Haven’t you ever dreamed of subj? Well – haven’t you even thought of?
Seriously, i wanted to try it long ago. But it was absolutely not an urgent idea, just "maybe someday". When i wanted to decorate something from time to time, then i used what i have in my hands accidentally – a foam roller or just a piece of foam, stencil, brush, toothpick... results accordingly. And efforts accordingly.
What i expected from airbrush (if i get it someday):
- evenness of paint layer
- smooth color transitions
- more fun in exchange to less efforts
- some economy of paint
- (shy) more "professional" results in a whole...
What is needed for air painting, generally?
The first is obvious: an airbrush itself. Here it is, the most common on the market. Let’s choose 0.3 mm for the first try (the most common size).
The second is (was) the question: an air pump...
... usual way is not a secret - professional, but not too rich guys use pumps from/for kitchen refrigerator. Disadvantage: this kind of pump needs to bother about lubricating oil and filtering it out of the air flow which goes to airbrush. Also i have no idea where and how can i get such pump easily, without disassembling an old refrigerator or searching a special store with spares for refrigerators.
The same time i wouldn't plan to use it really professionally, like a car painting or something similar. My personal goals are very modest: to place the whole job on the desk or on the part of a living room floor, to complete it in some hours and to make a break for some days/weeks/months before the next job.
Well one more idea, also obvious: (cheap) car tire inflator.
It is a bad idea. Just bad. Don't even start to think to try this way.
It sounds like a tractor, inacceptable to use when someone else lives near you (even in a daytime).
And the cheapest models are of a very questionable design in general, for long working time particularly. I've googled reviews, inside photos, test videos of such devices - you can too, but you don't need to. Just not suitable.
Ok, let's search for:
- an air pump
- quiet, not annoying for living indoor daytime at least, desirable any time of course
- suitable for airbrush specifically
What does it mean "for airbrush specifically"? I kept in mind two digits when searching: pressure in PSI and productivity in liters per minute. Both of them should be acceptable (not too low).
But what does it mean "acceptable", which exact digits do i need? That was the biggest doubt... i've searched related sites, people says different digits there.
And i've done the "air pump" query.
Realized that hardly i can find a "too strong" pump. But if i'd take the strongest of what is offered, then likely it would fit.
Here it is : 12 V 1.5 A, 60*120mm. Quite massive thing.
I suggest to not bother about stated PSI and liters/min when chosing, just take a look to its electric power consumption (together with dimensions). Common sense hints that similar pumps will perform similarly.
... and yes, i've chosen it.
So we have an airbrush and we have a pump.
What else we need to make the working setup?
Power supply - yes of course. Not a question, boring to ask, boring to answer. Just any, 12 volts and not less than 1.5 amperes.
Receiver tank, special connectors, filters, manometers... don't bother. Stupidly: soft silicone hose 4*6mm (inner*outer diameter) long enough (mine is 3 meters just because i have it). And nothing else. One end tightly onto the threaded connector which comes together with airbrush, another end very tightly onto the pump output tube.
So the whole the task is solved.
Complete setup from the first try, with no mistakes:
3) power supply 12 V 1.5+ A
4) piece of soft silicon hose 4*6mm
And i can’t believe it could be chosen better (for the given task).
The pump works really quiet - not completely silently but semi-acceptable even in night time. Becomes rather hot when working, i'd say external surface 70+C by touch, maybe good idea to use an active cooling. And its airflow is exactly what is needed.
The airbrush with 0.3 mm nozzle can draw simply lines about 3 mm wide. Thinner lines are tricky to make and hard to repeat confidently. When you want to make small drawings... think yourself (and if you want to make a BIG drawing, then i hope you’ve thought well already). 0.2 or 0.25 mm nozzle is also commonly sold, interesting to compare but i have not own (yet).
Its knob works in two ways: pressing down opens the airflow, moving along opens the nozzle. No need to verbalize, easier to figure out intuitively when keeping in own hands. Learning to use is similar to learning to drive bicycle – just do it.
About the paint... i use acrylic, any alternatives? No significant smell, non toxic at all, soiled hands easily washed by water (dried paint comes off like a film). Safe even for children. And result is good for practically any surface, even for outdoor use.
But the consistence is critical. Too liquid - spills out instead of spraying. Too viscous - doesn't come through, stucks inside and needs to do something asap, while not dried inside the brush.
Too viscous acrylic paint can be "dissolved" in some degree by usual water while not completely dried (really becomes a suspension, it is not a real dissolution). But maybe good idea to have a special solvent.
But if too liquid as is... then i have no idea how to make it viscous simply and quickly.
And one more point: it's recommended to filter paint before using, so that it won’t have accidental particles in it. How about an old tights?
What is not possible: sharp borders... because the whole nature of the airbrush is “smooth transitions”. And this nature works even when using stencil – borders would be sharper of course, but still smooth anyway.
The very common idea: when you have got some material/tool/technique/anything at all, then you have not to fight it – you have to use it...
[... to add some more thoughts here ...]
What else to note specially... i don’t remember right now. I am not a professional artist, and this is not a professional site (and we not even planned to build a professional setup for ridiculous money). Just let’s try to draw anything:
My strategy was:
1) start from the brightest colour, end with the darkest
2) when one colour is completed, then just drop the next colour by pipette into the same metal “jar” and continue with no break
3) do not drop too much paint into metal cup, it is really slowly consumed, better to take one more portion later from the original container, than to dry out in the airbrush at once
... could be more fun to work in UV light from the very start?
And one more tip, quite obvious: “stencil”... can be just a piece of anything with an edge of any shape. I’ve used the corner of a piece of paper.
Well it all nice, but not everyone likes to DIY.
Take a look to these solutions, ready to use right out of the box.
For me personally:
- is still unknown what is inside (which pump used exactly).. nobody shows in reviews which i've looked,
- seems that those pumps are weaker than mine, so i'm unsure they could work good with viscous paint.
I like my pump. Hope will last long... anyway it’s not too expensive, just a bit hard to (find and) choose.
And of course i liked the whole this technique. It has proved even easier than expected. One my project is waiting for it long ago, but i’d like to have just a bit more training before real work. Need more empty carton boxes for training...