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DIY Airbrush the MacGyver way


mattg
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Why not?

Interesting viewpoint coming from someone who spends days and days assembling plastic model kits when there are ready-made diecasts and assembled models easily available.

I found it fascinating to see him take found items and turn them into a working tool. He obviously did it for the challenge of it. It was mentioned a couple of times that he had other airbrushes, including one costing 200 times more than this one. I doubt that the PLA-3000 is his primary, or even secondary, airbrush. It's a novelty and bragging rights - "here's the airbrush I built from scratch, and the airplane I camouflage painted with it".

I'm impressed.

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16 hours ago, SSNJim said:

Why not?

Interesting viewpoint coming from someone who spends days and days assembling plastic model kits when there are ready-made diecasts and assembled models easily available.

. . .

I'm impressed.

If his hobby was making McGyver-style hobby tools, then sure - have at it.

But if cheap airbrushes are easily obtainable, I think it is silly to try to make a hand-made airbrush kludge.  I"m not impressed.

I do build my own custom tools if I need them for my hobbies, but only if I can't find one that already exists and can easily be bought.  Right now I'm actually working on a handheld precision slow-speed power drill with foot-pedal-controlled variable speed for use with small Tungsten Carbide drill bits.  I have also built all sorts of jigs and holding fixtures for certain tasks.

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8 hours ago, peteski said:

If his hobby was making McGyver-style hobby tools, then sure - have at it.

But if cheap airbrushes are easily obtainable, I think it is silly to try to make a hand-made airbrush kludge.  I"m not impressed.

I do build my own custom tools if I need them for my hobbies, but only if I can't find one that already exists and can easily be bought.  Right now I'm actually working on a handheld precision slow-speed power drill with foot-pedal-controlled variable speed for use with small Tungsten Carbide drill bits.  I have also built all sorts of jigs and holding fixtures for certain tasks.

Got it. Your project is better than his. I don't know how precise a hand-held foot-controlled variable speed power drill can be; wobbling and shaking is part of drilling things by hand, and a foot control isn't much good for controlling speed beyond on and off. Sounds like you'd be better off with a cheap easily obtainable variable speed Dremel and 3 jaw chuck, and a drill press attachment to make things steady, but you'd rather McGyver it.

Good luck, and I truly wish you success.

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14 hours ago, SSNJim said:

Got it. Your project is better than his. I don't know how precise a hand-held foot-controlled variable speed power drill can be; wobbling and shaking is part of drilling things by hand, and a foot control isn't much good for controlling speed beyond on and off. Sounds like you'd be better off with a cheap easily obtainable variable speed Dremel and 3 jaw chuck, and a drill press attachment to make things steady, but you'd rather McGyver it.

Good luck, and I truly wish you success.

I have couple of variable speed Dremels (where I already modified the speed controller for even slower than factory speed).  Not only it is still too fast, the unit is too heavy and bulky for precision hand drilling.  I even have a Dremel flex-shaft hand-piece, but the cable is again too stiff and bulky.

My drill will be made from a modified Dremel flex-shaft hand-piece. It uses ball bearings for the shaft so it is very stable. It will be cut short, and I'll mount a 12V coreless motor with a 16:1 gearhead on it.  The power will be delivered by thin lightweight flexible cord.  That gives me speed range from zero to about 700 RPMs with good amount of torque.  The entire drill will be very lightweight and easy to hold between your fingers.   It's diameter is less than a double of a hobby knife handle diameter.

This tool will be totally different than my Dremels.  Apples and oranges. And it is not a McGyver kludge - it will be a real solidly designed and made tool. Basically similar in size to dental drills (except low speed with good torque).

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C'mon guys, it's nothing worth arguing about. It's the result that counts, not the tools you used to achieve it.

It doesn't matter if you used a $300 airbrush, some $50 China copy or a DIY tool for even less because it's all you can afford or because you just want to do it for the fun of it.

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On ‎10‎/‎23‎/‎2020 at 9:59 PM, peteski said:

I have couple of variable speed Dremels (where I already modified the speed controller for even slower than factory speed).  Not only it is still too fast, the unit is too heavy and bulky for precision hand drilling.  I even have a Dremel flex-shaft hand-piece, but the cable is again too stiff and bulky.

My drill will be made from a modified Dremel flex-shaft hand-piece. It uses ball bearings for the shaft so it is very stable. It will be cut short, and I'll mount a 12V coreless motor with a 16:1 gearhead on it.  The power will be delivered by thin lightweight flexible cord.  That gives me speed range from zero to about 700 RPMs with good amount of torque.  The entire drill will be very lightweight and easy to hold between your fingers.   It's diameter is less than a double of a hobby knife handle diameter.

