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Airbrushing for the first time

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Airbrushing for the first time
Posted by Almoststalebread on Tuesday, January 29, 2019 3:14 PM

I just bought a airbrush and don’t really know anything like how to strip paint of cars or what psi to use. So just the basics, also I still need a air compressor and am not sure what to get.

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Posted by mlehman on Tuesday, January 29, 2019 5:44 PM

MR's website has some videos and other basic info, then you could take the plunge into MRVP where there is much more. Cody Grivno seems to be the current airbrush guru around the MR office these days, so look for his stuff, but everyone seems to get involved with painting at one time or another on staff.

Then there's Youtube, where you'll find lots of different approaches, just don't take everything as the gospel truth there.

Kalmbach also has some books, both recent and out of print, so worth looking around there.

Finally, get some practice on stuff you don't care a lot about before you start in on something that reallty matters. Make the rookie mistakes there and you'll just count it as a learning experience instead of a disaster.

Mike Lehman

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Posted by zstripe on Tuesday, January 29, 2019 5:50 PM

Almoststalebread,

Unusual screen name! Whistling

Anyway......Welcome To The Forums....

You don't mention what kind of airbrush You purchased so I can't comment on that. I personally prefer Paasche. I use a single action and a dual action for different tasks. Along with a  airbrad nailing pancake tank compressor that I've had for the past 20yrs. in the house. Garage is a Sanborn 6horse 60 gal. for large vehicles and tools. In My experience a compressor with a storage tank is the best for air brushing so keep that in mind. Psi will very with type paint, finish and what You are painting. There is not much more I can add without typing a whole lot so I will leave You with a link to a site that will give You instruction on the how's, why's, and what for's, for You to view (READ study) some video's for the beginner:

http://www.airbrushguru.com/start-airbrushing-right.html

After You familiarize Yourself with the basic's........If You have any more questions or need help, there are many fellows here that will try to help You, Myself included.

Take Care! Big Smile

Frank

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Posted by BigDaddy on Tuesday, January 29, 2019 5:57 PM

Years ago I bought a badger kit that included a tiny compressor.  It would sometime spit water (I live in the mid-Atlantic)  When I got back into trains, I decided to buy a pancake 5 gal compressor at Home Depot. 

I don't have to deal with the constant noise of the little compressor.  I added a water trap, which sprung an internal leak a couple months later, and I have gone without and had no water coming out of the airbrush.

The gauge pressure is dubious.  I think it's consistent, but I also think it's the cheapest gauge they could source. 20# could be 16 or it could be 24, how would anyone know?  At any rate 20# is a good place to start.

One thing you don't want is the paint to dry too quickly or you will get a pebbly look.  Thinnning paint is also an art, and it depends if you are painting to cover or to weather and if you are using a paint designed for an airbrush or a brush.

I second the idea of practice.  I'm not the guy you want to draw flames, skulls and pretty women on your Harley gas tank, but I think I do a credible job on my models and trains.  You alway want to test, even if only on a piece of cardboard, how much paint is going to come out of your airbrush.

Henry

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Posted by BigDaddy on Tuesday, January 29, 2019 6:03 PM

Paint stripping  I use 90% isopropyl alcohol, not the 70% which is also found in the drug stores.  I have used denatured alcohol.  If you use that, use gloves, it contains methanol, which is easily adsorbed through the skin.

There are model specific paint strippers.  I just read somewhere about one of those turning the plastic soft.  It may have been on one of the competitor websites to MR.  Alcohol is not so fast and it may take a tooth brush and a couple days.

I know brake fluid is extremely aggressive, but I have not had the guts to try it on a plastic model. 

Henry

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Posted by UNCLEBUTCH on Tuesday, January 29, 2019 6:43 PM

With my limited experence,I agree with most of what was already said.

If you got the brush new,there should be a booklet,read it at least twice. As stated lot of stuff on utube,you'll have to be the judge of any value.

A compressor is a compressor,big or small up to you. You will need pressure gauge and water trap.

My biggest problem was thinning the paint, perhaps start out with some airbrush ready stuff.

Get a sheet of cardboard or something and pratice,use different paint,pressure thinning ect.  Not hard,

Your a good ways away from worrying about stripping cars.

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Posted by gmpullman on Tuesday, January 29, 2019 6:58 PM

hi,

Everyone has different styles and needs for their custom model paint shops. Some modelers may paint a half-dozen cars or structures a week while others might paint that many in a year.

