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AFV Painting & Weathering
Answers to questions about the right paint scheme or tips for the right effect.
Cleaning Your Airbrush
ant88
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Rhode Island, United States
Joined: January 27, 2005
KitMaker: 225 posts
Armorama: 176 posts
Posted: Friday, January 15, 2010 - 01:38 AM UTC
Hello all! I have been modeling for 30 or so years and have been using an airbrush for about 20 of those years. After every use I totally take apart my trusty Badger 200 singe action airbrush and give it a total clean up. 75% of the time I use acrylics. I have been told by some modelers that Im nuts especially with acrylics, and that theres no need to do this EVERY time but rather every 5th or so time. Many opinions are to just shoot my cleaner of choice through and then clean H2o and be done with it, unless there is a clogging issue. What do you think or do? Thanks guys!
metooshelah
#011
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Jerusalem, Israel
Joined: February 06, 2009
KitMaker: 1,505 posts
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Posted: Friday, January 15, 2010 - 01:45 AM UTC
well, I too use mainly acrylics, but i still disassemble my AB after each use. sometimes if I can't do this for some reason I full the cup to the end with thinner, and while spraying it, I clean the cup with q tips going in circular motion. when the thinner is all out, I refill and spray, this time dipping the q-tip to the bottom and rubbing the needle while it goes back and forth in the paint cup.
210cav
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Virginia, United States
Joined: February 05, 2002
KitMaker: 6,132 posts
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Posted: Friday, January 15, 2010 - 02:24 AM UTC
Well, we discussed this issue in the past. I will wait for Matt to relate his process which I follow with outstanding results.
ant88
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Rhode Island, United States
Joined: January 27, 2005
KitMaker: 225 posts
Armorama: 176 posts
Posted: Friday, January 15, 2010 - 11:44 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Well, we discussed this issue in the past. I will wait for Matt to relate his process which I follow with outstanding results.



Didnt see Matts process. I guess I know the right thing to do, what I have been doing for 20 years. It just is time consuming. I am going to get an ultrasonic cleaner this weekend also. Thanks
DT61
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Ontario, Canada
Joined: September 18, 2005
KitMaker: 1,225 posts
Armorama: 818 posts
Posted: Saturday, January 16, 2010 - 12:16 AM UTC
I do a combination of what Matan does but I do a thorough cleaning after every two to three uses.

I've thought about getting an ultrasonic cleaner, I know you can get them at micromart. Is there anywhere else?

Darryl
spoons
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England - East Anglia, United Kingdom
Joined: January 09, 2008
KitMaker: 527 posts
Armorama: 500 posts
Posted: Saturday, January 16, 2010 - 12:16 AM UTC
i think your doing the right thing,if you have ever had a needle bind in the nozzle of the airbrush using acrylics..its a lady.if it works why change? i usually spray thinner during the session then at the end back flush this does the trick .i only strip and clean at the start of each project.
gaborka
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Borsod-Abauj-Zemblen, Hungary
Joined: October 09, 2005
KitMaker: 611 posts
Armorama: 242 posts
Posted: Saturday, January 16, 2010 - 03:06 AM UTC
If you have become accustomed to taking your airbrush apart and clean it thoroughly every time I would say keep up your good habit. Cleaning diligently won't hurt, especially not such a rugged airbrush as a Badger 200 and will definitely save you from many problems like finishes ruined by splattering. Even though I have only a cheap Chinese airbrush at the moment, I want to make the most use of it, so, I also take it apart every time to give it a cleaning. Don't let your lazy side take you over.



