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Airbrush Medium vs Airbrush Thinner


Rignes
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So, I was looking through the Airbrush compendium to see if these products were compared there or not but didn't see it. 

 

I get the impression that medium and thinner are often used interchangeably by many.  At least that's the impression I get watching videos.  I just want to confirm my instinct which is just like Non-airbrush products:

 

Airbrush medium contains binders/resins/whatever (I'm not a paint chemist) and won't break the paint whereas a thinner doesn't have these and over use can break the paint.

 

I also assume both products contain flow-aids and drying retarders to some degree to prevent tip dry and stuff.

 

How far off am I?

 

Thanks.

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I'm still a noob but I believe medium and thinner are the same thing (I've seen people refer to it as "thinner medium", which makes sense). I have a thinner and a flow aid as separate products from Vallejo and their product descriptions are:

  • Thinner: "Dilutes color without loss of adhesion, resistance and consistency. Thinner is used to extend the colors, to increase fluidity and delay the drying time. We recommend the addition of a few drops of Thinner to the colors while airbrushing."
  • Flow Improver: "Airbrush Flow Improver is a medium to improve the flow & delay the drying of paint on the needle. We recommend adding 1-2 drops Flow Improver to 10 drops of paint in the cup of the airbrush.

So, from what I gather thinner keeps the surface tension unchanged, while flow improver breaks it. I've been pretty much only using the thinner recently, I can spray paint at low psi without issues. You might need flow aid if you use a smaller needle, hopefully someone  more knowledgable than me can pitch in :).

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Yeah, I'm a noob regarding airbrushing.  I've only used Vallejo Airbrush thinner and it seems to work fine but was wondering about the medium that I see people using sometimes.  I see thinner used way more often than medium and was trying to figure out why you would choose one over the other. 

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Looking at safety data sheets, I don't see acrylic resin in the thinners I've found, while I do see it in acrylic media. I don't think they're the same thing at all. And I think your initial guess was probably close to correct.

 

Thinners thin paint, and eventually break it if you use too much. Media extend paint, and if they start out thin (as acrylic medium does), they may incidentally also reduce the viscosity, keep the viscosity the same, or increase the viscosity.

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Airbrush medium is basically (it's likely to have extra water and additives) just airbrush paint without any pigment (color) added. Thinner medium is basically the same as airbrush medium but likely has different ratios of additives. Airbrush thinner is mystery meat. It could have alcohol in it or mineral spirits or acrylic resin or ammonia (for those windex fans) or all sorts of things. It could just be water with some flowaid and drying retarder. It's good to be careful mixing brands of paint and thinner unless you know they are definitely compatible.

 

You can use all three to thin paint for use in an airbrush which is why it seem like people use them interchangeably. Their more prescribed use is for airbrush medium to thin non-airbrush paint to use in an airbrush, thinner medium to turn thicker brush paint into thinner brush paint, and airbrush thinner to make airbrush paints thinner than they are.

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