I have seven different air compressors around the house right now. No two of them are suited for every task.

The one I use exclusively for airbrush work in the model paint room is one I chose for its quiet operation, a Porter-Cable "hot dog" compressor that is no longer marketed.

 Model_air by Edmund, on Flickr

IF I were to replace it today I would look for something like this:

https://tinyurl.com/y946uof9

Or perhaps this:

https://tinyurl.com/ya2vfj6e

 

There are quite a few in this price/capacity range. I would read reviews and look for reliability, price and quiet operation. When mine is running I can not hear it in the main part of the house, only a quiet hum. Sometimes, the way my "projects" go I might want to airbrush something at 3 AM!

I use this compressor at the layout for scenery and track work:

 Model_air2 by Edmund, on Flickr

I have several pancake compressors for outdoor jobs that I have to have hearing protection on when I'm near them. One is actually louder than my small Makita gas chain saw!

It may help to get a compressor that you can also use for household chores as well as airbrushing needs.

As others have mentioned, some of the "dedicated" hobby compressors that have no reservoir are nothing more than aquarium air-pumps on steroids. The air output is very limited and also can pulsate. When you're in the middle of a critical painting job the last thing you want to do is mess with an undersized, inadequate compressor.

Later you may want to get into using an "air eraser" which is a mini-glass bead blaster. A little hobby compressor will never provide nearly enough volume for a tool like this.

Good Luck, Ed

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Posted by BigDaddy on Tuesday, January 29, 2019 8:15 PM

Stripping and prepping a brass rail car is nothing like plastic, but these folks produced a 2 hour video.  I have not watched it yet, but they do quality stuff, so there must be something I can learn about air brushing, even though I don't have brass

Henry

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Posted by Drumguy on Tuesday, January 29, 2019 9:13 PM

So far I think we’ve all missed the most important thing: ventilation and respiration. Spraying some basic water-thinned acrylics is one thing, anything solvent based requires some serious protection for your lungs the air around you—not to mention anyone else (including furry companions) that share that air.

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Posted by G Paine on Tuesday, January 29, 2019 10:48 PM

BigDaddy
I know brake fluid is extremely aggressive, but I have not had the guts to try it on a plastic model.

I used to use brake fluid, but go with 90% rubbing alcohol (isopropanol) now. Brake fluid sometimes left a residue and penetrated latex gloves. Messy stuff

George In Midcoast Maine, 'bout halfway up the Rockland branch 

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Posted by G Paine on Tuesday, January 29, 2019 10:58 PM

Drumguy
I think we’ve all missed the most important thing: ventilation and respiration

even though acrylics are water based, some kind of dust mask is necessary to block paint perticles from being inhailed. Also, thinning acrylics wiith anything other than water (like alcohol or windsheld washer fluid) turns them into a solvent paint; a cartrige respirator with a organic vapor cartrige is then necessary

Unless you plan on spraying outdoors, a spray booth is also mecessary

This is similar to the compressor that I bought about 10 years ago. It has a pressure regulator and a condensate trap.
http://www.tcpglobal.com/ABD-TC-20_2.html#.XFEtWXdFzcs

 

George In Midcoast Maine, 'bout halfway up the Rockland branch 

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Posted by gmpullman on Tuesday, January 29, 2019 11:31 PM

G Paine
 BigDaddy
I know brake fluid is extremely aggressive, but I have not had the guts to try it on a plastic model.

I used to use brake fluid, but go with 90% rubbing alcohol (isopropanol) now. Brake fluid sometimes left a residue and penetrated latex gloves. Messy stuff 

I've used 99% Isopropyl alcohol in the past and it removes most paints very well. With brass I would use lacquer thinner then a bath in vinegar.

Rubbing alcohol MAY have scent and oils added to it as a skin conditioner. This might have an adverse affect on paint. I would stick with purer grades of alcohol.

Recently I have switched to "SuperClean" and I am perfectly happy with the results. I strain the "spent" fluid for the next job and keep it in a labeled secondary container. Superclean works well (for me) on both plastic and brass models.

  2¢ My 2 Cents

Cheers, Ed

 

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Posted by doctorwayne on Wednesday, January 30, 2019 1:00 AM

G Paine
...even though acrylics are water based, some kind of dust mask is necessary to block paint perticles from being inhailed. Also, thinning acrylics wiith anything other than water (like alcohol or windsheld washer fluid) turns them into a solvent paint; a cartrige respirator with a organic vapor cartrige is then necessary Unless you plan on spraying outdoors, a spray booth is also mecessary....

