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Airbrush Assistance

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So My wife found my old Paasche VL airbrush that I bought back in 1998. Since I was looking into buying an airbrush to replace it, I was happy it was found. However, it has sat in a box and from the look of it, I don't think I cleaned it well enough back then. The needle doesn't move with the trigger ike it's supposed to and I can't remove the needle or the air cap. I vaguely remember that the needle needed replacing so I plan to buy a new needle, tip, and aircap set in all 3 available sizes. (I plan to use this again for more than just mini's so I'll use all 3 sizes eventually) and I think the air hose is shot. However, are there any tips for cleaning out decade old dry paint from an airbrush? Or is it not worthwhile to repair and I should still look into a new one? Thanks!

 

0416152100_zps7mumjl77.jpg

 

Dried paint in the pickup socket:

 

0416152100a_zpssaiqmajo.jpg

 

Hose doen't swivel like it used to.

 

0416152101_zpsx6dpkb4w.jpg

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Mmmm, it does look a bit abused. I would be tempted to put the whole thing in a bath of acetone (go to home depot or lowes, or steal your wife's nail polish remover) and let it soak. Acetone will work on breaking down acrylics and you should be able to clean it. A sonic cleaner would work as well. Disassemble as much as you can, and keep removing pieces as the acetone breaks the paint down. Oh and work in a well ventilated area and wear gloves!

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Mmmm, it does look a bit abused. I would be tempted to put the whole thing in a bath of acetone (go to home depot or lowes, or steal your wife's nail polish remover) and let it soak. Acetone will work on breaking down acrylics and you should be able to clean it. A sonic cleaner would work as well. Disassemble as much as you can, and keep removing pieces as the acetone breaks the paint down. Oh and work in a well ventilated area and wear gloves!

 

This. I can't see the images, so can't evaluate the amount of paint there, but only concern is that acetone might damage any seals in there especially if you let it sit.

 

You don't have an ultrasonic cleaner right? Warm water and some dishwasher drops would help dislodge dried paint if you put it there for some time.

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Mmmm, it does look a bit abused. I would be tempted to put the whole thing in a bath of acetone (go to home depot or lowes, or steal your wife's nail polish remover) and let it soak. Acetone will work on breaking down acrylics and you should be able to clean it. A sonic cleaner would work as well. Disassemble as much as you can, and keep removing pieces as the acetone breaks the paint down. Oh and work in a well ventilated area and wear gloves!

 

Yea, I didn't take care of things very well when I was younger. 

 

Oddly the wife uses acetone in her art room more than on her nails. 

 

Mmmm, it does look a bit abused. I would be tempted to put the whole thing in a bath of acetone (go to home depot or lowes, or steal your wife's nail polish remover) and let it soak. Acetone will work on breaking down acrylics and you should be able to clean it. A sonic cleaner would work as well. Disassemble as much as you can, and keep removing pieces as the acetone breaks the paint down. Oh and work in a well ventilated area and wear gloves!

 

This. I can't see the images, so can't evaluate the amount of paint there, but only concern is that acetone might damage any seals in there especially if you let it sit.

 

You don't have an ultrasonic cleaner right? Warm water and some dishwasher drops would help dislodge dried paint if you put it there for some time.

 

No I don't have an ultrasonic cleaner... Yet...

 

It's been on my list of things I need to buy soon.

 

From what I've been able to find, Paasche still makes the VL so any seals that are damaged should be easy enough to source and replace. 

 

 

 

Would purple power work to soak it? I can't even be sure that I used acrylic paint through this last time it was used. It could be enamel paints.

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FWIW, I bought my ultrasonic cleaner from Amazon for about $30US. Works pretty well with Simple Green and I wouldn't have any qualms about using it with Pinesol (both of which have removed enamels pretty well for me in the past). I haven't tried Purple Power, but by the description, it's pretty similar to the two I've used.

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Harbor freight has 2 different ultrasonic cleaners for sale. The smallest is $35 but with the 20% coupons I get it will be cheaper. The larger is $85. Still not bad price either way. I've paid more money for less useful things before.