SSGToms
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Connecticut, United States
Joined: April 02, 2005
KitMaker: 3,460 posts
Armorama: 2,963 posts
Posted: Saturday, January 16, 2010 - 06:59 AM UTC
I shoot only acrylics. Each time I'm finished, I shoot Windex (or Medea Airbrush Cleaner) through the airbrush until it runs clear. Then I shoot a cup or two of distilled water to rinse. If I'm done for the day I'll put a drop of Iwata-Medea Super Lube in the bottom of the cup and work the needle a few times, then hang it up. This keeps everything usually working fine. If an airbrush starts to malfunction, (which isn't often) then it's time for a strip and clean. Kind of like your car - you change the oil every 3,000 miles, but you don't pull the engine apart unless you spin a bearing.
I used to clean everything by hand, but a year ago I did my comparison shopping and bought this ultrasonic cleaner from an ebay store - Ultrasonic Cleaner
I put the airbrush parts in the ultrasonic cleaner, mix Medea Airbrush Cleaner 50/50 with distilled water, pour in enough to cover the airbrush, and run it until crud stops coming out. You will be surprised what comes out of even a "clean" airbrush, especially the body. I have found over the years that most mystery airbrush problems are the result of crud hiding in the head of the airbrush body, just behind the nozzle threads.
When it's all clean, I remove all the parts, rinse them in distilled water, and reassemble with a little Super Lube. Everything works like new again.
I have 3 airbrushes - an Iwata, a Tamiya, and a Grex, and they all work like the day I got them.
plastickjunkie
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Florida, United States
Joined: December 31, 2009
KitMaker: 362 posts
Armorama: 131 posts
Posted: Thursday, January 21, 2010 - 12:03 PM UTC
My local Walmart has ultrasonic cleaners for about $30. Will these do the job on the airbrush?
Belt_Fed
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New Jersey, United States
Joined: February 02, 2008
KitMaker: 1,361 posts
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Posted: Thursday, January 21, 2010 - 12:24 PM UTC
always strip and clean. thats my motto and will stick to it forever.
SSGToms
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Connecticut, United States
Joined: April 02, 2005
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Posted: Thursday, January 21, 2010 - 03:40 PM UTC

Quoted Text

My local Walmart has ultrasonic cleaners for about $30. Will these do the job on the airbrush?


Yes.
Ragnar2004
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Ohio, United States
Joined: February 15, 2004
KitMaker: 213 posts
Armorama: 139 posts
Posted: Thursday, January 21, 2010 - 04:19 PM UTC
So you can just put the disassembled body in the Ultrasonic cleaner? It wont affect the seals and such inside the body will it? I have an Iwata SBS if that matters.

Walter
ted_hayward
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Taipei, Taiwan / 台灣
Joined: October 04, 2008
KitMaker: 453 posts
Armorama: 304 posts
Posted: Thursday, January 21, 2010 - 05:08 PM UTC
I use WD40, followed by plain water. I use my brush at least 20-40 hours/week, and only strip it down occasionally. Works for any brand of brush, any type of paint (I use acrylics, lacquers, and enamels in the same brush)!
Smartin
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Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
Joined: May 07, 2009
KitMaker: 48 posts
Armorama: 40 posts
Posted: Thursday, January 21, 2010 - 09:57 PM UTC
I'm curieus...WD40; wont it influence the paint?

gr.

(S)martin
GALILEO1
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Maryland, United States
Joined: April 18, 2006
KitMaker: 1,794 posts
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Posted: Friday, January 22, 2010 - 02:04 AM UTC
Great thread! Well, with the link Matt provided I've finally took the plunge and purchased this ultrasonic cleaner. I've been meaning to do this since I've heard discussions on how good they are to clean the brushes but never acted on it so I am now looking forward to trying it.

So, with this, I have a question for Matt. What parts, specifically, do you disassemble from your brushes before you place them in the UC. I mean, do you leave the needle, trigger, etc? Or do you pretty much take everything apart before you dunk the parts in the UC?

Thanks much!

Rob
SSGToms
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Connecticut, United States
Joined: April 02, 2005
KitMaker: 3,460 posts
Armorama: 2,963 posts
Posted: Friday, January 22, 2010 - 05:15 AM UTC

Quoted Text

So you can just put the disassembled body in the Ultrasonic cleaner? It wont affect the seals and such inside the body will it? I have an Iwata SBS if that matters.

Walter


Yep, you just put it in there. The only thing it will do to the seals is lift the gunk off them.
SSGToms
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Connecticut, United States
Joined: April 02, 2005
KitMaker: 3,460 posts
Armorama: 2,963 posts
Posted: Friday, January 22, 2010 - 05:23 AM UTC

Quoted Text

I'm curieus...WD40; wont it influence the paint?

gr.

