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Paint or thinners first?


old thumper
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I just wondered what the general opinion was on the best method for thinning paint for use into gravity fed airbrushes.

A)Add paint to the cup before thinners.

B)Add thinners to the cup before paint.

C)Mix paint with thinners in a separate container and then decant into airbrush.

I was always on the side of adding paint directly into the airbrush cup before thinning down. Now that I have a new airbrush with a floating nozzle I have found it much easier to do it the opposite way round.

I would say the surest way to get the right mix of paint to thinners would be to use a separate mixing pot, but that would take too much time and trouble for me.

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Smidge of thinners in cup first, stops it blocking whilst mixing, then paint followed by thinners.

Then use a pipette to suck/blow the paint in the AB cup to mix.

If you get my meaning!

Rick.

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As the paint tends to sink down through the thinner I find that it's easier to get a thorough mix by starting with thinners. The other way around the back-bubbling seems to raise up through the two layers without affecting the periphery much and there's more of a tendency of undiluted paint remaining stuck to the walls.

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External mix is preferable, but otherwise, thinners first as this makes sure you don't get unthinned paint in the internals.

With thinners in first you might get some pure thinners in the internals but that isn't going to hurt.

Just make sure you do a quick spray onto paper first to make sure the thinner/paint mix is coming through before you hit the model.

Cheers,

Nigel

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Go with 'C', at least then you know it's mixed & won't kick yourself when something bad happens. When I was a paint sprayer you could get away with putting paint and hardener into the cup and shaking it but you can't do that with an airbrush.

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Option C

Like others, I use those little glass jars that once contained jam or marmalade. Mix in the jar, then decant using the pipette that was used to transfer in the paint (and used to mix the paint with the thinner). The jar then becomes the receptacle for the bit of paint from the airbrush that is left when you have finished airbrushing. - in it goes into the jar, and then out comes the reamer / cleaner / cellulose thinners etc. to clean the brush. Being glass, the jars are reusable once cleaned up. Used up item - one plastic pipette - cost €20 for 500.

Simples

Philip

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Option C using my cunning 'cheapskate' minimum wastage method:

Suck required volume of thinners into small syringe.

Put syringe into paint then suck up required volume

Give it a good shake

Dispense into airbrush cup

Clean syringe by flushing through with water or suitable solvent

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Even cheaper, go to eBay and search for plastic shot glasses. Dirt cheap, use and dispose.

Typical prices

50 = £1.50

250 = £7.00

That's including delivery.

You can buy pipettes in bulk like that too.

Cheers,

Nigel

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Option C using my cunning 'cheapskate' minimum wastage method:

Suck required volume of thinners into small syringe.

Put syringe into paint then suck up required volume

Give it a good shake

Dispense into airbrush cup

Clean syringe by flushing through with water or suitable solvent

Genius :)

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I externally mix using these: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00V1X1M02?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00

20ml, I use a glass dropper to put about 5ml paint, then 15ml thinner. Label using my favorite label maker. When I need to use the color I put a few drops in, paint, then clean the airbrush when done. Refil as needed. By using the glass dropper I can clean the paint using the solution in the bottle.

Tim

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I externally mix using these: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00V1X1M02?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00

20ml, I use a glass dropper to put about 5ml paint, then 15ml thinner. Label using my favorite label maker. When I need to use the color I put a few drops in, paint, then clean the airbrush when done. Refil as needed. By using the glass dropper I can clean the paint using the solution in the bottle.

Tim

That's a great idea. The bottles look like Vallejo sized paint bottles.

Have you a link to buying the glass droppers, by any chance?

Philip

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I externally mix the paint and thinner too, I tried for a while adding thinner then paint into the airbrush cup, but I got a lot of clogging that way and ended up spending a lot of time cleaning the airbrush.

I get a pack of urinalysis jars (unused of course!) from the lab of my local hospital (I'm a GP so I'm always ordering supplies from them, so get an extra pack of jars from time to time!) which are good for mixing pain in, plus they have metal lids which are great for mixing glue on, sticking parts onto for painting and so on.

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That's a great idea. The bottles look like Vallejo sized paint bottles.

Have you a link to buying the glass droppers, by any chance?

Philip

I got mine at a chemist. Not graduated. I remember paying about a £1 and it had two in the package.

Tim

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I have a number of vaping bottles with pipettes fitted into the lids that I sometimes use. The trouble is I have found that paint doesn't keep when mixed with thinners.

Generally these plastic bottles leach solvents out. Basically, they're not 100% air tight and the solvents will evaporate over time.

Glass bottles with a bung in the top then a screw on lid are much better. Just like the Zero Paints primers.

This is the reason I don't bother pre-mixing, then storing, paint.

If I have to mix a shade, for long term storage/use, I'll use the small Alcald glass bottles. These seem to keep the paint for ages.

If just using "off the shelf colours" it's mix in the cup everytime for me. I never seem to waste any and generally get the paint/thinners mix spot on for my conditions (having a fight Tamyia .X7 though at the moment!).

Experiment and see what method works for you chap. After all, paints cheap compared to the model.....

Just my Tuppence worth.

Rick.

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I always go with C.

I bought a job lot of these a few years ago and have never looked back.

Every time I get a new tin of paint I stick around half in one of these, dilute with thinners and label it up, ready to go. This means zero waste as I only stick one or two drops into my gravity cup when using. Also, as I put the dilution ration on the label, I know how to mix the next batch up.

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External mix. I have been known to be lazy and mix in the cup but I can never get the same mix twice and always end up clogging the airbrush (it's also easier to judge how much paint and thinners I'm mixing in a pot rather than the paint cup).

I use the Tamiya style glass jars for storage of the mixed paint as I tend to use 2 or 3 shades of the same colour (standard, lightened and darkened) to get the tonal variations I want so need to keep those mixes until the end of the build just in case any remedial work is needed.

I also recycle the old Tamiya and Gunze paint pots once they are empty so have quite a stock of them now.

Duncan B

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Smidge of thinners in cup first, stops it blocking whilst mixing, then paint followed by thinners.

Then use a pipette to suck/blow the paint in the AB cup to mix.

If you get my meaning!

Rick.

Thats what I do seems to work fine and saves a lot of time and fiddling, Never bother measuring, just keep on adding a little more thinners until it sprays how I want. I have read that some paints dont like being stored pre thinned. More often or not with Tamiya I add at least 50% thinners.

Dont think there are any hard and fast rules with airbrushing, find the method that suits you best and stick by it. I know when my airbrush is spraying right by the sound of it.

Edited by Stuck
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