NW Modeling List nw-modeling-list at
Mon Aug 16 16:23:20 EDT 2010

Wow, Gary!. You make it sound so complicated. My first compressor was an
"armstrong" type (a pump type garden sprayer with a coupling fitting replacing
the nozzel) - no pressure gauge, no moisture trap. I just gave it about 40
strokes and sprayed until the pressure was obviously getting low, then gave it
40 more strokes. Later, a regular customer had mercy on me and gave me a simple
"W R Brown Company" compressor. No tank, and the pulse business has never given
me any trouble. Occasionally I disconnect the hose, drop it to the floor and run
the compressor a little to drain out any condensate that may be in the line.
(And, yes, once in awhile I spray a little water, but I have learned to deal
with the results with no permanent damage. No, I don't do acrylics. I will buy
solvent based paints as long as I can find them. Yes, I take the airbrush apart
and clean it thorougly after every use with mineral spirits and
pipecleaners.        Jim Nichols

From: NW Modeling List <nw-modeling-list at>
To: NW Modeling List <nw-modeling-list at>
Sent: Mon, August 16, 2010 11:01:22 AM

The other things to consider is what type of air compressor you will be using. 
Some are ‘oil-less’ and have self-lubricating seals internally (Teflon) and
others, especially the piston-type are splash oiled.  The oil-lubricated
versions will bled out a little oil into the compressed air. 

Also, compressing ordinary air will trap a lot of humidity/moisture in your air
tank or the lines which will spoil the paint.  The answer is a filter/separator
which goes on to the outlet side of the compressor and tank which will separate
out the water or oil.  Many of these are available with a pressure regulator
attached or combined with the filter separator.    If you are getting an
‘industrial’ type of compressor you can get filter/regulators at stores selling
pneumatic and hydraulic equipment for industrial uses.  
And the compressor type, vane or piston, will put out compressed air which comes
out in pulses of pressure; the answer is a tank which tends to damp out the
pressure waves to a useful degree.  In addition, tanks are usually steel and
rust is an issue as the humidity will be compressed into water condensate within
the tank.  (There are plastic tanks out there with restricted pressure use.) The
water separator/filter will keep the air free of any particles of rust.  Yes,
draining the tank via the water blow-off valve on the bottom of the tank is
important.  For instance, in these type of summer days we have been experiencing
in the east- hot and humid- a tank of about three gallon size will collect about
a pint of condensed water after about four hours of continuous use. 

The size and type of airbrush work this way.  Single acting just spray ‘on-off’
and are good for area coverage.  Double acting allow you to control the air flow
and the paint flow simultaneously.  For detailing and weathering, the double
acting can be very good as it allows blending the paint line edge.  Double
acting, for instance, is almost essential for complex camouflage patterns on
military models or for illustration work.
For larger models, O scale, G and Gauge One, a professional ‘touch up’ brush is
good choice as the can holds about a pint of paint and the spray nozzle covers a
larger area.  These are common tools in automotive painting and custom painting
work like signs and similar.

Gary Rolih
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