Help desperately needed. Airbrush paint/compressor issues



Hi all,

I'm completely new to this medium. I've decided to give it a og, 'cause (eventually) I wanna do some murals on my kids walls (mostly disney characters). I've done a bit of research, and decided I didn't need to spend much money on initial setup. That may have been a mistake.


Due to the fact that I live in an area where airbrush supplies/equipment is limited, I needed to buy my stuff from the U.S. Unfortunately I got a bad compressor from Amazon. Now I have purchased a 3/4 HP compressor. I think it's an overkill at 125 psi, but it's all I could find here. It has a tank, and a db level I'm happy with. However, it fills the tank to 125 psi, so I need a good regulator. The one I have now is either 40-50 psi, or nothing. In other words, no fine tuning. Is there a regulator out there that will allow me to fine tune the pressure, so I won't get more than, say 25 psi coming out of my airbrush? At the moment, I get 125 psi (full tank) pressure when I release air through my airbrush, that then settles to whatever my regulator is set to, if I keep the air flowing. Is that how it works on all compressors? Ie. I have to release the initial pressure, before actually airbrushing? I hope someone can point me in the right direction.


i want to learn airbrushing because of the nice smooth transitions/fades you can do. I realize this take a lot of practice. However, at the moment I can't even get simple block colors to look even. When I try to fill an area with paint, I just get an uneven, streaky mess. Is that due to me, the paint type (createx transparent), or the above mentioned pressure? Also, I've done the outlines of my image with a pencil, via a projector. After that, I've outlined it with black paint in my airbrush. When I try to fill in the areas with the appropriate color, I either can't fill it all the way to the black line, or I get a lof of overspray on the wrong side of the black line. What are the techniques to solve these issues? I don't expect a full write up, but if anyone has a good place to watch some videos on these issues, I'd appreciate it.

i have posted a few pictures to illustrate what I'm talking about.

sorry for the long post. I hope someone can help. Thanks in advance.

Hi CargoDog!

Simple with the compressor - if you're happy with the noise levels then all you need is a regulator. I paid about $40USD for a decent one, but you may find them cheaper than that. i've no idea the type of regulator you have, but no, that's certainly not how they should act. They should deliver a constant pressure, not start higher. Get yourself a decent regulator and replace it with the current one. You will need some plumber's tape or loctite thread sealant to seal your fittings, avoid wax or other compounds which will affect work with solvent based paints.

Your airbrushing - yeah, you can avoid this overspray by angling your airbrushing and spraying in a given direction. Move extremely close the the canvas and angle your airbrush in the direction that you want your paint to be sprayed, thus only getting 'spray' and no 'overspray'. This technique improves with practise..
Hi Cargo!

I am not sure why I am responding seeing as how Mitch just did.
I am also having trouble finding a quality regulator but you should easily get one that keeps you in a consistent pressure to begin. Where are you located?

Your splotchy colors has a lot to do with how transparent paints work and your technique. Transparents keep getting darker and darker and darker the more you build so unless you spread the exact same paint across the whole thing they will be splotchy.

No idea what paints you have bought yet however Createx (normal Createx) is not the best for paper canvas etc. Reductions etc come into play.

As far as videos to learn My you have come to the right place. I would suggest going to the introductions and posting one! then start on the begginers forum. About 3 months in myself and I promise I started out a lot worse than you! Welcome to the family!
Hi Airbrush Tutor, and Nada,

Thanks is for both your replies.

AT: I didn't think that's how it was supposed to work, either. So, do you reckon either of these two will work fine?

Update: Apparently I can't post links until I've got more posts on the forum. Weird?!

Anyway, I was looking at the:

Iwata FA700DH Regulator From Chicago Airbrush Supply (46 $), or

Pro Airbrush Air Compressor Regulator with Water-Trap Filter. From Amazon (13$)

You're probably not familiar with them, and I certainly don't expect you to look them up.

I've got plenty of Teflon tape, and have no leaks in my current setup, just to much pressure at delivery point, which I can't imagine is good for the airbrush in the long run.

I can see you're in Sydney. I'm actually in Melbourne right now. Would you by any chance know of a shop in Melbourne, where I can pick up a good regulator? I'd rather not wait for my next U.S. trip, or wait for the shipping.

Thanks for the technique advice. I guess going that close isn't getting any easier with 50 psi splurging out of the airbrush.


I'm living in the Middle East. Not exactly airbrush heaven.

I've got the standard starter kit from Createx. 4 transparent, and black+white opaque. It was my understanding that transparents would be easier to work with for noobs, but then again, I don't understand much of this - yet. ;-) So you're saying I should go for opaque? I actually got some opaque acrylic colors (again, limited options here). That's what I used for the red mess in the pictures above. However, I didn't thin them. Come to think of it, I know I should've done that. That would make it a little easier to control, right??

