Soaking the tip of the airbrush
19 replies to this topic
Posted 30 October 2009 - 09:58 AM
I know this has been talked about before and I've read several posts, but I'm still a bit confused as I know absolutely nothing about the different solvents and whether or not they will damage an airbrush if you leave the tip soaking in them. I'm shooting Createx exclusively. Not shooting any top coats or anything else through the brush. Nothing but Createx. I know there are a multitude of different solvents on the market such as denatured alcohol, mineral spirits, acetone, etc. Could ya'll give me some advice as to which type of solvent to use to soak the tip of my brush in to loosen any gunk that might be building up without damaging the brush?
Posted 30 October 2009 - 10:14 AM
I use acetone.
I take the nozzle assembly off, and soak it for five minutes in some acetone (use a glass container to hold it, because it well melt plastic)
I take the needle out, and wipe it down with an acetone rag.
I will soak the brush head, including where the trigger is mounted, in acetone, if the trigger seems sticky.
I also disassemble the whole brush, and clean it with acetone, and a soft brush, if it is really sticky.
Then I reassemble the brush, run a bowl full of acetone through it, back flushing and spraying, to get all the old paint out.
After I run acetone through the brush, I run water through it, to get the acetone out.
Posted 30 October 2009 - 10:22 AM
it might affect the O rings at cheaper airbrushes ... just a guess never tried
Posted 30 October 2009 - 11:52 AM
Ben, as long as you remove the tip from your airbrush before you soak it you'll be fine....I usually soak mine in lacquer thinner for a few minutes after i've been using Createx....the thinner really loosens acrylic and won't hurt the tip(nozzle).
Posted 30 October 2009 - 11:54 AM
That's what ou need to be worried about. Your paperwork when you buy a new brush should say whether or not the orings are solvent proof. You shouldn't really need to soak anything anyway, except maybe the nozzle, and no worries about the solvents melting anything there. Clean it up when you're done with the proper tools and no issues. Acetone works well to clean Createx right up with no need for soaking. Lacquer thinner doesn't, it just makes a gummy mess out of it.
Using uro's I have no need to soak anything, even once in a while when I don't get the brush clean right away, the paint just wipes right off with lacquer thinner.
Posted 30 October 2009 - 12:02 PM
If your tip has O-rings, the O-rings near the tip are not solvent proof, you will most definitely ruin them with the wrong solvent.
For createx, water is essentially a solvent. Therefore, unless you are having ongoing serious clogging problems, I would not soak the tip in anything but water or maybe a soap such as windex.
Posted 30 October 2009 - 12:17 PM
This is the right thing to do, I use hot water (not very hot) but it disolves the paint easier if it's getting stiff , also DON'T forget the airbrush with paint in it, I clean it immediately after finishing the paint job, usually I do it in a sink, but I won't recomend it if you tare apart the airbrush, you don't want any pieces "going down the toilet" along with the water
Posted 30 October 2009 - 12:25 PM
Ive been reading this thread. Great tips.
Just wanted to add, if you guys have an AB that has gunk or does not work right, a good soak in an ultrasonic cleaner would be a good way to get it back to like new tolerances.
Posted 30 October 2009 - 02:22 PM
Thanks for all the advice guys. I do what I think is a fairly thorough cleaning as soon as I finish each painting session. I first back flush with water to get most of the leftover paint out. Then I do another back flush with Windex. And then another back flush with water to clear the Windex. I then remove the needle to make sure there is no paint on it and do another quick back flush with water while I have the tip out. I've been told that repeatedly tearing the AB apart will cause the threads to wear and will lead to leaks around all the threaded parts. This is why I have started cleaning my brush the way I do. I was just worried about paint building up in the nozzle area. I had read a post a while back that talked about leaving the front end of the brush setting in some type of solvent after the cleaning had been done to loosen up any leftover paint that had been missed in the cleaning process. Not sure what type of paint they were using or what the solvent was. You've all been very helpful and I appreciate all the advice.
Posted 31 October 2009 - 01:04 AM
Forgot to mention........for Createx one of the most effective ways to clean paint out for me was to have water in a squirt bottle, squeeze type, not spray. Withe the trigger pressed and pulled all the way open, DRIP the water into the paint cup or the siphon inlet with the brush inverted. Not a steady stream of water, has to be drops. I guess it's something about the surface tension that makes it clean so much faster, but you'd be surprised at how fast it dissolves the paint.....this is for undried paint only, once it dries, you gotta rub it.
