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Good airbrush for only edge painting (letterpress)

Discussion in 'Beginners Airbrush Questions!' started by pantherapress, May 5, 2014.


  1. pantherapress

    pantherapress Young Tutorling

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    Hello All,

    I want to buy an airbrush for only a single application - edging cards for letterpress. I'm a letterpress printer and I want to add a new service for my business. Essentially, my needs are very simple.

    Occasional Use - maybe once a week, sometimes only once a month or less

    Wide, even spray pattern - I won't be doing fine detail, just broad even strokes to cover the sides of the card stacks when they're clamped together. I likely won't need a variety of tips or tons of settings, just even single color coverage.

    Easy Cleaning - The easier to clean the better. I take good care of my things, but when I have to wash up the printing press and a bunch of stuff, I don't want to have to spend ages cleaning out the airbrush too.

    Good Coverage - I probably will only spray one color in a use, I might do two color gradients, so I think a gravity cup unit would be good (yes?). I will likely be doing about 200-500 square inches at a time (imagine a stack 10 inches tall of 5x7" cards clamped together). I don't mind re-filling, but if it's going to be every two seconds I'm willing to spend more on something more appropriate.

    I've seen some cheap units on ebay for about 40 - 60 dollars that come with a gun, compressor, and paints (just go to ebay and search airbrush, you'll see.. it won't let me post links here)


    Would these work? I'm really not planning on doing anything complicated with it and don't want to over invest in something really fancy. Any advice would be really helpful, I'm a designer and have used all manner of tools, inks, and processes (from welding to glass), but I've never used a airbrush before!

    P.S. Regarding ink... what is a good ink for paper? Would Golden Acrylics thinned with a little water be fine? (I know they have a high flow airbrush line).
    Last edited: May 5, 2014
  2. RebelAir

    RebelAir Air-Valve Autobot!

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    Your probably better off with a single action airbrush..Lots of hobby shops stock them for model painting..A dual action for your needs would overcomplicate what your probably doing and does require some control and learning...I can't remember who makes single actions anymore LOL but I think Paasche does..You can also buy the versions that attach to a can of air rather than a compressor but if its something you'll do reasonably regular, a small compressor may be a cheaper alternative in the long run..Try a search on Single Action airbrushes and see what shows up..Good luck..
  3. pantherapress

    pantherapress Young Tutorling

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    Paasche offers a kit with this description for $130

    Paasche H-SET Airbrush Set: This set contains one Paasche Model H Single-Action Airbrush, one Metal Color Cup, two Bottle Assemblies, one Bottle and Cover Assembly, two Wrenches, Hanger, two Color Adjusting Parts, one-6' Air Hose, 2 Aircaps, "22 Airbrush Lessons" Booklet and Parts Sheet. Mini Compressor: Our new featured mini compressor is an Oil-less Maintenance-Free 1/5 HP Auto-Stop (Preset at 60 PSI), Thermal Protected unit with much higher quality standards built in than most other airbrush compressors on the market today. Mini airbrush compressor TC 20 is designed to work only when you do. With this unique automatic on/off shutoff switch, it only operates when you are airbrushing. This "Air-On-Demand" feature allows the compressor to operate much cooler and avoid overheating problems that frequently plague other compressor models. The new TC 20 delivers more air volume (CFM) and pressure (PSI) than any airbrush demands and is much quieter than either the Paasche D500 or the Central Pneumatic A6000 compressors. The unit has a water trap to ensure clean, dry air, and the true diaphragm regulator & Gauge which allows you to accurately control the air pressure to the airbrush from 0 to 60 PSI. Our TC-20 compressor comes with a full one year warranty and your assurance of the quality that you have come to expect with all of our fine Airbrush-Depot products.



    Is that overkill? Is 60psi more than enough? There are 'makeup airbrush kits' that sell for like 40 with single action/ gravity cup feed that are closer to 0-25 psi. Is that too light?
  4. Mr.Micron

    Mr.Micron Royal pain in the air hose Admin

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    most times you will only need 25 to 35 PSI.
    As far as inks for the paper you can use golden or pick up some of the airbrush inks.
    as far as airbrush go ahead and get a dual action , Why I say this is because later down the road you may want to up the game with say a beach scene or some other type of back drop.
  5. RebelAir

    RebelAir Air-Valve Autobot!

