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Troubleshooting

Discussion in 'Beginners help' started by pmpski_1, Sep 18, 2021.


  1. pmpski_1

    pmpski_1 Young Tutorling

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    Hi - Last weekend I made about 300 "dots", practicing on wrapping paper with Createx black. I hope I cleaned my airbrush well enough, we'll get to that. I sprayed a bunch of water through it until it came out clear.

    A local acrylic shop has scraps for a $1 a sheet, sized around 12"x12" or so, and I figured I could get a lot of layering and candy/metallic color practice with those. So I bought a bunch, and started in on one tonight. Step 1, using Createx Autoborne Sealer to prep for color.

    Even though I suspect I used too much reducer, the first cup went fine. After refilling it, nothing would come out. I got super frustrated, kept changing pressure, thickened up the sealer, etc. Finally decided to quit and started trying to run cleaner through it (Medea cleaner). I got a lot of bubbles in the cup with both the sealer and cleaner. I started taking things apart and cleaning individual parts, and finally got the cleaner to run through it until it looked like everything was clean. But I still had a bunch of sealer, so I decided to use it up.

    Sometimes it sprayed, sometimes it didn't. When it did, it would occasionally splutter, so an even pass had breaks in it. (See pics).

    At this point, I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong and how to fix it. Any thoughts and pointers where to look and learn more? Since I'm going for coverage, I'm basically keeping the air and paint on the whole time, just going up and down the sheet in a horizontal pass, move down a bit, repeat.

    Is my needle bent? It looks like the tip is bent to me, what say the experts? I'm not sure exactly what to look for or how bad it has to be before it negatively impacts me.

    One thing that may or may not be important, this airbrush was brand new in 1984. This is the first time it's been used since then, and it's just been sitting in a box. Are there seals or other wear items that may have dried out and may need to be replaced?

    All the youtube videos make this look so easy :) I've got a long way to go.

    Pics of my uneven horizontal passes in the middle of the square (yeah, I know about overlapping, still figuring things out. Trying to get an even line first :))

    [​IMG]

    Looks bent to me, how bad is it?
    [​IMG]

    Thanks!
  2. pmpski_1

    pmpski_1 Young Tutorling

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    The needle looks a lot worse in the pic than it does in real life. I think it's because the pic is so zoomed in I can see it a lot better!
  3. JackEb

    JackEb The Dragon Hunter Staff Member Admin

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    definitely looks like your needle is past due for replacement. I'm not sure on the Paasche if the needles are still available.
    Our guru @DaveG may be able to advise if needles are still available for '1980s era brand new Paasche VL' or what needle are useable.

    As for your spray issues and not knowing exactly what size your Paasche is (I'm an Iwata user) it may be that the sealer may need a larger needle than what you currently have :)

    Createx sealer recommends a .5 needle. and I see your brush is a siphon feed which generally needs a higher PSI than gravity feeds.
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  4. Joe pulvirenti

    Joe pulvirenti Double Actioner

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    Jacky is spot on with her advise you needle is bonkers.
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  5. 2Diverse

    2Diverse Needle-chuck Ninja

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    DaveG can correct me or add to what I believe is correct. Needles for the VL should still be available, maybe. Paasche changed the needles at some point and I'm not sure when that occurred. It would help to know which one you have. It's my understanding they shouldn't be mixed, old style with new.

    Look at the back of the needle.

    Does it have rings around it?
    If so, how many rings?

    If there are no rings is there a number stamped in it?
    That would be either a 1, 3 or 5.

    Is there a number stamped on the air cap?
    It should be the same number as the needle.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2021
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  6. pmpski_1

    pmpski_1 Young Tutorling

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    Thanks all! There are a couple needles in the box, I know one has rings and the other has the number 3 stamped on it. I don't know about the one in the gun. but I'll be taking it apart today to find out. There are some caps in the box as well.

    It looks like the needles are still available from retailers, so I'll be ordering some new ones once I compare the photos in the listings to what I have. I know that doesn't guarantee they'll fit, but I can't tell you the number of times I've ordered stuff where a simple visual comparison would've told me it was the wrong part....

