Keeping Airbrushes Clean.

I use the basic Badger model 350 airbrush and its good enough for what I do. After each session I thoroughly flush the airbrush with water
and it sprays water well. Yet I get uneven blockages in my next session some months down and have to strip it to clean it out. This is a PITA. Do you guys have the same problem? Or should I just strip it anyway and store the metal parts in water to keep any paint film from forming?
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Have the 350 as well as 100, 150, 200, 250.
What paint are you using? Do you really only flush with water? Where do the blockages seem to form?
Even when using "water base" paint I always run windshield washer fluid or window cleaner (Windex, etc) after the first rinse off. It's cheap and seems to clear out all water based paints. Also I keep separate jars for the water and the Windex. I usually put the first bottle of water on and swish it around to get paint stuck on the syphon or cap. Pays to run a pipe cleaner through the syphon tube and cap, too. Paint can hide in the nozzle piece. Water then Windex. I usually don't flush it after that. I also keep a margarine tub of water around and will sometimes dip the working end of the airbrush in and swish it around, even cycle it underwater.
The 350 is pretty easy to care for, all the pieces being external. I wouldn't leave it immersed for very long though. I also use Scalecoat Wash Away, which BTW is an amazing paint stripper for models, sometimes. I'll soak all the metal parts in a bit for a bit then rinse and dry.
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PaPa Peng wrote:

You are not cleaning the airbrush well enough. Acrylics in particular are quick to dry, and leave a thin sometimes very hard to clean residue in small areas.
I clean with lacquer thinner or Testors brush cleaner after use, and then flush with regular thinner which has oil in it and keeps the airbrush lubricated.
No problems here for years.
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PaPa Peng wrote:

You haven't cleaned the brush out properly

No. After every session I strip the airbrush down and clean the components with white spirit (I use enamel paints mostly) with a last wipe over using lacquer thinners or "airbrush cleaner"

Just clean the brush properly after each session, then reassemble it. Acrylics are particularly bad at clogging airbrushes, they set very quickly and form hard lumps. The setting process is a chemical change, and the result is an acrylic plastic, not water soluble (or you'd be able to wash set acrylic off your model)
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I do it all the time. I've been trying to get a decent hull red and boot topping on a ship with a few problems. Stripped it 3 times now. ELO or Sacelcoat Wash Away. Scalecoat kicks major ass.
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Gray Ghost wrote:

To be fair, what you're using is designed to remove set acrylic :) Lacquer thinners would also dissolve your set acrylic, but unfortunately they would also dissolve the plastic underneath.
What I meant was, if acrylic paint didn't set chemically (turning into plastic), but rather simply dried out, just losing the solvent, then a quick run under the tap would strip the paint off your model . . . . .
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OK.
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After every painting session, I remove the needle and the tip pieces. When using acrylics, I clean with "dirty" distilled water and windex mostly. On occasion, I use 90% rubbing alcohol in place of the windex.
Regardless of paint type, I let the tip bits soak in some appropriate cleaner (windex, rubbing alcohol, lacquer thinner for enamels) for a few minutes while I take a couple of windex soaked q-tips to the airbrush body parts that paint goes through.
On occasion, I take the entire thing apart and clean every piece.
I've got a Badger Crescendo, a 200, and a third one which I think is a 100.
"dirty" distilled water ... left over distilled water used in a humidifier. It's dirty in the sense that it's been moved out of the original jug it came in, but otherwise OK for paint thinning, cleaning, etc.
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PaPa Peng wrote:

I use enamels, but also flush throughly after each use.
But what I also do is screw the needle fully closed after flushing, before I put it away. Keeps any residual paint and/or dust out of the tip. I use a Badger 200 - same one I've been using since I was a pre-teen.
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PaPa Peng wrote:

Well, I took a very drastic step. I stopped using acrylics in my airbrush except for very rare circumstances. Acrylics dry so fast that if I get distracted, and don't clean the brush immediately, it clogs.
I find enamels are much more tolerant that way.
Even when I do use acrylics, I don't use just plain water as thinner or cleaner. I use rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol.
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On 6/10/2010 6:27 AM, Don Stauffer wrote:

A 50-50 mix of denatured alcohol and windex makes an excellent cleaner that will remove all the dirt and oil from optics or clean an airbrush after spraying acrylics. My professional artist friend says it will even remove dried acrylic, but I haven't had occasion to try that, and hopefully won't.
Cheers, Dave Ambrose
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Dave Ambrose wrote:

I did get dried acrylics in my airbrush. Even 95% alcohol didn't do a very good job of removing it. Had to go to lacquer thinner.
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