Airbrush Trouble Shooting Guide


Air-Valve Autobot!
I thought I'd post this one up as many peeps have these issues and it may save some grief or answering similar questions. This is one of our articles at AirbrushAnswers thats generally only for our supporting members but as Christmas is coming and I'm all full of goodwill and as I luv ya's all LOL I thought it may help out a few here a little...Forgive any formatting issues as it is a direct copy and paste and I may need to post it in two sections as it is a long article.. LOL..
Airbrush Trouble Shooting Guide

This is a bit of a trouble shooting guide I've written up that mainly concerns itself with some of the basic issues that may arise for many and a basic rememdy on possible ways to avoid or solve the issue when it happens, hope it helps out a few diagnosesome of their airbrushing issues.......

No Air Flow-
Fault In Compressor- Check all your basics like power supply and in fact its turned on, has happened to the best of us
Regulator or Water Trap Fault- Occasionally water traps and regulators do break, if your unsure, disconnect each appropiate section, charge the compressor quickly until you find yourself at the point of the issue.
Line Kinked or Blocked- Again has happened to everyone at least once, maybe 20 times if using coiled hoses, trace down the line and ensure no kinks are present or something isnt physically blocking the hose.
Airbrush Air Valve assembly Sticking- Quite often the airvalve at the point of entry in your gun will get sticky, if air is coming out of your hose end but not going through the gun, lightly oiling and checking the valve for dirt, dust or paint incursion is important.

No Medium Being Sprayed-

Paint is To Thick- Your paints thickest consistency should be that of around milks consistency. Too thick it may not spray or spray poorly, overreducing may help but can also cause its own issues finding the happy medium is the idea and this can change due to temperature etc but wont vary a lot off that original milky constency.
Dried Paint in Nozzle- Remove the needle and clean.
Paint Flow from Resivoir Blocked- Clean the reservoir and ensure you can blow through all hoses, quite often the suction feeds get a blockage where the hose changes angle through the lid, clean well.
Needle Stuck in Nozzle- Remove both nozzle and needle, clean and replace, check for dried paint inside Nozzle mouth and remove.
Needle Locking Nut- It may be looses , tighten
Lever Assembly Damaged- Replace(See Your Airbrush Manufacturer)

Bubbles Appearing in Coulor Cup-

Nozzle cap Loose- Tighten and or seal with Soft Beeswax
Nozzle Washer Wear- Remove and replace (See Your Airbrush Manufacturer)
Mismatched nozzle and Cap- Does happen especially if you have a gun with multiple heads and needles, remove and match the right set.


Air Pressure Too High-Reduce air pressure until problem disappears, painting on different mediums requires different pressures and if its a smooth surface, high pressures won't be your friend
Too Close-If your too close to the work surface it may introduce spidering, by moving faster or by reducing pressure again this may help solve the issue, Also try spraying at a slight angle to the surface, this also can help.
Medium Is Thinned Excessively- You may have over-reduced your paint, have another look and see if you think it may indeed be to thin and causing some issue.
Spitting and Spattering-Diagnosis/Remedy-
Air Pressure Too Low- Increase pressure incremently until issue is removed
Solid particles In Nozzle-Remove and clean the nozzle, these can generally be seen and are more frequent on warmer days
Medium too Thick or Badly Mixed- Reduce the medium to a milky consistency, always stir/shake the bottle well..A ball bearing or marble in the paint container may help.
Medium Not Strained- Always strain your paint to remove large unwanted pigment clumps, pantihose directly on your paint bottle removes the need to think.
Build up of paint in Spray Regulator- Ensure needle is straight and firm, remove if needed and clean.
Worn or Damaged Needle-Replace
Nozzle and Needle Mismatch-Replace with matched set.
Dirt,oil or Water in Air Supply- Remove your nozzle and blast air through the gun, it may help remove anything thats been introduced by dirty air, also remove gun and let some air blast the line clean, also ensure your water traps and such are clean and your compressor may need emptied if its a tank storage type.. Refer also to "Water Issues Article"
Nozzle Washer Worn- This allows the medium to seep past into the air passage. Only good way to fix it is to order a new Nozzle and or Nozzle washer. (See Your Airbrush Manufacturer)

