Can I use an airbrush outside?

Juststu82

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Aug 7, 2012
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this may be a silly question. I'm returning to the hobby after several years break and will be, for the first time, using an airbrush. I have two kids, one is still napping, and a wife who insists that whispering is to loud when he is asleep so I'm thinking most of my painting needs to be down outside. Can anyone tell me if this is ok? should I do something to eliminate known issues? Any thing else I may not have thought of?
 

eightfooticeman

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Aug 9, 2012
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A lot depends on where you live. Example, I live in Virginia and this time of year is extremely humid, my compressor generates a large amount of water very quickly in this condition which is not good. Also when humid the paint takes longer to dry. If you have to spray outside, invest in a solid air separator and make sure your air line to your brush has a inline moisture trap.

When I have to spray outside I run 2 stages of air separation and I also own a refrigerated air dryer which produces almost no moisture . Good luck!
 

sunsanvil

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Jun 2, 2010
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Back when I was still using solvent based paints and had no air handling system I would work outside, or at least in the porch next to an open door. Biggest issues I ran into were wind (even just a slight breeze) blowing my paint where I didn't want it (or blowing it away entirely) and dirt/bugs getting caught in the stream and ending up on the model.

Believe me I understand if circumstances are such that you have to take it outside, but even if you cannot do so right now, set yourself on a course of getting a quiet airbrush specific compressor and finding some corner of your home for your hobby (complete with air handling appropriate to the paint in question). Our work is so much better when we can do it in a comfortable, controllable setting.
 

Dusky

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Nov 9, 2011
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Outside is the only place I can airbrush. Wind is a huge issue in both blowing the paint while painting and blowing away parts that aren't secured to something heavy while drying. I use quick drying acrylics so not much issue with stuff getting into the paint.
 

Elm City Hobbies

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If you have to paint (either airbrush, or spray can) outside, go and see if you can find a larger cardboard box from some place, or go to a Dollar Store and pick up a cheap plastic tote. The box/tote will help cut down on any wind moving your paint stream around.

And, always (if you can) spray down wind....that way at least if you do have a bit of a breeze it will aide in the flow of the paint from the airbrush/can to the model, and the paint won't blow back in your face.
 

VoID_1

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Jun 15, 2012
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Have you considered stationing the air compressor outdoors and having a longish connection to the airbrush which you can pass through a window/door? I realise it might be a bit of a pain turning on and off, as well as changing the PSI setting, but it could work.
 

TBadger

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Mar 5, 2012
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I second Void's idea.....It may take a decent bit of engineering, but a remote located compressor would cure the prob of high noise. small enclosure to keep it out of the weather and remote power and regulators. should be all set and not have to worry much about dirt and bugs and humidity aside from your tank rusting out.

On a side note, it's been "proven" that children will normally rouse from sleep at a higher register of noise such as a woman's whisper or voice. Same is to be said for the mothers who also are awoken more easily by higher pitch noises so as to be alerted to a distressed baby. Evolution mechanisms, crazy eh ? THE MORE YOU KNOW 8)
 

Juststu82

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Aug 7, 2012
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It's more for the fumes and over spray. I don't have masses of room to have a modelling room. When we buy I will have a shed but for now it's the option of the kitchen table and everything needs to pack up into a small space.
 

VoID_1

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Jun 15, 2012
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The fumes can pose quite a problem - this would be especially exacerbated with young children. I'm using an airbrush with acrylics and the fumes are still quite bad. Given your space constraints, it sounds like buying/constructing a spray booth would be inconceivable (this might be a good option if you did have the space).

If you haven't already bought the AB/AC, then it might be cool to master the art of hand brushing. In this way you can minimise fumes as well limit the space you use.
 

Juststu82

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Aug 7, 2012
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Already bought the airbrush. Happy to make a spray booth and they can dry inside where needed. Its just the initial painting needs to be done outside.
 

MossyOakClan

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Aug 5, 2012
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Airbrushing outside works fine for me....as long as I manage the temperature extrememes of fridgid winter or high humid heat. Not had an issue with it yet. Would like to paint inside but even if I filter.....the smell would wrankle the wifes nose and her temperment for the hobby with it. Now if someone could just invent "yankee candle scented paints".....we'd all be in a better place.
 

Elm City Hobbies

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MossyOakClan said:
Airbrushing outside works fine for me....as long as I manage the temperature extrememes of fridgid winter or high humid heat. Not had an issue with it yet. Would like to paint inside but even if I filter.....the smell would wrankle the wifes nose and her temperment for the hobby with it. Now if someone could just invent "yankee candle scented paints".....we'd all be in a better place.

Easy solution to that....Vallejo paints have little to no smell when spraying...certainly nothing like enamels or lacquers
 

SrsBidness28

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May 31, 2012
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Another way to have keep the spraying quiet is to use a CO2 tank instead of a compressor. The only sound you get out of that is the actual spraying. You can usually pick them up (lease) fairly inexpensively. You already have the components necessary to use a CO2 tank, and if you explain what you are doing with it, any place where you get the tank from should be able to get you set up with the right regulators.

As for spraying outside, I have to agree with what others have said. You can build a spray booth for cheap (google it and you will get some good examples), or simply use an old cardboard box if all else fails.
 

sunsanvil

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Jun 2, 2010
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VoID_1 said:
I'm using an airbrush with acrylics and the fumes are still quite bad.

Its worth pointing out that some acrylic lines are solvent based, others are not. With something like Tamiya, there is a crap load of glycol ether in the paint and we just add more when we thin it with X20A. You could say its not "as bad" as lacquer thinner, but I wore an OV respirator back when I used it. :)

Now with a true solvent free paint like Vallejo ModelAir, you don't have any urgent need to evacuate solvent fumes, but you do have another interesting issue to address: paint "dust", which is literally what you have when its 8+ inches out from the gun. Not toxic per sé but you still don't want to breath it so a N95 (or better still P100) respirator is called for, but the real problem is that without a booth, after a couple models, every horizontal surface in the room will have a thin coat of paint dust (comes off with a wet cloth easy enough). I was looking into a making a simple air filter to capture the paint dust but then a booth came my way so I dropped it but if anyone is interested I think I still have the droplet size data KenS (Badger) gave me for sizing filter media.
 
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