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Cleaning Airbrushes Options
Wilfy the Sea Dog
#1 Posted : 06 September 2013 23:11:11

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Hi All,

Don't want to tread on Jases' toes as it was him who was asked about this, however would like to give you my method for cleaning airbrushes.

If it is a quick clean between colours, all I would normally do is:

1. Empty remaining paint from cup, either blow it through (onto kitchen roll, rag etc) or tip it out, depending on how much is remaining.

2. Add a few ml of the propriatory airbrush cleaner to the colour cup. I always use the manufacturers cleaner/thinner, ie Vallejo paint-Vallejo cleaners. I know that water is suggested with many acrylic paints but nothing works as well as the proper cleaner.

3. Sluice around the paint cup & TIP out into a wate container, just in case there are any dried fragments around the paint cup, don't want these near nozzle.

4. Blow through any residue & wipe out paint cup.

5. Add new colour/thinner & test off of model.

This may look like a lot of steps but it only takes a minute or two.

Wilfy
Wilfy the Sea Dog
#2 Posted : 06 September 2013 23:23:02

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STRIPPING DOWN & CLEANING.

The picture below shows a stripped down Harder & Stenbeck Brush. This brush has a push fit nozzle, many brushes have a screw fit nozzle but the cleaning procedure is the same.

My method for sdtripping down:

1. Clean as per instructions for changing colours.

2. Turn off air supply, bleed system & remove supply hose.

3. Unscrew rear of brush & set aside.

4. Unscrew airbrush cap & set aside.

5. Remove nozzle, if push fit - pop out, if screw fit - unscrew using spanner that would have been supplied with Airbrush. Be very careful here, you do not want to drop nozzle or damage seals.

6. The tip of your needle will know be exposed again this is very fragile. Loosen thumb screw/locknut at rear of brush (no need to remove fully) Remove needle from FRONT of Airbrush. This aviods dragging any paint or particles further into the brush.

7. Control lever will now be loose so be careful it does not drop out, you don't need to remove this item.
Wilfy the Sea Dog attached the following image(s):
airbrush 001.jpg
airbrush 002.jpg
Wilfy the Sea Dog
#3 Posted : 06 September 2013 23:27:52

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CLEANING

The picture below shows the items I generally use to clean the airbrush.

The nasty looking sharp item ia a reamer for the nozzle. These have a tapered 'blade' so are useful for any nozzle size. They have to be used with extreme caution, I only use mine if I have a nasty blockage in the nozzle orifice.
Wilfy the Sea Dog attached the following image(s):
airbrush 003.jpg
Wilfy the Sea Dog
#4 Posted : 06 September 2013 23:41:18

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CLEANING.

The order of carrying out the cleaning is not really important, the steps I use are as follows:

1. Using an alcohol swab I polish the needle to remove any paint residue, this will remove all paint even hard spots.

2. Using the same wipe I will clean out the paint cup.

3. I will now put a couple of drops of airbrush cleaner/IPA into the colour cup (careful here as it will run out if you tip the brush) Now insert the appropriate sized cleaning brush into the orifice at the front or rear of the airbrush & clean using an in/out motion, you may have to do this a couple of times, dabbing the cleaning brush onto some kitchen roll inbetween.

4. Give the front cap & nozzle a good wipe. If there appears to be lots of paint (especially if it looks dried) in the nozzle, it can either be soaked in cleaner or reamed. In my experience either of these are seldom necessary. If you have one & do decide to ream. procede with EXTREME CAUTION as too much presure will destroy your nozzle. The other alternative is to pop into an ultrasonic cleaner if you are lucky enough to have one.

5. All that remains now is a quick wipe over the body & you are ready for re-assembly.
Wilfy the Sea Dog
#5 Posted : 06 September 2013 23:54:18

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RE-ASSEMBLY

This is my method for re-assembling after cleaning:

1. The first step is to re-fit the nozzle. If it is a push fit, pop back into the front of the brush & re-fit the cap. If it is a screw fit, screw back into brush & nip up LIGHTLY with spanner supplied, DO NOT fit cap.

