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Buying My First Airbrush (or Compressor) Questions.


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I'm not "cheap" by any means, and I'll always buy a good tool instead of inexpensive and questionable.

That said, I won't spend money unnecessarily either.

If I were you, I'd put your existing compressor in a closet or somewhere else you won't hear it, and use it for your painting needs.

I have a 5-horse, 30 gallon unit in my back shop at home...a loud one...and run a hose up to the modeling area.

Works great, and I never run out of air or have pressure fluctuations, even when running small air tools for modeling.

Nice thing about running a long hose is that the air is cool by the time it gets to me, so a water trap does a much better job than if it's trying to dry hot, humid air right out of the compressor.

Edited by Ace-Garageguy
TYPO
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56 minutes ago, Ace-Garageguy said:

I'm not "cheap" by any means, and I'll always buy a good tool instead of inexpensive and questionable.

That said, I won't spend money unnecessarily either.

If I were you, I'd put your existing compressor in a closet or somewhere else you won't hear it, and use it for your painting needs.

I have a 5-horse, 30 gallon unit in my back shop at home...a loud one...and run a hose up to the modeling area.

Works great, and I never run out of air or have pressure fluctuations, even when running small air tools for modeling.

Nice thing about running a long hose is that the air is cool by the time it gets to me, so a water trap does a much better job than if it's trying to dry hot, humid air right out of the compressor.

Thanks for the input - but the only closet I could put it in without hearing it would be in a neighbor's house!  It's simply too loud to use in the home.

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I got this from my boss a while back for pennies on the dollar. I previously had an El Cheapo that sounded like someone was jackhammering the driveway. It's perfect for car and bike tires and the airbrush. And it's amazingly quiet.PXL_20220106_010717615.thumb.jpg.3a33bef34e75c56cafbc0d4532cbbbff.jpg

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Kevin, you look like you are fairly new, so maybe that is why you assign this question instead of noticing a long-running sticky thread in this forum about choosing compressors.   There is lots of useful info and recommendation in there.

 

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3 hours ago, Miatatom said:

Go to Harbor Freight and get their smallest Ultracet model. It's about $150. I'm realy happy with mine. It's quiet enough that it sits below my booth.

The name on my unit is Fortress Ultra Quiet. It has a 2 gallon tank that will run an air brush easily as well as air up tires. 

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I won't address the compressor brand outright, cause that can go on and on, and I use a noisy 8 gal portable. The good news is I only air it up once or twice a week unless inflating car tires or running household nail guns and such. But as to the hose, most compressors have a 1/4" fitting. You can get either a hose with the 1/4"on one end and Badger fitting on the other or you can go all Badger hose and get a 1/4" to Badger adapter. Amazon has the adapters . I've done adapters  1/4 to Badger and also 1/4 to Paasche. You can also get quick disconnects for Badger.

You gotta watch out for some cheap airbrush only dedicated compressors that don't have a true standard 1/4" connector on them and you end up with gobs of plumbers tape, over tightening and it still leaks. If I'm not mistaken the Point Zero is not like that, it's an import like others but they corrected that unlike some others. If you get a more household silent running portable like the Fortress and others mentioned in the thread you will get the true 1/4" connector. I believe Badger compressors have Badger connectors on them but I'm not 100% sure. I know they're costly for what they are though. I've never owned a dedicated airbrush compressor, I've adapted from from 200 gal systems, 150 gal systems, 30 gal 8 gal, 16 gal through the years. I use whatever I got on hand. At one time I adapted a propane tank as a portable air tank lol. Not to scientific here, make it work .

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I have used a Model Maker brand compressor for several years and have no complaints. The specs are Model #CP101, 1/8 hp, .90 air displacement with 50 psi max air pressure.  Everyone else's compressor sound almost exotic or industrial compared to the unit I have. Mine is the only one I have ever used so it is hard to say what would work best or better. The brand label is a peel and stick affair which leads me to think this is sold under many different name brands. The features I think you would want to consider is the ability to adjust the air pressure and a gauge by which you can tell just how much pressure you are using. A water trap should also be inline. I think if you find something with these features at a minimum you would be happy with the results. 

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I've been running a Mastercraft compressor with a 6 gallon tank for several years. Have it set up in the basement beside the washer/dryer. I have a hose that runs through a wall to my model area where I have an airbooth. That compressor has served me well for many years but it is noisy when it turns on. I just recently purchased a California Air compressor with a 1 gallon tank that is supposed to be ultra quiet. I'll swap out once it arrives.  I highly recommend quick disconnects. My new setup will have two airbrushes, each with their own hose so I can quickly switch them out. 

Danger

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Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/Master-Airbrush-Runner-Compressor-TC-326T/dp/B07ZQM6R83/ref=sr_1_5?crid=14G93T34Q1OK0&keywords=airbrush+compressor&qid=1641497302&sprefix=airbrush+compressor%2Caps%2C146&sr=8-5

I bought basically the same one, works great. My previous one was very similar but didn't have the tank....get one with a tank.

