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Arism Viz Portable Cordless Compressor


Mike
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Arism Viz Portable Cordless Compressor

Sparmax Via The Airbrush Company

 

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Eventually, most modellers consider a compressor to drive their airbrush of choice, as air cans are too expensive, and they just don't have the finesse of a good air source.  Generally speaking, compressors are big heavy things that you leave in one place connected to mains electricity for the majority of its working life, and quite a few of them are rather noisy into the bargain.  That's been an accepted part of modelling for quite some time now, but what if you wanted to use your airbrush away from electricity, or in a hotel room, on holiday or just outdoors?  Without a battery source, an inverter or an extension cord, you're out of luck under normal circumstances, but with the Viz (not the bawdy magazine), you have options.

 

The Viz is a light-weight compressor that is reasonably quiet, not silent, and can be used either with a mains adapter, or most interestingly, with a battery pack that is available for a reasonable price and gives you the ability to go cordless.  Yes.  Cordless.  A battery powered compressor, which is something you don't come across very often in the mainstream and at a reasonable price.  Firstly though, let's discuss the compressor. 

 

Arism Viz Compressor

If you read my review of the ARISM Min Compressor, you'll have an idea of the style, although this is a larger size, but it is also feels substantially lighter, as it weighs the same 2.5kg as the Mini.  The fascia is metal on the Viz, and it has lightening holes drilled in the front that also act as cooling vents for the motor.  There is a nifty Smart Stop airbrush rest on top of the compressor that has an on/off switch built in, so the act of putting your airbrush in the cradle switches off the compressor.  I think that's a brilliant idea that saves fiddling with the on/off switch, reduces build-up of pressure in the hose as well as the build-up of operational heat, and also saves premature wear of the compressor parts when the brush is not being used.  A strong black plastic carry-handle is also on the top of the device, far enough away from the airbrush rest to provide no interference.  On the front panel is a single 1/8"BSP outlet thread, which fits the supplied hose, and virtually all the industry standard hoses out there if you need a longer one.  A pressure dial is above the outlet, and this is adjustable by using the supplied Silver Bullet moisture trap.  On the back is an on/off switch and a DC power socket that connects to either the AC adapter, or the battery pack, depending on how you are using it.

 

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Noise is pretty reasonable at a stated 45db, which I can believe from my own experience with various compressors and their noise.  It isn't quiet, but neither is it obtrusive, and sat on its vibration damping rubber feet, you won't be irritating the people in the next room whilst using it.  I'm used to a silent compressor, and this was akin to someone blowing a quiet raspberry from across the room, which was easily tolerable when compared to some compressors that claim low noise.  The power pack that converts your auto-sensing 100v or 230v mains electricity to 12v DC plugs into the lead using a standard PC "kettle plug", so if you're travelling to other countries you can pick up a spare lead with their plug on the end for buttons.  A 5.4mm coaxial plug fits into the socket on the back of the compressor, and as it is 12v, you could even make up your own lead to take power from a 12v cigar lighter, Hella socket, or even a leisure battery if you wanted to get the maximum use out of it.

 

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The stated maximum pressure is 50psi (3.4 Bar), moving 16-18 litres of air per minute, which should be plenty for the average airbrush user, and the pressure is regulated by adjusting the dial on the small Silver Bullet moisture trap as mentioned above.  The only downside of this is that the regulator is actually only a bleed valve, so there will be air coming from your trap during use, which may kick up dust or debris if incorrectly oriented.  The supplied hose is fine for most users, and screws directly into many airbrush air valves, with a few exceptions for which there are adaptors available.  Its braided finish will ensure that it lasts, and the smooth finish of the material means that it slides over itself and nearby obstacles easily to reduce tangling.  As there is no receiver in the compressor, the hose acts as the buffer between the piston's output and the airbrush, which might lead to stuttering concerns until you try it.

 

In use the air flow is smooth, with no visible stuttering, even when swiping the airbrush over paper at high speed.  The line sprayed is continuous with only the faintest evidence of a very slight variation of spray pattern. Under normal usage this will not be seen, and I have used it to paint the UE 2 that I have been building on the site recently, so can attest to this. The clatter of the piston does transmit to the airbrush handle however, but that doesn't seem to translate to the spray pattern, so as long as you are aware of it, it is a non-issue.  When the hook on/off switch kicks in, it maintains pressure in the airline until you pick up the airbrush again, so there is no rising and falling air pressure, which means that your spray pattern should remain consistent throughout your session.  If your airbrush has a MAC valve under the nose, you may have to put the brush into the rest at an angle, but as long as your paint cup has a lid, that's not a problem.

 

Portability is good due to the light weight, although if you are using the AC adapter, you have more than just the chassis to carry around, but the box has a handle on the top, so could be reused for your accessories.  If you are using the battery pack, the cord between them is short so moving the compressor with the battery attached is a two-hand operation, unless you either strap them together or use Velcro to attach them as I intend to once the review is completed.  The casing of the battery has vents on the underside, so as long as those aren't blocked, overheating shouldn't be an issue.

 

The Battery Option (Sold Separately)

Battery use is simple and easy to switch to, although the battery packs and their charger are available separately, but at least you can choose how many batteries you want to have on hand.  The charger is a small black socket that leads to a small rectangular box with an indicator LED and short fly-lead with a socket at the end to plug your battery pack into.  The LED shows red when charging, and green when it has switched to trickle charge/maintenance mode when the battery is fully charged.  The battery packs are 12v as you'd expect with a total capacity of 2ah/2,000Mah, and in use I have found you get around 30 minutes actual spraying from a charge if you remember to put the airbrush on the hook when not using it.  Charging is fairly rapid with the charger putting 500Mah into the circuit, so if you have two or more on hand, you can rotate them to keep spraying, although in reality an airbrushing session is unlikely to last that long.

 

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Who should buy one?

If you're a road-warrior modeller that spends a lot of time away, this could be for you, as it is quite portable and takes up little space in your luggage (20cm x 12cm x18cm).  If you like to do a bit of modelling on holidays, or just sometimes model away from electricity, this could be a useful tool in your arsenal as long as the missus doesn't object to you bringing it along, but if you already model while you're on holiday, your argument should be that you want to at least do it well!  Finally, if you just have a spray job a reasonable away from a source of power, then you can have a minimum or 30 minutes of happy spraying with this little unit.  I'm sure there are other reasons why you might want one, but that's all I can think of now.

 

 

Conclusion

It's an endearing little box of tricks, and I can't help liking it for a number of reasons.  Clever design of the hook switch, the compact size and the availability of battery power are pretty cool features, even if the latter is only for occasional use.  The lack of receiver doesn't seem to impact performance unless you move your airbrush around like a madman, but I would have liked to see a more professional approach to pressure regulation given the price, as bleeding air from your moisture trap seems a little old-fashioned.

 

Overall though, highly recommended.

 

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Review sample courtesy of

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