    So, the code is either number of rings, or a number. Then, a number should be on the cap as well. Correct?

    Thanks again, I know this will be a long road and I'm eager to learn. Fighting equipment issues before learning technique makes for a bumpy start. The airbrush is unused, but it has been in and out of the box and inspected numerous times, so I'm not surprised the needle is damaged.
  7. pmpski_1

    pmpski_1 Young Tutorling

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    This is interesting - old style airbrush with new needles, or different versions of caps and needles? The set of needles I saw on Amazon was 35 bucks or so, money I could spend on paint if I don't waste it on needles that won't fit :)
  8. 2Diverse

    2Diverse Needle-chuck Ninja

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    Does your set have all 3 needle/nozzle/air cap sizes?

    I have no idea what you are looking at on Amazon for $35. My suggestion would be to go to a company that specializes in airbrushes and their parts. Since you are on the left coast try Coast Airbrush in California. There is Dixie Art in Louisiana and SprayGunner in Florida. I'm sure there are many more, these 3 were off the top of my head. I would try them first as prices on Amazon and eBay seem to run higher (at least in my opinion).

    These airbrush companies can also answer your questions a lot better:thumbsup:.
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  9. 2Diverse

    2Diverse Needle-chuck Ninja

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    And to address a couple other things in your original post. When I use one I clean by spraying whatever media it would require. I use 91% rubbing alcohol and Medea airbrush cleaner on water base and lacquer thinner for solvent base. I always sprayed though it when I was done but would disassemble it. I'd take the needle cap, nozzle and head off and soak them in whichever would be the best cleaner for what I sprayed. On siphon feed brushes I use a Q-Tip (dipped in cleaner) in the fluid inlet to get out as much of the heavy stuff as I can. I then soak it in a jar with the appropriate cleaning fluid. I fill the container just far enough to reach the travel path. I do not fill it so it reaches the packing. And just let them sit for a while. When they've soaked for a while I would use a Q-Tip on the fluid inlet again to see if it still had residue in it. I stretch a Q-Tip and clean the nozzle, head and the needle cap.

    Your brush should have a protective cap to cover the front of the brush. If it doesn't I would suggest that when you are going to put it away loosen the needle and draw it back far enough not to be exposed on the outside of the nozzle. Too far and your handle won't tighten completely though:laugh:.

    And BTW, it looks like SprayGunner only sells Talon replacement parts. My bad.
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  10. DaveG

    DaveG Airbush Analyst Very Likeable!

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    I can tell just by looking at the photo that that needle probably does not go with that nozzle - there is a lot of protrusion there. The set you have most probably came with three sizes. On VL, there are three parts that need to be changed to alter the size - it is needle, nozzle, and nozzle cap. They should be kept together,and changed only as sets, as they are all sized to work with their corresponding parts. Even if they are not marked, you should be able to make out what they are, in that there will be three pieces that are smaller, three that are largest, and three that go in the middle, (size wise). I am sure they are most likely marked, though.

    Bubbles in the cup on the Paasche is usually a poor seal withe cone shaped nozzle against the brush body within the head assembly. But, it can also be cause by using the wrong sized nozzle cap with a nozzle.

    If you but replacement parts, they will be sold as a set (unless you are buying individual components - like just a needle). I am not going to get into old production vs. new production, because it will do more to confuse the situation vs solving the issues you are having.

    The needle is for sure bent but that bend would only effect the quality of the spray pattern - more so when trying to do smaller lines. It should not sop the brush from spraying altogether. It should be fairly easy to straighten enough to make it usable - but, firs you must get your parts sorted out in terms of sizes.
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  11. pmpski_1

    pmpski_1 Young Tutorling

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    Thanks for the insight!

    Here's what happened since my last post.

