Can't even get started

S

Spindle

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Hello airbrush forum, I come in search of some help after some initial disappointment.

So after a long campaign trying to convince my better half that I really needed an airbrush setup for miniature painting she was nice enough to buy me a badger patriot as my first brush, I couldn't have been happier. I was hoping to get some cash from my family to pickup a compressor shortly after, however they chipped in a bought me a badger sotar not knowing I already had a brush, slightly out of my league for starting but I'm happy to have the brush, later on my father in law picked up a cheap compressor, something generic, small, doesn't even have a brand or model number on it so I cant provide any information on that, except for telling you it doesn't have a tank.

With a certain amount of excitement (waited for 2 year to get this) I finally get everything plugged in and turned the thing on and it worked! Turn it off, attach the airbrush held down the trigger and turn it on again, still going, awesome. Release trigger and the regulator cut out. This happened repeatedly and still happens unless the regulator is set to about 40 psi. Far to high to be painting miniatures. At 40 psi everything works trigger on or off, between 20-30 psi everything will work unless I release the trigger at which point the regulator cuts out again and I have no air. Between 10-20 psi the regulator cuts out seconds after turning on the compressor.

As a complete beginner I don't know where I'm going wrong, my best guess is broken regulator or just a regulator that's unable to work correctly down at such low levels. Even at the short periods of time I've got it to run below 20 psi the needle is jumping all over the place, up above 35 it seems to work correctly. I know the regulator was bought brand new from an automotive store and I've got my hands on the documentation but that doesn't provide much information, no upper or lower working limits or tolerances.

Any advice would be appreciated, I have limited funds so I didn't want to just rush out and buy a new regulator, I know they don't cost much but we're pretty broke and I'm lucky to have got all this gear to start with.

Thanks in advance, Spindle.
 
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The compressor sounds like and on demand compressor. You may be experiencing issues because the air pressure will not be consistent thus not allowing the regulator to work correctly. A simple compressor from a a hardware store, even with a 1 gal tank , would be better . It would probably be much louder though. Only way to double check is to borrow a compressor hat is known to work and test your regulator hooked up to that compressor.
 
Hmm the compressor chugs along regardless of what happens. There is a small hole in the bottom of the regulator, I'm guessing a relief valve as when I lose air at the brush there is air coming out of the hole.
 
Spindle, can you send us a pic of your set up? i've never heard of a compressor not working because of a regulator? But i don't have much idea about your compressor set up either? Could you just take a snap with a mobile and upload it?

We always recommend a compressor with a tank, like @wmlepage said, a typical hardware store compressor will be perfect - just that they're loud, but at least it has a tank which you can actually regulate pressure with :)
 
Sounds like it just runs a single set pressure. I've seen cheap oil less single piston compressors like this. Just get a mac valve, or in your case just get an external regulator and attach it after the compressor and use that to choke the air down. Compressor will still run constantly but at least it be usable. Do look to upgrade when you can though, I've burned these kinds up before.
 
Hi Spindle, welcome to the forum. Pop over to the intro section and tell us a bit about your self, where you are in the world, etc. People will want to welcome you, and it will also help anyone in your neck of the woods advise on suppliers, or maybe share skills if close enough :)

Tankless compressors tend to pulse the air, so maybe at lower psi the regulator is finding it hard to register, and will fluctuate. A tankless compressor will make it hard to get consistant spray because of the pulsing whether your regulator is working or not, so you will struggle to get good paint flow. Also if it is an oil less model, and you are having to run it at top capacity, it will over heat (without oil this can happen at some point even at lower psi), and once that happens the compressor will automatically shut off. These kind of compressors bug the hell out of me, they do compress air, but are not fit for purpose when it comes to airbrushing, and newbies part with their cash without realising.

I can only echo what everyone else has said, and recommend a cheap hardware store compressor. If noise is an issue, and you are handy/mechanically minded, then do a search and you will find some people who have posted how to link up fridge motors which are way quieter.

Seems like your family have set you up with some nice brushes :)
 
Hello everyone and thank you for taking the time to reply. I will be the first to admit this current setup is not ideal but unfortunately it's all I've got to work with atm, so I would like to have a go at trying to make it work...if thats even possible. If I can just get it going to prime and base coat I'll be happy. If not then I'll have to keep saving.

So I've added a picture of the setup, I'm guessing this compressor is made for filling tyres and not much else. I've fixed the regulator on straight out of the compressor, then a quick connector, hose then airbrush. As yet I don't even have a moisture trap and yes it pulses something terrible.

