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Old 01-29-2013, 04:22 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Airbrushing with HPA/CO2

Just wondering if anybody here has ever configured some of their constant air for use with an airbrush? Rather than buy a compressor specifically for airbrushing, I figured I might be able to make use of what I already own. I get free air fills anyways and I think 68/45 would last a good few sessions.

Realistically, I'd need to down-regulate from HP (850psi) or LP (450psi) to a usable 10-40psi output. Would a female stabilizer with the LP spring pack (300psi) be precise enough? It would be nice to slap on a guage to see the pressure, but not absolutely a must.

Perhaps an on/off with an LPR (Rock, Jackhammer, etc.) in place would act similarly?

Any ideas/suggestions would be appreciated.
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Old 01-29-2013, 05:08 PM   #2 (permalink)
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iit should call up palmers lori is a sweet heart they also make stabs for non-paintball that will do it.I have one for my beer keg
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Actually, I've done it. I multi-regged using an early PMS screw-in tank, a Female Stab, and a full-size Rock sticking out of that. I don't know exactly what pressure I was feeding into the 'brush (an old Badger double-action) but I suspect it was 40-50 psi.

I forget where I got it, it might have been a factory Badger part, but I happened to have a 10-32/Badger-hose fitting, so it was all a plug-and-play job.

CO2 tanks chill quickly. A 20-lb bulk tank lasts pretty well, but the fittings start to develop a lot of frost after only a few minutes. A 20-oz tank freezes pretty quickly (15-20 minutes, maybe?) and a mostly-full 3K/68 doesn't last much longer.

I'd wager a good fill in a 68 or 72 ci 4500 tank might last 30 minutes or better, depending on your brush pressure and coverage.

On a similar idea, years ago I had to get some parts from a wrecking yard, including cutting some sheetmetal. I took a 20-lb bulk CO2 tank, to which I'd hooked an old-style Max Flow regulator. To that I hooked a regular shop air compressor hose, and used the whole thing to run an air cutoff wheel.

While I got the job done, I used at least a third of the tank, maybe closer to half, and cooled the whole mess down to about 40 psi- and it wasn't that big a job or that thick a sheetmetal.

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Old 01-29-2013, 06:28 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Low pressure commercial regs are pretty cheap. If you find one locally or on a surplus site, you could try to meet its input pressure, usually 150-200 psi. I never had much luck with using an AGD flatline bottle at low pressure on a marker, but it might work to feed another reg with a relief valve.

Seems like you only get a few minutes out of a 68 cu in bottle though. I think we've done this calculation before.
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:44 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DocsMachine View Post
and a mostly-full 3K/68 doesn't last much longer. ...

Doc.
I got about 8 minutes on my first calculation, assuming .5 cfm at 20 psi. That surprised me (short).
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:38 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Yea I'd go ahead and use a proper airbrush station setup with an easily adjustable low pressure regulator, pressure guage, disposable in-line filter and possibly a water separator for a small additional cost. that whole setup you can bolt to a board and put it at your airbrushing table, and then feed that with any HPA source regged down to 100 PSI. airbrush consistency requires dry, clean air, free of debris, and quick adjustable regulator at the station makes it easy to adjust the spray on the fly.
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:32 AM   #7 (permalink)
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As above, yeah, if you're looking for a home setup, a small compressor and accoutrements is a better choice. A PB tank just doesn't last all that long- I know I got longer than eight minutes, but then, you're not constantly blowing air when painting.

I suppose if you're looking for some way to airbrush "on the go" for some reason, you could find a big 114 ci 4500 and get a little more life...

Though on the same vein, I have seen artists use SCUBA tanks, especially if they live in an apartment or somesuch, where even a small, relatively quiet oilless compressor could make too much noise. It's not cheap nor convenient, but if there's no other option...

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Old 01-31-2013, 12:27 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I found another estimate of airbrush consumption of .25 scfm, which is less than 1/4 of what I used before. That puts it back at about 30-40 minutes of continuous flow from a 68/3000. So about an hour from a 68/4500 with good fill. I imagine it will have a lot to do with paint thickness and your setup. Guys doing window painting seem to use some heavy paint and large coverage compared to small scale modelers, for example.

I put a 5 gallon tank on my little paasche compressor, so I have a very fat buffer that makes it hard to tell what my relative rate is.
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:59 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I sometimes run my airbrushes off a scuba tank, when I don't feel like cranking up my compressor. I have an older externally adjustable Aqualung reg that I use. Normally the LP ports are set at 125 PSI, but since the reg has an adjustment, I just turn the output down to use an airbrush. My set up for the scuba tank use didn't cost me anything, as I already had everything. If you had to actually buy the needed items, it wouldn't be cost effective. Honestly it would be less hassle and cheaper in the long run to just get a compressor to run your airbrush.
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