Airbrush Practice?

Discussion in 'Questions on Kits, Decals, Tools and Pilots' started by Vengeance, Jun 5, 2014.

  1. Vengeance

    Vengeance Member

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    Hey Guys,
    I'm about to embark on the wonderful world of Double action Airbrushing. Until now I've only used a cheap $20 single action and its driven me round the bend with paint spattering, poor coverage and large paint usage.
    I've bitten the bullet and have purchased a Iwata Eclipse HP-CS and plan on working with this once it arrives (bit excited about this)

    A couple of questions, I plan on practicing on cardboard first to get the feel of the new beast, tweaking psi's and finding different spray patterns. So what liquid can I practice with, is water with maybe a drop of food dye good to use just to practice getting spray practice done? Other suggestions??

    I don't want to start with paint, which will be Tamiya Acrylics when I do get on to the model. What have you guys used in the past?
    I also have a cheap Revell Spitfire to practice on when I do move to paint before moving to my current "serious" build, a F4U onc.e I'm a little more confident

    Another Question, I know of using Windex to quickly clean the Airbrush between colours and plan to use this method, however the new Windex available in OZ says "New Formula" and "Fresh New Fragrance", Has anybody used this new Windex and what were the results, I don't mind having a fresh smelling Airbrush but I'm a little worried about damaging the new tool with the New Windex!!

    Any thoughts??
    Any other beginner double action Airbrush advice I should be aware of?
    Thanks in advance!!
     
  2. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    #2 Crimea_River, Jun 5, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2014
    When I got my Iwata, it came with a nice little instruction sheet that had some good suggestions for practicing. Using water and dye to get the hang of the feel should be fine but don't expect your paint to act the same way when you get to it. Use of an old model to practice with the real paint is a very good plan. You'll need to experiment with pressure and thinner ratios until you get the results you like. I find that Tamiya paints work beautifully in the brush but recommend that you use their thinner as well for best results. I tend to spray at about 15 to 20 psi with a 60-40 thinner to paint ratio (yes, a bit more thinner than paint) but that's just me.

    I've used Windex to thin Polyscale paint but never Tamiya and I would not rely on it to do a decent job of cleaning your brush. Give it a try but acrylics dry quickly and you might find that it takes something a bit more potent to clean the brush properly. I use lacquer thinner and blow about 2 cup-fulls through the brush and set it aside to dry.

    There will no doubt be many more suggestions to follow and some may think I'm crazy blowing the lacquer thinner through but it sure cleans well.
     
  3. Vengeance

    Vengeance Member

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    Thanks for tips Crimea!
    The Windex will just be for the quick paint change cleaning not for the thorough end job clean, I'll probably get some proper Airbrush cleaner for that!
    Cheers!
     
  4. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    I started with plain water on brown cardboard, moved onto water plus food coloring on white paper. Then I had about 10 small jars of Testors acrylics that had come in a large kit. I pulled out the colors that I might use and had the 10 left-overs in weird colors like pink, purple, ect. I used these to paint styrofoam take-home boxes (free from any restuarant). The varying contours are excellent practice for the varying contours of models. If you feel confident at this point go to a model that you won't miss if you mess it up. I'd start with whole aircraft paint jobs like all flat aluminum or underside all light blue for example. Two color cammo schemes are probably next. Practice on styrofoam first until you are satisfied with the edges.
    Remember skills require practice, practice, and more practice
     
  5. N4521U

    N4521U Well-Known Member

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    #5 N4521U, Jun 6, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2014
    Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

    Sorry I'll stay out of this thread!
     
  6. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    A beginners mistake is to try to regulate the air pressure with the downward pressure on the trigger. Don't do it! Set your pressure at your regulator and always depress the trigger fully before pulling back to introduce the medium. I know that I have helped a couple of people with this simple piece of advice.

    As others have said play with your pressure and thinning ratios. Don't be scared of upping the pressure. I spray at about 35 psi routinely. I use this pressure for everything from pencil lines or mottling (i.e. very close to the model) to coverage of larger areas. Don't move too far away in an effort to cover quickly as you will run into other issues with drying paint hitting the surface.

    Your Iwata is perfectly able to handle 'hot' solvents or cleaners like cellulose (lacquer) thinners. I have a couple of Iwatas and as an enamel painter I frequently clean with such solvents. You shouldn't need to use them every time, particularly for the paints you plan to use, but they will be useful for a really good clean, especially when things do get gunked up!

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  7. N4521U

    N4521U Well-Known Member

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    #7 N4521U, Jun 6, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2014
    removed
     
  8. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    #8 stona, Jun 6, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2014
    Nope. You can't regulate the pressure properly with a few mil. of travel on an air valve. I've seen people making a mess trying to do so. The problem is that dual action airbrushes mix the paint and air internally and are more sensitive to the air pressure than other types. Theoretically you can try to control the air from the trigger but in fact, once you have established what pressure works properly for the medium you are spraying, altering that pressure (and you can only lower it) may well result in all the unpleasant results of spraying without enough pressure. The up and down action of the trigger (one of the two that gives the name 'dual action' to the type) should be seen as an on/off switch. I was taught to use an airbrush by an artist, not a modeller, and have been following her advice for the last twenty years.
    Use the backwards pull on the trigger to control the flow of medium. This might not be so vital for someone spraying a block of camouflage colour but for blending colours or achieving more artistic effects, even something like a convincing mottle, it is vital. With a single action airbrush the amount of medium introduced into the air stream is pre-set and not controllable. They are also invariably mixing the paint and air externally and can not achieve as fine an aerosol.

