Airbrush care

superjedi

Sr Hunter
Hi all!
Since a lot of prop painting involves airbrush work, I thought I'd post a little thread on how I clean mine.
I'm not talking about flushing the brush after shooting your colors, but giving it a more thorough cleaning whenever it's necessary.

How can you tell when your brush may need a good cleaning? There are a couple of clues, such as "spitting" when you use the brush, or a seeming reduction in paint flow. Even if you flush the airbrush well after using it, tiny paint particles will eventually build up on the internal components.

I've been using a Grex Genesis xGi for a while (which I love) so these pics will be specific to that kit. But most airbrushes have a similar general construction, so you can adapt these steps as needed.

First, I gather a few simple items: a set of cleaning brushes, a small measuring cup, and some airbrush cleaner. I use the Grex cleaner for acrylics since that's really all I shoot through my brush.

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Stripping the airbrush down takes about 90 seconds. Follow the instructions for your airbrush. Here is my "field stripped" Grex.

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I put the nozzle, the nozzle cover, the needle shield, and the color cup into the small measuring cup, then fill it with airbrush cleaner until all the parts are submerged.

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For the needle, I use a very fine grade polishing stick to remove any paint residue.
Here's the needle before polishing.

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And after about 30 seconds of polishing.

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I do this very carefully so I don't bend or deform the tip of the needle.

I let the parts soak in the airbrush cleaner for about 4 hours, then use the small cleaning brushes to clean out any residue inside the nozzle and other small parts. Then I reassemble the airbrush and I'm back in business!

You may not need to do this very often. It just depends on how much you use your brush. It will also depend on how much you thin your paints before spraying.
But with all the helmet commissions I do, my Grex is a little workhorse!

Hope this helps some of you, and if you have your own cleaning routine, share it here. (y)
 
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