Non-toxic paint

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KL2IE

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Hello All,

I seem to be getting a bit of a sensitivity to the spray enamel that I normally use to finish my rockets. As such, I am looking for non-toxic, or less toxic, alternatives. I've just started looking at airbrushes and acrylic paints but I am not sure how practical of a solution this considering that I normally just prime, mask, and spray. What are your thoughts?
 

Peter Olivola

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It will be a significant change and learning curve. The most popular artists acrylic primer is gesso, which is nothing more than highly thickened titanium white and can't be airbrushed without severe thinning, at which point you might as well use titanium white and several coats. You can brush it on and it will wet sand but it's a lot of work. I quit using VOC based paint some time ago and don't have the right set up to airbrush so I use artists brushes, only slightly thicker than airbrush consistency and multiple coats. Water (and Dawn) clean up is a plus. I've used Varathane as a top coat with some success.

A strong caveat: No one would mistake anything I've ever painted for a top quality, artistic endeavor. I've always hated paint. Now it just bothers me less.
 

KL2IE

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It will be a significant change and learning curve. The most popular artists acrylic primer is gesso, which is nothing more than highly thickened titanium white and can't be airbrushed without severe thinning, at which point you might as well use titanium white and several coats. You can brush it on and it will wet sand but it's a lot of work. I quit using VOC based paint some time ago and don't have the right set up to airbrush so I use artists brushes, only slightly thicker than airbrush consistency and multiple coats. Water (and Dawn) clean up is a plus. I've used Varathane as a top coat with some success.

A strong caveat: No one would mistake anything I've ever painted for a top quality, artistic endeavor. I've always hated paint. Now it just bothers me less.
I'm hardly an artist myself and am ecstatic if I can complete a paint job with out runs, wrinkles, or bleeding​ under the masking tape. That said, on some of my larger rockets I have enjoyed doing some​ simple designs.
 

gpoehlein

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I like using Tamiya acrylics with an airbrush - you get nice, smooth coverage because acrylics are really good at self-levelling. If you need to thin them, you can thin with automotive windshield washer fluid - the mix of water and alcohol is perfect for acrylics and the small amount of detergent added helps the paint to flow well. Do NOT mix thinned paint back into the original bottle - the water will react badly with the original paint. For large models, the cheap badger external mix airbrush works well. You can use the canned airbrush gas, but you won't get very far before the can chills and the pressure drops. An airbrush pump is better - one with a small storage tank is even better. One of the real keys to airbrushing is having a constant, steady pressure. And, because of the lower toxicity of acrylic paints, you can paint your models indoors. Use a spray booth (a very large box works well) and put a cover flap on the front that you can close after you finish to keep dust out. Taping a garbage bag across the front works fine. You can also use a painter's mask to avoid breathing the small droplets that get suspended in the air.

Good luck trying airbrushed acrylics - I think you will really like the results!
 

Marc_G

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+1 on acrylic water-based paints. I spray with pressure from a 20lb CO2 cylinder. I use Createx paints from several product lines including Airborne and Wicked Colors. Works great.
Haven't found a good water based primer but I still use Rust-Oleum Auto​ filler primer. It is lacquer based not enamel.

Sent from my LG-D851 using Tapatalk
 

MikeyDSlagle

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I have had pretty good success using cheap craft acrylics. The 50 cent for a 2 oz bottle cheap. I always thinned it with water. I've never gotten a mirror finish with them, but I never tried polishing them either. I used Rusto Automotive clear gloss over them. My Big Daddy was painted with them and is a regular flyer, paint has held up well. Semi shiny but not super shiny.

I've heard tell you can use the Pledge Future Finish or whatever it is called to thin the paints and also as a glossy clear/top coat. I tried it once and goofed around til I had to strip the entire paint job. That rocket still flies naked, when it actually flies.