2. From the rear of the airbrush, carefully slide needle through the locking nut & all the way home. Do not force, if it won't go then something has moved, normally the trigger assembly, if this is the case then re-seat & carefully slide needle through.

3. When needle reaches nozzle, gently slide it until it is fully home & then retract slightly, gently move it forward again. You may see a little paint residue appear on end of nozzle, remove this with an alcohol wipe.

4. When happy that there is nothi9ng more in nozzle, slide needle fully home & tap gently on the rear end with one finger, this ensures it is fully seated.

5. Tighten thumb screw.

6. For threaded nozzle types attach end cap.

7. Re-fit rear housing.
Wilfy the Sea Dog
#6 Posted : 06 September 2013 23:59:41

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CHECK

1. Re-attach air supply & check for any air leaks. You can normally hear them.

2. Pop some cleaner into colour cup & blow a little through.

3. Add a drop of Airbrush lube into trigger asembly & I mean a tiny drop! You don't want this going onto needle. I only do this about every 10 cleans or so.

4. If you have a permanent set up then leave a little cleaner in the base of the cup, if not blow through & pop away!

Again, I know this sounds lengthy but it's only 10 mins at the end of your spraying session, which could save loads of time and prevent any poor paint jobs.

Hope this helps.

Wilfy
arpurchase
#7 Posted : 07 September 2013 00:03:10

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BigGrin Hi Wilfy
You beat me to it i was preparing just such a tutorial. Well done on a very concise and informative set of posts that more than amply explain how to clean an airbrush. Again well done
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#8 Posted : 07 September 2013 00:11:01

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Wilfy, excellent tutorial and one that shows I got a few steps wrong such as pulling the needle out through the rear of the brush rather than forward.... hadn't thought of the possibility of pulling dried particles back into the brush..... thanks for posting...

Regards

Alan

jase
#9 Posted : 07 September 2013 10:04:40

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Hi Wilfy,

no pain in my toes LOL LOL LOL Nice contribution, thanks. this area of the forum is for us all to share what we know with others so your more than welcome to postBigGrin

I had asked Andy to pick this up as I am concentrating on the beginners first and Airbrush tutorials would be a little way off. - think you have saved him a job.

One thing I would add when you are taking thinners through the brush between painting, I use this jar, i think it is an Amati product. you can spray into the jar with no fumes or risk of overspray onto any work.


Also remember that paint and thinners all have fumes you don't want to be inhaling so always wear an appropriate respirator.

Top job Wilfy ThumpUp
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Gaz
#10 Posted : 07 September 2013 10:46:10

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Have found this thread extremely useful. Have been given permission BigGrin to get one in the next few weeks. While of course cleaning it is very important can I make a suggestion for a future update. In how to set one up and use. Have never used an airbrush before so to have tips and advice from more experienced modellers would be invaluable.
Good work guys.
Gareth
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karl1113
#11 Posted : 07 September 2013 14:00:29

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hi gaz, I believe wilfy and spencer had done airbrush recommendation and reviews and andy(arpurchase) have also contributed on airbrushes. just need to search a bit.
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Wilfy the Sea Dog
#12 Posted : 08 September 2013 08:34:09

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Thanks for your interest everyone & glad it was useful.

Jase, I should have popped in about the cleaning station, they are very useful & prevent lots of fumes from circulating when emptying or blowing through your airbrush. I have the exact one in your picture.

Wilfy
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#13 Posted : 08 September 2013 10:38:45

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Just wanted to add something to this and what I would say is a pretty cheap way of cleaning is with an ultrasonic bath... You can get these for around £25 on eBay.. There are so many tutorials on face tube too and a point of reference even I go to pick up on!

Just look up airbrushing for beginners


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