(S)martin


I recommend that you NEVER use WD-40 or any other silicone lubricant in your airbrush (so do Iwata and Grex). It will eat the seals, put fisheyes and blooms in the paint, and you will never, never get it all out of the airbrush.
Always use dedicated airbrush lube.
Also, always use distilled water in and on your airbrush. Tap water contains lime, rust, minerals, and chemicals that will form deposits inside and eventually plug it up for good.
SSGToms
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Connecticut, United States
Joined: April 02, 2005
KitMaker: 3,460 posts
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Posted: Friday, January 22, 2010 - 05:26 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Great thread! Well, with the link Matt provided I've finally took the plunge and purchased this ultrasonic cleaner. I've been meaning to do this since I've heard discussions on how good they are to clean the brushes but never acted on it so I am now looking forward to trying it.

So, with this, I have a question for Matt. What parts, specifically, do you disassemble from your brushes before you place them in the UC. I mean, do you leave the needle, trigger, etc? Or do you pretty much take everything apart before you dunk the parts in the UC?

Thanks much!

Rob


Hi Rob,
Generally, I just take everything apart and put it all in except for the air valve.
plastickjunkie
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Florida, United States
Joined: December 31, 2009
KitMaker: 362 posts
Armorama: 131 posts
Posted: Friday, January 22, 2010 - 12:42 PM UTC
Matt

Can I use lacquer thinner or denatured alcohol in the tank instead of water to strip off enamel paints?
SSGToms
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Connecticut, United States
Joined: April 02, 2005
KitMaker: 3,460 posts
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Posted: Saturday, January 23, 2010 - 05:42 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Matt

Can I use lacquer thinner or denatured alcohol in the tank instead of water to strip off enamel paints?


No. Ultrasonic cleaners are not designed to be used with solvents.
ant88
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Rhode Island, United States
Joined: January 27, 2005
KitMaker: 225 posts
Armorama: 176 posts
Posted: Sunday, January 24, 2010 - 11:48 PM UTC
Thanks Guys! I wil probably continue to break it down but only at the end of the building day. Also, the $30 Walmart Utrasonic cleaner works great. Cheers!
Gorizont
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Sachsen, Germany
Joined: November 28, 2007
KitMaker: 1,462 posts
Armorama: 1,289 posts
Posted: Monday, January 25, 2010 - 12:11 AM UTC
i also disassemble my Badger-100GXF after use and clean the parts.
After that I spray cleaner through it.
I use Revell cleaner for big parts + spraying and a standard "Nail-color-remover" (translated)
only for the needle.

For color-changes I only spray cleaner through it.

greetings...
Soeren
gaborka
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Borsod-Abauj-Zemblen, Hungary
Joined: October 09, 2005
KitMaker: 611 posts
Armorama: 242 posts
Posted: Sunday, February 28, 2010 - 09:55 PM UTC
WD-40 is not silicone based, but petroleum based. Most lubes you use for ABs are also petroleum or mineral spirit based if I am right.



SSGToms
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Connecticut, United States
Joined: April 02, 2005
KitMaker: 3,460 posts
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Posted: Monday, March 01, 2010 - 06:48 AM UTC

Quoted Text

WD-40 is not silicone based, but petroleum based. Most lubes you use for ABs are also petroleum or mineral spirit based if I am right.





Sorry Gabor, but according to the MSDS of WD-40, it is 50% silicone (which is an Aliphatic Hydrocarbon petroleum derivative). Airbrush lubes are water based, like ,um, the "personal lubes" at the drug store. (But don't use those in your airbrush!)
md72
#439
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Washington, United States
Joined: November 05, 2005
KitMaker: 4,325 posts
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Posted: Monday, March 01, 2010 - 09:55 AM UTC
Thanks Matt. Sorta tired of spending 5 minutes on maintence for every minute of airbrushing, but it looks like the best way. Learned a bunch and laughed a bit on this thread!