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Comparison of the Takumi Micron vs the CM-SB Micron - My Thoughts

Discussion in 'Airbrushes' started by Kim McCann, Sep 15, 2021.


  1. Kim McCann

    Kim McCann Mac-Valve Maestro! Very Likeable!

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    So, I had a chance to do a side by side with the brand new Takumi Micron that arrived yesterday, and my trusty daily driver, the CM-SB v2.

    Did a number of tests with different reductions and paints, and various lines from large to ultra fine hairlines, flipping back and forth between them to get an apples to apples comparison.

    I personally noticed a HUGE difference in control when it comes to accuracy and comfort. But that may have a lot to do with being very, very familiar with the SB and my painting style.

    The Takumi "opens up" more slowly in a linear fashion more than the SB (new head and needle to be as fair as I could). The SB's opening is more sort of geometric, the takumi more linear. So when controlling various thicknesses on the fine side of things, I have far more control. It's definitely more responsive, more like a CM-C+, but without the annoying cup in the way. Also, the trigger is more natural and easier to use. It's hard to describe, but the pull is just smoother somehow. Some of that could be the age of my SB tho. It's been my workhorse, so there's some wear and tear there I am sure. But the pull on the Takumi is somehow just easier to tune.

    The needle stop wheel is also much better IMHO. I almost never use it on the SB, because it is prone to drift and even has been known to fall off mid session if I actually use it, and it slowly drifts back. The redesigned needle stop is much better machined. No drift at all. So I might actually use it.

    Also, even with the soft spring in the SB, somehow the takumi just feels easier to plunge down, so I get less hand fatigue. I put this down to the shorter front leading me to hold it slightly different maybe. In any event, it works for me.

    I thought the bigger side cup would throw the balance off, but I can't say that I actually noticed.

    Also, honestly my hairlines were darker, tighter and the paint seemed to just flow better. I went back and forth, sure that maybe it was a paint reduction change, or confirmation bias, but even when I went back later and looked again, the Takumi lines were richer and tighter. The air flow seems smoother for lack of better description. Pressure was between 15 to 22 psi on my tests.

    Some other folk notice mostly the response, but for my use there are a lot of very minor changes that make it a comfortable delight to use.

    Still love my SB, but I suspect that the SB will become my backup, and the Takumi my primary brush.

    I suspect that how you perceive the changes will have everything to do with your hand size, and style of painting. But for a big guy like me, this is the micron with all the wish list changes I've had over the years. So much easier to use on a long session.

    Very happy with this purchase.

    However, I will say that you don't notice nearly as much difference at higher pressures or with larger lines. There they are pretty much exactly the same. So the differences really only count for ultra fine detail, or in the hands of someone super familiar with the SB that already has excellent control. If someone was just starting to use detail brushes, or used other brushes more often, I don't know that the differences would amount to very much. So if you're looking for a micron, and you can get a good deal on a used SB, they are about 90% identical. The differences only really would stand out to an experienced micron user that does a lot of detail work. So it might not be worth the upgrade.

    If you are very familiar with the micron SB and do a lot of tight work... that extra 10% is all the difference in the world.

    So, that's my two cents.
  2. SiRoxx

    SiRoxx Party Boy UK Style Staff Member Mod Very Likeable!

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    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Kim. They seem to reflect some of what I had guessed about the Takumi, but there’s a couple surprises in there too which is nice. I’m not in the market for a new detail brush at the moment but being that I already have a CM-C+, the Takumi will be the way I go when I do.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  3. DaveG

    DaveG Airbush Analyst Very Likeable!

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    I agree with all of your observations, and impressions.

    Just to be clear - on the brush itself the only change is that 7mm was removed from the brush body from the centerline of the air valve, to the center of the side feed hole. To go along with the reduction in length of the brush body, the needle was also shortened 7mm. Everything else on the brush itself remains unchanged.

    I did not think I would care for the color cups, but have certainly changed that opinion having now used them.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2021
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  4. Kim McCann

    Kim McCann Mac-Valve Maestro! Very Likeable!

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    Yeah, I agree. On paper and looking over it and measuring everything, yeah, it seems that they should be practically identical. The airflow is definitely different at low pressures tho, which I kept demonstrating over and over again. I don't understand why though. It SHOULD be exactly the same. Even tried swapping needles (with the help of some clippers) and seeing if maybe it was the needle. Same behavior. I'm frankly stumped as to where the improvement at low pressure comes from. Maybe the air channel is wider inside the body or something. No idea.

    I also happen to have an ELF for measuring force (day job tool), and yeah, the pull on the trigger is different, but as far as I can tell, the machining is exactly the same. So I am at a loss to explain it. Maybe differences in the spring metallurgy.

    I tried swapping springs from the Takumi into the SB and noticed an improvement. So going to order some newer replacement springs. Might just be years of wear and tear on my old ones that make the feel so different.
  5. Kim McCann

    Kim McCann Mac-Valve Maestro! Very Likeable!

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    I'm wondering if there might be machining differences in the nozzles that we don't see. On paper they are the same part, but maybe there has been a change in material or maybe the cavity size inside that tiny nozzle. If I ever feel like burning some money on replacement nozzles, or if I damage a couple, I might try cutting then and comparing the cutaway side by side.

    Unless someone else does it first.... ;)
  6. DaveG

    DaveG Airbush Analyst Very Likeable!

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    There is for sure an improvement in performance - and I think it is a combination of the gravity feed added to the side cup, and the shorter air channel. I did not think the reduction in length would be perceivable in use, but now for sure think it is. At some point, I may chop an Eclipse up and modify it to the new spec to find out. For what it is worth, if Iwata changed anything, even by microscopic specifications, they would be using it in advertising media everywhere (and charging for it)!
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  7. erwin de pan

    erwin de pan Mac-Valve Maestro! Very Likeable!

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    I also think it has to do with the air.
    The smaller paint room. also ensures a faster vacuum.
    And maybe less turbulence in the airbrush.
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  8. Electric Cat Dude

    Electric Cat Dude Gravity Guru

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    I suspect a lot of this comes from the fact that the Custom Micron Takumi is in fact a gravity fed Airbrush as opposed to a siphon fed airbrush like the CM-SB. It will be interesting to do a comparison with the CM-SB using the Takumi color cups or the CM Takumi vs a CM-B to confirm this hypothesis.

    Glad you are happy with your purchase!
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  9. Kim McCann

    Kim McCann Mac-Valve Maestro! Very Likeable!

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    I'd call it a hybrid, or gravity assist. It still siphons, but because the cup is higher, you also get the assist from gravity on the paint. The difference in rate of "opening" as I pull back the trigger is interesting. On paper there should be no difference, and yet swapping the parts back and forth between my SB and Takumi the difference persists. I'm of the opinion that there is some difference in the air flow that I can't quite track down. I suspect that there might be a wider air channel between the valve and head, but I'd need to slice one in half to see if that's the case. Something I'm not prepared to do. LOL.

    It's a subtle difference you only notice at low pressures, but it is there.

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