Good points, George!
I use a paint booth (homemade) exhausting to the outdoors, and always wear a two stage respirator (removes both particulate matter and harmful vapours), regardless of the type of paint I'm using.

If your airbrush is new, it should have some basic instructions with it. My dual action Paasche came with an instruction booklet, and two of the most useful exercises were practising spraying dots of paint...you'll likely start with splatters or blobs, but will eventually begin to make them both smaller and more well-defined.
When you've mastered that, the next exercise is to create a bunch of dots, then join them with airbrushed lines.  Try to make them as thin and as straight as if they were drawn with a pencil and straightedge.  These two simple exercises will teach you how the airbrush is controlled, and if you can control it, you can paint just about anything.
For practice, go to the supermarket and get some cardboard boxes.  Open them up so that you have the unprinted inside-faces of the cardboard on which to work.  Choose a paint with which to experiment, and check the manufacturer's website for instructions on what- and how much-you should use for thinning the paint.  Many manufacturers recommend their own brand of thinner, but for many acrylic paints, water is a good substitute.
Also, don't necessarily limit yourself to one type or brand of paint.

You've already got some good recommendations for compressors. 

Since my paint shop is in my garage, about 100' behind the house, I can paint at any time I wish (usually at night), and I use a homebuilt (by my father) rotary compressor.  It has no storage tank, so runs continuously, powered by a 3/4HP motor. Because of the rotary action (two intermeshing screw-like devices in an oil bath), there's no pulsing at all, and I've never had any problems with either oil or water in the supplied air.  Definitely noisy, but I much prefer it to ones which cycle on-and-off with pressure changes, as even when I'm expecting it, the sudden noise startles me, often to the detriment of the work. 

A couple of photos...

Compressor...

Spray booth (when it was still in the house)...

Wayne

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Posted by anmark989 on Monday, January 27, 2020 12:24 AM

Hey all, I am getting back into trains after being away for many years. I was trying to hand paint all my previous parts all those years back and now when I am getting back into it I wanted to actually use an airbrush instead. Not sure if anyone here would advise otherwise but would be good to know.

Anyway, since I am all new at this again I am looking into the brands and also the different sizes for the airbrush and the compressors. There is so dang many options but I seem to keep coming back to the Paasche (like mentioned above) or the Badger brand.

I found this site that seems to have pretty good insights into these two brands.

https://verycreate.com/best-airbrush-compressor-reviews/

But there is Iwata and a ton of other cheaper brands. I just don't want to waste my money on the wrong brand.

Thanks all for your thoughts and advice!

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Posted by Brammy on Monday, January 27, 2020 8:58 AM
Learning to airbrush is also a good use for those "bargain-pin, never ever wouldn't run on a layout, but you can get for $5 at a show" cars. Practicing stripping, masking, and finishing on something you don't mind just tossing is invaluable.
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Posted by danno54 on Monday, January 27, 2020 9:00 AM

A good pressure gauge and filter kit should also include a regulator. This is the way I regulate, or fine tune, air pressure to brush. At the low pressures I use the compressor's adjustment and pressure gauge are less accurate.

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Posted by mbinsewi on Monday, January 27, 2020 10:00 AM

I use the Super Clean to strip paint.  Put it in a zip lock gallon bag, submerse the model, zip it up, and let it sit, in a plastic container.

Super Clean will eat away at soft metals, like the throw away baking pans, I know for a fact. Surprise

Everyone has given good advice on using an air brush.

Wait until Kevin sees this thread and shows off his industrial paint booth.

Mike.

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Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, January 27, 2020 11:46 AM

Welcome to the forum.  There is moderation delay for your first few posts.

I bought a single action Badger single action years ago.  When I got back into the hobby a couple decades later, it was not working, they fixed it for the price of parts and shipping.  Then the braze where the paint jar attaches failed, they have me a new airbrush body.

I had a small badger compressor.  I traded up to a porter campbell 6gal pancake compressor and love it.  I don't have to put up with constant noise and I can adjust the pressure.

While waiting for repair, I tried a cheap Harbor Freight airbrush.  Some here claim to have good results.  I found the paint volume hard to adjust.  It got the job done of painting walls of a building, but I would not use it on rolling stock.

