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Old 02-09-2018, 03:52 PM
old_hobbyist old_hobbyist is offline
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A quality airbrush set-up for a low price

Decades ago I purchased a Thayer and Chandler airbrush set-up, including compressor. Cost? Probably $100 then, probably $200 or more now.
I used that and other airbrushes for a few years in graphic arts but got tired of diluting tube acrylics. Remember, this was pre-tee-shirt airbrushing so there were no "fluid" inks or paints. About 75-80% of my time was cleaning the brush, taking the needle out and then trying to reinsert it without bending the tip.
SO I abandoned airbrushing and gave the brushes away.
Recently I decided to try AB again. Except I no longer had brushes or compressor. A couple of wks ago I found a "mini portable" airbrush set on ebay. Price? $35! Really cheap, I thought, but why not give it a try.
It came today and I cannot stop using it! The compressor is smaller than a paperback book but it puts out about 20 psi - plenty enough pressure to blow low viscosity airbrush inks and paints. But the real surprise is the brush. Not a simple toy but a quality gun that is very well engineered. It's single action and top fed but it works great with inks and AB acrylics. But what really works for me is #1 - AB gloss medium and varnish! NO more brush strokes! And #2 - GLAZING!
Cleaning? Either pull the needle or spray some rubbing alcohol through it.
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Last edited by old_hobbyist : 02-09-2018 at 04:00 PM.
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Old 02-09-2018, 06:45 PM
ic.Art ic.Art is offline
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Re: A quality airbrush set-up for a low price

Hi. What brand did you buy?
My son has those little role play models that he wants to paint. He's never used an airbrush.
I bought a small airbrush/compressor unit from the 'Beauty' listings on eBay thinking if he hates the airbrush then I haven't spent too much and I'll find a use for it.
He really likes the airbrush now so I'm looking for an affordable option as some set ups are really pricey!!
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Old 02-09-2018, 11:32 PM
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talisman talisman is offline
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Re: A quality airbrush set-up for a low price

Really more info on this amazing small and working airbrush!
I want one also but not a big setup with a huge compressor.
Please tell us the make and and other info.
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Old 02-10-2018, 10:17 AM
old_hobbyist old_hobbyist is offline
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Re: A quality airbrush set-up for a low price

The unit is Chinese. The compressor is Zeny and the brush is RoyalMax. Here's what to look for on ebay...

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Every painting is just practice for the next one - Richard Robinson, NZ painter
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Old 02-10-2018, 03:36 PM
theBongolian theBongolian is online now
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Re: A quality airbrush set-up for a low price

overspray?
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Old 02-10-2018, 03:48 PM
old_hobbyist old_hobbyist is offline
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Re: A quality airbrush set-up for a low price

I have no idea what overspray means. Sorry.
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Old 02-10-2018, 06:10 PM
theBongolian theBongolian is online now
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Re: A quality airbrush set-up for a low price

Overspray is the spray that goes past your target. Typically you mask the area where you don't want spray to land with something like frisket, tape, masking fluid. That is the most tedious part of airbrushing to me.

But since you are NOT making an airbrush painting, but using the AB to wet paint, glaze in some situations, backgrounds, varnish etc. it might not be such a problem.

I still have my Iwata sb and Thayer V3 airbrushes and thought of setting up again to do what you're doing. But your rig I think is a better option for this purpose.
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Old 02-10-2018, 06:34 PM
ic.Art ic.Art is offline
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Re: A quality airbrush set-up for a low price

Yes, that is the model of compressor and airbrush I bought for my son. It's been very good for base coating and the colour passages of the little model figures my son is working on.

He did try doing the very fine details but as mentioned above, the fussing with masking was putting him off. Thought it was the airbrush flow but probably not, those details are TINY so he's content to do those with TINY detail brushes.

His interest makes MY eyes hurt!!!
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Old 02-10-2018, 08:36 PM
theBongolian theBongolian is online now
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Re: A quality airbrush set-up for a low price

Quote:
Originally Posted by ic.Art
Thought it was the airbrush flow but probably not, those details are TINY so he's content to do those with TINY detail brushes.
It could be the airflow. That is a single action brush - pull back to control the amount of paint. A double action brush - push down to control airflow, pull back to control amount of paint. Really helps for details. But detail brushes are probably the better option.
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Old 02-10-2018, 09:34 PM
old_hobbyist old_hobbyist is offline
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Re: A quality airbrush set-up for a low price

Everybody is correct! THIS IS NOT A DETAIL BRUSH per se!
But true AB purists NEVER use frisket or masking tape or liquid. They control the line width and liquid density entirely with their double action brush, just like a true painter would never consider using masking tape!
After I work with this critter a while I'll give an example of how fine a line this brush can yield. But right now I'm having a ball with it!
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Every painting is just practice for the next one - Richard Robinson, NZ painter
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Old 02-11-2018, 05:22 PM
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talisman talisman is offline
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Re: A quality airbrush set-up for a low price

Enjoy it and post results, you know we want to watch...oops maybe I said too much!
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Old 02-11-2018, 05:54 PM
theBongolian theBongolian is online now
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Re: A quality airbrush set-up for a low price

Looking at reviews - the airbrush IS DOUBLE action. Push down for air, pull back for paint. It's being used by nail salons and temporary tattoo artists.

