Aztek Problems

A

Alan Reynolds

Guest
I've been working with my Aztek A470 for a couple of weeks now but I'm struggling to make any progress. I can't tell if it's just me or if the airbrush just sat for too many years unused. For example, I seem to have a problem with the paint flow occasionally reducing for a moment leaving a light section of line.

I got tired of doing dots and lines so I made a square mask (roughly 2 square inches) and decided to practice varying amounts of coverage in an area. That's when I noticed that I don't think the paint is atomizing consistently. Below is a picture of what I'm seeing. I don't know if it's noticeable or not, but along the bottom, starting under my index finger and extending about 1/3 of the way across the picture, is an example of when the paint flow lightened up in the middle of a line. Then I just backed up a little more and dusted the area above it. Does this look right?
IMG_0973s.JPG

The paint is Createx Wicked reduced around 30% with high performance reducer. Air pressure was between 20 and 25 psi at this point. I've had it up to 30 psi and as low as around 15 and not noticed a difference.
 
what air compressor are you using?Dose it have a tank? if not it could just be from the compressor pulsing the air
 
I have a California Air Tools compressor with a 5.5 gallon tank. According to the manual, it's 1 HP with 3.1 CFM @ 40 PSI. I think that should do the job.
 
That's a great compressor. I have the 4.6 gallon.

Here's some possible causes of stipple:

- Bent needle or burr
- Cracked nozzle
- Faulty air gauge reading
- Air leak

Hope this helps. If it's not one of these hopefully someone can chime in.
 
As its an Aztek, the needle and nozzle is all one piece that just screws in. They do tend to block up and fail quite easily. Change the nozzle out for a different one if you have a spare. They don't cost a lot if you have to buy one around $10 or £8.
You can clean them out although they are slightly fiddly but you can pull the needle out of the nozzle from the back, be careful you don't lose the spring. Drop the parts in some restorer and give them a clean.
Some of the newer nozzles I found had plastic needles !! WTH !!
How can they work properly? I found that they bend and distort really easily.

Note: Don't leave them in restorer I don't know what would happen if its a plastic needle. Just checking up on the internet and people are using thinners and acetone to soak their nozzles. But just be careful.
FYI I have a working Aztek 3000 from the late 80's and my nozzles have steel needles. I've used cellulose thinners to clean mine as above, no problems. Not a lot to go wrong with them. Just the nozzles play up.

From a page i found..

Posted January 31, 2014 ·

Hi I soak mine in celulose gun wash, it doesnt seem to harm them..

Posted January 31, 2014 ·

Used to soak mine in acetone / nail varnish remover. Came up fresh as a daisy every time.

Posted January 31, 2014 ·
I disassemble mine, and leave the bits soaking in a jar of airbrush cleaner. Keeps them spotless, but you have to be careful with the needle.

Like i said just be careful.

Lee
 
As its an Aztek, the needle and nozzle is all one piece that just screws in. They do tend to block up and fail quite easily. Change the nozzle out for a different one if you have a spare. They don't cost a lot if you have to buy one around $10 or £8.
You can clean them out although they are slightly fiddly but you can pull the needle out of the nozzle from the back, be careful you don't lose the spring. Drop the parts in some restorer and give them a clean.
Some of the newer nozzles I found had plastic needles !! WTH !!
How can they work properly? I found that they bend and distort really easily.

<Cut for brevity>

Lee

I've never totally pulled the nozzle assembly apart before. However, I usually pull the inner assembly out of the outer plastic housing and drop them in a small jar of restorer while I'm doing the rest of my clean up. They're in there for a few minutes, at most. Then I wipe them down and reassemble before putting them away. After reading your post, I went ahead and pulled the needle out of the one I usually use (black nozzle) and I didn't see anything obviously wrong with it. It is metal, by the way. I did notice that there was still some paint from last night in the spring which is fairly annoying considering how many times I sprayed cleaner through it.

After wiping down everything and reassembling the nozzle, I put it in the airbrush to make sure I had everything back in correctly. As I was working the trigger back and forth, it was making a very faint noise. I wouldn't call it a squeaking, exactly. It's the sound of something not sliding smoothly over rubber. There's probably a better way to describe that but I haven't had enough coffee yet. I doubt I would have heard that noise with air blowing out the airbrush under normal circumstances. The trigger has always felt a bit spongy to me, but I don't know if that's normal or not.

Thanks to everyone for the replies.
 
Different brushes behave differently and need different reductions, but that looks very very grainy. It should look satin smooth. Don't rule out the nozzle not being a problem just because it looks ok. There can be wear not visible to the naked eye, or it may have flared slightly, or be damaged inside, none of which is easy to see. But that kind of speckling looks more like an air issue. Either the paint is not reduced enough, or if that's your usual reduction, then there's an issue with the air flow. Maybe the air valve isn't working properly or you have a blockage in your brush somewhere perhaps. It could be the regulator on your compressor not reading acurately, or it's not filling up properly for some reason, or a leak some where.
 
