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questions about painting respirators, fume safety and hobby paint booth filter cleaning

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  • Member since
    February 2016
questions about painting respirators, fume safety and hobby paint booth filter cleaning
Posted by JonBailey on Sunday, December 12, 2021 12:15 AM

Which is the best kind of respirator and filters for the DIY spray painter? I don't do acrylics but I do use enamels, solvents and lacquer thinners. How can one tell if his respirator filters need replacing?

What should be used to clean trapped paint residue from the filter of the tabletop hobby booth? Replacing these things often can get costly. How often should this filter be cleaned and what is the indication it needs cleaning? Paint build-up will not allow the fumes to vent fast enough. 

I have a 5-year-old 3M mask with 60921 cartridges. Yesterday, I was painting with enamel and lacquer thinner mix at 35 psi and that Paasche H of mine 66% open puts out a big visible cloud of vapors. The visible vapors come back right at my face and even my brand-new dual fan booth takes a few seconds before it will suck that cloud out the window. It seems like the airbrush outpaces the fans. I did notice I could smell the thinner vapor odors momentarily even with my mask on and sealed while that heavy cloud was right in my face. To finish my painting, I had to hold my breath while spraying, stop spraying then breathe normally again as soon as the visible cloud of vapor was gone by the fan suction. Repeating this process until the paint job was done. This controlled breathing method is probably still good practice even with the best respirator and most powerful booth on the market. Hold one's breath while the visible mist is in one's face and wait for the mist to clear. 

Also considering all that mist in my face, should I wear protection for my eyes as well? 

 

Current Model Worked On; 1/25 AMT Kenworth W-925 Tractor Kit, Future Models; 1/25 AMT Wilson Cattle Trailer, 1/96 Atlantis Boeing 727, 1/48 AMT Bell 205 Helicopter

  • Member since
    February 2021
Posted by MJY65 on Sunday, December 12, 2021 5:46 AM

I think the best solution is to upgrade your booth and change filters frequently.   That solvent vapor you smell and paint particle cloud you see are obviously escaping the booth and will contaminate/settle on everything in the room.   Getting it out of the space entirely is far superior to any filter on a respirator.  

As an alternative, there are certainly airbrushes that will spray thinned lacquers and enamels easily at 15psi and produce very little overspray.  They also won't give you grief on inside corners as you detailed in another post.

It may be time to change the filters on your respirator and verify the seal.  If the cartridges get blocked, you'll start drawing air around the mask and render it useless.   For comparison, I use those same filters and can spray with a full sized automotive style gun loaded with nasty 2K paint inside a 10x10 booth and smell nothing.

IMO, use of solvent paints requires an investment in the proper equipment.  If that's not an option, go to acrylics and deal with the quirks.  

 

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Western North Carolina
Posted by Tojo72 on Sunday, December 12, 2021 9:19 AM

I don't know what your doing for sure,but I don't use a booth and I never get huge "clouds of visible vapor" perhaps too much PSI or too much paint.I have an Iwata HP-CS it's all about control.

I use a 3M respirator,either a paint store or Amazon should have your filters.

  • Member since
    August 2021
Posted by goldhammer88 on Sunday, December 12, 2021 10:25 AM

Respirator cartridges will last longer if you put them in a Ziploc bag and squeeze as much air out as possible.  We painted 2, 36-40 ft motorhomes a day, And could get a week out of a pair by putting the whole respirator in a coffee can with the plastic snap lid.

Sounds like a pair of safety glasses might be in order, or maybe skiing goggles.

Sounds like you don't have much suction on the booth.  If decent at moving air you could try a thin furnace filter in front of the booth ones.  Would help if we know what you're using for booth, fan, filters, if ducted outside or even if ducted at all.

  • Member since
    February 2016
Posted by JonBailey on Sunday, December 12, 2021 2:21 PM

I live in a 1-br apartment and space is compromised. The paint station vents through the living room window. 

Here is my booth which uses the factory filter.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07MGGYH2W/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o03_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

It's not economically feasible for me to replace the booth filter often. There was a video on YouTube that demsontrated soaking the filter in a bucklet with water and some product to dissolve the paint residue in the filter. I'll have to try to hunt it down again:

oh, here it is...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhGs4-DFoUA

 

The boy says to use Simple Green as a filter cleaner. It's also not feasible for me to replace painting mask filters often. I don't have a Bill Gates income level. I'm painting little plastic models, not full-size cars. 

 

 

Current Model Worked On; 1/25 AMT Kenworth W-925 Tractor Kit, Future Models; 1/25 AMT Wilson Cattle Trailer, 1/96 Atlantis Boeing 727, 1/48 AMT Bell 205 Helicopter

  • Member since
    February 2016
Posted by JonBailey on Sunday, December 12, 2021 2:30 PM

They also won't give you grief on inside corners as you detailed in another post.