Posted 31 October 2009 - 01:51 AM
Clamboni, when you say "inverted", do you mean upside down, tip facing downward, upward or what?
Posted 31 October 2009 - 06:49 AM
For a siphon feed brush, yes. Flip it over and spray as you're dripping the water in. Gravity feed, just leave it upright.
Posted 01 November 2009 - 08:43 AM
buy some Createx Air Brush Restorer!
Ok, I will quit shouting now. Like others I keep a spray bottle filled with generic Windex (and it has no silicones or oils or anything that will effect the adhesion of topcoats in it) and I spray out the bulk of the paint AND i finish with Createx cleaner.
But if your airbrush is dirty and as finatic as I am they all seemingly get a little build up that just doesn't 'rinse' / spray out try using the Createx Air Brush Restorer. Take out the needle and soak the nozzle, tip, cap etc. and also run some through the air brush. Just follow the basic directions on the bottle. This stuff is great!!!!! and use a little of their lube from time to time.
Posted 01 November 2009 - 10:20 AM
Will the createx cleaner or restorer damage o-rings? Sorry if that sounds like a dumb question, but haven't been at this very long.
Posted 01 November 2009 - 12:17 PM
You don't want to plunk the whole brush in solvent because it can damage the O rings in the air valve. Some airbrushes had packing that could be damaged by solvent. Most now have solvent resistant packing so the brushes can be used with solvent based paints. The packing is in the barrel of the brush behind the mix chamber. The needle fits through it and the packing stops air and paint from migrating into the rear of the brush.
I don't think there would be a problem with soaking just the front of the brush in most any solvent, but how you'd keep the solvent from evaporating overnight? It's easier to get a pint of airbrush cleaning solution. Mix it 1:8 with water in a little Tupperware container. Take the airbrush apart and throw everything in there overnight. It won't damage O rings. Rinse the parts with plain water. Works pretty well. I do it when the mood hits me, every month or so. The cleaner I got was EZ Air. It contains soap and sodium carbonate.
Edited by BobP, 01 November 2009 - 12:31 PM.
Posted 01 November 2009 - 04:43 PM
Sorry for not making myself more clear. I was talking about just soaking the front end of the airbrush. Not the whole thing. This brings me to another conundrum. I was told on another post that continually tearing the airbrush apart to clean it would result in excess wear on the threads which would lead to leaks. This has already happened to my Paasche VL. Now I have to use a sealant to keep air from leaking around the threaded areas. I was trying to keep from doing this with my new brush. Hence the question about soaking the front end of the brush. I back flush with water, then Windex and then water again between every color change. When I'm done painting I do all the back flushing again plus take the needle out and make sure it's clean and then do another back flush with water while the needle is out. I plan on ordering some Createx cleaner and restorer. I was just wondering if I'm doing a sufficient job of cleaning. I apologize for the confusion and the repeated questioning. Just don't want problems with my new brush.
Posted 01 November 2009 - 08:42 PM
I do mine the same as you after a session but I don't hesitate to take it apart if needed. I don't remove the itty bitty nozzle unless I'm soaking the brush in cleaner overnight. A clean brush is Job #1 if you want it to work well. Whatever routine you use, the brush will let you know if it isn't enough! If it starts to leak through any of the threads, rub them with a little beeswax. Most brushes, including Iwata, come with sealant on the threads that eventually wears off.
Posted 01 November 2009 - 08:57 PM
Thanks Bob. I hate being a pain and asking so many questions, but I really want to be sure that what I'm doing is right as well as not wanting to screw up an airbrush.
Posted 01 November 2009 - 09:25 PM
RG- If you go here -
And check out the 7th and 8th pics, you will see a cap I stand mine in (filled with denatured alcohol - or metho), the caps are off the SMALL tubes of silicone etc, push the brush into it and it seals pretty well - you can leave the brush soaking in it for days, just lift the needle slightly out of the tip and 'chuck it' so the alcohol (or whatever you want to use) can get in there and do it's job, put sonme in the bowl as well, attach the chrome cap and seal the bleed hole with a piece of tape to stop the evaporation from the bowl - works for me. pette
Edited by hazmail, 01 November 2009 - 09:27 PM.
Posted 02 November 2009 - 12:55 AM
All right Pete. I knew I had read that somewhere here at TU. Had forgotten it was one of yours and I couldn't figure out how to search for it. I've got it bookmarked now as it contains a lot of other useful material.