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    ^ yer true, ya may want to do more with an airbrush down the track, but for that actual need where ya want a consistent spray pattern every time ya push the trigger a single action is handy as you can set the paint supply and it will always stay the same..Dual actions will do it easily also but will require some practice and may also create some pain and wasted efforts if you havent got time to put much into it, nothing saying if you get the desire that you cant add a dual action to your set later on down the track and yer if ya want to get more artistic a single action wnt do a lot for ya.What you posted sounds fine and no doubt with some more looking you would prob find one much cheaper as few peeps use single actions these days unless they want it for modelling or a specif lining need, what your really paying for there is the compressor, there nearly giving you the airbrush for free LOL..And oh if its preset at 60 you may find thats too high, especially if you cant adjust it down.Could you post the actual link if possible or PM it to me and will have a looksie..
  6. pantherapress

    pantherapress Young Tutorling

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    I doubt I'll be interested in getting too artistic with it anytime soon. I have LOTS of other outlets for that - I prefer painting with a brush. I imagine I might like to spray some watercolor backgrounds but I'd probably want the work to be loose and free anyway just to tone the paper, I have no problem just buying a new 'gun' later (I assume that they are interchangeable and you just screw them onto the hose) I'm likely to invest more in the pigment than the airbrush. However, as a watercolorist, I know that good brushes make a difference, and you should always buy the best, most appropriate tool you can afford. I'm willing to spend about $160.00 to get this started.

    It's silly to me that I can't post links on this forum because I'm new, but let me try again by doing another post after this....

    Some options:

    Paasche Set $130
    amazon.com/gp/product/B001CEEWX4/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A23ADOZFIJNPFB

    Dual Action Set $48
    ebay.com/itm/190936001996?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

    Maybe these two together? $15 and $49

    Air Compressor: ebay.com/itm/301089245921?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

    Single Action Airbrush: ebay.com/itm/390535140353?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT
  7. pantherapress

    pantherapress Young Tutorling

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    Ah there we go! Just copy and paste those in and you'll see what I was thinking. The first has the highest PSI, the second has the lowest, and the third looks mid range. I just want, nice, even coats of paint. I'm willing to work at it a little, I love learning new mediums, but whatever will make this task easiest, will make me happy. I'll probably run the machine for 20-40 minutes at a time, or however long it ends up taking to edge the cards. Let me add a photo so you can see what I'm trying to do:

    mohawkconnects.com/feltandwire/2013/06/27/letterpress-business-cards-with-an-edge-2/

    Basically what that guy is doing, but much larger stacks, I need this to be high quality since clients will be paying for it haha! I'd rather have a compressor than constantly be buying new air cans and I'd rather spend more now, than lots later
    edge-painting1.jpg
    Last edited: May 6, 2014
  8. jgny1

    jgny1 Mac-Valve Maestro!

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  9. pantherapress

    pantherapress Young Tutorling

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    What about something like this? It's cheap, single action, and looks very simple. For a $50 investment would it be suitable for what i want to do? I saw that Badger Brush for 18 on eBay (new) as well. What is more essential, a good compressor or a good spray brush? This compressor doesn't say it has a moisture catch or auto shut off, would that be ok if I don't intend spending hours working it?

    ebay.com/itm/331122305696?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT
  10. Melbee

    Melbee Detail Decepticon!

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    Hi Panther,
    The only advice I'd give you is to get a compressor with an air tank like this one in this Paasche Airbrush (dual action) AS186 compressor Kit;

    Paasche VL Set Airbrush System Kit Air Compressor Tank T Shirt Hobby Cake Tattoo | eBay

    The reason you want an air tank is that the air flow remains smooth, the one you show has no air tank and the air flow will pulsate with the action of the pistons. The AS186 is a single cylinder compressor and should do fine for your required 20-40 minute runs. It does get very hot though and should not be run for any longer without turning it off and letting it cool down inbetween usage. Pointing a table fan at the motor will help keep it cool. Normally I would recommend a Twin cylinder compressor as minimum but for what you want to do I think the single cylinder will work ok.

    Heres just the AS186 compressor with an airhose;

    Powerful Master Airbrush Air Compressor w Air Tank Regulator Filter Free Hose | eBay

    Another tip; if you buy a Badger airbrush be aware that they have a different fitting to the standard 1/8th airhose so you may need to buy an adapter.

    I don't know anything about TCP Global as a supplier because I live in Europe but I've read up and down stories of them. Other USA side airbrushers will know more.

    Good luck
    Mel
  11. pantherapress

    pantherapress Young Tutorling

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    Do I have to re-fill the air tank because lugging it around and trying to find someone to re-fill it would be very frustrating. What about this set - it's got the tank and all the cleaning stuff and colors (etc). It's a bit more than I wanted to spend, but if it works well it'll make me money so I'm ok with that. It's also dual action, but I'm usually a competent learner with things like this.

    Dual Action Airbrush w Tank Air Compressor Kit 12 Color CREATEX Paint Set Holder | eBay
  12. jgny1

    jgny1 Mac-Valve Maestro!