 

I've already mitigated the grief on inside corners by using the modified Donn Yost method as in my later thread on my airbrush practice results, which please see. The magic against runs, puddles, drips and errors is LACQUER THINNER, not Testors enamel thinner. That and starting off with a mist coat or two so the paint pigment can eventually take hold evenly. Using the airbrush cranked up at higher pressures makes that nasty thinner cloud but that is the price to be paid to get a neat paint job that is relatively easy in method, equipment and materials. AndyX has a super-sucking custom built-in paint booth in his private home which I can't have in my rented apartment. I paid close to $200 for the folding extra wide booth I have already. 

Current Model Worked On; 1/25 AMT Kenworth W-925 Tractor Kit, Future Models; 1/25 AMT Wilson Cattle Trailer, 1/96 Atlantis Boeing 727, 1/48 AMT Bell 205 Helicopter

fox
  • Member since
    January 2007
  • From: Narvon, Pa.
Posted by fox on Sunday, December 12, 2021 6:59 PM

I have a very simple homemade booth out of a recycled kitchen cabinet. It uses $2.50 furnace filters that I throw away every 3 months if I do a lot of painting. If you want more info, send me a PM and I'll give you all the details and send some pics too.

Jim Captain

Stay Safe.

 Main WIP: 

   On the Bench:  1/48 Tamiya - Vought F4U-1A Corsair for Group Build 'Absent Friends' 50%                                                                   1/48 Encore Models - A-37B/OA-37B Dragonfly 50%

I keep hitting "escape", but I'm still here.

  • Member since
    February 2016
Posted by JonBailey on Sunday, December 12, 2021 10:28 PM

Thanks for the offer, but no thanks. What you have is not feasible for an apartment dweller living on disabilty income. 

Current Model Worked On; 1/25 AMT Kenworth W-925 Tractor Kit, Future Models; 1/25 AMT Wilson Cattle Trailer, 1/96 Atlantis Boeing 727, 1/48 AMT Bell 205 Helicopter

  • Member since
    February 2016
Posted by JonBailey on Monday, December 13, 2021 11:05 AM

I'm using the AndyX method which absolutely calls for 35 psi.

I'm using this booth (not cheap, nearly $200) which is wide but not very deep. 

Amazon.com: OPHIR Super Power Airbrush Spray Booth Kit Portable Paint Spray Booth with Filter LED Lights for Model Hobby,Crafts,Nails,Cake,T-Shirt

 

People here seem to have trouble understanding that I live in a 1-bedroom apartment and the equipment, methods and materials I use have to be limited for that setting. 

I cannot spray outdoors in dusty, windy Oklahoma. It's too cold outside to paint outside now anyway and summers are very humid. My landlord has forbid my use of a tent for painting outside on the apartment complex property. 

My paint station has not one but two fans. Even so, a large cloud of mist forms right in front of the booth opening momentarilly while paint is being sprayed. I'm also using LACQUER THINNER in my paint solution. It takes a couple of seconds after stopping the airbrush for that cloud of mist to totally disappear. The purpose of the booth is to vent paint odors outside and protect the apartment interior from overspray. I'm actually a chemical-sensitive person. 

Current Model Worked On; 1/25 AMT Kenworth W-925 Tractor Kit, Future Models; 1/25 AMT Wilson Cattle Trailer, 1/96 Atlantis Boeing 727, 1/48 AMT Bell 205 Helicopter

  • Member since
    February 2016
Posted by JonBailey on Monday, December 13, 2021 11:27 AM

I should say a cloud of MIST. It looks like heavy steam. It hovers in front of my face momentarilly while spraying. It takes a second or two for this mist to disappear right after the airbrush stops. There is a delay in the ventilator fans. The airbrush on 35 psi puts out such a high volume of material at once that it outpaces even the TWO fans in my paint station. This high air flow is needed to atomize the paint solution very finely. This is the key to using that almost foolproof AndyX method. Yes, this method has some drawbacks by making that cloud of annoying mist that COMES BACK TOWARD MY FACE and consuming a lot of paint also. Higher pressure means higher rate of paint flow. There are some compromises in model painting. 

Current Model Worked On; 1/25 AMT Kenworth W-925 Tractor Kit, Future Models; 1/25 AMT Wilson Cattle Trailer, 1/96 Atlantis Boeing 727, 1/48 AMT Bell 205 Helicopter

  • Member since
    August 2021
Posted by goldhammer88 on Monday, December 13, 2021 11:54 AM

You seem to be locked into that video and what he does that works for him.  That much material and air pressure will tend to cause the issue you describe.  Not much to improve the situation with those parameters.  If the booth sucks most of it out in a few seconds, then it sounds like it's just fine.

Try practicing with different air pressures and thinning ratios.  You'll find a happy medium, which will save a lot of material, as well as cut down on the cloud.

Several folks here have suggested the above paragraph, but you seem to be welded solid to that video.  Not much more we can suggest, if you don't want to take time to try different ways of doing things.  You ask for advice, And don't want to take or try it.

