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Thursday, 21 November 2013

Getting Started with Airbrushing Part 2. Compressors.

AIR SOURCES.

Right then let's talk about our compressed air supply. There's quite a number of ways of getting air into your airbrush. Canned pressurised air is one option, Badger do various sized cans and whilst starting out to begin with this option may look cheaper than buying a compressor, it's not. When you start out airbrushing and really start enjoying the results your getting, what can be worse than running out of air. This will happen if your using canned air. And if your planning on doing lots of airbrushing (it's addictive) you will spend a lot of cash on canned air. Don't do it. 

Other options I have heard of are air tanks and even air filled tyres, I don't know about you guys but me that all sounds like a pain in the bum. If your really serious about airbrushing get a compressor.


This is a pic of an Airbrush starter kit from eBay, it's what I started with and cost me about £65. With that I got a compressor with a tank and 2 airbrushes and all the air hoses I would need. Not the best brushes in the world but good enough to start with. Ones a gravity feed and ones a bottle feed, both are dual action.

Now be careful when choosing a compressor. You want one like this that has a tank, the reason being you will have a steady stream of air coming though your brush. What happens when you turn on the compressor is that it will fill the tank with air. As you use your brush and the pressure starts to drop your compressor will kick in and start adding air to the tank. Giving you uninterrupted painting with a constant flow of air. If you buy a compressor without a tank your airbrush will "pulse" as the air pressure drops and rises as you paint. I'm sure you can imagine the problems this can cause with painting.

Another thing to note is that with too much use, compressors can overheat. When they do they will switch themselves off. The 1st time this happened to me I thought I'd broken my compressor. 5 minutes of cool down time I was ready to go again. "Phew". So if this happens to you don't worry just be warned that your compressor needs a rest. Also take care it will be very hot to the touch.

All compressors (that we should be using) will come with a pressure valve, this is where we adjust our PSI. The higher the PSI, the more high pressured air and paint will come out of your airbrush, too high and you will explode paint everywhere you don't want it, too low and the paint will pool on your models and may even run. 20psi is good to start with, but play about with it to see what suits you.

So basically my advice when starting to airbrush is to get a kit like this one. It's cheaper than a wraithknight and you will be well on the road to getting started.

Next post I will cover setting up your painting area, paints and some safety tips. Talking of safety do please make sure when airbrushing your in a well ventilating area and your wearing a mask. I will cover this too in my next post.

TTFN.