SEARCH SCALEAUTOMAG.COM

Enter keywords or a search phrase below:

Airbrush Troubleshooting

715 views
5 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    November 2016
  • From: Oxford, Michigan
Airbrush Troubleshooting
Posted by TechEd on Wednesday, April 1, 2020 1:26 PM

On my recent retirement, I returned to a hobby that I love to hate.

I love to build as well as enhance projects with fabricated corrections and extras during the build, but I can't seem to "paint" to save my soul. As before, I'm doing okay with brushing and airbrushing thinned Testors enamels, but fail miserably with Tamiya acrylics (esp. brush, with airbrush to a lesser extent) and anything else.

Is anyone aware of an airbrushing troubleshooting guide or matrix table that could help me. For example, the matrix would list undesired outcomes for various paint types, like drying too quickly (paint does not lay down) etc., and show necessary adjustments, like air pressure, needle size and so on.

FWIW, the specific challenge I have is that I'm in the process of testing an original Volkswagen factory colour in automotive lacquer from a paint chip retailer. I'm using thier recommended 1 to 1 thinner and clear, as well as their recommended 1mm needle setting for airbrush (which is what auto body shops would use for small area touch ups). But the finish on my test pieces are unsatisfactory... lots of orange peel in the base and, of course, the clear mimicks that outcome. The paint supplier offered no psi advice, so I've tested from 15 to 30 psi with inconsistent results on both styrene sheet and spoons.

I'm generally okay with wet sanding a base coat with 1500, but would prefer a smoother base coat finish prior to clear if that's possible (I've wet sanded the Tamiya fine light grey before the base coat with no difference in outcome).

Any advice on either of the above would be greatly appreciated.

People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do. - Isaac Asimiov

  • Member since
    December 2003
  • From: Nova Scotia
Posted by Bainford on Thursday, April 2, 2020 5:58 PM

I'm not sure I have any usable advice since I have no experience with that type of paint. I'm curious though, about the 1 mm needle setting. What does that mean? What airbrush do you use?

 I'm wondering if your paint isn't thin enough. Does it seem thick? When you pull some paint up the side of the bottle, it should run back down in manner of skim milk. Too thin is better than too thick. 

Dont get too hung up on air pressure. It seems to be a very personal thing. Some very good painters like pressures of 15 psi or maybe lower, while others paint 35-40 psi. Use a pressure that makes your airbrush work good. I would recommend starting somewhere between 20-30 psi, and experimental from there. 

Also, practice spraying closer and further away, though I'm thinking you may need to be closer. As you get closer you may need less pressure. If the speed of you sweep is quite fast, try slowing that down, too (Just spit balling here). 

I keep a sheet of white poster board tacked to the wall of my paint area on which I check my spray qualities before letting loose on the model. Very useful. Make adjustments and check spay pattern. Try it while getting closer. 

As for any kind of diagnostic chart, I'm not aware of one, but they probably exist on airbrush specific forums, etc. The problem, at least with model builders, is the very wide variety of techniques employed. There seem to be huge variations in air pressure, paint viscosity, spraying distance, etc, not to mention the varying requirements of different airbrushes. 

Practice helps. Paint a bunch of plastic water bottles or similar. It will soon feel natural. Let me know what is meant by 1 mm needle setting. 

"It would be unusual, if the unusual didn't occur."

- Steamboat Gariepy

Trevor

  • Member since
    June 2018
  • From: Now Chenoa, IL (formerly Katy, TX)
Posted by Lei007 on Monday, April 6, 2020 7:45 PM
Try using larger tip (3-5mm) especially with acrylics, even thinned well, the paints are large for 1mm tip. I've tried 2mm for detail work and acrylics were hard to use for good finish. Air pressure also depends on the feed type of airbrush and whether internal/external mix. The test board and spoons will help you find the best setting/combo for your use. I been using AB for 3yrs and I am still learning. Orange peeling (my biggest issue, too) can be mainly too far away or too quick pass: The paint dries before getting to surface or coat is too thin to allow flow.
  • Member since
    December 2003
  • From: Nova Scotia
Posted by Bainford on Wednesday, April 8, 2020 11:53 AM

Lei007
Try using larger tip (3-5mm) especially with acrylics, even thinned well, the paints are large for 1mm tip.

when you say 3-5 mm, do you mean 0.3 - 0.5 mm? 3-5 mm would be much too large. 

"It would be unusual, if the unusual didn't occur."

- Steamboat Gariepy

Trevor

  • Member since
    June 2018
  • From: Now Chenoa, IL (formerly Katy, TX)
Posted by Lei007 on Wednesday, April 8, 2020 7:32 PM
Sorry, you're correct, I was referring to 0.3 to 0.5 mm.
  • Member since
    September 2011
Posted by BUGATTI FAN on Saturday, April 11, 2020 2:31 AM

Tech Ed   If you are attempting to spray an overall VW colour acrylic then it is a case of experimenting with the nozzle sizes and air pressure on scrap pieces. Orange peeling suggests that the mix is too thick.

As an alternative, why bother with an airbrush at all if the VW colour is current and available as an aerosol? If the colour is not current many auto paint factors can mix colours and supply in aerosol form.

JOIN OUR COMMUNITY!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

SEARCH FORUMS

FREE MONTHLY NEWSLETTER
By signing up you may also receive reader surveys and occasional special offers. We do not sell, rent or trade our email lists. View our privacy policy