    Now we can agree to disagree about this, I certainly won't fall out with anyone about it, but my strong advice to someone starting to use a dual action airbrush remains. First establish the best thinning and pressure values for the medium to be sprayed. You can only do this by trial and error to which a dash of experience may be added. Some mediums are much more tolerant than others of approximations, one of the reasons I still spray 'enamel' paints. Use the downward movement of the trigger to turn the air on (or off) and then introduce the medium by easing back on the trigger.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  9. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    As Steve posted above your double-action has two trigger movements: DOWN to increase air flow, to the limit set by your compressor regulator /UP to decrease and BACK to increase amount of paint flow/FORWARD to decrease. Personally I had problems trying to keep the same downward push distance AND pull back controling volume of paint. When I saw Testor's Aztek I knew I had the solution. The Aztek is a single/dual in that it incorporates a valve to set maximum paint flow. So my compressor regulator controls max pressure and the Aztek valve maximum paint flow. In addition the Aztek has 9 different nozzels which also control width of spray. My regulator is generally set to 25psi and using white paper I'll adjust paint max volume. The Aztek also can be gravity or siphon. The siphon caps come in various diameters to fit most paint jars so I can spray "right out of the jar" and don't have to fill and clean a separate cup
     
  10. javlin

    javlin Well-Known Member

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    I am like Bill pressures and all just the way I learned :dontknow: I use the Rage by Badger and enamels go about 50/50 on the mix and maybe heavier on the paint sometimes it seems for a motte scheme.
     
  11. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    I'm with Steve. Down all the way and regulate the flow by the back and forth.

    Just sayin'. Period, blah blah, whatever!!!!!! :lol:
     
  12. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    I actually thought that was what you were supposed to do with normal spray, at least that's the way I've always done it.
     
  13. waterman

    waterman Member

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    #13 waterman, Jun 6, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2014
    For me, I found practicing on cardboard is not the best way to practice because it doesn't mimic the feel of spraying on plastic. Cardboard soaks in water, so spraying fine lines is easy vs. plastic repels water, so it requires more control and precise mixing of paint and air pressure to avoid flooding the surface with paint. For the same matter, when it comes to mixing and thinning paint, I prefer to test spray on smooth services that do not soak in water.

    In regards to learning and practicing airbrush techniques, YouTube is a really great resource. For me, watching video is an easier way to learn. Lots of good tutorials for beginners there. Try searching "dagger strokes." Dagger strokes seems like a good way to start practicing your technique.

    I often find myself with left over paint inside my airbrush cup after spraying. Rather than toss out the paint, I sometimes use it for practicing. When I know I'm going to paint, I try to collect pieces of plastic from food containers, etc. for practicing on.

    Windex contains ammonia and some people on airbrush forums warn against using ammonia in an airbrush because it strips the chrome plating. However many modelers seem to use Windex to thin Tamiya acrylics and clean their airbrushes without problem. I read comments saying it's ok to use Windex as long as you don't let your airbrush soak in it. Some say quickly shooting Windex through your airbrush and rinsing it with water shouldn't harm the airbrush. I don't know what the truth of the matter is. But, I did use Windex to thin paint and to clean my Iwata Eclipse (w/side feed cup). There were times when I had to stop painting, and I let the airbrush sit with the Windex in the cup. Overtime, I noticed the finish inside the paint cup developed some discoloring (blotches in the finish).
     
  14. N4521U

    N4521U Well-Known Member

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    #14 N4521U, Jun 6, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2014
    removed
     
  15. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    #15 vikingBerserker, Jun 6, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2014
    Then how the heck do you use that method with a trigger grip style double action airbrush?
     
  16. Vengeance

    Vengeance Member

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    Thanks for all the advice guys, keep em coming, even the contentious issues, I'm big enough and ugly enough to sift through it for useful info!!
     
  17. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    You explain why you want to alter your air pressure.

    Most people struggle initially to establish the parametres or air pressure and thinning for a particular medium. Now you want to alter that pressure, unscientifically and immeasurably, using the few millimetres of travel on the piston of an air valve! You can only go one way with it and that is to reduce the pressure below that which you have established actually works!

    Dual action doesn't mean two incrementally controllable actions. The air valve is on/off. The flow of medium into the airbrush is progressively controllable. You need to examine how the two types of brush work. You are potentially confusing people new to a dual action brush.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  18. N4521U

    N4521U Well-Known Member

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    #18 N4521U, Jun 7, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2014
    Removed by myownself.

    to each his own
     
  19. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    #19 stona, Jun 7, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2014
    Each to their own.

    I can do everything from a fine mist or mottle to a pencil line to carefully merged colours with my air pressure at 35 psi. That is the pressure which works with my paint/thinners to correctly atomise the paint in the spray. I get no 'halo' around my edges and no splatter. If for some bizarre reason I choose to reduce the pressure to some unknown value with the air valve I will not get my paint to properly atomise in my spray and will be likely to get both the previous and more ill effects.
    Those two are the ones people most often struggle to eliminate (once they've actually got the airbrush to spray without blockages etc).

    Not opening the air valve on the brush will effect the pressure of the air entering the brush, not just the flow

    Your comment about using just as well to use a single action airbrush, where the paint flow is not gradually adjustable, as you spray, doesn't make sense at all.

    My method works for me. I'll 'put my money where my mouth is'.

    [​IMG]

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    Every one sprayed freehand at around 35 psi. Let's see how your method works.


    Steve
     
  20. N4521U

    N4521U Well-Known Member

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