 

I happen to have a bottle of purple power I used to strip minis with so I thought that might work better than acetone.

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Mmmm, it does look a bit abused. I would be tempted to put the whole thing in a bath of acetone (go to home depot or lowes, or steal your wife's nail polish remover) and let it soak. Acetone will work on breaking down acrylics and you should be able to clean it.

 

No. Nonononono.

 

Acetone will break down paint yes. It'll also turn any internal o-ring seals into melted goo. Running acetone through the brush is fine. Soaking is not.

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Mmmm, it does look a bit abused. I would be tempted to put the whole thing in a bath of acetone (go to home depot or lowes, or steal your wife's nail polish remover) and let it soak. Acetone will work on breaking down acrylics and you should be able to clean it.

 

No. Nonononono.

 

Acetone will break down paint yes. It'll also turn any internal o-ring seals into melted goo. Running acetone through the brush is fine. Soaking is not.

 

That was pointed out earlier, but it is old and abused and its likely that all those seals will need to be replaced anyway.

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That was pointed out earlier, but it is old and abused and its likely that all those seals will need to be replaced anyway.

Depending on how abused, those seals could also be perfectly fine. The majority of abuse damages the needle and nozzle (and the body, but that's not particularly essential). In regular use, those rings never come into contact with anything but oil and air.

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You can get a new one from Hobby Lobby for 75.00 using their 40% off coupon.

It comes with a hose, different size needles and heads, color cup

Not much more than buying all the parts you would need

Plus you don't  the hassle of cleaning all the old paint out of it

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The cleaning method you use really depends on the paint that you were using. If it's acrylic paint, then a simple green soak will do a majority of the grunt work. It's much less harsh to elastomers, like the O-Rings, and so less likely to harm them. If you can disassemble it first, then soak for an hour at a time and just work off the crusties. If you can't disassemble it,  you can try soaking it first and then disassemble after it's soaked and the paint has softened. Isopropyl Alcohol also works for this, but is harsher and will damage the O-Rings the longer it's soaked.

 

If, however, you've used enamels, then you need something that will strip enamel, like acetone, as mentioned above. Unfortunately these are harsh by nature and soaking will definitely damage the O-Rings.

 

Also, if you know the paint brand, even better. Use the same brand thinner/cleaner and it will generally work very well as it's formulated for that specific brand. Sometimes cross brand cleaners don't work as well due to different chemistries.

 

I think your optimal solution is to invest in a new airbrush (mentioned on sale earlier) with the extra needles and hose, and two quick connectors. This will give you an immediate tool, and extra needles. Then work on cleaning the older brush and try it with one of the other needles. If it works, then you will have lots of flexibility with two airbrushes set up with different needle sizes for different tasks (large spray vs fine spray) and can go back and forth more easily as a result. If it doesn't work, then you are only out the cost of the extra quick connector, which is only a few dollars, and the time it took to try to save it.

 

Good luck with this!

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Okay! So, I found an ultrasonic cleaner at Aldis for $10 so I grabbed it. I took the airbrush as far apart as iit would go. I didn't see any rubber seals so they must be in the one part I can't take apart. I've soaked the parts in water and dawn and ran it through the cleaner a few times. Some of the paint is really stuck on. I may attempt using Purple Power tomorrow.

 

The good news, is I only need to replace the needle. It was bent pretty bad which I already knew. The tip is still good and is really clean. I may still get a smaller needle and tip set for doing minis with. I have the middle size 3 needle now.

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I stopped at step 6. The trigger assembly was clean so I didn't see any reason to go further. I used a q-tip to remove the caked on paint. It removed easily so I'll stop there and see how it sprays. I need toget a compressor yet.

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I would be careful of using purple power on it I believe it will dissolve the chrome parts and ruin them.  I would try rubbing alcohol first 91% if you can find it.  I have also heard if people using windex to clean them but there tends to be a bit of discussion around that.

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