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Thread: Airbrush: Siphon-fed or Gravity-fed?

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  1. Default Airbrush: Siphon-fed or Gravity-fed? 
    #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    St. David, IL
    Posts
    18
    I've been looking into buying an airbrush to start practicing with, and was wondering which type would be preferable to purchase, or if there's much of a difference.

    So there's the gravity-fed type with the cup on top (or on the side or bottom), and the siphon-fed which has the bottles.. Are there specific uses for each type, and pros and cons to each? I would assume the bottles would allow you to hold more liquid...


    Also, when it comes to paint (I've been searching the threads to see what veryone recommends for brands), do you have to dilute paints down, or use them as-is? I'm talking about for paints, such as the Endura line? Just curious... I plan on just playing around with cheap watered down acrylic paints to get the hang of it for now.

    Thanks!
    Jen
     

  2. Default  
    #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Tyler, Texas, United States
    Posts
    2,614
    I would definitely go with gravity feed. What looks like a little cup is actually 5 to 10 minutes of paint and that is a long time if you are really focusing on doing something detailed. Gravity feed will work at 12 to 15 psi and syphon feed needs 35 to 45 psi just to such paint out of a cup or bottle. So gravity requires much less of an air compressor or really saves on how much it operates, hence the electric bill and how much big air compressors cost.

    Just watering down acrylic paints can become a problem, some of them mix with water and some of them just become a goo. I use createx air brush paint right out of the bottle. For just becoming familiar with what it does, or how fine you can get, you can use india ink. Usually air brush paint you just use out of the bottle and it is a bit more as the pigment is ground much finer than cheap acrylic paint. Sure, enough thinning (some require a touch of isopropal alcohol) and enough pressure and you can shoot anything. This isn't control.

    With higher pressures you get spatters on your work when getting really close and fine. If you intend on doing fine work, the 15 psi range is better than blowing something with 45 psi or like Tshirts are done at 60 psi to intentionally blow through the fabric. Fine automotive work require 12 to 15 psi and the best quality paint.

    Just starting out gravity feed will save hundreds of dollars in experimenting with what they can do and what you can make money with only to find out you needed a gravity feed anyhow.

    I stopped buying things once I got Iwata air brushes. Either an Eclipse or HP-C model are great. It used to be they weren't even available in stores or at trade shows. And they used to be super expensive.

    I see so many people buy all sorts of gear like multiple air brushes, little manifolds to have 8 hooked up at one time, a bunch of bottles and 6 ar brushes, that special compressor that isn't so special after all and get $1200 into things. You just need one good air brush and a good regulator on an air compressor that is a real air compressor. I have a regulator and a bunch of valves that are actually air tool throttles at the end of the air hose and a regulator there, then the air hose to the air compressor is a reservoir of 100 psi regulated down to 15 psi to 20 psi. I have portable compressors but only use them for cleaning air brushes at the sink in a different part of the building. It is worthless for quality work.

    Pretty much every shop I work at has an air compressor so I just hook up with my own hoses and regulators and not trust theirs to be accurate or working at all. The compressors all have water traps and using your own hose means no air tool oil screwing up your paint.

    I set up to do motorcycle paint jobs that can be very fine detailed pictures represented in small spaces or large flowing patterns and I find the gravity feed does it all. If you watch someone do it, they go over the same area many times until the color is deep enough or the lines are subtle enough. Blasting something with mass quantities of air and paint don't get it unless you are doing stencils and fabrics, going for something bold and quick.

    Then any airbrush still has some limitations for detail. Sometimes I cheat and do the painting in fine artist brushes then give it an over spray or shadow with the air brush so it looks air brushed. Then it is a mystery of how did that guy get that from an air brush. You have to be smarter than the bowl of paint.

    Just starting out with the paint you are going to be using is also best. Going cheap will lie to you on how difficult air brushing really is and how many clogs you have to clean out of the gun or off your paint job. Every material comes out different, uses different air pressures and result in different levels of detail.


    Another fabulous post from the U.S.Department of Wild Imaginings, now in spectaclar stereo, sponsored by the Adhesives and Sealants Council, suggesting ways to stick things together since the 1800s. Not fabulous in a gay way. Your results may vary. Illinois residents add 8% sales tax. These posts have been made by professional post makers, do not try this type of posting on your own without extensive training, lovely assistants and a trusty clown horn.
     

  3. Default  
    #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    St. David, IL
    Posts
    18
    Thank you! That was very helpful!

    The main reason I am wanting an airbrush is for makeup, first off. Most likely I will want to use it in the future for detailing props or something as we learn how to do it. Having the ability to do very fine work will be wonderful, and being able to control it, even better.

    Jen
     

  4. Default  
    #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Longview, Texas
    Posts
    773
    Hi there, we go with siphon. We can change colors fast without dumping out and wasting the make-up. During the season we haver 4 going at all times, I know that does not sound like a lot but thats all we have so far. We plan on going to 5 make-up stations next year. I like siphon because you can tilt the brush without the worry of spilling. We move fast, we go through 80 people in less than 2 hours. Hope this helps.

    Sue
     

  5. Default  
    #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Mesquite, TX
    Posts
    2,788
    Are there specific uses for each type, and pros and cons to each?
    ***Yes there are specific uses for each type and rule breakers for each. I use the siphon with the bottles on the bottom- I do haunt airbrush make up. It is the best for me, If I were doing motorcycles and auto then no doubt I would want something different.

    I would assume the bottles would allow you to hold more liquid...
    *** Yes they do, they also allow you to switch colors a bit faster which helps keep you from extra planning by only using the color you have in already.

    Also, when it comes to paint (I've been searching the threads to see what very one recommends for brands), do you have to dilute paints down, or use them as-is? I'm talking about for paints, such as the Endura line? Just curious... I plan on just playing around with cheap watered down acrylic paints to get the hang of it for now.
    ***I'm using Endura from European body art now and you use it straight out of the bottle.
    Greg and I disagree on this one, but it is a matter of personal taste and effectiveness. do what works for you- but you cant learn much about it until you have an airbrush in your hand and are spraying paint. Buy one and get going.
     

  6. Default  
    #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Tyler, Texas, United States
    Posts
    2,614
    Gravity feed air brushes have a cap or lid on the reservoir so it becomes an anti gravity feed. Changing colors in a gravity feed is as simple as removing the lid and turning what hasn't been used out, it is more of a wrist action, fill the reservoir and shoot into a bucket until the new color comes out clean.

    You are handling only part of an ounce of paint instead of moving your hands around with the weight of a bottle. It is only a few ounces but adds to the fatigue of going for an hour or so. If you are doing something for 6 hours, it is an unbareable inconvienience.

    I see the points of the syphon feeds, it is a preference. There is also a different in cost of the air brush and what is common to be able to replace it. I like Allen's go to Harbor Freight if it is the situation where many people are handling them and if they are damaged you just throw it out or rob all the parts off of it. If it is me, I want to be able to do detail. It's just how I roll.


    Another fabulous post from the U.S.Department of Wild Imaginings, now in spectaclar stereo, sponsored by the Adhesives and Sealants Council, suggesting ways to stick things together since the 1800s. Not fabulous in a gay way. Your results may vary. Illinois residents add 8% sales tax. These posts have been made by professional post makers, do not try this type of posting on your own without extensive training, lovely assistants and a trusty clown horn.
     

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