Thinning Acrylics?

Discussion in 'Painting Questions, Tutorials and Guidebooks' started by BombTaxi, May 22, 2010.

  1. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    What do people use as a rule of thumb for thinning acrylic paints when airbrushing? I have just sprayed a few parts of my Sea Venom with a 50-50 mix of Xtracrylix paint and water, and the result is much too thin :| How much water should be added to the paint before spraying?
     
  2. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    Not all acrylic paints need to be thinned.Also water is not the best thinner for them.If there is the Xtracrylix thinner I would suggest using of it firstly. The fifty-fifty diluting ratio should be used for paints that are quite thick. For these much thinned paints you can use 50/20 mix ratio. Generally the paint thickness should be like for the batter or so.
     
  3. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    Different brands require differing ratios...and as Wojtek says some don't need any....Some colours need to be well thinned too to get a good application...you then simply need to build them up with light coats to get the desired finish. Trial and error is sometimes the best plan to get it right...
     
  4. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Vallejo's Air acrylics are as already thinned and I have to say that they work excellent!
     
  5. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    another thing to consider is the temperature when you are working....too hot or too cold and things can turn to [email protected] real quick....
     
  6. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    Yep..I agree with Wayne . This has to be taken into consideration as well.
     
  7. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    sounded weird when i first heard about it, but i tried it and it actually works: Blue Windshield Washer Liquid
    the blue does not change the color at all and the paint sprays just fine. even cured the clumping i get sometimes
    the paints that can be sprayed "right out of the bottle" also need some thinning as they age
     
  8. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Windshield washer is basically alchohol, so it should work most of the time.
     
  9. Migrant

    Migrant Member

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    I try and use proprietary thinners where possible- Xtracrylix for their paints, Tamiya for theirs etc. Yes, it may work out a tad more expensive than using household substitutes but I just figure it's worth it for the peace-of-mind and the superior results; no point spoiling an otherwise nice model by cheaping out on the thinners. As far as Tamiya acrylics go, I've recently been thinning them with Tamiya's lacquer thinner, and I'm really happy with the results.
     
  10. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    Ive used rubbing alcohol, but it has the exact opposite drawbacks from that of water. Water as a thinner results in a VERY wet spray that takes a long time to dry. Rubbing alcohol as a thinner dries instantly. I too am a novice with these acrylics. I love the clean up, but have a hard time breaking my oil based habits. Window cleaner works great to clean your gun, but I find I still need to run a bit of laquer thinner through it oince clean. Not sure what that does, but mu gun tends to sputter and clog if I don't finish with it.
     
  11. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    i use an Aztek airbrush generally with model master, Tamiya, and/or testor acrylic paint. the model master and testors spray right out of the bottle while the tamiyas usually need a bit of thinning. the brand name debate has been going on for sometime and everyone has an opinion. i tried the "blue stuff" it works great so why pay extra?
    rubbing alcohol comes in varying dilutions. most are 70% and depending on humidity and temp should not dry too quickly. if you're getting a rough finish add some water. all my models are military so i'm using flats which start to shine if you dilute too much.
    lacquer thinner is a great solvent but toxic and flammable. i don't have a spray booth so any lacquer spraying is done in the spring, summer, or fall
    i've not used enamels due to the messey clean up
     
  12. timor

    timor Member

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    Windshield washer is based on alcohol and that the thinning agent, but might be poisoning (methyl). Cheap vodka maybe better (at least is fun). I used ones very bad american "stuff" (Stalingradskaya I think). It was good only for thinning paints.:)
     
  13. marcus4hire

    marcus4hire Member

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    I am a novice but here is what I have found in both my own experience and my exhaustive search across the web. So with that in mind, please disregard my post in the event of any discrepancies compared to the much more experienced master modelers around here.

