Airbrush sprays an oval shape




Just getting back into airbrushing and made an account here. Today I fixed one issue and now another took it's place! The spray from my airbrush is now an oval shape, not a circle.

Yesterday it worked great aside from a leak in the Air Valve. After cleaning the air valve and nozzle, this issue started up. I am really hoping I did not damage the nozzle when cleaning, any other ideas what might be going on?

First, hello Chase - Don't ya hate when that happens? Oblong pattern - You did not say what kind of airbrush you are using - so I will just take a few stabs at it anyway. Usually when a spray pattern is oblong, there are only a couple causes - the first is that there is debris still in the nozzle obstructing paint flow as it exits the tip. The second is that the tip is not centered in the air cap, or that paint has deposited itself on an inner edge of the air cap, and is obstructing airflow. The oblong pattern usually boils down to airflow not being even around the nozzle - one way or another. The last issue, and perhaps the biggest pain, is that a cracked nozzle can also cause paint to be deposited in an oblong pattern - only remedy there is to replace the nozzle...
Thanks a ton for the reply DaveG. I read the pinned cleaning post and I will try a full restorer bath tonight and see what evil still lurks within. I also ordered a new nozzle for my Devilbiss Dagr .35mm, that way when I eventually drop it onto my garage floor, I have the replacement ready!

I am impressed seeing the speed and detail of responses on this forum. Looks like a great community here!
Hey Chase welcome aboard, this forum is full of good eggs, as Dave has just shown :)

I have mixed feelings about the Dagr, as I had a bad experience, I sent a gun back which was damaged in production, and received one back even worse :( However I have heard that people who had good ones were pretty happy with them. Having a new needle and nozzle in reserve is a good idea, nothing worse than being all fired up ready to go, having an Ooops moment and not having any back up. lol Been there, done that :D And if you have anydoubts about your paint or nozzle, being able to swap in a fresh one can prove that your paint reduction is or isn't good, and whether the nozzle is or isn't to blame :)
Welcome from Australia.
We like to help where we can.
Where do you call home? We can normally recommend reputable suppliers to help you out. Also what paints are you using, you mention 'restorer' so I'm guess you using some line of Createx ?
Daves got you covered with possible causes. I suggest getting a long bristle artist brush to aid in cleaning gunk from the nozzle after a good soak in restorer ( that stuff is reusable so it's really economical)
With the Createx paint make sure you stir them well, the 'illustration' settles quickly and can lump up easily, many use a stocking over the neck of the bottle to help eliminate this.
I'm not suggesting your paint is causing your issue but it will help minimise any clogs in the nozzle that could cause you grief
that is one of the brushes I have like no experience with - but, I would be tempted to check the nozzle alignment within the air cap. You may be able to visually inspect it - you will want to see the space around the nozzle appears even all the way round the circumference of the nozzle. Might just require loosening the head, and turning the nozzle a little, and snugging everything back up...
I have only ever had a Dagr, but mine seems to work fine. All issues I have had (and there have been many) have been user error due to inexperience / ignorance. Don't laugh, but I actually just found out the nozzle could be removed from the body today o_O I cleaned it out as best I could (It was PACKED with paint), but my guess is that the nozzle still has some crud in there. I did use an old needle to plunge out a bunch of paint that I couldn't get otherwise, so there could be some undetectable damage from that I guess. I looked as closely at the end of the nozzle as I could with my magnifier visor and it appeared to seat the needle properly with a circular end.

I will swing by the hobby shop for some restorer tonight and give the nozzle a soak, hopefully that is the problem. If not I have a new nozzle on the way.
Fortunately I have a Hobby Lobby and a Michaels in town here in Logan, Utah, USA. However they do not stock Devilbiss brushes or parts (which are fairly rare from what I can tell).

I am using a line of Create. I actually just got some of the Wicked colors that work a ton better than the illustration line imo. I also picked up a bunch of their new water based Candy colors. I was never set up for urethanes so I never felt comfortable spraying other transparent around. I was very happy to see that line of paints had come out since I last used my brush.
Wicked / wicked Detail /illustration all have their own little quirks. I started with illustration and it drove me nuts. I tried some E'tac and stayed with it for 12 months, it helped me understand my brush, technique better without battling paint. Once I had more confidence I cracked open the illustration again and got along with it much better.
There was a big push with the Dagr, it was advertised everywhere when I was starting out as 'the' new brush. But I think issues with production quality ( machine scoring and head/body/paint cup misalignment in my case) spoilt its rep before it got going. Its a shame because people liked the good ones. Its quite big and solid, which I actually liked, though some prefer lighter weight, and I really liked the screw on cup.

I really like Wicked as its a great all rounder, and good for auto too. But many people prefer illustration. Wicked can be fiddly to get reduction and flow nailed, so that might be contributing to your blocked nozzle. Are you using the W500 reducer? And what reduction ratio? Don't use water, it doesn't like it ss even though its water based there is a small amount of solvent and it will gum up. Its well worth the time finding the sweetspot Imo, the colours are bright, and it will paint on almost anything.
From one newbie to another welcome and you will find this is a great forum to belong to with great people ready and willing to help
Thanks for all the replies everyone!

@Squishy , I am using the 4012 reducer I believe which I think is the same as W500. I have not been measuring my ratios. It has been a generous reduction for the most part.

The only Wicked color I bought outside of the Candy colors was White. I had a TERRIBLE time with the illustration white. It could be experience, or a placebo effect, but it seems like the Wicked White is doing much better as far as tip dry and sputtering.
Yes the 4012 and W500 are the same. I really like the Wicked White,
though I haven't used the white illustration to compare. I actually find Wicked black the most.

With a .35 nozzle and around 20 - 25 psi, my base ratio is 3 reducer to 1 paint, and I adjust from there as needed depending on colour and weather/humidity etc. Black is usually 5 or 6 to one. If I use a small nozzle and low pressure, I go 10 or 12 to one. That may not work for you, I have an Iwata, and different guns and conditions etc have a big effect, but it gives an idea.

Keep the bottles well shaken, the amount of pigment which gives the great colour and coverage, does settle and the paint can become concentrated as it gets to the bottom of the bottle otherwise. Also filtering is good.
I had this happen not to long long ago. During the cleaning process I somehow flared out my nozzle which caused an odd shaped spray pattern. Only fix for that new nozzle

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Apparently, it was just a dirty Nozzle that was the problem! I could not believe the amount of paint in there, even after my first vigorous cleaning. It just kept coming! I eventually got everything out and now the spray seems much better. Thanks for your help everyone.
Its an eye opener right? Its amazing what hides in there. Glad to hear its working again. To stop it happening again, spend a little time refining your reduction ratio, when you get it really dialled in a dirty nozzle is a rare occurrence. Also at the end of a session, after cleaning, run a little of the reducer through the brush, it can catch anything that's missed, and if it isn't coming through clear, you know its not clean :)