This tool will be totally different than my Dremels.  Apples and oranges. And it is not a McGyver kludge - it will be a real solidly designed and made tool. Basically similar in size to dental drills (except low speed with good torque).

I've still got it.

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15 minutes ago, SSNJim said:

I've still got it.

Good, because in tour earlier response you mentioned that I instead of making my drill, I would be better off getting an off-the-shelf Dremel.  I figured that if I provided some  more details of what I'm building, and that I already own couple modified Dremels, you would get the idea that yes, what I'm doing actually makes sense, and I'm not building it just to say that I built it.

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7 hours ago, mattg said:

C'mon guys, it's nothing worth arguing about. It's the result that counts, not the tools you used to achieve it.

It doesn't matter if you used a $300 airbrush, some $50 China copy or a DIY tool for even less because it's all you can afford or because you just want to do it for the fun of it.

But will he actually dump his "real" airbrush for painting his models in favor of his home-made one?  I somehow doubt that.  As others said, the results will likely be less than optimal.

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5 hours ago, peteski said:

But will he actually dump his "real" airbrush for painting his models in favor of his home-made one?  I somehow doubt that.  As others said, the results will likely be less than optimal.

No, he probably did it just for fun, out of curiosity and to share something else than "hey look at my 976th scale model build!". But other people might be tempted to build and use it, for whatever reason.

I can already imagine the conversation when someone who painted his model using this DIY airbrush shows a build:

DIY airbrush guy: "Hi, look at my latest scale model build. It's a '69 Olds 420"
Other guy: "Nice! What airbrush did you use to paint the body?"
DIY airbrush guy: "I used a insert expensive airbrush model here."
Other guy: "Thanks. Really nice! See you."
DIY airbrush guy: "No, jk, actually I used this cheap DIY airbrush."
Other guy: "Oh! Now that you say it, I think yout paintjob turned out semi-optimal. Look at that... and this spot... and..."

 

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5 hours ago, ChrisBcritter said:

Peteski, how about a build thread on that drill? I bet a lot of us would like to see it - sounds like just the ticket for drilling out distributor caps for plug wires.

I will do that, but finding the parts I used will be a challenge.  The gearhead motor was a surplus item I found at the Electronic Goldmine website several years ago and never seen them again.  The Dremel Flex-shaft handpiece is the older, smaller size made of aluminum. Those are not made anymore. The new ones are fatter and plastic.  Still, it will give give folks some ideas on how to build something similar.

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To add to the drill discussion, my ideal choice would be a Foredom Rotary tool, the Cadillac of drills used by jewellers and goldsmiths. Their foot control is very sensitive and responsive. It remains on my wish list.

Cheers Misha 
 

59F5950C-9707-4711-AB7E-73C82DB48484.jpeg.ee89225a4318ac0786085990d0845994.jpeg

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7 hours ago, Misha said:

To add to the drill discussion, my ideal choice would be a Foredom Rotary tool, the Cadillac of drills used by jewellers and goldsmiths. Their foot control is very sensitive and responsive. It remains on my wish list.

Cheers Misha 
 

59F5950C-9707-4711-AB7E-73C82DB48484.jpeg.ee89225a4318ac0786085990d0845994.jpeg

Worth every penny. A great  tool if you have the money. Not just for model work, they are very useful around the house and shop. 

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Yes, that is an excellent flex-shaft tool. My drill however will be much slower speed (my motor is geared 16:1 to slow it down), and motor is in the handpiece (no stiff shaft behind the handpiece). :D

Edited by peteski
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Some manufacturers like Proxxon make variable speed controllers to plug their small tools into.   I have a small Expo Drill that I plug into my Emco Unimat I transformer but it has no variable speed control so I will be looking for something like the Proxxon unit.

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  • 7 months later...
On 10/22/2020 at 7:48 PM, peteski said:

But if cheap airbrushes are easily obtainable, I think it is silly to try to make a hand-made airbrush kludge.  I"m not impressed.

He did it for the same reason why dogs lick their privates...they can! They also do it for their own enjoyment and aren't seeking anyone's approval. 😜

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On 6/11/2021 at 11:49 PM, Capt. Speirs said:

He did it for the same reason why dogs lick their privates...they can! They also do it for their own enjoyment and aren't seeking anyone's approval. 😜

Well, knock me over with a feather  Ric.  I'm glad to know the reason for creation of this strange contraption, and I'm happy to know that nobody was looking for my approval. I'm also glad that I was given a chance to comment on this happy experiment, and thanks for commenting on my 8-month old post.

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