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  1. There has been a bit of Interest recently in Air brushes, so I thought that I would start a thread on what they are about, what you need to get started, and some suggestions on what I consider a 'Good quality" airbrush. Disclaimer- I am NOT an expert airbrush painter, and I certainly don't know everything My posts will contain MY opinions. So what does one need to get started using an airbrush? There are 4 basic components: 1. The airbrush itself. 2. A source of air. 3. A Regulator, to adjust the air pressure. 4. Hoses to connect these things together. 1. The Airbrush. There are many different brands and styles of airbrushes on the market, but they all fall into a couple of Categories. They are Action and Feed Feed is how the paint go from the storage container to the item being painted. 3 Main Types: A. Top Feed- The paint container, commonly called the 'cup' sits on top of the air brush. As in this example. B. Side Feed- The cup is off to one side or the other, instead of being on top. Another example. C. Bottom Feed- The paint comes up from a bottle underneath the airbrush. Action is how the paint and air mix to form the spray. There are 2 main types of Action, Single and Dual. A. Single Action- There is little or no control of how much paint is coming out while spraying, except, by controlling the amount of air. In other words, the Single Action trigger only allows you to control the volume of air being released to push the paint. If you look at the above airbrush, and compare it to the 3 above, you will notice 2 separate 'Nozzles' One pointing up, one pointing sideways. The nozzle pointing up is the 'paint feed' line, siphoning the paint from the jar. The Horizontal nozzle is the 'air feed'. The airbrush works by the venturi effect, in that the air from the air nozzle passing over the paint nozzle lowers the local air pressure so that the paint is drawn up the tube and sprayed. The Paint-Air mix occurs Outside the airbrush. (My opinion here- These are very basic airbrushes, good only for base coats and doing terrain. Detail work is impossible) B. Dual Action- The airbrush trigger allows control of both the volume of air released, as well as the volume of paint released. All 3 of the airbrushes show in the Feed section are Dual Action. The trigger is the 'T' shaped object on the top of the brush over where the air hose connects. Pushing 'Down" on the trigger controls the volume of air released, Pulling 'Back' on the trigger controls the volume of paint released. This allows the very fine detail work some of these things can produce. (My opinion here- If you are reading this forum, you are painting things where you need to be able to do a degree of detail work. You NEED a dual action brush) 2. The source of Air The 2 main sources of air used in our hobby are Compressors, and 'Canned Air'. A. Canned Air- Basically a can of spray paint with no paint and the ability to be connected to an airbrush. The problem with this is that it runs out, usually at the most inconvenient time. It can be inconsistent. A it gets used, the can gets cold, pressure drops, and paint flow suffers. (My opinion- Don't bother! If you are going to use an air brush in our hobby, you need a compressor!) B. Compressors- There are many kinds of air compressors out there, fro tiny little ones that will fit in the palm of your hand, to huge ones like you would see in a Garage that fixes lots of cars! There are really 2 types of air compressors used in our hobby, 'Tanked' and 'Tank-less'. What this means is that a compressor with a 'tank' has a storage area for compressed air. The compressor runs to fill the tank to a certain PSI (Pounds per Square Inch), then shuts off until the pressure drops to a certain level, it then runs until the required pressure is met. A 'Tank-less' compressor runs constantly to provide air. (Disclaimer- I have no experience with this type of compressor) 3. A Regulator- The means of adjusting the pressure of air going to and through the airbrush. Different paints require different psi to push them through the airbrush, and these are the means to control that. There will be a gauge of some type, marked in PSI, and a knob to raise or lower the amount going through. (Note, All compressors will have a regulator to adjust the outgoing air pressure, I just feel that this is not the best way to control the air to my airbrush, so I have a second regulator that I use to adjust the PSI) There are many different types of regulators available... 4. Hoses- You need to connect the airbrush to the regulator and the regulator to the compressor. They come in different sizes, so be sure that the hose you get fits not only the airbrush, but also the air source! There are many different adapters available as well. Here ends my discussion of the "what you need" to airbrush. There are many facets to still discuss about airbrushes and compressors... Please feel free to add, contradict, and generally comment on what YOU feel is needed! We are all after information, and what works for me might not work for you! Or someone else... 8) George
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