Airbrush cleaning - again!

Gern

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#1
I've been doing some painting using my H&S Ultra with a 0.3mm needle set up and Vallejo Model Air paints thinned with about 10% water at about 25 psi.

No problem with the painting but:

My usual routine is to empty out as much paint from the cup as possible under a running tap. Then I wipe round the inside of the cup with a decent quality paper tissue and about half a cup of methylated spirits.

The airbrush is then stripped and I run a thin piece of wire through the nozzle. The needle, nozzle and cap are then placed in an ultrasonic cleaner filled with cellulose thinners for about 3 minutes.

While this is running I clean the feed nozzle of the cup by pulling through a cotton bud soaked in methylated spirits, and the hole at the top of the airbrush where the cup fits is cleaned using a cotton bud again soaked in meths.

After all this I give the parts a quick wipe with meths, reassemble the airbrush and spray through about half a cup of meths. Usually this works, but today it was coughing and spluttering. After dismantling again, I checked the nozzle by gently pushing the needle through from the back and noticed it pushed though a great blob of semi-liquid paint. Back to the beginning ....... and round and round we go!

I'm sorely tempted to go on a treasure hunt to find The Philosopher's Stone. Once I have found it, I can spend the next twenty years or so practising Ron's techniques for painting with a hairy stick - I'm sure that's going to be easier than getting my airbrush to work properly!

How in the names of all the Gods do you guys manage to clean your airbrushes perfectly using easier and quicker methods than me?
 

Mr Bowcat

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#2
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#3
I would suggest that after you wipe the cup you run a couple of cups full of water through the brush before you dismantle it, preferably at a relatively high flow rate. You need to wash through residual paint before stripping the brush.
Personally I spray the brush dry of paint, spray through with a couple of cups full of thinners (in your case water), then spray though a cup of liquid reamer such as VJ airbrush cleaner. Once that’s over, it should simply be a case of stripping and wiping clean.
Just out of interest, do you mix your paint in the brush cup? If so, try mixing off line and adding thinned paint only to the spray cup......
Cheers
Tim
 

Steve O

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#4
Dave i used suffer from this problem, but solved it by removing the cap from the Vellejo bottle and washing it out under the tap with an old brush so there is no skin and rubbish in the cap, then pull the nozzle of the bottle and do the same thing this has made a world of difference to my spraying, so this is what i do after an almighty shake, don't even bother thinning any more.

I find if the paint has been used before the cap and nozzle are all gunged up, this hopefully prevents these miniscule particles going into your cup.

Good luck mate Steve.
 

Gern

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#5
OK guys. Some useful suggestions there thanks.

Bob: I've got some IPA (I assume you mean Isopropyl Alcohol and not India Pale Ale!) which I'll try. I've also ordered that cleaning set from John.

Tim: On this occasion the paint was pre-mixed although I do usually mix in the cup - adding thinner first then stirring with on old paintbrush. I used to cover the nozzle and gently blow back into the cup to mix but you can't do that with the normal nozzle on an Ultra brush.

Steve: I don't know why I don't do that - it seems so sensible! I used to use Revell Aqua paints which were truly awful for blocking the brush with bits of dry paint you get from the sides of the container when stirring. I'll be giving the paint bottles a clean in future.

Incidentally, you can save yourself shaking 'til your arm falls off by first putting a small stainless steel nut into the bottle. This helps break up the pigment when it has settled to the bottom. Second, invest in a cheapo nail varnish shaker something like this:

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I got one after Barry suggested it and it's great. They won't stop the need to give the bottles a shake, but they'll cut down your time to just a few seconds.
 
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Gern

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#6
Hey Steve! Were you hovering over your keyboard waiting for me? You got your 'like' button done before I had chance to read and check what I'd written!
 
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#7
Ball bearings are great for paint agitators too. I bought a pack of fifty from SNMstuff a while back for about £4.99, two weeks later I was in the cycle shop 50 yards up the road and were selling bags by the hundred for £1.50.
 

stillp

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#8
Ball bearings are great for paint agitators too. I bought a pack of fifty from SNMstuff a while back for about £4.99, two weeks later I was in the cycle shop 50 yards up the road and were selling bags by the hundred for £1.50.
Make sure they're stainless though!

Pete
 

John Race

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#9
I used to have hrs of frustrating time cleaning my AB , an Ultra .