Seems like the quality control is a hit or miss, and no customer service.
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Old 02-12-2018, 12:38 AM
old_hobbyist old_hobbyist is offline
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Re: A quality airbrush set-up for a low price

theBongolian, you are entirely correct on all points.

It IS double action that probably is not as smooth as a Thayer or Iwata. But I found that the final pull-back needle position is surprisingly easy to adjust. Because I'm not into nail painting or tattooing, I'll just use it for acrylics and try to conrol the overspray issue as best I can.

Because theBongolian, you are obviously well-versed in current AB technology, I am sure you are spot-on regarding the brush quality being questionable. I haven't used it long enough but the exploded views of both the gun and compressor are highly detailed and both seem well-engineered. What is surprising about this cheap unit is that the brush is similar to that offered in the $$$ Thayer AB kit.

I'm sure you are right re: customer service. There is a 30-day money-back guarantee to a US company.

ic.Art, you are also correct in stating that this is a toy for your son to play with. But after another day playing with this toy I find it entirely capable of producing very uniform and consistent output. The brush comes with a metal cover over the reservoir and a screw-on cap to cover the needle. As recommended, the cap can be used to back-flush the paint from the reservoir. And it seems to clean well with rubbing alcohol. I find that airbrush medium flows very well and acts as an excellent vehicle for flow acrylics. Liquitex gloss medium and varnish needs to be thinned about 20% with water to produce consistent uniform flow. I've had a ball using an ancient much-AB-used set of French curves to use as moveable shields. And it works wonders for the out-of-focus backgrounds of up-close images.

Because I'm an ancient amateur hobbyist I won't be upgrading from this toy to $300 Iwata AB.

Yep this is one amazing toy for $35! Almost as cheap as my 20 cent Japanese/Chinese brushes, my collection of used ebay acrylic paints, my homemade plein air easel and my "studio" easel sitting on a workbench in my garage! My problem is that I got into painting too late in life to be good enough to sell my stuff.
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Every painting is just practice for the next one - Richard Robinson, NZ painter
You are entitled to your opinion but not to your own facts - D.P. Moynihan, US Sen.
That's Life - There's always some bozo with more crayons than you - Gramps in Pickles Cartoon

Last edited by old_hobbyist : 02-12-2018 at 12:49 AM.
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Old 02-12-2018, 05:07 AM
theBongolian theBongolian is online now
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Re: A quality airbrush set-up for a low price

No, the airbrush appears to be perfectly fine to me. I question if the air pump is powerful enough - but people seem to be getting along with it - and the things I would use it for are not demanding.

The quality control issues are based on comments from other buyers. As I said from reading them it seems you either get a good one, or a bad one... but mostly good ones.

In fact I'm so impressed with what I've seen so far I may buy one. It would cost more than $50 to get my brushes up to speed with new needles and caps, probably seals since it's been sitting in the drawer, etc.

Thanks for making us aware of it.
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Old 02-12-2018, 12:40 PM
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fedetony fedetony is offline
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Re: A quality airbrush set-up for a low price

My experience is:
To have a great compressor is important.
To have a normal AB is good enough.
Best compressors are:
- Dry compressors (no oiled or oil parts) (They contaminate the art)
- Small and quiet to work inside
- With water trap (keeps your paints in same viscosity) also gathers the condensed water from the compressor
- with tank : keeps the pressure stable (this is super important)
- Strong enough to give 4-5 bars

Now having said those characteristics, Sparmax and Iwata have some very nice compressors that would fulfill the characteristics.

The airbrush:
Shall be:
-Better gravity fed: More precision
-Non allergic chromed (to protect your skin)
-Double action (single action don't allow you to have control)
-Depends on what you are going to apply with it but better those who allow different nozzle and needle sizes in the same AB, less than <0.2 clogged a lot , >0.4 is un-precise (Iwata, H&S, come in 2 in 1 sets), After a lot of time I bought a second AB to not change the needles and nozzles. It is very advantageous.
-Get an AB that has easy access to spare parts!!, and get some spares from the first day (Nozzles and needles), you'll always damage something cleaning,changing the needle, or just because it felt or you missed the stand and hit the needle, or touching your surface or ... it will piss you off to have to wait for 10 days to get a replacement...

-No you don't need a very expensive one, I have a very expensive one and one simple one. I use the simple one more... they do exactly the same...

- Clean it everytime immediately after use, and during use... If you do this you'll never have issues... I give them a very good clean once in a while, with an ultrasound cleaner and a special acid ... they feel as new after this cleaning, yet you just have to clean them good after use.

Never clean the valves. You just clean what is in contact with paint, the rest leave it. You don't need to put everything under water!... and be careful with those tools they sell to clean.. they scratch your AB is you are not careful, I use only cotton buds ...

Ahh... the set can't be complete without the following:
- get a release valve to release the hose easy, is very practical!
- get a stand for your AB when is not in use... best a stable one the hose makes torque
- A MASK.. and this is your health!!! paint contain awful stuff to be inhaled after atomization... don't put that in your lungs!...
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Last edited by fedetony : 02-12-2018 at 12:51 PM.
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