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Cleaning airbrush between uses

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  • Member since
    April 2020
Cleaning airbrush between uses
Posted by donww on Thursday, April 2, 2020 10:51 AM

Without fail every time I go to use my airbrush it will shoot air, but no liquid. Every time I finish I run out the paint then I run airbrush cleaner until no color is coming out and then I shoot until no cleaner is coming out. But this doesn't ensure the airbrush shooting paint the next use. I have to clean the airbrush from front to back every time. Then it will work. What am I doing wrong?

  • Member since
    March 2013
Posted by patrick206 on Thursday, April 2, 2020 7:26 PM

What is the make and model of your AB?

It's an ages old idea that just a spray of cleaner will make the AB ready for use. I guess that does work for some, because they do it and the AB works. For me and my AB's I had rather poor results. I use almost exclusively Badger gravity feed units, I find it really required to at least dismantle the front bits after the rinse spray, give them a little soak in lacquer thinner, then using tiny brushes I can remove any little residue bits that would dry and result in a non-op AB.

It takes very little residual contamination left behind to harden and make for poor results from your AB. I often check the area behind the needle bearing bore, to see if anything has made it back to the rear. Otherwise I rarely clean anything but the front bits, good results from that practice. A thorough cleaning of the front parts and reassembly takes only about five minutes.

Same thing for my Paasche and Iwata units, they're all basically alike.

Patrick 

  • Member since
    March 2020
Posted by OzzyDog on Thursday, April 2, 2020 8:34 PM

What Patrick said.  I also use a Badger, mine is siphon fed, but I still need to clean out the front bits as well.  I also take the needle out and clean.  Sometimes it takes me longer to clean than it does to actually paint, which can be a bit of a drag, but it's ready to go no worries next time.

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Thursday, April 2, 2020 8:39 PM

I don't and I also believe that taking apart the a/b shortens it's life.

I have learned that there's a real problem if you don't thin your paints with the thinner recommended by the paint company (usually their own).

There are so many "secret recipes" on line about this thinner versus that paint, what you can substitute etc. In most cases that leads to trouble.

Run thinner compatible with your paint through the a/b.

Paint.

load cup with more thinner.

Back flush.

Run a little more thinner.

Swab out bottom of cup.

Little bit of laquer thinner through.

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    May 2011
  • From: Honolulu, Hawaii
Posted by Real G on Thursday, April 2, 2020 9:10 PM

For my ancient but still #1 Badger 200 single action siphon feed, it is necessary to strip everything but the air valve down.  Paint can build up at the nylon washer just in front of the air passageway, which will make the needle stick.  When I shared this airbrush with a friend back in high school, I would go crazy cleaning out the gloss red paint he would use on his airliners.  But it was good training learning to strip and clean the thing.

In its 40 years of service, I’ve had to replace the air valve twice (due to my stupidity of running lacquer thinner back to it), the crown tip once (due to dropping the airbrush), the head once (due to over zealous closing of the needle) and several of the washers that seal the head to the AB body (you’re cleaning the AB, hit the trigger, and FWIP, the washer goes flying into the lawn).

I have a gravity feed Iwata that cleans faster because the construction allows better accessibility to the paint path.  But I suck at double action ABs, so I tend to use the Badger.

“Ya ya ya, unicorn papoi!”

  • Member since
    June 2003
Posted by Jammer on Thursday, April 2, 2020 9:26 PM

As an old Army NCO, it's a compulsion that I break down and throughly clean my airbrush inside and out after I use it, just like weapons cleaning after rangers and other uses.  It seems to work and I usually don't have any airbrush problems other than operator error. 

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • From: USA
Posted by keavdog on Thursday, April 2, 2020 10:39 PM

I've been using single action for ages and spray laquer thinner through my passche h and it's good.  Just started playing with a badger krome and oh wow what a finicky bi*ch.  I'm sure its user error so I'll bite my tongue.  

Parts for the paasche are cheap so I'll buy a new cup, needle/nozzle and tip for $15 every couple years.  And I'll soak the old parts in laquer thinner as a backup...when I drop the brush and bend the tip...its happened twice.  

Los to learn on the double action.

Thanks,

John

  • Member since
    July 2013
  • From: Chicago area
Posted by modelmaker66 on Thursday, April 2, 2020 11:06 PM

I back flush with lacquer thinner twice, Windex once, Remove needle and wipe with windex and apply Badger regdab after every use. Never a problem.

  • Member since
    November 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Friday, April 3, 2020 6:08 AM

You need to backflush. I think you will find that once the AB shoots clear liquid put in a little more and backflush you will see paint mixing into the cup from that backflushing. Dump that out and do a final shoot through with some more thinner. Also back the needle out a little for storage with double action guns. I do have one airbrush that is fussy about a strip down though, it's passages are finer than my Badger or my Paashe H. Twice a year I soak my nozzles in lacquer thinner, other than that I just flush and backflush, flush again. Believe it or not acrylics take about 4 flushings compare with the easier to clean solvent paints.

