New Airbrush Woes



Hey guys and girls!
I am an absolute noob with this airbrush thing and I'd appreciate any and all input here. So I got my brush (Veda 180) and stuff and got it all hooked up. I've watched about a thousand YouTube videos on airbrushing. Some guy does some tutorials where he starts out basically spraying diluted ink in water to get the hang of it. That seemed like a reasonable idea to me, except that I used a very dilute solution of (water-based) Createx Opaque Black that I mixed in a small container before pouring it into the brush cup. They say the optimal thickness for airbrush paint is like 2% milk. The stuff I was spraying wasn't even close to that (much thinner). Anyhow, after playing for about an hour making gray dots and gray lines, etc., I rinsed out the brush and shot a couple of cups of distilled water through it. Gave it a few taps onto an old bath towel and shined it up nice and pretty. Fast forward about 6 hours. I wanted to play some more, but this time, I wanted to use thicker paint. The second batch was darker, but still nowhere close to 2% milk. It didn't matter. I couldn't get the thing to spray at all.

So I'm thinking I didn't clean it out good enough the first time around . No worries, I'll deal with that later. The brush came with a secondary needle labeled 0.3mm and a secondary tip labeled 0.3mm. I rinsed out the cup and back-flushed distilled water in the cup until the water appeared very clear. I changed the needle and the nozzle and tried again. This time I got some tiny blobs of paint that would come out only if I worked the trigger back and forth with the trigger pressed all the way down. Bummer. I cleaned it out again, etc.

Next day. I have run many (airbrush) cups of Createx Airbrush Cleaner through this thing, many cups of distilled water, a couple of cups of Windex, taken the entire brush apart to try to find clots of paint somewhere, jacked up my air pressure to 50PSI. I am using the 20-gallon 5 HP compressor that will easily run my shop tools. This airbrush is like a gnat on an elephant's butt for the compressor. Regardless of which nozzle/needle combination I use, I get erratic outpot of cleaner/water/windex. Sometimes I get some spray at half-trigger but it stops when I go to full-trigger. Sometimes it will spray only at full-trigger. Sometimes it won't spray at all unless I work the trigger back and forth, and then I get spits or sprays.

I don't get it. Does anyone have any ideas?
I am far from an expert but from the information given and the fact that we can't see what is going on, my best guess as to what might be a problem is that the needle is not seated/seating due to (a) not slid in the whole way and locked down with the thumb screw, or (b) maybe there is damage to the nozzle, an air brush is a delicate TOOL and does not take well to knocks and bangs. lol I am sure you will get more / other opinions
Last edited by a moderator:
:) Yeah, I know the nozzle and needle are delicate and stuff. I should have added that the needle nut is tight and the needle movement is what you'd expect as the trigger is pulled back. These things are relatively simple in terms of the mechanical aspects. It's just not acting like I'd think it would if this was a simple obstruction in the paint flow path. Thanks for the reply!
I'd say it was the o ring letting paint back in the brush. Remove the handle, he needle and the rest of the assembly and insert a small screwdriver down the body of the AB. Just tweak up the o ring a fraction and reassemble. See how it sprays, repeat until you are happy. Let us know how you get on. Hopefully you will be sorted. If you can also strain your paint. It makes a difference,

Thanks! What do you use to strain paint? I started out with "watercolors" thinking they would be the least hassle to learn with.
Just stretch a bit of panty hose over the top of the bottle of paint or strain it through a coffee filter after it's been reduced.
It seems like you have a piece of gunk stuck up there in the business end of your brush. Or there's an airleak somewheres up there. It's usually between the needle cap and the nozzle retainer where it sits next to the body of the brush. Those three little spots are notorious for leaking air and causing intermittent flow. What you can do is get some bees wax (that O ring for toilets) or some chapstick. Put that on the threads in all three spots and see if that helps at all. Don't use teflon tape as that wrecks the threads after repeated doing and undoing.
You can check for gunk by removing the needle cap, then the nozzle retainer to see if there is something blocking the flow. It doesn't take much.

ETA: One more thing, ditch the Createx. It's specialty is textiles and best performs out of a larger nozzle and higher pressure. Try Wicked, spectratex, Illustration paints, E'tac or Trident. Those are all good paints especially for smaller nozzled brushes.Use the proprietary reducers for best results.
Last edited by a moderator:
jord001 and bikergranny: Thanks for the replies!

jord001: I did notice paint seeping back in to the area where the needle goes into the main part of the AB. After taking the brush completely apart, doing a meticulous cleaning job and tightening what Veda calls a "needle guide" that compresses what looks like a teflon 0-ring, the AB will now shoot distilled water like I'd expect it to shoot paint.

bikergranny: I ordered some Wicked paint, Wicked extender, and Wiched cleaner. Now I guess I need to get a respirator. Any suggestions?

Usually a respirator that deals with vapours, the dust ones are no good. Just check out the specs before you buy it.