to disconnect one brush and connect another without shutting off the compressor.

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A good thread. I generally use three airbrushes. Like Gil, I have one for broad painting, one for finer detail and one for Future. I use the Grex Tritium for broader work. It fits the hand well and is easy to sweep from side to side. I use a Sotar 20/20 for most finer work. I build 1/72 so I don't use a lot of paint. It is the easiest to clean so I use it more. I got mine at the Chicago Nats. Finally, for Future, I use an old Testors brush. My thinking is that everything in the brush is plastic so it is easier to get the future out of it.

 

I have used CO2 and loved it. My current problem is that I can't find a good source of refill where I live now so I am using a Badger Model 180 compressor. I run a tube from the compressor to my old CO2 bottle and feed the airbrush from the regulator connected to the bottle. That way, I can control the pressure plus, when the bottle gets full, the compressor will shut off. The compressor is also located a long way from my paint area so it is quieter. Finally, I use quick-connect connectors to attach the airbrushes to the bottle. It is easy to disconnect one brush and connect another without shutting off the compressor.

I am not allowed to ask where you are from, but since you say Kalamazoo I have suggestions for a CO2 supplier. I have found that sometimes NAPA stores carry them or other gas bottles such as Nitrogen. Also try local welding supply sellers. I also believe you might try drinking soda (Coke, Pepsi, etc. may sell you a bottle of (CO2). Kalamazoo can't be that small. I live near Port Townsend WA and it's not a very big place. I can get CO2 at the NAPA store and at Air Supply (a welding supply house). Both are national outlets. Good luck. Edited by TheWalrus

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Great thread guys....very interesting....I need to get my airbrushes set up....I have bought a couple over the last few years.

 

Doug

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Hmmmm......

 

I have a lot (I know I need only one or two but they are cool).

 

I have:

 

Badger Sotar 20/20- super fine detail, great for figures- I have two of them

Badger Velocity- Great for detail and for camo patterns, cheaper replacement parts than the Sotar- I have two of these also

Iwata Revolution- Won it at a raffle, tried it and it was OK

Badger 150- Won this at a raffle also, it is OK. Like the Velocity better

Paasche H- my first and still a favorite for flat coating and base coats. A true work horse

 

I use a compressor but could go to a cylinder later

 

Dave

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Hmmmm......

 

I have a lot (I know I need only one or two but they are cool).

 

I have:

 

Badger Sotar 20/20- super fine detail, great for figures- I have two of them

Badger Velocity- Great for detail and for camo patterns, cheaper replacement parts than the Sotar- I have two of these also

Iwata Revolution- Won it at a raffle, tried it and it was OK

Badger 150- Won this at a raffle also, it is OK. Like the Velocity better

Paasche H- my first and still a favorite for flat coating and base coats. A true work horse

 

I use a compressor but could go to a cylinder later

 

Dave

Go with CO2 cylinders. You'll never go back. Quiet; no micro-pulsing pressure; easier to finely regulate; you can make a manifold and have all your brushes connected at once and ready to use. And most of all - they are "cool" and your friends will be impressed. :smiley29:

 

Oh, did I mention no need for a water trap or air filtration. In this area with higher humidity I always had trouble with water droplets condensing from the compressor output.

Edited by TheWalrus

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I got my first AB in 1995, a Model Master Double Action, and used canned air to run it. At that time I thought it was more trouble than it was worth (especially the cleaning) and never actually learned how to use it.

 

I have recently joined a local club (as well as the IPMS) and bought a newer Paasche Sing. Action AB.

 

I have dug out all the references I can find on Air Brushing and I’m determined to learn to use them.

 

My question is on compressors. I have a new 1.5 hp comp. w/a 3 gal tank and a built in regulator. I have installed another regulator and a moisture trap. I think this will work fine - am I wrong?

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Two regulators should work fine, but I can't think of any benefit from using more than one. The brush will get whatever the lower pressure setting is. (As long as you have them in series with one another, not in parallel.)

 

I started with a Sears version of a Badger 200 single-action in the late 1970s (I think) with a 1.5 hp compressor and 10-gal tank. Just upgraded to a Grex TG3 (or TG2; I forget) and dedicated airbrush compressor last year. No tank on the new one, but it seems to work just fine. I still have to do a lot of sanding and repainting, but that's operator error and not the fault of the equipment.

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I live in an area with considerable heat (102F currently!) and with humidity to match. I have a variety of ABs and several compressor types.

