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Sotar side feed

Discussion in 'Airbrushes' started by AndreZA, Aug 31, 2015.


  1. ferret

    ferret Guest

    I think I'm missing something here ,if the nozzle head is fixed how do you replace the nozzle ,how can it be removed to give it a good clean. Etc or am I getting confused on terminology here lol . With regards to the cups I have some coloni cups / pots. Like mini syphon pots ,might give them a go ,I doubt the adaptor will fit as its for an iwata . So painting wise ,if you've had the chance yet how does it compare to your regular sotar ? .
  2. Nessus

    Nessus Needle-chuck Ninja

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    The nozzle head is part 5. On Iwatas and other designs this isn't a separate part from the body. I think Badger made it a separate part so they could use the same bodies for multiple models with different head assembly designs (or vice versa)... maybe? Not sure why. Anyway, this SOTAR version is like Iwatas and Paashes and such in that this isn't a separate part, although it still appears to have been machined separately then soldered on, as opposed to machined into the body itself.

    Paint wise it's pretty similar. Spray is a little fussier with the trigger at a low paint volume position, harder to to get lines as fine without the spray stopping, but I don't know if that's the needle and/or nozzle's fault. I had polished the needle and lapped it to the nozzle on my regular SOTAR, so the next test will be to swap those parts and see if there's a difference.

    The needle itself looks different. The metal looks like it has a lighter tone, and the shaft is not as smooth, with a diagonally lined diffraction pattern from lathing tool marks (said diffraction may account for the lighter tone, not sure).

    The air valve spring is much lighter than on my regular SOTAR. My regular SOTAR has an extremely stiff air spring. By far the stiffest of all my brushes. Enough so to make controlling the needle a little difficult, as I have to press and hold down hard while trying to move the trigger back and forth precisely. I'd been wondering if Badger air springs were moddable because of this. However the trigger on my side-feed SOTAR is quite comfy.

    The gritty/scrapey trigger feel I noted in my review of my regular SOTAR is present in this model as well, but its slightly different. I've actually figured out what the main culprit is. The sides of the trigger cutout in the body are slightly rough edged, and the way the trigger sits on the valve allows it to swivel within the cutout. As a result, when I pull back on the trigger, the trigger will sometimes twist slightly in one direction or the other, causing the edge of the flats on the sides of the trigger stem to rub along the striations on the cutout edge. This is not the only culprit, but it is the largest.

    The side feed model is slightly better in this regard, as the cutout is slightly narrower, and the edges are in the vertical axis cut/ground straight (parallel with the trigger stem) rather than at an angle radial relative to the body's axis (which is the case with the regular SOTAR). This constrains the trigger stem so it can't swivel as far, and thus can't present the edges of the stem flats to the striations in the cutout as sharply. The striations in the cutout edges on both brushes also run diagonally across the faces of those edges, so having those edges parallel to the trigger stem means the striations overlap and act partly like rails, reducing the vibration from the stem edge rubbing along them.

    I feel like maybe I need pics/diagrams to make that stuff properly clear, sorry.

    The scrapeyness is smoother on the side feed, more like sandpaper than the more grindy sensation I get with the regular SOTAR. I can smooth it out further by putting some K33 there, but there's still abrasion going on. In fact, the brush arrived with scrape marks on the trigger stem from this already (presumably incurred during factory testing). TBH, after two brushes with this, I'm starting to be surprised that no-one else has claimed to notice or experience this with their Badgers or SOTARS. One brush might be an anomaly. Two starts to feel like it's maybe a problem with Badger's manufacturing. Not gonna lie: as long as their machining is rough in these places, they are wasting both their and their customers' money with alleged special coatings. The lack of finishing in these areas completely invalidates the whole "glydercoat" thing Badger likes to tout. Fancy coatings won't matter if the contact surfaces are not smooth enough to begin with.

    My HP-CS does not have anything like this sensation. Between the heavy chrome plating, the trigger stem being thicker (i.e. the flats are wider) so it can't swivel in the cutout nearly as much, and the machining just being smoother to begin with, the trigger moves perfectly smoothly.
  3. ferret

    ferret Guest

    Thank you for that very informative piece , yes I understand fully what your saying in regards to the machining and the way this nozzle head is infact set up different . I will have to have a look at what bits can be fitted /used from other badgers now .
  4. Nada

    Nada Air-Valve Autobot!