    1. Brought the airbrush inside and started taking it apart to inspect and replace the needle.
    2. Removed the existing needle and found that there was a lot of sticky, still wet sealer somewhere inside
    3. Cleaned with a set of brushes that I bought for this purpose - looking back at the replies since then, sounds like I should take it apart again and soak some of the pieces in cleaner for a bit to make sure they're really clean.
    4. Inspected the other needles/aircaps/tips in the box, found that I have a 3 and a 5.
    5. Started reading the parts diagram. I'll take all the ribbing I deserve for not doing this sooner :(
    6. Started in on replacing the bent needle with a 5 so I can continue laying down a bunch of sealer on my acrylic today
    7. The tip that was in the aircap body wouldn't come out, so gentle persuasion turned into heavy persuasion and that one is going in the trash - which brings up a question - are these disposable and always replaced with the needle?
    8. Now I have a 5 tip, needle, and aircap. The head protecting cap has disappeared over the years, so I put the #1 aircap back on to cover the slightly protruding needle.

    Here's the needle set I was looking at on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Paasche-Airbrush-VL-227-Spray-Heads/dp/B0848DP7H3
    Says they fit the VL, but I see that these all have shoulders on them - the 5 I just put in has a shoulder on it, but the 1 I took out did not. I didn't take the protective covering off the 3 to see if it has a shoulder. (I've been using Spraygunner for all my paint, happy with them so far! Maybe I'll look up some other airbrush specific shops about replacement parts)

    I can't speak for the existing needle and nozzle. I assume it's how it came from the factory. Nobody has ever used this airbrush, and as far as I can remember, I have never disassembled it or changed anything around.

    So, it sounds like I have a few problems that may be sorted out with everyone's help:
    1. Poor understanding of the hardware - wrong size for material I'm using, and how the hardware works together - probably the cause of bubbles and poor paint application, along with
    2. Poor understanding of what to clean and how to clean it - also contributing with no paint coming out and erratic application
    3. Bent needle and possible nozzle mismatch with needle size - should be resolved now with the installation of the size 5 pieces

    I'm going to grab a late breakfast, then start in again to see where I'm at. Based on this thread, I have other follow up questions:
    1. The mix of 91% alcohol and cleaner - what is the ratio? I'm using all water based at this time, and will probably continue to do so for a while.
    2. Are there any youtube videos or channels that are good for analyzing or learning about the hardware and how it works - so far I've just been watching about painting techniques and paint types.
    3. Eventually I'm going to need replacement needles and nozzles. So the conversation about late vs early Paasche production will be helpful, and I'm curious about that kind of stuff anyway :)
  12. 2Diverse

    2Diverse Needle-chuck Ninja

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    I went back and looked. I had written it wrong. I use either 91% alcohol OR Medea airbrush cleaner. I do not mix them:).

    In my old age I've come to reading any manual beforehand as it will usually save a lot of aggravation and frustration in the long run. It's a habit I've gotten into in the last few years:D.

    I'm going to step aside, as long as I don't have to clarify anything else I've written, and let DaveG help you. He IS the guru here:thumbsup:.

    I hope you have it sorted out.
  13. DaveG

    DaveG Airbush Analyst Very Likeable!

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    The photo's on amazon, or even paasche's own site may, or may not be correct to the actual product. Many times they just use a generic set of pictures for a lot o inventory. It is also possible that the newer version of the needles has a step in the shaft...I haven't had a VL since the early 90's ;). Once you are sure you are using all the matching parts, it will come together fast enough for you.
  14. pmpski_1

    pmpski_1 Young Tutorling

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    Success! Took the setup out to the shop and everything worked much much better! I was even able to get through a slight hiccup - when I first started, no paint was coming out. Thought back through everything, watched the tip while pulling back on the action, and saw the needle wasn't moving. Went back and tightened the needle lock nut and everything worked like a charm. Small victories are still victories at this point :)

    Now I can see how bad my technique is, but at least that's progress. Off to do some family stuff while everything dries after the clean up I just did. I sprayed black sealer, this evening I will spray some white sealer. So that could be a good test of how well I cleaned up.
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