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    That will plug in, depending on how much air you use they will run quite often. Are you located in the US?
  13. pantherapress

    pantherapress Young Tutorling

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    Yes, I'm US. I understand it will plug into the wall for electricity, do you mean the tank has to be plugged into something?
  14. jgny1

    jgny1 Mac-Valve Maestro!

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    No just the compressor would be plugged in. The tank fills and then shuts off. When you use the brush and the tank drains it turns on and fills again. I use Badger AB's and they actually have a "Garage Sale" link on their site. I purchased my Vega 2000 bottom feed double action brush for 44.00. Great brush has a .3mm needle/nozzle and they are warrantied they are demo units that have been totally gone through. That would also allow you do do other things in the future if you chose to.
    Here is a link, scroll down and you will see what they have.

    Garage Sale
  15. jgny1

    jgny1 Mac-Valve Maestro!

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    Looks like he is using a Badger 350 single action brush. For 35.00 I think you would better spend the money on something like the Vega I posted for 45.00. Then you have to purchase a compressor still.

    Amazon.com: BADGER 350F-9 Versatile AIRBRUSH SET
  16. pantherapress

    pantherapress Young Tutorling

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    Thank you all for your input, but I'm starting to get confused. It's all getting more and more expensive and more and more complicated - are you sure this level of quality is necessary for what I'm doing? I'm really not looking for the best of the best artistic quality, just something that paints evenly and is something I can figure out on my own. Aren't internal mix machines harder to clean? Likewise, unfortunately, the Vega is out of stock. The only other place I can find it is for 92.00, which is too expensive for me when combined with the $100 air tank compressor and the ink and cleaning supplies I will need. Didn't someone say the Badger machines use a different connection than the standard meaning I have to find some sort of mysterious adapter? I really don't want to order all these different things and then find out none of it connects together or that I'm missing some essential hose or doohicky. What about this? I can probably get high flow Golden paint on the cheap locally with a coupon and then buy the cleaner and such separately.

    Paasche VL Set Airbrush System Kit Air Compressor Tank T Shirt Hobby Cake Tattoo | eBay

    or a similar one

    Master S62 0 5mm Siphon Feed Dual Action Airbrush Set Kit Air Compressor w Tank | eBay
    Last edited: May 6, 2014
  17. Melbee

    Melbee Detail Decepticon!

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    Panther, the compressor in the link you put in your post is the same as the one I put in my post to you. The silver part of the compressor is the single cylinder motor and the Black container underneath is the Air Tank. It is very light and is attached together. Don't complicate things in your head!! :)
  18. pantherapress

    pantherapress Young Tutorling

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    Yep, I'm going to stick with your suggestion of the tanked compressor because you suggest it for more even color so all the posts feature the one you showed. Now I suppose, I'm trying to figure out the gun. I read a review on that kit with the colors and apparently it only comes with a .3 needle which means the paint needs to be thinned, but the kit doesn't come with the thinner (I assume it isn't acrylic which can be thinned with water... but maybe the reviewer didn't know what they were talking about). I'm assuming I need a .5 needle for the wider pattern and coverage? So even if I bought that one, I need to buy extra stuff - another needle/nozzle assembly, and a certain thinner so I posted the others below which have multiple needle/nozzles and no paint so I can just buy the acrylic. I'm so crazy detail oriented I always overcomplicate these purchases - just imagine how much time I've spent doing this to outfit the entire printshop so far! I spend hours on every purchase - whether its the inks I print with, the new paper cutter, the substrate, the ink additives. I'm just crazy I guess haha!

    IMG_1606.jpg
    Last edited: May 6, 2014
  19. Mr.Micron

    Mr.Micron Royal pain in the air hose Admin

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    when I think letter press I think this P5060197.JPG

    But the picture you posted of the edges of the card stock being airbrushed reminds me of Taking Book Art to the Edge: Fore-Edge Paintings | CreativePro.com
    which when a class was offered to me on this I took it. The artist who's name escapes me said he often used an airbrush on some of his work.

    But airbrushes have many uses , The main reason for the dual action if more control over how much paint you spray out. where the single action is more like a rattle can in once you pull the trigger that is what paint comes out.

    Depending ho which mohawk product you are using is how well it will hold paint . The mohawk paper sucks it up but the 5 and 10 point stock holds it well with out the bleeding.
    make sure you do some testing on which product you have to see which inks or paints work best with the product .

    I started airbrushing on scrapes of 5 , 10 and 20 point board and card stock.
    Grey/white davey board, binder board and mat board , some were easier to paint on then others but with practice I learned to paint on them all.
    That is a perk of working for a preservation lab and having access to all kind of paper material used in books and cards.
  20. Mr.Micron

    Mr.Micron Royal pain in the air hose Admin

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    The .3 will give you wide coverage. The .5 will handle thicker textile paint as used for t-shirts with out have to thin them.
    Nice press by the way.

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