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    Suprising since this is a hand touched piece. My krome is like silk for what it is worth. But 2 out of 2 with poor machining is bad. Sucks id love to buy American, and i have and i am an American... but my last 3Airbrushes came from Japan.
  5. Nessus

    Nessus Needle-chuck Ninja

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    Part of that may be that the Krome is, well, chromed. The SOTAR has this thin black coating on it, I think it's some kind of anodization, but I'm not sure. I don't think it has the scratch-filling effect of chrome plating though, and it doesn't extend onto the edge faces of the trigger cutout. Still wouldn't explain why my experiences would be the odd ones out, as many Badger models aren't chromed.

    I kinda wish the SOTAR was chromed, TBH. I get that they're trying to give it a distinct "classy" look with the gold lettering on black scheme, but I'd much rather have the superior durability, smoothness, and easier cleaning of chrome. Especially since the SOTAR is supposed to be Badger's high-end brush. In a tool you wish to promote as your high end, practical performance & functionality should be elevated, not traded away for cosmetics.
  6. AndreZA

    AndreZA Love this place! Forum Supporter Very Likeable!

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    From @Don Wheeler's blog. "It was originally sold only as a Sotar, with no Badger name. They wanted to create a sub brand like Toyota did with the Lexus. But eventually, they just added it to the rest of the Badger line. By the way, Sotar stands for State Of The Art Results."
  7. Nessus

    Nessus Needle-chuck Ninja

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    I feel like I should stress again that despite my misgivings about certain parts, the brush on the whole still seems to be good.

    The ergonomics are IMO its big selling point. So far as I know, no other brush has a front this short, so although it might not be a Micron, it's still very worth it if you want pen or pencil-like feel and control.

    For fine lines, I've found myself doing one-handed distancing by extending my ring finger. The front is short enough that this requires no alteration or compromising of my normal grip at all.
    distancing.jpg
    AndreZA likes this.
  8. ferret

    ferret Guest

    Thanx for the update ,what do you feel is the sweet spot as far as working pressure and paint reduction is concerned .
  9. Nessus

    Nessus Needle-chuck Ninja

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    Tricky to say, as each paint is a bit different (and what you reduce with makes a difference as well). Also these are things I'm still figuring out myself. I'd love to be able to answer this, but I cannot give an answer that wouldn't be too vague or wishy-washy to be much use.

    All I can say is you do have to reduce most things down at least 3:1, often more like 5 or 6:1. There's a bit of a fine balancing act needed to get a reduction that will spray without graininess, and yet still be strong/opaque enough for the lines to be well visible. I'm typically spraying in the 10-20psi range. It'll spray down to 3psi, I've found, but atomization gets pretty rough below 10 (at least with the paints and reductions I'm using), and you have to open the needle a lot more. Straining paints as well as pre-mixing your reductions is imperative, as the nozzle clogs very easily. May even pay to let your pre-mixed reduction sit for a while before using, to make sure everything has dissolved evenly.

    One more thing:
    The color cup is easy to clean, but not easy to flush. The undercut formed by the screw-on cup bottom tends to hold onto paint pretty stubbornly. If you take it off, everything cleans up pretty easy & fast, but if you leave it on, you'll be flushing repeatedly 'till the cows come home. If you use multiple colors in one session it may be better to get extra cups to hot-swap with, rather than flushing and loading new colors in the same cup.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2015
  10. Nessus

    Nessus Needle-chuck Ninja

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    BTW, the paints I'm using are Golden High-flow, and Testors Aztek acrylics. The Aztek paints spray easier (atomize better, dry & clog less, require less reduction to get fine atomization), but the High-Flow has better opacity and saturation. Part of that may be the reduction media, however. I have the correct thinner for the Aztek paints, but Golden airbrush media is not sold anywhere locally, so I've been using Mr. Micron's reducer recipe, substituting Golden retarder for the glycerin.

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