I'm only using paper to practice on. As mentioned, I wanna move onto painting directly on the wall (I have an understanding wife;-)). So when I do decide to paint on the wall, I can expect a whole new experience in terms of how the paint will look, and react? My god, what have I gotten myself into?! ;-) I watched a few YouTube videos, and figured "How hard can that be?". A bit of paint, a bit of air, and a delivery device. Easy enough. Moron!! (referring to myself here).

Thanks again for taking the time to help me out.

Transparents are easier to work di th for shading. Opaques are easier for creating a solid color. The transparents help keep you from going to dark too fast.
I did the same thing I think we all thought" that looks easy enough". A few eexercises and it starts to be one clear. There are many very talented and knowledgeable members of our forum in Sydney. They should be able to steer you in the right direction.

I would suggest the beginners video by the Airbrush tutor. I learned almost all I know from those and the beginners forum. Within days I was able to produce basic art.
Thanks for the encouragement, Nada,

I'll have a look at the videos you're referring to. I guess I'll be ordering some more opaque colors later on. It seems to be what I should start with. I guess I'll learn to build up the layers that way.
Thanks, Michele,

Much appreciated. I look forward to using this forum a lot, as soon as I get my regulator problem sorted. Watching airbrush tutor now. That guy cracks me up, and he's awesome...
hey buddy:

Those regulators are exactly what you're looking for. I wouldn't get the amazon $13 one because it's too cheap and i doubt it will last.
You don't need to order these parts from the states - i got mine from a google search of a local tools shop.
I just did the same for Melbourne:

You also have a fantastic airbrush supplier in Australia - a personal friend of mine Steven Keats at airbrush megastore.
he gets some of the lowest prices in the world.
For those jar adaptors or whatever you need you can check out his site and/or give him a call. Just let him know i recommended you :) he may also have a good regulator for you. he sells airbrushes and everything plus he's in S.A, which is nice and close. stuff would normally arrive to me in Sydney next day or 2 days..

expect to pay around $50 and up for a good regulator - anything cheaper and you're dancing with luck.
Keep up the practise mate!
Thanks, AT,

I guess I'll be ordering the Iwata FA700DH. My only concern is that it "only" reads a max of 100 PSI. Now, of course I will never need 100+ PSI. My my concern is whether this regulator can handle a 125 PSI input, and only put out what I need. But I guess, if a 13$ regulator on Amazon is rated for 150 PSI, the Iwata should be able to handle the 125 my compressor produces. This is turning into a real headache before I even start.

The reason I'm not going with your suggested options is that I leave Oz tomorrow night, so I won't have time to wait for the shipping. :-( However, I'll definitely bookmark the airbrush megastore, as I come to Australia about once a month, so it looks like it'd be a good place to get regular supplies from.

Thanks again, AT. Much appreciated.

Cheers, René...
A regulator just regulates the output m8, so no issue if your compressor goes up to 125 PSI, that's just the setting the manufacturers set for the cut off so it doesn't just keep filling up in other words or over pressurizing the tank and thats hardwired in normally in the little black box that the start button will likely be on..So as mentioned, ya compressor is fine, just get a mid range costed regulator (Some may have a maximum input or pressure value but I dnt think that will be an issue for ya as most are designed with the shop compressor in mind)) and don't buy the cheapest option (They can be a bit dodgy but will get you a better result if thats the only choice you have)..may have caught you a bit late and ya may be on a plane, but any decent hardware should sell regulators, even back home I can't see ya having a problem finding one within one of your closests hardware stores..I'm amazed that it seems so easy to find a compressor without one, many have to go looking for one straight away, nearly every compressor I see in the shops, especially the cheapies over here generally have one pre-installed (maybe where lucky in that realm LOL)..good luck..
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I Cargodog! I have a monster compressor, and apart from the fact that it is louder than hell in a tin can, does have the advantage of not needing to refill all the time. So no overheating issues from constant running like some of the small ones have, and if I make sure it's full at a reasonable hour, can airbrush well into the night without my neighbours wanting to string me up, and will be great for doing murals on walls which I'm guessing will be covering a pretty large area. A reasonable regulator will set you up nicely, mine will go from 0 - 150 psi, and everything in between no problem.

It will be easier to control your paint, once you can control your pressure, if you want solid blocks of colour opaques will probably be easier as you can just keep going over the area until the colours even out. I think someone already said that transparent colours deepen with each layer, so if you don't get an even layer to start, you will struggle. You could use them if you pulled back away from the surface quite a way, giving yourself a much wider spray patter, and light coats for each layer, but overspray would get everywhere and you would definately need to mask everything out.
Just a quick update.

i finally have my setup working properly, and can now start to practice. Now I can adjust my output to withing 1 psi, which I can tell is making a huge difference. Also thinning of the paint has become a blatantly obvious thing to do. I thank you all again for your inputs.

this weekend was my sins 4th birthday, so I decided to give cake decoration a go. I'll leave you with a pic of my airbrushed vulcano came. While not a great piece in terms of detail, it allowed me to practice some basic skills. ;-)



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