Mikey D
 

KL2IE

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I tried posting a couple follow up questions, but that post seems to have disappeared into the ether. Anyway, I have a 26 gallon air compressor capable of 160 psi which i use to run my impact wrenches and other automotive air tools at around 100 psi. I'm sure that it is more than just a tad overkill for for airbrushing, but would it be suitable if I could adjust the air pressure down? Also, I've noticed that some airbrushes are gravity fed and other are bottom fed; is one type better than the other given certain applications or is it simply a matter of personal preference?

Thanlks to all of you who have already posted. Everyone of your replies has been very helpful and enlightening.
 

modeltrains

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For using the art and hobby style airbrushes I have experience with, air pressure will need to be adjusted way down; in the 12 to 25 psi range, For automotive and industrial spray guns and airbrushes someone else will have to answer.
Top feed versus bottom feed is a yes, it is both application and preference. In general, with the hobby and art style airbrushes, top feed have been used for finer detail work while bottom feed which often has more paint capacity was used for overall work.
That large tank will be nice. One thing you don't want is moisture coming through with the air. I'm pretty sure the large tank will help there; and there are in-line moisture traps available from at least one airbrush maker to put in the air line to the brush. (gosh, mine is what, thirty years old?)

Oh, that's another thing, a well cared for quality air brush will last at least half of forever. There may be a seal or bushing need to be replaced from normal usage wear, but the good airbrushes are made to last.

And you know that old saying, "cleanliness is next to godliness"? Totally true for airbrush innards. You want to clean the inside with near-religious fervor after using acrylic paints.
Build up and blockages can come quickly. And acrylics are not like oils and enamels which can be re-softened with solvent.
However, in the model train hobby there are solvents which can remove those paints from plastic models without dissolving the model and sometimes I have soaked airbrush guts in those to make sure all buildup is out. Or to de-clog fellow club members' airbrushes.
Can sometimes simply run clear water through it between colors but after an afternoon's work it is knock down and clean the thing. Which isn't actually as onerous a task as people like me make it sound, but it is a task of import.
 

gpoehlein

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Oh, yeah - other comments reminded me of the other big advantage of using acrylics through an airbrush over rattle can enamels or laquers - you can usually spray a second color over the first after a very short time rather than waiting several days. I would recommend waiting an hour or two between colors, especially if you are going to mask off the first color.
 

MikeyDSlagle

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About airbrushes:

You also have internal mix and external mix. External mix are easier to clean methinks, but internal gives finer detail.
Then you have have single action and double action. Single action, you press the button and air and paint come out. Double action you press the button and air comes out, then pull it toward you to spray the paint. The latter gives finer detail but is more difficult to learn.

As for your setup:

You can get a disposable inline dryer for around 6 bucks. This is the route I took. No need for me to spend big bucks on an expensive dryer just to do rockets...until I get really good at it and my shop built. It helps to be able to adjust your pressure right at the brush/gun. Or the very least have a regulator at the end of your main hose and add a smaller/shorter whip hose from there to your brush. Oh, you want the dryer close to the brush as well. Obviously if you get a larger dryer, you can't attach it to your gun or airbrush but the inline can be pretty close.

I have a large tank about the same size as yours. It is overkill, but it is what I use as well. Been considering building me a manifold type thing that I can set next to my work bench, but I don't really have room for that ATM. I haven't sprayed with my brushes or guns in a loooong time, been using rattle cans. Recently ordered some Duplicolor Lacquer though, for my Tyrannosaur. I'll see how that goes.

Mikey D
 

SCIGS30

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For my plastic models I love acrylics, but I don't think I would use them for my Rockets but that is me. I use Krylon Acrly Quik paints and there is no recoat issue. Acrylic paint clean up is easy and fast with my Aztek airbrush. I have a couple of nice badger airbrushed but clean up takes too long compared to my aztek. I use regular spray can primers under my acrylics but this primer is a great acrylic primer....tons of videos on this primer.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00K3KGUME/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20
 
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