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Lochar

Care and feeding of an airbrush system

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So, since I just bought a new airbrush and compressor, I hit up the Craft and didn't have anything there jump out at me.

 

Anyone have any helpful tips?  What levels you thin your Reaper paints out to, stuff like that?

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I haven't had a chance to spray reaper paints yet. Once My compressor arrives, I plan to find out! I'm thinking start 1:1 and thin from there if it doesn't spray. Though some colors are thinner out the bottle than others so adjust accordingly.

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I have tested RMS and other paints quite a bit now.

 

I use Les' Airbrush thinner recipe for all my airbrushing (well, most of it).

 

The mix is 75% matte medium, 25% water, some flow improver added. You can search youtube for the above recipe and mixture.

 

For reaper, and my setup (0.35mm needle, 10 to 20 psi), I use two drops of the above thinner to one drop paint.

 

For Vallejo Model Color, I use 3 drops thinner 1 drop paint.

 

For Vallejo Airbrush paints, I use 1 drop thinner 2 drops paints usually.

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And remember even though Willen has given you some ratios to use its just a starting point. Some colors may need more some colors may need less. 

 

Make sure you have tools to clean out your airbrush with when you do a strip down cleaning. Small brushes are almost indispensable, pipe cleaners will work in a pinch but you need something very small to clean out the tip if that is where the clog is. I prefer dedicated airbrush cleaners when I'm doing a full cleaning but I, typically, only use water to clean when I'm changing colors. I typically used distilled water because I live in an area with relatively heavy water and I don't want any mineral buildup in my airbrush.

 

Get a mask, not one of those little masks for sanding but a real mask with replaceable filters, these can be found at harbor freight for $20 or less, your lungs will thank you. I have an airbrush booth that ventilates to the outside and helps pull fumes out of the room. I also have a small turntable so I can turn something and get at it from all sides without touching it. You can make your own booth there are plenty of online DIY tutorials for this.

 

Waste some paint on a piece of paper learning what your airbrush can and cannot do and what you need to practice on. Experiment with PSI ratios, a compressor without a way to adjust the air pressure is basically worthless for our purposes. I like to work at about 12PSI myself, it does depend on the paint and what I'm trying to accomplish. Seriously go through some of the online beginner tutorials and practice with it before you start trying to apply paint to a mini.

 

Watch your warranty make sure you don't do anything during the cleaning process that will void it. Using a reamer as a cleaning tool will typically void the warranty. 

 

There are a number of threads in the forums in regards to airbrushes. Do an advanced search and make sure you are searching back much farther than 30 days which is the default setting.

Edited by Heisler
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See, it is always nice when Heisler replicates most of the advice I've been giving these days on other threads  :blush:  Makes me feel I learnt right!

 

 

And remember even though Willen has given you some ratios to use its just a starting point. Some colors may need more some colors may need less. 

 

Exactly. Sometimes the paint is too thin, sometimes too thick. Higher pressure and bigger needle can usually push thicker paint, and by contrast paint too dilluted will pool and create spiders, so every factor will have to be taken into account. I have generated my own mental guidelines that I would be happy yo share sometime, I've been thinking about shooting a video about that for some time already.

 

By playing on it you can learn to do this by feel pretty soon.

 

What I did, that perhaps could be useful for you, was to airbrush my paint bottles cap. I selected like 6 blues for example, then proceeded to thin it, get the cap clean with alcohol in a rag, place it on a holder with blue tac, airbrush it. You get a feel of how much coverage you get out of one or two drops, if the dillution works, distance, varied PSIs if you want to try that too... and the end result is a cap with the dried color of the paint itself, which looks nice and helps identify bottles  :blues:

 

Edit: 

 

Here you can see how some caps are painted this way. I should get it going again and do more:

 

20141213_171047.jpg

Edited by Willen
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Best thing I can offer is, practice, practice practice!. Heck just get the airbrush out of the package & hold it. Get a feel for it.

 

The paper is a great idea. even if you just get some water & food coloring. This will let you get a feel for the airbrush. What it can do, what YOU can do with it.

 

Also cleaning. Airbrushes work their best when they are the cleanest. Never forget to clean your brush after a session.

 

Do you got a holder for when your not holding your 'brush? Get one. Heck Harbor Freight has cheap off brands one that are cheap & even cheaper with the discount coupon.

 

Overall have fun with it. airbrushes are just like everything in our arsenal of tools. Once you get it down, you'll produce some amazing stuff.

 

I didn't even break mine out last year but I'll be painting up a model here soon. Need to do a spring cleaning on mine. Actually looking forward to it. :lol:

 

Just did a simple google search & came across this site. Hope it helps:

 

https://sites.google.com/site/donsairbrushtips/

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What I did, that perhaps could be useful for you, was to airbrush my paint bottles cap. I selected like 6 blues for example, then proceeded to thin it, get the cap clean with alcohol in a rag, place it on a holder with blue tac, airbrush it. You get a feel of how much coverage you get out of one or two drops, if the dillution works, distance, varied PSIs if you want to try that too... and the end result is a cap with the dried color of the paint itself, which looks nice and helps identify bottles  :blues:

 

 

I did this with all of my paint bottles.  It really makes it easier to be able to tell the subtle differences the shades can have.

 

When I was painting mine, I rough up the caps a little with a fine grit sandpaper, then clean with alcohol.  I then coved each with a coat of primer, this makes it so the different cap colors wont matter.  I then painted the color and let it dry.  Gloss coat and after that is dry then a matte coat.

 

Took forever to do the whole thing when I was doing it, but looks great now and makes it so much easier to pick the color I want.

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Thin to the consistency of skim milk is what I've always read, and it works fine for me. A touch thicker than water. The thinner the paint, the less pressure you can use, which is good for minis.

 

Some people spray without a mask. Those people are getting dried paint into their lungs, which is irreversible. An N95 particulate mask will work fine against acrylic paint; however, if you want to spray stuff like enamels, you'll want a P95 chemical respirator.

 

If you don't have one already, get an airbrush cleaning station and a bottle of airbrush cleaner. In a pinch, any small container with a hole punched in it and Windex will do. Clean by spraying a good amount of cleaner through the brush into the cleaning station. Wipe down the reservoir, and then spray again. Repeat until clean.

 

I would recommend against using any sort of brush to clean the nozzle. Nozzles are pricy. Nozzles are tiny precision drilled holes, and any scratch that distorts the hole will have a noticeable effect on your spray pattern.

 

Speaking of cleaning, airbrushes have that chrome or nickel finish for a reason. Keep your brush clean!

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