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How do I clean dried paint out of airbrush?


ajwebb

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9 hours ago, CFster said:


Chances are if someone is using a 20 year old brush they know what they’ve got. 

 

You're giving too much credit to the average modeller. Many people get their first brush 2nd hand and have no experience. I'd bet most modellers don't even think about seals until something goes wrong. It's wasn't a concern of mine until I had problems.

 

We are in a thread about cleaning an airbrush which is one of the most basic things to know about airbrushes. No offense meant to the OP we all started off not knowing. First time I forgot to clean paint out of an old Bager 200 I just threw the whole brush in paint thinner to soak. it cleaned the brush out and swelled up the air valve o-ring. It dried out eventually and kept working.

 

Point of my last post is that while rubber o-rings may an old design style for needle packing, one of the big names were still making that style until very recently and many are still out there. Checking eBay I found one  Iwata manufactured in 2018.

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1 hour ago, Steve McArthur said:

 

You're giving too much credit to the average modeller. Many people get their first brush 2nd hand and have no experience. I'd bet most modellers don't even think about seals until something goes wrong. It's wasn't a concern of mine until I had problems.

 

We are in a thread about cleaning an airbrush which is one of the most basic things to know about airbrushes. No offense meant to the OP we all started off not knowing. First time I forgot to clean paint out of an old Bager 200 I just threw the whole brush in paint thinner to soak. it cleaned the brush out and swelled up the air valve o-ring. It dried out eventually and kept working.

 

Point of my last post is that while rubber o-rings may an old design style for needle packing, one of the big names were still making that style until very recently and many are still out there. Checking eBay I found one  Iwata manufactured in 2018.


I’d say the fastest growing segment of modelers are buying Chinese brushes like Gaahleris or Masters or NEOECOs for next to nothing, and even the cheapest ones have PTFE needle seals. I used to mod on r/airbrush. It was rare that some kid spraying miniatures or Warhammer would come in with a 30 year old HP-C somebody gave him. The most popular paint in the average hobby shop these days? I’d say Tamiya or Vallejo. At least here in the states. On that Tamiya rack is Tamiya Airbrush Cleaner, which is 50% acetone and 50% butyl acetate. Same with Mr. Tool Cleaner. 
 

I agree the old style Microns had unsurpassed trigger feel with Buna-n packing seals. As a matter of fact DaveG just got a shipment in of solvent resistant o-rings for people who want to retrofit their brushes to the old style. 

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My first gravity feed double action airbrush was a HP-C purchased in the late ‘90s. I’ve still got it but have been using H&S brushes (Evolution and Infinity) for perhaps the last 20 years. This thread is the first time it registered with me that the HP-C doesn’t have solvent resistant seals. I got in the practice of never leaving the needle in the brush after repeatedly having the needle stick in the Badger 150 I used until getting the Iwata.

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  • 1 month later...
On 1/24/2024 at 7:25 AM, dnl42 said:

I have been using hardware store lacquer thinner to clean my airbrush for many years now. This includes periodic full stripdown cleaning. I've never had problems with the o-rings but I also do use lube on those parts after a stripdown cleaning. This includes Iwata HP-TH and HP-CS for over a decade now and a Badger 360 before that. TBH, this is consistent with survivorship bias:wink:

 

I'm a little surprised about your paint drying in the airbrush. What brand paint and thinner do you use? I primarily use Mr.Color, AK, and Tamiya lacquers, all thinned with Mr.Leveling Thinner. I thin my paint to a very thin consistency (more here). I have only had to deal with dried paint once, and that's because I spaced out and left paint in the cup overnight, I don't see dried paint in the airbrush with routine painting and cleaning. I clean the airbrush immediately after I'm done with each color, so it doesn't normally sit very long. But I have paint sessions that I expect are longer than 5 minutes. After I'm done painting, I usually dip the needle in lacquer thinner and then reinsert to make sure it's not stuck next time I paint.

 

HTH

-- 

dnl

How to make airbrush paint

Sometimes you have that build up of dry water based paint in your cup and inside your airbrush but running airbrush cleaner through it is useless. I found that denatured alcohol breaks up the paint very fast and leaves your airbrush nice and shiny. I also pour some in a plastic paint cup and place the tip parts in there for a minute and I can remove all the dried paint. I put the airbrush back together and run water through it and then some airbrush cleaner to amke sure everything works great before getting back to painting.

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1 hour ago, walterkeit said:

Sometimes you have that build up of dry water based paint in your cup and inside your airbrush but running airbrush cleaner through it is useless. I found that denatured alcohol breaks up the paint very fast and leaves your airbrush nice and shiny. I also pour some in a plastic paint cup and place the tip parts in there for a minute and I can remove all the dried paint. I put the airbrush back together and run water through it and then some airbrush cleaner to amke sure everything works great before getting back to painting.

Denatured alcohol is my solvent of choice for cleaning dried acrylic paint, also. Works well, and doesn't smell nearly as bad as lacquer thinner does!

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  • 3 weeks later...

What about ultrasonic cleaners? Strip the brush down pop it in for few minutes and it should come out like new. Can also clean swimbo’s jewellery while your at it for extra brownie points

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