I'm sorry if I've hurt your feelings, but that's the way it is.  I live in a 12x60 mobile home, by myself now, and can't work anymore due to heart issues. So I'm in pretty much the same boat you are. I worked in the auto body and paint trade for 40 years, and the materials changed drastically over that time, and continue to do so.  You have to change methods if what you're doing isn't working.

 

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Monday, December 13, 2021 12:38 PM

I concur with Goldhammer.  35 PSI for airbrushing and shooting these huge clouds of paint makes no sense to me.  If you're going to airbrush like that, you might as well start using rattle cans.

Forget the videos on YouTube and sit down and experiment with different pressures and mixtures of paint/thinner to find what works best for your situation.  That's what I did to get a good technique going.  I took a bunch of spare parts from previous builds and spent a couple of weeks, here and there, trying different pressures, paints, thinners, etc.  I kept track of results and drying/curing times and got a pretty good system going.  I also did adhesion tests to determine which techniques stood up the best to masking, even with the extremely aggressive adhesive on Dymo tape.  The way I airbrush now, I don't even use a spray booth at all because there is virtually no overspray.  The paint all ends up on the model.  I don't have the huge, visible clouds of paint coming out and swirling around...and it always makes me cringe when I see an "expert" on a YouTube video painting like that.  Makes me wonder why they even have airbrushes if they're going to sledgehammer the paint on.  I shoot all of my paint at a maximum pressure of 20 PSI.  For painting the insides of curved surfaces, I lower my pressure even further, usually down to 10 PSI.  The lower pressures make it so you don't have paint swirling around and building into these huge, partially-dry droplets that create that textured surface you mentioned.  I'm mostly using lacquer paints from MRP now because I love them so much.  Still don't have fumes to deal with because of the pressures I'm shooting paint at.

We're all here to try to help with suggestions...and that's my suggestion, to ignore the YouTube videos.  Those techniques are obviously not working.

"You can have my illegal fireworks when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers...which are...over there somewhere."

  • Member since
    February 2021
Posted by MJY65 on Monday, December 13, 2021 12:56 PM

Eaglecash867
The way I airbrush now, I don't even use a spray booth at all because there is virtually no overspray.  The paint all ends up on the model.  I don't have the huge, visible clouds of paint coming out and swirling around...

 

That's where I try to be with my airbrushing, too.  I have a booth, but don't feel the need for a mask/respirator.  The small amount of overspray that is generated is easily collected.   There is no paint residue settling on the front tray of the booth or the floor or the lenses of my Rx glasses.  The OP has made several references to saving money.   Fair enough, but paint in the air or the filter is paint that will never be on a model.   That's wasteful, too.

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Monday, December 13, 2021 1:30 PM

MJY65
The OP has made several references to saving money.   Fair enough, but paint in the air or the filter is paint that will never be on a model.   That's wasteful, too.

Yup.  When I decant my Tamiya primer cans and use that to airbrush the primer instead, I get probably 20 times as much use of that single can and even the most delicate of details on the model are preserved.  Both things are money in the bank.  That wouldn't happen if I was shooting it at 35 PSI in huge clouds.  Like I've said before on this subject, the YouTube "experts" often have a pretty loose interpretation of what is considered a high quality finish.  People might change their minds about those videos if close-in, high resolution photos with good lighting were taken afterward to show proof of the results.  Anything looks good if the photo or video is the size of a postage stamp.  They're just modelers like the rest of us, and quite frankly, there's a hell of a lot more knowledge and expertise on this forum than on YouTube.

"You can have my illegal fireworks when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers...which are...over there somewhere."

  • Member since
    February 2016
Posted by JonBailey on Monday, December 13, 2021 2:45 PM

I will now try paint practice on dispoable material like plastic cups with lower presuures to see if the finish comes out as least as nicely as it did under high pressures. My goal:

 

The produce the nicest-looking model possible with minimum risk to human health while trying also to be as economically feasible as possible. It sounds like a balancing act. 

I have finally found a method that gives me a nice-looking finish. It's now a matter of finding efficiency. 

Current Model Worked On; 1/25 AMT Kenworth W-925 Tractor Kit, Future Models; 1/25 AMT Wilson Cattle Trailer, 1/96 Atlantis Boeing 727, 1/48 AMT Bell 205 Helicopter

  • Member since
    August 2021
Posted by goldhammer88 on Monday, December 13, 2021 3:16 PM

It is a balancing act act for sure, and all of us have a different center of gravity where we find that balance.

Don't give up on it.

  • Member since
    September 2021
Posted by DooeyPyle67 on Saturday, December 18, 2021 11:30 AM

I agree with goldhammer's comment 100%. There are soooo many youtube videos out there it's not funny. It may work with one youtuber and another method works with another and it goes on and on.... It never ends. Each believe their method is teh best or easiest to do. I disagree. No one is an expert.

So my single advice for you?

Never take stock in their methods - I certainly don't. Best thing to do is get the basic idea on what to do, how to do it, experiment & test on a spoon or junk kit and see for yourself what's easier for you. 

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