Spattering at an Angle-Diagnosis/Remedy-
Medium Buildup- Pick the tip clean regulary whilst painting, a paintbuildup on your tip can help throw it in all directions.
Needle Bent- Pull out your needle and place on a flat surface, if its bent it will easily be seen and if your careful most bends can be easily removed. If its bent at the tip itself, you could try fixing it but its better always to have a backup needle..Just in case.
Nozzle Damage- Replace (See Your Airbrush Manufacturer)

Spatter At The Beggining of Stroke-Diagnosis/Remedy-
Medium Build-Up- Build up occurs when the airflow is closed before the paintflow, this creates a buildup of medium which will generally end up spattered all over your work, always when re-introducing airflow-point AWY from your artwork. As the old saying goes "ALWAYS KEEP YOUR AIR ON"
Damaged Needle- Repair using a fine abrasive wet and dry or replace.
Solid Particles in Nozzle-Remove and clean.

Lever fails To Return After Being Pressed Down (Air Sticks on) Diagnosis/Remedy-
Air Valve Spring Fatigue- Stretch or replace the spring
Swollen/Damaged O-Rings in Valve Assembly- Quite often the introduction of paint or oil and dirt may stick your airvalve, I generall DONT soak my airvalve in thinners, it will damage the seals over time., I always remove it from the brush. Occasionally I may give it a light soak in warm water and then lightly re-oil, ensuring the valve works in my hand (IE The plunger actually freely moves)
Medium Incursion- Backflushing your gun overly will possible damage the rear needle seals and allow paint to leak through to the trigger assembly and airvalve, this can kill an airvalve very quickly so ensure this doesnt happen by not backflushing overly and also if it is occuring, tighten the rear packing on the needle seal or replace if required.
Dirty Valve- As above in Swollen O-Rings

Lever fails to Return After Being Drawn Back- Diagnosis/Remedy-
Needle Spring- Remove and retension by strecthing it, quite often a biro pen spring will achieve the same tention with a little bit of adjustment, otherwise contact your supplier.
Build Up Of Medium- Again if paints getting in here, fix the issue, but a good clean will solve it temp
Lever Assembly broken or damaged- Replace (See Your Airbrush manufacturer)

Air Leaks Through Control Lever- Diagnosis/Remedy-
Rubber O-ring Broken- Replace (See Your Airbrush manufacturer)
Valve Stuck- Clean Air valve-See Above or replace if damaged.

Air Leaks Through Nozzle When Lever is Released- Diagnosis/Remedy-
Air Valve Spring Fatigue- Retension and adjust or refer to your supplier for a new part.

Medium Leaks- Diagnosis/Remedy-
Reservoir Overfilled- Tip some out :) before it does itself on your work.
Washers Perished or Badly seated- Clean and or replace (See Your Airbrush manufacturer)
Nozzle Washer Missing/Damaged- Replace (See Your Airbrush manufacturer)
Colour Cup Drops Off- Our worst nightmare, especially on a painting thats taken 30 hours to produce, ensure this cant happen by using a rubber band, placed around the bottom of the cup to assist in its staying in the right place.

Theres probably heaps more to add and will do so on suggestion or if i can think of any more to add I will do so in the future.
I forget that the good people hear don't all have access to all the fab stuff on Airbrush Answers. Check it out, everyone has access to the bronze level, and for a small fee access to lot more, a whole lot of info, turorials, etc and way better than shelling out for overpriced DVD's.
opps i didn't see the trouble shooting section before posting it, maybe a mod could be kind enough to move it to that section as it's prob more appropriate...Cheerz
^ Actually went looking for this thread today to link on FB and couldn't find the bugger..Kept looking in Troubleshooting LOL..Silly me..Any chance a mod can put it in that section please so its easily found in a related board...