Now I mix the paint in a milk bottle lid , make sure the Vallejo bottle is clean , and they all have stainless steel brgs ' in and have any residue of thick half dried paint removed .
When finished spraying, wash out with some AB cleaner , like Ultimate.
When completely finished ,strip down after the AB cleaner has gone through , put every thing in the ultra Sonic cleaner with either a mixture of warm water and washing up liquid , or AB cleaner and have a cup of tea !

Then clean the tip with a reamer and needle with some soft cloth , going down the needle to wards the point, only to save stabbing my self Put some Iwata lube on the needle and trigger area. Slide the needle back in, replace the tip and reassemble the end cap .
By this time I have considered brush painting .!
John :nerd:
 

Gern

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#10
Here's a question. How many different A/B cleaners have you tried for cleaning acrylics?

Here's my list:

Meths
Mr Muscle Window & Glass cleaner
Halfords screenwash
Badger Minitaire (bought specifically for Stynylrez primers - doesn't work for them or paint any better than anything else on this list)
Ultimate A/B cleaner
Medea A/B cleaner
Vallejo A/B cleaner
Cellulose thinner

... and now IPA

I've tried all of these based on recommendations from the modelling world (not all from this site) and meths has proved to be the best; although for some reason, even that doesn't work all the time - like today.

What's so special about acrylics that make them so difficult to clean up? It's not as if they're super strong - I've had acrylic paint fall off my models if I give it a sharp look!
 

Steve O

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#11
Hey Steve! Were you hovering over your keyboard waiting for me? You got your 'like' button done before I had chance to read and check what I'd written!
Hi mate i had just that second logged in.

Steve.
 

Airfix Modeller Freak

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#12
I use the Mr Hobby Mr Tool Cleaner. Has never failed me and I use the Iwata Hi Line HP CH.
John
 

Mr Bowcat

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#13
Here's a question. How many different A/B cleaners have you tried for cleaning acrylics?

Here's my list:

Meths
Mr Muscle Window & Glass cleaner
Halfords screenwash
Badger Minitaire (bought specifically for Stynylrez primers - doesn't work for them or paint any better than anything else on this list)
Ultimate A/B cleaner
Medea A/B cleaner
Vallejo A/B cleaner
Cellulose thinner

... and now IPA

I've tried all of these based on recommendations from the modelling world (not all from this site) and meths has proved to be the best; although for some reason, even that doesn't work all the time - like today.
I answered a similar thread on another forum recently. Everyone there was raving about UMP cleaner. As always I suggested IPA, not only does it do the job for me but it's cheap at around £13 a gallon. The UMP satuff they were pushing is around £8 for 270ml!
 

Awins

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#15
I answered a similar thread on another forum recently. Everyone there was raving about UMP cleaner. As always I suggested IPA, not only does it do the job for me but it's cheap at around £13 a gallon. The UMP satuff they were pushing is around £8 for 270ml!
In my opinion UMP airbrush cleaner is IPA with colouring added. It certainly smells the same to me and I have used it. Now I just use neat IPA.
 

Airfix Modeller Freak

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#16
I answered a similar thread on another forum recently. Everyone there was raving about UMP cleaner. As always I suggested IPA, not only does it do the job for me but it's cheap at around £13 a gallon. The UMP satuff they were pushing is around £8 for 270ml!
If that forum was international scale modeller, don’t listen to them. Their owners and admins own UMP so there is a huge bias. Also there are other reasons I dislike that forum and favour this one...
John
 

Mr Bowcat

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#17
Yeah it was ISM. I didn't realise they were tied up with UMP as I don't post there often.
 

John Race

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#18
Dam and Blast !!
John and Bob .

If I'd have known that about UMP, I'd have saved my money and used my trusty IPA ( none drinkable version ) Normally use IPA for cleaning the plastic prior to painting, and for acting as a wetting agent for PA.

So it doesn't need thining for the ab cleaning ? as I normally would thin with water at 30% for my normal use .
I will reorder some IPA today .

Thanks .

John .
 
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#19
Be careful with stainless and VJ PVC bottles, I’ve had the B.B. react with the bottle (not the paint. ). Some colours are more prone to this than others, obviously the pigment promotes the reaction, but it is definitely a PVC/SS reaction not a BB/paint reaction. Doesn’t seem to hurt the paint, but the PVC discolours where the ball rests against it. May cause bottle failure long term, but I’ll let you know....
Tim
 
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