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Thoughts/experiences on restoring damaged needles?

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  • Member since
    December, 2017
  • From: Chicago, Illinois
Thoughts/experiences on restoring damaged needles?
Posted by Phil1947 on Sunday, December 31, 2017 7:51 PM

Still new to airbrushing, but I soon realized that something was amiss when I noticed a good deal of splattering while trying to put a prime coat on a Hellcat F6F-3 (my first model in over 55 years!) I disassembled the H&S Evolution A/B and upon cleaning the needle with lacquer thinner I noticed that the tip somewhat grabbed on a cotton swab so I knew that it was probably damaged. Upon further examination I could ascertain that it definitely had a hooked tip. Not at all sure how or when it happened, but the point (no pun intended) is that it did.
 
I had assumed that a needle (0/2) replacement for this A/B was quite expensive but as it turned out it was only $14.00 which I ordered today. However, I can easily see that such accidents will more likely than not occur again so I did a search on the Internet and came up with all sorts of home remedies for sharpening/restoring needles on YouTube. I suppose that it’s a good idea to have some extra needles in reserve, but by the same token I’m wondering if it’s worth the effort, or more importantly, if trying to ‘re-sharpen/ restore’ a needle tip actually works? Bottom line… I then came upon this item called a SharpenAir and would like to know if anyone here has had any experience with it and what you think of it? I also have an Iwata Eclipse HP-CS and the replacement needle is only $10.00 and seeing that this sharpener is quite expensive I’m also wondering if it would be more advantageous for me to simply invest in some extra needles in reserve rather than messing about in trying to re-sharpen a needle when it becomes damaged?  Again… any thoughts on this matter and you’re personal experiences?
 

~I started out with nothing, and still have most of it.~

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Sunday, December 31, 2017 8:06 PM

I don't know about that device but it looks geared towards the industrial user.

I just draw mine over an Arkansas stone every now and then. Probably not the right thing to do.

  • Member since
    December, 2017
  • From: Chicago, Illinois
Posted by Phil1947 on Sunday, December 31, 2017 9:05 PM

GMorrison
I don't know about that device but it looks geared towards the industrial user.

Sorry, but I have no idea what you mean by 'industrial user'?

From the related videos and reviews I've seen on this it is simply used for normal airbrushes as used in airbrushing models, e.g. Iwata, H&S, Badger, Paasche, etc.

 

 

~I started out with nothing, and still have most of it.~

  • Member since
    January, 2005
  • From: Cave City, KY
Posted by Watchmann on Sunday, December 31, 2017 9:36 PM

Don is a member of the forum, and he has a great site about airbrushes.  Here's his page on repairing bent needles.

https://sites.google.com/site/donsairbrushtips/bentneedle

  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Virginia
Posted by Wingman_kz on Monday, January 01, 2018 8:47 AM

I've done something along the lines of what Don talks about on his page. As long as the needle isn't cracked or bent terribly I've been able to salvage them. A needle can become hooked just by picking paint off from tip dry with your finger nails. At first I used two coins held between thumb and forefinger and applied light pressure but I also rolled the needle between the coins while doing that. Then, I started using two small pieces of steel since coins aren't flat. I've also used a flat piece of steel and a piece of tempered glass. Take your time, don't apply too much pressure and roll the needle as you do this. Then you can clean up any burr with a sharpening stone or very fine sandpaper on a hard flat surface. If the needle has a double taper it's a little more touchy. I do keep spare needles but bent needles can be saved.

            

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Monday, January 01, 2018 10:20 AM

Phil1947

 

 
GMorrison
I don't know about that device but it looks geared towards the industrial user.

 

Sorry, but I have no idea what you mean by 'industrial user'?

From the related videos and reviews I've seen on this it is simply used for normal airbrushes as used in airbrushing models, e.g. Iwata, H&S, Badger, Paasche, etc.

 

 

 

Its pretty clear from the website. If you have a business that relies on functioning airbrushes to make money, you'd have a stock of parts on hand. If for some reason you become out of stock, you'd need a quick fix until the new parts could be obtained. $ 100 or so for a hand sharpener would not be a big deal.

Kind of interesting actually to see those pictures of airbrush trade shows.

  • Member since
    December, 2017
  • From: Chicago, Illinois
Posted by Phil1947 on Monday, January 01, 2018 7:28 PM

Thanks for all the input. Even though I have a new needle on order I believe I managed to fix the bad one that I somehow damaged. I used a method that I saw on YouTube (there are a plethora of them) by International Scale Modeller using two small blocks of wood. I have quite a few sharpening stones as I used to make handmade custom knives so I figured I’d finish it off by gently pulling the tip back across a fine oiled stone while turning it and now it’s, to use on old but apropos disgusting saying: ‘slick as snot on a doorknob’.  Haven’t yet tried it out yet but I’m very confident that it will work just fine now. Well…. at least until the next misfortune which I’m sure will inevitably happen. ;)

~I started out with nothing, and still have most of it.~

  • Member since
    February, 2005
  • From: Cleveland, OH
Posted by RadMax8 on Tuesday, January 02, 2018 9:33 PM

One thing to keep in mind about airbrushes is that they are precision-designed instruments. The needle doesn’t simply come down to a point always (compound tapers), and the angle of the taper can be important. So be careful when you repair them, and just know they may not perform quite as well as before the repair. It may work fine for general spraying but if you need top detail it may be best to replace, as you’re working on doing now. 

Good luck!

  • Member since
    November, 2008
  • From: Far Northern CA
Posted by mrmike on Wednesday, January 03, 2018 12:33 AM

Wingman offers good advice. There are several ways to salvage a bent needle; all of them involve delicately restoring the taper and point with very flat surfaces and fine abrasives. Sometimes you can and sometimes you can't.

It's always a good idea to have replacement parts on hand for your AB. The needles, tips and seals will fail and the shipping is almost always more than the cost of the parts, plus the time lost in waiting when you could be shooting paint. It's better to have spares on hand so you can do your project at hand and sort out the needle bends later.

Happy New Year!

Mike   

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