For a while I've been thinking about picking up an airbrush and having a go at doing something slightly more adventurous than my normal 2 colour rattle can spray jobs.....and have just picked one up. We've got a nice big compressor in the garage so I've decided to use that and have ordered a regulator with a moisture trap for it.....but I have no idea what sort of pressure I need for spraying! I know it will vary based on the type of paints, type of paint feed etc but am just after a rough starting point and some information of what I should be looking for to tell whether I do not have enough pressure or if I have too much...
Equipment/paintwise I've picked up an Iwata Revolution CR Gravity feed airbrush (0.5mm) and will be initially using Faskolor paints (please assume undiluted).... I know Parma say between 40 and 70 PSI but if anyone could give me a better idea of what PSI I should be starting at and would I should be looking in terms of too much/not enough pressure I'd really appreciate it.
Mark where did you get the regulator with a moisture trap from. Ive got a little Makita compressor that i could use.
Before I answer your pressure question I get most of my stuff from "everything airbrush", if you go to the base of THIS page They have some regulators - Pro Filter Regulator is like the one I've used for years without any problems.
Right, what pressure do you need for airbrushing ? When I use Faskolor I spray at about 40-45psi. You can thin it with water but not best on a shell, you can get thinner for it but it's hideously expensive, Jon Miller at RCS has just formulated his own thinner which is cheaper.
If your pressure is too low the paint will sort of spit and if it's too high it will try to push the airbrush back when you spray and more than likely make a spidery type mess on your shell.
With a 0.5 nozzle that's quite big so you might be able to turn the pressure down a little bit ? It's all trial and error and what works best for you. Jon sprays at about 60psi, personally I find that too high, but I'm used to working with thinners based paint where I was spraying as low as 10psi.
Regardless of what I've said above, if you're just doing race graphics that are solid block colours the pressure won't be that critical, as long as you can get the paint through the airbrush and onto the shell ( get a heat gun and dry coats until they matt off before applying next coat ) you'll be okay. If you're trying to do fades and things the pressure is more critical, you don't want it spiting half way through a fade ( not heard it called that before ), anyway moving on... otherwise the fade will be grainy. Again thinning the paint helps. If you're unsure practice on some scrap lexan or even paper first.
If you get stuck or want any more help give me a shout on here.
Hi, I have Revolution CR too and I generally use Faskolor and Createx paints and spray at 50psi, i've never found the need to dilute either brand. You'll find the fluorescent paints are slightly thinner than other colours so you could turn the pressure down (35-40psi) for them, which will reduce over-spray.
If you want to try finer lines then you can reduce the psi down to 20-30psi and the CR will still allow un-diluted paint to flow freely.
I've had a little play with cheaper water-based paints from Hobbycraft, and they are thick and do need diluting, but I found the quality to be lacking. I also found it a bit of a pain messing about trying to get the correct consistancy; airbrushing can be time consuming enough, so i'm lazy and stick to Faskolor & Createx
If you do dilute any paints I read somewhere that you should used bottled water and not tap water?!?
Good luck & don't forget to showcase your finished shells
Iwata - Vallejo/Faskolor/Createx/RCS Paint FX - Nitroblock
Just to add to what Ian said, airbrushing isn't an exact science, it's something you have to gain a 'feel' for as it's all about getting the balance of factors right.
You need to get the air pressure high enough to properly atomise the paint. The thicker the paint, the higher the pressure required, and vice versa. If you spray at too low a pressure, the airbrush spits and makes a mess. Too high a pressure and the paint can dry in the air before it hits the surface, leaving you with a sandy finish and paint that can just brush off.
No two paints are exactly the same, so you'll find you need to adjust the pressure a little either way until you're happy with how it's spraying.
To spray finer detail you need to get the airbrush closer to the object. If you're spraying at high pressure, you'll run the risk of 'spidering' which is where the paint on the surface builds up and is then blasted all over the place by the air pressure, leaving a spider looking pattern. What you need to do to combat this is move your airbrush very quickly, or thin the paint and drop the pressure.
The problem with thin paint is that you're spraying onto a very smooth surface which makes spidering even easier to do. Again, you have to get the right feel for how thin need the paint to be so you can drop the pressure and spray confidently. It all takes practice, and I find advice like "add two drops of thinner to three drops of paint an spray at X pressure" only good for finding a starting point from which you'll need to adjust, as everything changes depending on the object being painted (matt vs. gloss surface, inside vs. ourside painting) and what you're trying to paint (detail vs. block colours) and even the weather where you are can affect how the paint behaves. By practising, you'll learn to get a feel for the pressure needed and if something isn't working, what you need to do fix the problem e.g. get closer/move back, thin/thicken the paint, increase/decrease the pressure, clean the needle tip.
I've been painting with an airbrush for years, but until recently, I have been painting on the outside of models, using a different type of paint which required much lower pressures and was much more forgiving. Since starting to paint RC bodies, I've had to completely rethink my technique and even switch airbrushes. I still have days when I feel like I'm fighting with a paint and just can't get it to spray right. That's where I have learned to walk away and take a deep breath before returning!! Airbrushing has a steep learning curve and I know of lots of guys who have literally thrown them against the wall in frustration. You just need to keep at it and the 'feel' will come.
I think you've got some good advice from the above posts. It's probably best for you to try it now and then if and when you find yourself wondering how to do something post back on here, and in the mean time post and show us what you've done.
If you've not painted with an airbrush before I'd just get some thick paper or cheap card and try on that. Just draw with it, write your name, make a little noughts and crosses grid and then try and put a spot on each intersecting line. I know all this sounds basic but it's learning the control it takes to do this, you can thin the paint a lot more ( use water while you're just working on paper, it'll be fine ) and a lower pressure.
The one thing that I've heard the most when learning to airbrush is people want a lazer pointer on it so they know where it's going to spray, this is a learned thing and get easier but apparently that's the bit people feel most distanced from because you aren't physically touching the paper.