 

I've found that a tank of compressed nitrogen works well. I've got a regulator attached and can shoot anything from single digit PSI's up into the hundreds. I never go above about 32 to 40 for any reason and I wonder if the AB hose could handle the max pressure that this rig can provide.

Anyway, the benefits of the nitrogen tank are that:

1. it is dead-quiet.

2. There is no need for electricity

3. Nit has no odor.

4. It will not blow up around flames. (Kinda nice cut then why would anyone airbrush near an open flame?)

5. No need for a moisture trap.

the downside to the nitrogen tank are that:

1. its heavy, weighing in about about 30 to 40 lbs.

2. its requires refilling (depending on use) and that means a trip to the company that has the gear to refill nit bottles. And if the bottle reaches a certain age (there's a code on the tank) you have to replace the tank.

 

I also have a variety of compressors. My #1 is a 6 gal Husky with a moisture trap and a regulator. This baby is really meant to power hand tools and such but the regulator can is accurate from the single digits up well beyond what one will use for an AB.

Upside:

1. Huge tank will hold compressed air for an airbrush for weeks!

2. Has wheels...easy to move.

3. Works like a charm!

Downside:

1. Too heavy to be considered portable and not for indoor use

2. Louder than one would wish...but once the tank is full it can be shut off.

3. Big...takes up a lot of space in the garage.

 

There are a variety of smaller compressors by Binks, Grex, and probably many others. It is advisable to get a compressor that is designed to be used with a regulator...otherwise you're stuck shooting paint at the factory setting. Some compressors are Not designed to be fitted with a regulator and the compressor may die! I am probably way behind the newer technology out there so that issue may be of no concern now. All should be fitted with a moisture trap although I don't know if that's a problem for the guys in Arizona and Nevada.

 

Airbrushes... I have Paasches, both single and double, and as Dave said above, they are the workhorses. They are easy to use, easy to clean, and durable. I have an Iwata and its a hot rod! One can produce very fine, detailed paint patterns with it. Same is true for the Grex series. I waiver between Grex and Iwata when I want to attempt to do a finely detailed paint scheme. I find that, at my low level of skill, its not so much the AB but how well I've mixed the paint!

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Two regulators should work fine, but I can't think of any benefit from using more than one. The brush will get whatever the lower pressure setting is. (As long as you have them in series with one another, not in parallel.)

 

I started with a Sears version of a Badger 200 single-action in the late 1970s (I think) with a 1.5 hp compressor and 10-gal tank. Just upgraded to a Grex TG3 (or TG2; I forget) and dedicated airbrush compressor last year. No tank on the new one, but it seems to work just fine. I still have to do a lot of sanding and repainting, but that's operator error and not the fault of the equipment.

 

Thanks for your response. What is the advantage of a "dedicated airbrush compressor" over my Home Depot one?

Edited by mimike

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Personally I see no advantage in having a dedicated compressor, but I'm sure that view is colored by the fact that I paint in the garage. My Husky compressor (its Big) can be very accurately regulated throughout the entire range of the usual AB pressures, and it has an awesome moisture trap.

 

Some may paint indoors or have other extenuating factors that influence their choice of hardware.

 

On a side note, I work with one of the Support the Troops programs and I use one of the portable regulator-equipped compressors for that program....I must transport and carry all the supplies and the Husky simply is not designed for that kind of use or portability.

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Again, I thank you for your input. My compressor is portable and I use a backroom to paint and I live alone, so noise is not a problem.

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What is the advantage of a "dedicated airbrush compressor" over my Home Depot one?

 

A compressor designed specifically for airbrushing will be quieter and smaller than a general-purpose compressor. That's the only real advantage I can think of. Mine (a Grex) doesn't have a tank, so it cycles on and off frequently as I spray, but I'd rather put up with that instead of the deafening racket of the Sears 10-gallon that sits in a corner.

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Micro Mark has Testors Aztec Air Brush/Compressor system on sale and I’m waiting delivery of one.

I have an old Model Master brush from the mid ‘90’s. Testors made this one too and from the photos they look the same.

Does anyone know if the nozzles are interchangeable?

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The Testor's Model Master Airbrush and the Aztek 470 are the same airbrush, and the tips are interchangeable.

 

Ralph

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The Testor's Model Master Airbrush and the Aztek 470 are the same airbrush, and the tips are interchangeable.

 

Ralph

Thanks, it came yesterday and I found out for myself.

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