Henry

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Posted by AntonioFP45 on Monday, January 27, 2020 10:29 PM

Hi Almoststalebread (interesting name Wink

The posts above are very good and saturated with very good tips and information!

To help, I'll comment on the following:

The YouTube link posted by BigDaddy is a good one. The host does well explaining his steps and demonstrating them.

However, the facet I don't agree with is his method of painting the shell; especially for beginners.  He holds the shell in one hand with a hemostat, while airbrushing with the other hand.

I always, respectfully, suggest placing any O, HO, and N scale locomotive, freight car, or passenger car, on a stand that can rotate 360°. Imho, you will find it MUCH MORE RELAXING as you can focus on your airbrush stroke speed and distance, which WILL IMPROVE with practice. I enjoy the freedom of being able to spray one side of a shell, then simply turn the block with my free hand, to spray opposite sides and ends. No stress! Big Smile

Cool factor is that the stands are so easy and cheap to build, if you wish.

My stand below, LOL, was VERY affordable. It came from a bathroom wall partition tossed away by maintenance workers on my job Stick out tongue.  It's hard resin, but this easily applies to wood.

I cut out a 3ft x 6" rectangular piece, for a base. Then several 1/2" wide by 4 to 6" length pieces to accommodate long and short shells. Drilled holes in the base and the pieces. Purchased three 1/2" by 6" bolts with washers and fasterners at Ace Hardware. Total time to put together: 20 minutes! For me, it is such a valuable tool that has made a difference in my paint jobs.

It's worked for me so well. I can do up to 3 shells at one time. However, I now prefer to take my time and paint one shell at a time.

I hope this is helpful Cool

 

 

"I like my Pullman Standards & Budds in Stainless Steel flavors, thank you!"

 


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Posted by MECman on Tuesday, January 28, 2020 7:42 PM

I If one was planning to set up paint booth in an un-heated un-cooled garage what would be a safe temperature range for painting to provide good results?

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Posted by BigDaddy on Tuesday, January 28, 2020 8:02 PM

AntonioFP45
The YouTube link posted by BigDaddy is a good one. The host does well explaining his steps and demonstrating them.

I love extra credit, but I posted no links.

MECman
I If one was planning to set up paint booth in an un-heated un-cooled garage what would be a safe temperature range for painting to provide good results?

Having taken too many chemistry courses, I was concerned that expanding gas, released from the compressor tank, normally cools and might freeze the paint.  For sure that didn't happen to me with temps in upper 30's.  I wouldn't try to dry paint at that temperature,  I might have been painting at temps below that, but I don't remember for sure.

Henry

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Posted by AntonioFP45 on Tuesday, January 28, 2020 9:24 PM

MECman,

Imho, for solvent and acrylic based scale model paints, your're ok in the 60°F - 85°F temperature range. Be aware that high humidity conditions can cause blushing (paint absorbing moisture). Blushing can cause paint to turn slightly milky white, especially dark colors.

If there is a vehicle present in the garage during spraying operations, it may be a good idea to either move it outside, or place a car cover on it to protect the surfaces from overspray.

MECman

I If one was planning to set up paint booth in an un-heated un-cooled garage what would be a safe temperature range for painting to provide good results?

 

"I like my Pullman Standards & Budds in Stainless Steel flavors, thank you!"

 


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Posted by AntonioFP45 on Thursday, January 30, 2020 5:09 AM

Hi Big D

I was referring to the post above, with your name, that has the YouTube on it. I clicked on it and watched a good portion of the video. It was pretty good, I thought.

BigDaddy
 AntonioFP45
The YouTube link posted by BigDaddy is a good one. The host does well explaining his steps and demonstrating them.

 I love extra credit, but I posted no links.

 

BigDaddy

 

 
AntonioFP45
The YouTube link posted by BigDaddy is a good one. The host does well explaining his steps and demonstrating them.

 

I love extra credit, but I posted no links.

 

 
MECman
I If one was planning to set up paint booth in an un-heated un-cooled garage what would be a safe temperature range for painting to provide good results?

 

Having taken too many chemistry courses, I was concerned that expanding gas, released from the compressor tank, normally cools and might freeze the paint.  For sure that didn't happen to me with temps in upper 30's.  I wouldn't try to dry paint at that temperature,  I might have been painting at temps below that, but I don't remember for sure.

 

"I like my Pullman Standards & Budds in Stainless Steel flavors, thank you!"

 


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