Different brushes behave differently and need different reductions, but that looks very very grainy. It should look satin smooth. Don't rule out the nozzle not being a problem just because it looks ok. There can be wear not visible to the naked eye, or it may have flared slightly, or be damaged inside, none of which is easy to see. But that kind of speckling looks more like an air issue. Either the paint is not reduced enough, or if that's your usual reduction, then there's an issue with the air flow. Maybe the air valve isn't working properly or you have a blockage in your brush somewhere perhaps. It could be the regulator on your compressor not reading acurately, or it's not filling up properly for some reason, or a leak some where.

Well, I haven't been doing this long enough to have a "usual reduction." ;) That being said, the thought had crossed my mind so I had upped the amount of reducer. If the regulator is inaccurate, would this pattern be because the pressure was actually higher or lower than shown? I have other nozzles that have never been used so I will try one of them tonight to see if I see a difference.

Air leaks have been mentioned a couple of times. When the compressor isn't running, there are no audible leaks. When I first hooked everything up after the compressor arrived, I checked it for leaks and didn't detect any. It would probably be a good idea to check things again now that the compressor has been used a few times over the last couple of weeks.

I've pretty much decided that I'm just going to buy a new airbrush. However, I'm still interested in diagnosing this issue if for no other reason than the learning experience.
 
More reduction if that is the issue. I use Wicked and my base mixture (which I then adjust according to colour used or humidity etc) is 3 reducer to one paint. But it is different for everyone, because everyone has different set ups and climates, and works at different pressure depending on what you are painting like.
I suggest you make sure the gun is spotless, and if you have a spare nozzle, put it in That way you are starting with a clean slate and know the gun is good. Then you can try different paint reductions. You may not find the perfect flow right off, but you should notice a big improvement. If that doesn't change, then you know it must be an air issue. :) I hasn't factored I that you're still figuring this out (doh) and have a feeling that changing your reduction will be a big help. Remember, the more you reduce, the lower you want your pressure to avoid spidering. But that also means more layers of paint to get the colour density you want, so you have to find a balance you're happy with.
If you are using Wicked definately use the 4012 reducer, it really aids the flow, and when the ratios are right, virtually eliminates tip dry.
 
Yeh they are a little spongy on the trigger, if you ever strip it down you will see why :) I wouldn't recommend it though unless you have a disassembly diagram. Mine makes a noise when i trigger back and forth i think its because if the way the airbrush mechanics work. Let us know what happens with the other nozzle. Don Wheeler has a good strip down on his site. He's a nice chap too.

https://sites.google.com/site/donsairbrushtips/testors-aztek

Lee
 
Last edited:
just to make sure its spraying right after you clean it and replace the nozzle,put some water with a little food coloring in it and try to spray that first,That way you will know if that sprays right your prob. is reduction of your paint and or pressure your spraying the paint.
 
I did not know you could strip the nozzles further than just removing the needle and spring. Mine's trigger squeaks going down and back.
 
I just spent some time trying a 3 to 1 reducer to paint mixture in a nozzle I'd never used before as @Squishy suggested. I will say that the atomization seemed better. While I didn't experience the kind of momentary reduced paint flow like I have in the past, I had the nozzle almost totally clog on me a couple of times. I had to pump the trigger back and forth a few times to get it to clear. I also felt like the point in the travel of the trigger where paint would start flowing wasn't consistent. However, I will concede that that could easily have more to do with my newness than the trigger. In the moment, though, it sure seemed like my finger was pulling back the same distance.

I ordered an Eclipse today that I hope to have by the weekend. My thinking is that I should learn with something that I know is starting off factory fresh, so to speak. Once I've got some experience under my belt, I'll get the Aztek back out and evaluate it with more knowledge.
 
you wont regret the Eclipse. a lot of people here had it as their first 'proper' brush and still use it regularly even when they have their Microns.

I tend to think of my arsenal like my drill bits...... different brushes for different jobs.
 
I just spent some time trying a 3 to 1 reducer to paint mixture in a nozzle I'd never used before as @Squishy suggested. I will say that the atomization seemed better. While I didn't experience the kind of momentary reduced paint flow like I have in the past, I had the nozzle almost totally clog on me a couple of times. I had to pump the trigger back and forth a few times to get it to clear. I also felt like the point in the travel of the trigger where paint would start flowing wasn't consistent. However, I will concede that that could easily have more to do with my newness than the trigger. In the moment, though, it sure seemed like my finger was pulling back the same distance.

I ordered an Eclipse today that I hope to have by the weekend. My thinking is that I should learn with something that I know is starting off factory fresh, so to speak. Once I've got some experience under my belt, I'll get the Aztek back out and evaluate it with more knowledge.
Sounds like you might want to strain your paint first.
 
Back
Top