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  • 4 months later...

I have a question fellows.  I've been using an 8 Gallon 125 psi air compressor I bought at Harbor Freight some years ago.  While air brushing the pressure will drop 3-5 psi depending on how long I stay on the button.   The regular came with the unit.  What do I need to help keep a more steady air pressure?

20220131_163739.jpg

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Hmmm... interesting.  That much of a compressor shouldn't drop at all on an airbrush, so I suspect your regulator may be at fault.  I would suggest an inline pressure valve like this Iwata inline MAC valve.

 image.png.e7652419ef9d62985785f3d27ac366be.png

You run the basic line pressure at a higher level and use the MAC valve to reduce it at the brush.  You can get a very small gauge to determine the pressure after the valve.  Set it with the brush air open all the way. 

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All the pressure regulators will show static pressure few psi higher than when the air starts flowing (ie. when I depress the airbrush trigger or use the regulated air for some other purpose). Granted, my regulators are not expensive high-precision units, but I believe that all the regulators will have static pressure slightly higher than when the air is moving through them.

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Or you could go to Harbor Freight and get one a lot cheaper. I've got one with a digital display that I've been using for about 10 years. Is it accurate, I don't know. But I can replicate my results consistently. I'll mash the button to turn on the display, open the trigger on my air brush and adjust it to whatever pressure I need. I don't remember what it cost, but I think it was around $10-$15.

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9 minutes ago, Miatatom said:

Or you could go to Harbor Freight and get one a lot cheaper. I've got one with a digital display that I've been using for about 10 years. Is it accurate, I don't know. But I can replicate my results consistently. I'll mash the button to turn on the display, open the trigger on my air brush and adjust it to whatever pressure I need. I don't remember what it cost, but I think it was around $10-$15.

What happens to the pressure reading once you stop pressing the trigger? Does it show few psi higher than while you are spraying? Or is the pressure reading steady regardless of whether the air is flowing through the regulator or not?

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Airbrush and/or compressor?

It really always comes down to what one can afford as generally these two items represent most model makers biggest investment. My only advice to a would be buyer is to take a cold hard look at what you want to use them for.

Compressors come in many forms. A small compressor with a pressure holding tank, moisture trap and pressure gauge would suit most modellers needs. Avoid the small diaphragm type ones that are designed for DIY and pumping up tyres  etc.

Airbrushes. Well we are spoilt for choice here. Look at what you want to use it for. Generally spraying or fine detail work for custom paint jobs will determine what you will need. Good airbrushed  do not come cheap! They are a precision instrument, and the cost reflects this. Stay with a trusted brand like Badger, Paasche, Iwata or Harder and Steenbeck. There are a few other good ones, but there are also many cheap ones out there that look like a bargain coming with all bells and whistles. A cheap one might be ok if used very seldomly, but for constant use it would be foolish to compromise on quality when buying

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10 hours ago, peteski said:

What happens to the pressure reading once you stop pressing the trigger? Does it show few psi higher than while you are spraying? Or is the pressure reading steady regardless of whether the air is flowing through the regulator or not?

Yes, it goes back up a couple of psi. That's to be expected.

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The guidance I have received, and what works for me is to adjust the regulator to the desired pressure while holding the trigger down on the airbrush. 

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24 minutes ago, kurth said:

The guidance I have received, and what works for me is to adjust the regulator to the desired pressure while holding the trigger down on the airbrush. 

That makes perfect sense.

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3 minutes ago, peteski said:

That makes perfect sense.

I agree.  I am just surprised to see that much drop on an airbrush.  They generally don't have enough flow to make that big of a difference.  I have to use this method for my Baby Iwata touchup gun(For large scale models).  The basic pressure of the gun needs to be set to 13psi wide open.  

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Posted (edited)
34 minutes ago, Pete J. said:

I agree.  I am just surprised to see that much drop on an airbrush.  They generally don't have enough flow to make that big of a difference.  I have to use this method for my Baby Iwata touchup gun(For large scale models).  The basic pressure of the gun needs to be set to 13psi wide open.  

Well, it is a HF compressor/regulator designed for construction work (air-tools, not for precision airbrushing).  The regulator is probably cheaply designed and made, using low  cost components.  Zippy could buy and install a secondary, better quality regulator.  Just crank the compressor's regulator to 50 ir 75 psi, then use the 2nd regulator for the airbrush pressure adjustment.  I actually do that myself on my setup. I have secondary regulator/moisture-trap which I attach to the output of the compressor's regulator.  I bought it at HF too. LOL.

PressRegulator01.JPG.19eeddd80a7cc2e27d0a71b6582ae307.JPG

Edited by peteski
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