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Airbrush Cleaning


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I keep a blend made up that I clean most acrylics with, including Tamiya, MM, Liquitex and craft paints. It's about 30%  or so Windex, 40% 91ipa alcohol, a shot of glycerin and the rest is water. Then I follow the main flushings of that up with straight alcohol and shoot that through to get any residue of the cleaner out.

Probably lacquer thinner would work just as well, never tried it since I have this other blend.

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1 hour ago, StevenGuthmiller said:

Lacquer thinner will clean anything out of your airbrush that you plan on running through it.

I use it for lacquer, enamel and acrylic.

 

 

Steve

Well, anything but Poly-S (no longer available). Lacquer thinner turned Poly-S, to my utter amazement, into instant Jello! :blink:

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9 hours ago, StevenGuthmiller said:

Lacquer thinner will clean anything out of your airbrush that you plan on running through it.

I use it for lacquer, enamel and acrylic.

Steve

Well, that would be most convenient for me since I've used lacquer thinner for years cleaning enamel out of my airbrush. Interesting, thanks.

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I use isopropyl alcohol (91% or 99%) for cleaning the airbrush after shooting acrylic.

In my experience, lacquer thinner is not very effective on acrylics. Obviously mileage varies, but the lacquer thinner I use (cheap hardware store brand) will not dissolve the acrylics I use (most frequently Tamiya).

Edited by Bainford
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A 1/4 liter of the Tamiya Airbrush Cleaner costs more than 2 gallons of lacquer thinner. I make a  point of having a bottle of lacquer thinner ready to spray and as soon as I am done spraying paint, I run some lacquer thinner through my airbrush. I pull the needle and tips and drop the tips into another small bottle of lacquer thinner and wipe the needle with thinner. I use small brushes to clean all orifices and use lacquer thinner in that process. I have never had a single problem.

One thing I make a point of doing is always keep the tip end of the airbrush downward when using or cleaning. I also keep the tip end down as my cleaned airbrush is drying out before reassembly. I do this to keep anything from running back into the trigger and air flow area. The air valve should always stay clean and mostly dry. If it gets crud into it there is an effect on the spraying and air flow.

Acrylics can definitely clog up an airbrush and rapid and thorough cleaning will prevent problems. Although I have not tried it, I would think a good denatured alcohol would also be a good cleaner when using acrylics.  

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9 hours ago, Tommy Isbister said:

Never use Windex or other cleaners that have ammonia in them. Ammonia will attack the plating on the inside of the airbrush and cause it to corrode over time. I destroyed two new Passche Talons before I figured this out.

I have Windex as about 35-40% of my cleaner ingredients that I make up. Never an issue, get the brush clean with that , flush it out with water, follow up with 91% ipa. I use it on my 40+ yo Badger and newer Paasche H, have not had an issue.  I think it depends how you use the Windex but this isn't the first time I've heard this. When I soak parts overnight for instance I use lacquer thinner.

I've also used dish soap and water as a cleaner, it works best when heated up. Which I usually clean them at the kitchen sink anyway.

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I know I've cleaned paintbrushes of both Tamiya and Testor acrylics with lacquer thinner with no problems. It works much better than water, which I used before, and does kinda-sorta work, but not as well as lac thinner. 

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Again, all fiddling around with home brews aside, if you clean it out with lacquer thinner right after you're done using it, which I would hope the majority of air brush users would do regardless of the type of paint you use, you'll have no problems keeping it clean.

It's much easier keeping one can of lacquer thinner around to clean everything from your air brush, to paint brushes and dirty air brush jars, whether it's acrylic, enamel or lacquer,  than it is to come up with intricate new procedures and formulas for a pretty simple operation.

I'll put it this way, if I can't clean it out of my air brush with something as powerful as lacquer thinner, I don't think that I want it in my air brush in the first place.

 

Steve

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13 minutes ago, StevenGuthmiller said:

Again, all fiddling around with home brews aside, if you clean it out with lacquer thinner right after you're done using it, which I would hope the majority of air brush users would do regardless of the type of paint you use, you'll have no problems keeping it clean.

It's much easier keeping one can of lacquer thinner around to clean everything from your air brush, to paint brushes and dirty air brush jars, whether it's acrylic, enamel or lacquer,  than it is to come up with intricate new procedures and formulas for a pretty simple operation.

I'll put it this way, if I can't clean it out of my air brush with something as powerful as lacquer thinner, I don't think that I want it in my air brush in the first place.

 

Steve

PREACH IT, BROTHER STEVE! Can I get a AY-men from the choir? B)

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I will say one thing about lacquer thinner, a friend spent a fortune on one of those overnight sensation Grex airbrushes, could have bought 3 Paasche VL's for the money...anyway he used it a time or two and cleaned it with lacquer thinner. The lacquer thinner melted some of the critical parts of the Grex and ruined it.

My take on that is to still use lacquer thinner and don't buy into marketing hype on overpriced airbrushes. I know I own parts of 3 of the Testor's Aztec airbrushes and they don't like any paint or thinner. They seem to be made to look at...

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While not a fan of those plastic Aztec airbrushes, the engineering plastic they are made of is (or should be) resistant to lacquer thinner or other solvents like acetone.  I would be surprised if the plastic parts were affected. But those airbrushed have sealed nozzle units and they cannot be disassembled for cleaning. I suspect hat most of their failures is due to clogged nozzle units.  As mentioned earlier, some water-based paints actually curdle when exposed to strong solvents (like lacquer thinner).   If that happens in an Aztec, the nozzle is trash.

It makes most sense to get airbrushes made out of metal and ones which can be fully disassembled for thorough cleaning (when the need arises)..

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1 hour ago, peteski said:

It makes most sense to get airbrushes made out of metal and ones which can be fully disassembled for thorough cleaning (when the need arises)..

I agree 100%.

Not only would I not run anything through my air brush that can't be cleaned out with lacquer thinner, but I would never buy an air brush that you basically can't shoot lacquer through.

Pretty much useless in my opinion.

 

Steve

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