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Thinning ratio for car paint.

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I recently recived some paint from Paintscratch and this isn`t ready for airbrush. My question would be what ratio

i should mix paint and thinner. Been trying to read around the web and watch youtube videos on the subject but

there is a question i still have to ask. Are these paint lacquer,as in i will need lacquer thinner to mix? 

Any good tip is appriciated. Thanks.


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I would start with a 50:50 mix of thinners and paint, and depending on the airbrush and size of needle, you might have to go to something like 30% paint / 70% thinners, I buy most of my paint in 100 ml tins from Paints4u, after many years mixing paints, I do it by eye, and no longer measure out the paint and thinners ratio.

Edited by GeeBee
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As far as I know "most" touch-up style paints are acrylic lacquer. I would suggest experimenting a bit but, you can probably start with a 2:1 ratio, thinner to paint. try to find a mid-temp thinner that shoots best between 65 and 85 degrees


Edited by astroracer
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Thanks guys. I guess i will try to experiment since there maby isn`t a blueprint to this.

before trying it out on a car body, get yourself some plastic spoons, when your happy with the finish on the spoon you can then move onto to painting the model.


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These guys are right, there is no "one size fits all" formula because there are way to many variables. Here is a list.  Paint viscosity, paint density, airbrush nozzle size, air pressure, temperature, humidity, thinner formula and type of gun.  I am sure there are some I am leaving out here but that is the majority.  First you have to decide if this is going to be something you are going to use over the long haul or is this a one time deal.  If it is not a one time deal, then get a notebook and start keeping notes.  Choose the airbrush and nozzle you are going to use and pick an air pressure.  Do not vary these once you start to test.  Then measure your proportions carefully.  50/50 is a good place to start.  Then do a test.  Are you getting good atomization and is the paint arriving at the surface with sufficient thinner to not give you orange peel, but not so much that it runs.  If not increase or decrease the thinner and try again.  Keep doing this until you get the finish that you want.  Then don't change them when you paint.  Too many people tend to fiddle with all the settings every time and never really get an idea of what really works.  If you change two or more settings you never can decide which one did what you wanted.  Paint is a science if handled that way.  If not then it is black magic.  

Oh and by the way, I paint with DuPont Auto lacquer and my mix ration is 5:1 or 6:1.  This is because the paint comes out of the can like honey but it is really good quality paint.  This is really the extreme that I am talking about.  

Edited by Pete J.
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SERIOUSLY, there really is no true "thinning ratio" for paints for airbrushing, no matter what the "engineering" types will tell you!  Every brand, indeed any bottle or can of paint will differ at least slightly in consistency--I've been airbrushing paint on model cars since 1962--so I do think I know a bit about it.

Rant said, let's look at it:  In my more than 50 yrs of airbrushing paint on model cars, I've learned that thinning paint is a bit of an art--there really is NO mathematical formula--but the "calibrated eyeball" thing does work.  Think about drinking a glass of milk here: Note how the milk "sheets" down the inside of that glass--that's the characteristic of how thinned paint needs to be for airbrushing.  Simply pour the paint you want into your airbrush jar (or a separate bottle if you are using  an airbrush with a gravity feed cup), then add the appropriate thinner to the point where that paint "sheets" down the inside of the glass bottle like that 2% milk your parents bought you for your breakfast cereal--it IS that simple, even though it is an "eyeball" evauation.

Now, go forth, experinent  (by the way, testing this on a cheap plastic spoon (think picnic spoons here!)  will prove what i have just said--so take it from someone who's been airbrushing model car bodies since January 1963.

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