Even if I remove everything except the regulator I still lose air when I try and crank the pressure down to the psi I need and it starts to vent air out of the hole in the bottom of the regulator. The compressor always keeps running. But there's no air out of the main outlet on the regulator.

So what's the verdict? Is there anything I could try to even use it for priming or is it a lost cause.

Oh yes, family have been very generous with the brushes, don't think I'll have the skills to use the sotar for quite some time though. 20140808_071610.jpg
 
Hmm the compressor chugs along regardless of what happens. There is a small hole in the bottom of the regulator, I'm guessing a relief valve as when I lose air at the brush there is air coming out of the hole.
It does have to do with the lower pressure that you are trying to regulate. I have seen something really similar to this type before ( a customer brought it by) it is air on demand, primarily used for pumping bike tires and small inflatables, what I discovered with the one I saw , when you want to turn the pressure down the "excess" air is "released" at the regulator and because of this it pulses like crazy I don't know if changing the regulator would help or not.

You should be able to at least prime and base coat with this one even with the pulsating, however as you have discovered it is frustrating.

When you release the trigger the compressor should stop and when you press the trigger the compressor will start again.
 
I'm afraid the compressor is less conplex than that it has no regulator of it's own, all it has is an on/off switch. So when the regulator I attached starts to vent the compressor just keeps going at which point I hurriedly turn it off so it doesn't burn out. The only way it works is at 40psi which is far too high to do anything with miniatures. It even makes priming difficult.

Looks like I'll need to get my hands on a tank and rig up a pressure sensor before I can go any further.

Thanks everyone for their time, I'm sure I'll be back with more questions once I'm setup and painting.
 
I'm afraid the compressor is less conplex than that it has no regulator of it's own, all it has is an on/off switch. So when the regulator I attached starts to vent the compressor just keeps going at which point I hurriedly turn it off so it doesn't burn out. The only way it works is at 40psi which is far too high to do anything with miniatures. It even makes priming difficult.

Looks like I'll need to get my hands on a tank and rig up a pressure sensor before I can go any further.

Thanks everyone for their time, I'm sure I'll be back with more questions once I'm setup and painting.

Wellcome!
It seems to me that the problem is a non-return valve, a small rubber flap, above the piston. A broken check valve to allow air return back to the top of the piston and the compressor have no energy to pump more air before the pressure drops low enough.
So open the compressor cover and clean out debris from under the rubber flap. You can also be a bit of sandpaper to sand off the roughness around of the holes. A quick and easy job, you should try. =)
 
If you want a cheap and quiet compressor it's just around the corner, and you can get it for a song and a dance.

Buy an old second hand hobby compressor with a tank, you know the extremely loud ones sold at the hardware store. Ditch the motor and go find an old refrigerator or freezer. Take the compressor out of the fridge ( be careful not to let any hazardous gasses out in the atmosphere). Install the fridge compressor on the tank and voilá, you have a dead silent airbrush compressor for indoor use. And.. it will cost you almost nothing.

I have one in my man cave, I can barely hear it running at a distance of 4 feet when I'm spraying.

I'll be more than happy to assist you, or anybody, with information on the build.
Here's a movie showing my compressor filling the tank, you really need to crank the volume up to hear it's running.

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Welcome. You will come to really like the Sotar 20/20, it is a great brush. It seems that you have an issue with the regulator and could be as mentioned above an issue with the non return valve. As for the compressor, if it is not designed for continual use, then it will eventually get hot and turn off, then you will be done brushing until it cools off and turns back on. It would be a cheap fix to get a nice used tank, say 5 gallons and connect the air compressor to fill the tank, then connect the regulator to the tank and use that to supply pressure to the airbrush. Just make sure that you empty the water from the tank every so often to keep it from rusting on the inside. Also, make sure you have a good filter in front of the line before it gets to your airbrush to prevent water from getting into your air line and eventually into your brush.
 
Welcome!
All of the above applies to your little, hardworking compressor!
The best reasonable, solution to the dilemna you face is the inclusion of a seperate tank to feed your brush.
Using the external regulator that you have, [making sure it's on the feed side of the new tank] to control the feed to the airbrush.
The external tank will settle down any "fluttering" being produced by the compressor, trap most of the moisture that will develop in the line and give you a stream of steady, usable air.
Also add an in-line moisture trap to your airbrush line, as this will allow you to eject moisture before it gets to your airbrush/work and gives you fish-eyes!
 
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