Also if you look in the tip straight on you will often see paint inside the air cap, I twist up a Qtip/cotton bud real tight and dip it in thinner to clean inside there. Again acrylics will be more stubborn than solvent paints. I use straight 91 ipa for acrylics inside there and lacquer thinner for solvent paints.

  • Member since
    July 2018
  • From: The Deep Woods
Posted by Tickmagnet on Friday, April 3, 2020 7:43 AM

Try a little lubricant on your needle after your cleaning and see if that helps the next time you try to use it. I use lubricant that came with my airbrush and it solved a similar issue for me.

 

 

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Friday, April 3, 2020 1:35 PM

I do a thorough cleaning between models, but for everytime I take a shortcut.  I use a suction feed brush (with bottle).  These are a little harder to clean than the cup type because you need to get all the paint out of the pickup tube.  I backflush over my wastebasket.  Then I fold a kneenex twice creating a four layer blotter.  I replace the paint jar and put on a jar half full of thinner.  I pick up a load of thinner, then blot the bottom of the tube on the blotter. I repeat until there is no color on the blotter. I tap the tube against the blotter a bit to shake thinner loose, overcoming the surface tension.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    May 2013
  • From: Indiana, USA
Posted by Greg on Friday, April 3, 2020 1:42 PM

Interesting thread.

I guess I'm in the strip and clean (once, at the end of the building day) camp. But I'm not saying that is the right way.

-Greg

  • Member since
    July 2013
  • From: Chicago area
Posted by modelmaker66 on Friday, April 3, 2020 1:46 PM

Greg

Interesting thread.

I guess I'm in the strip and clean (once, at the end of the building day) camp. But I'm not saying that is the right way.

 

But I bet Greg that you dont have any issues with you airbrush by investing in the cleaning time either!Smile

  • Member since
    May 2011
  • From: Honolulu, Hawaii
Posted by Real G on Friday, April 3, 2020 2:01 PM

“This is my airbrush.  There are others like it, but this one is mine!”

I always strip and clean at the end of each session, but may or may not do so between colors.  If I use similar colors, a fast rinse and swab is all I will do.  I always save metallics for last because the particles really show in camouflage paints!

“Ya ya ya, unicorn papoi!”

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Friday, April 3, 2020 2:06 PM

Jammer

As an old Army NCO, it's a compulsion that I break down and throughly clean my airbrush inside and out after I use it, just like weapons cleaning after rangers and other uses.  It seems to work and I usually don't have any airbrush problems other than operator error. 

 

If my Patriot 105 was as robust as my old M-14, I probably would, too.

However, the threads and seals on these things aren't exactly mil spec., and they can get worn out.

There's no harm in strip, clean and reassembly but try to work at finger-tight levels.

 

Bill

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    May 2013
  • From: Indiana, USA
Posted by Greg on Friday, April 3, 2020 5:10 PM

modelmaker66
But I bet Greg that you dont have any issues with you airbrush by investing in the cleaning time either!Smile

That has been my experience, absolutely.

Except ironically last airbrush use I was called to dinner by the boss just after the 'spray through' passes and in the middle of the teardown. After a very long leave of abscence I finally inspected the airbrush, assembled it, and will probably have my first session tomorrow.

I kinda failed to practice what I preach. Whistling

-Greg

  • Member since
    August 2009
  • From: MOAB, UTAH
Posted by JOE RIX on Friday, April 3, 2020 6:13 PM

I am of the strip and clean after every use group. I mainly use a 105 Patriot. I always run lacquer thinner through followed by a back flush. Then remove the needle and spray tips and clean each individually with lacquer thinner. I have done this with the 105 for nigh on 10 yrs and have never experienced any issues with it. It's something that simply works for me.

"Not only do I not know what's going on, I wouldn't know what to do about it if I did". George Carlin

  • Member since
    November 2008
  • From: Central Florida
Posted by plasticjunkie on Saturday, April 4, 2020 7:19 AM

I do not break down my air brushes after each use but after several times. This applies to gravity fed units cause they tend to spray better and clean easier. After each use I run several ab cups of store bought LT that flushes out just about everything. I then remove the needle and use the tiny brush (pictured) dipped in LT thru the paint pickup in the cup and up into the nozzle unit up front. I got these a couple of years ago in Target. Each brush will last a heck of a long time before needing to be replaced.

This is why gravity fed units are so simple to clean. I do this several times dipping the tiny brush in LT to remove left over paint. This procedure takes me a couple of minutes and I'm good to go again. I usually go at least 5-10 uses before taking the front apart for a good cleaning.

By breaking down the AB after each use you will be wearing out certain parts prematurely. One of my Badgers dates back to the mid 70s and the others are 5 to 15 years old and all going strong.

 GIFMaker.org_jy_Ayj_O

 

 

Too many models to build, not enough time in a lifetime!!

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