    I use acrylic paints exclusively. As many mentioned it depends on the brand of paint. Some, such as Vallejo, come ready to paint. Others, such as Tamiya and Model Masters may or may not need thinning. I use the brand name thinner that goes with its paint (i.e. Tamiya thinner for Tamiya paints, Model Masters thinner for Model Masters paints, etc.). I have found that, basically, these thinners are isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) which I suppose you could use as well. I have been admonished for considering using water but really, I don't know.

    As for ratio. You typically want something like 50/50. The consistency of milk is what you are looking for. Often, the ratio is a lot less thinner to paint and I think it can even vary with shades. Seems like 'this' shade doesn't require much, if any, thinning compared to 'that' shade. But I also wonder if it has to do with how long the paint was on the shelf.

    For me, I spend the few bucks on the appropriate brand thinner and use that for painting. Cleanup is done with rubbing alcohol. Works just as good but might take a hair bit longer and saves a lot of money. I have been using 90% alcohol but imagine lesser concentrations would work.

    I know, I know new guy with no experience sure has a lot to say. I gotta learn to cut it down some........
     
  14. Gak

    Gak Member

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    I use Windshield washer myself, only mixed with distilled water. Something like 60% blue stuff 40% distilled water. It works great on any brand of acrylics I've tried. You only have to use different color/thinner ratio for different brads, of course. I guess that stuff is poisonous, but so is the most stuff we use. You should never use Airbrush without a mask and is closed room anyway, right?
     
  15. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Nah, let the fumes do the job - especially enamel - cheaper than going to the pub!
    Heck, we're going to die anyway, so might as well enjoy the journey !!
     
  16. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    You know, that explains a lot.....

    :evil4:
     
  17. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    All alcohols are poisonous ethyl alcohol or ethanol is simply the least poisonous of the alcohols. Methyl alcohol or methanol is added to ethyl to make it non-drinkable: DE-natured alcohol. Isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol is also highly toxic. I personally can see no valid reason to pay any company a premium price because they put a small amount of Isopropyl alcohol in a bottle and slap their brand name on it. Isopropyl is isopropyl no matter who makes it and no model paint company actually makes Isopropyl alcohol they just bottle it.
     
  18. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    Just use vodka and there is no problem.
     
  19. jjp_nl

    jjp_nl Member

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    Paint-Thinner ratio, to my mind, has a lot to do with personal tast. What works for you could be way too thick or thin for me. I myself like to spray my paints rather thin, in other word thinner then most people would probably do it, but that's what I've found to work best for me.

    For thinning paints I mostly use Tamiya Thinner. I guess the key component in it is the earlier mentioned isopropyl alcohol. I've thinned Tamiya, Gunze, Vallejo, LifeColor, Revell Aqua with it and it works beautiful for me. I did try the thinners that come with Vallejo too, but that was a mess for me. Vallejo, and especially Gunze also work well with AutoAir 4010 Reducer, but as a general purpose thinner I stick with Tamiya Thinner for the time being. I've looked in just about every shop/webshop but can't seem to find Isopropyl Alcohol. The only shop's I've found it as a stand-alone product was a medical-supplies webstore selling it by the jerry can (which is not exactly the amounts I'm looking for) Other shop also carry it, but more often then not mixed with other disinfecting crap or some other ingredients that works for it's intended purposes, but making it less suitable to run it through my airbrush (or so I reasoned)
     
  20. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    jjp, I guess other countries have different regulations on the sale of Isopropyl alcohol. I'm not sure why. Here it is readily available in almost any store that sells OTC products. It is called Rubbing Alcohol and is 70% Isopropyl alcohol and is available in quarts (Liter) and pint (.25 L) quantities. Hardware and home improvements stores sell gallon (4 L) sizes which are usually 100% Isopropyl.
    Here in the states a gallon of the blue windshield washer fluid is often a dollar at discount stores and I have never had one bit of problems using it, even to thin white paints.
    I also keep a small quantity of Lacquer thinner around in case the airbrush develops a clog that I can't clear manually. I also run a bit through the air brush if I'm not going to be painting for a while as a just in case measure
     
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