Small Nozzle & Brush Cleaning Tools
Watching a long Ytube video the other night and always interesting Will Pattison started giving tips on cleaning airbrushes – in between steps, an accident. As luck would have it that day Badger had sent me a newsletter in which they said never to use “airbrush cleaning brushes” (pictured on top) because they were too abrasive. The modeler used water and lacquer thinner for solvents – that's fine. He used an inter dental brush (the orange plastic thing at the bottom) to clean the inside of the nozzle. So do I. These things are very inexpensive, available in any drugstore – look at the size of the brush but an extra buck buys better brushes - and work great. He also cut the plastic away from some of his dental brushes leaving the brush attached to about a half inch of thin wire. He used superglue to attach the tips to thin brass rod. (Very easy) You can use that to clean the area well behind the whole where the color cup intersects with the body of the brush – a prime spot for gunkies. (It won't go all the way through the airbrush, but I rarely disassemble everything.) Without removing the tip, the body of the brush will not allow a penetration only to about the bottom of the color cup. The brush on the inter dental is much less abrasive than the dedicated airbrush cleaner and frankly, I'd listen to Badger.
But here's the treat. If you've got a thin nozzle – saw a .15 or .20 mm Harder Steenbeck, he cleans the tip with “Absorbent Paper Points.” They're designed for dentists to clean as they do root canal so they're not rigid, but they do hold together. They're about an inch long and very thin with a slight taper. Sizes are 15-80: any would work, but 40 is perfect for HS .20. They cost about $5 for 200 on Ebay. You can see on size 40 Point with a black end below the brush. You can see another Paper Point sticking easily through the nozzle of the .20 HS Evolution. HS sells a nice $20 metal tool that does about the same thing, but the paper point won't scratch anything. (Nor would it break through a solidly blocked nozzle: hopefully that's rare in your world.)