FAQ – Airbrush


Q. What’s the difference between single action and double action?

A. single action is when the trigger is depressed and paint immediately comes out of the airbrush. dual action means first the trigger is depressed and air flows through the airbrush, then as you pull back on the trigger, you get to control exactly how much material will flow through the airbrush thus giving you much more control at your finger tips.

Q. What types of paints can I use in my airbrush?

A. Basically you can use any type of paint or media as long as it can be reduced similar to the consistency of milk. Beginner airbrush artists may consider purchasing ready-to-spray airbrush paints or pre-reduced paints as reducing paints to the right consistency can be challenging.

Q. When I try to spray my airbrush, I get bubbles back into paint and no paint comes out why?

A. There a few reasons for this. First, this is a tell-tale sign of a defective, bad or clogged nozzle. If it cannot be cleaned, replace it. Also make sure to thoroughly clean the needle. Any dried paint on there will assist in not spraying.
Second, check the breather hole on the top of the bottle cap (bottom fed airbrushes) to make sure it is not clogged. Lastly, make sure the feed tube inside the bottle is not resting on the very bottom of the bottle not allowing paint to go up the tube.

Q. Can I run multiple airbrushes off one compressor?

A. Using multiple airbrushes simultaneously will require a compressor with enough C.F.M. (cubic feet per minute) rating. Dual head compressors are a good choice to hook up multiple airbrushes simply because of the higher C.F.M. rating they have. Manifolds are the key to hooking up more than one airbrush. Manifolds will vary as to how many ports you need. They range from two ports ups to ten ports.

Q. What is the purpose of having a tank on the compressor?

A. Having a tank on the compressor helps in a few different ways. By having air in the tank, you automatically eliminate the possibility of any pulsating in the air- line generated by most compressors. Longevity of the compressor is another factor In that the compressor is not constantly running to keep up with the air demand. With a regulator on the tank you can have the advantage of dropping the air pressure to a minimum for those important high detail areas.

Q. Should I get a gravity-fed or siphon-fed airbrush?

A. One version is not necessarily better than the other: different jobs require different tools. Siphon-fed airbrushes are great for spraying larger background areas for t-shirts, tanning etc. Gravity-fed airbrushes are great for all around airbrushing and especially for high detail areas mainly because there’s no bottle on the bottom of the airbrush to get in the way.

Q. I want to be able to airbrush fingernails, what type of airbrush do I need?

A. Airbrushing fingernails is delicate work requiring small amounts of paint at a time. You will want a gravity-fed dual-action airbrush with a small reservoir for the paint (1/32 oz instead of the larger 1/3 oz. cup with most other gravity-fed airbrushes). Airbrushes with the 1/32 oz reservoir can easily operate with just a single drop of paint.

Q. How do I clean my airbrush without damaging it?

A. If you are using waterbased paints, you can simply use water. Some manufacturers have their own cleaning solutions for this. Run some through the airbrush until it sprays clear. Remove the needle and wipe clean. You can also use a very small amount of airbrush lube on the first inch and a half of the tip of the needle as not to dry out the needle packing.
With solvent-based paints, you can use reducer or lacquer thinner. Make sure your airbrush is equipped with a needle packing before using solvent based paints. A standard rubber needle packing will not hold up to solvents. Again, spray thinner until it sprays clear. Remove needle and wipe clean and lube needle.
You never want to use solvents to clean waterbased paints and vise versa. You will end up with a gummy substance through out the airbrush. Also never soak and airbrush to clean it. This will ruin the o-rings and the valve assembly.

Q. Can I use an airbrush to spray clear coat on my projects?

A. If you have small projects, like small models, then yes you can. Otherwise you will want to use at least a mini spray gun. The reasoning behind this is that the airbrush fan pattern is a mere 1-½ to 3 inches, not enough for a uniform coat that a spray gun will provide.

Q. Can I use an airbrush for make-up and tanning?

A. Make-up artists like to use a gravity-fed dual-action airbrush with a 1/16 oz. medium sized cup on top. With make-up, your are not using a lot of material so a medium cup is preferred over the larger 1/3 oz. cup.
Airbrush tanning is usually done with a single-action siphon-fed airbrush since you’re not having to deal with detail and you use about 3 ounces of material.