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Airbrush pressure

RELATED TOPICS: AIRBRUSH
Q: I have an airbrush and compressor with a regulator and a moisture trap, but I am not sure what the pressure should be. Is there an average pressure to use, or would it depend on the paint?

- Jeff Cayle
via E-mail

Ken: Jeff, I take it from your question that this is your first attempt at using an airbrush. You'll no doubt find that using an airbrush opens a new world of paint possibilities, but in order to get the best result you'll have to spend some time practicing.

The paint you use needs to be thinned to the proper consistency. Read the label and follow the manufacturer's thinning recommendations carefully. When properly thinned, the paint should have the consistency of milk.

To definitively answer your main question, there is no definitive answer to your main question.

Generally speaking, air-pressure settings can range anywhere from 12-15 psi to upward of 40-45 psi, depending on what you're comfortable with and the paint you're using. Paint thickness enters into this equation, too.

The object is to get the paint to atomize, shoot through the nozzle of the airbrush, travel through the air to the object being painted, and land on that object while it's still wet enough to flow.

If the paint dries too much on the way to the model, it will create a powdery texture on the surface. If the paint is too wet when it hits the surface, it will run.

The only real answer we can give you, Jeff, is to experiment with different settings, read up on airbrush techniques, and see which is best for you.

Thanks for the question, and good luck with your new airbrush.


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