Kopykake Airbrush Spattering- Help

Decorating By spantchr Updated 21 Mar 2014 , 6:25am by JamieCake

spantchr Posted 30 Jul 2013 , 11:59pm
post #1 of 24

I really hope someone can help me.  I own 2 Kopykake airbrushes and they both spatter.  I have taken them apart, cleaned them and put them back together many times.  I follow all of the directions that came with the guns and I even looked up information on the web.  I see no cracks, dents or bent needles.  I called the company today.  The gentleman who I spoke to really did not offer any ideas as the cause.  He suggested talking to others or sending the guns back to the company so they could look them over.  Before I spend the $90 to send them, I was hoping that someone out there on CC could offer some help.



23 replies
Sonya Posted 31 Jul 2013 , 1:42am
post #2 of 24

Before I would pay $90 to send them back I would change the needle. I know you said it doesnt look bent but the slightest bend that our eyes cant see can cause spatter. Thats what I would do.... HTH good luck :)

spantchr Posted 1 Aug 2013 , 4:27pm
post #3 of 24

Thank you for the suggestion.  I will try it and see what happens.  

Sonya Posted 1 Aug 2013 , 9:53pm
post #4 of 24

Your welcome! I hope it works. How have you been cleaning it? Do you just use water or do you use the cleaner for airbrushes? If you just use water try the airbrush cleaner it might work.

spantchr Posted 1 Aug 2013 , 10:38pm
post #5 of 24

I clean them with both.  I use the water sometimes and the cleaner the other times.  I read an article online today that suggested the splatter might be from hitting the trigger on and off too often while airbrushing.  The article said that it causes the paint to build up around the nozzle.  When the air compressor turns on the next time, this build up of paint then splatters.  To check this, I have to remove the nozzle while airbrushing and watch to see if the paint builds up.  Of course, I need to be careful, since the needle will be exposed.  But, it is worth a try also.  


Do you have an airbrush?  Have you ever had it splatter?  


I appreciate your help.

DeliciousDesserts Posted 1 Aug 2013 , 11:38pm
post #6 of 24

AYes. I have that same machine. I wa goin to suggest that coul be the problem, bit you said you had cleaned it.

When my starts to spatter, I remove that piece & clean it. Works great

Sonya Posted 2 Aug 2013 , 12:11am
post #7 of 24

I have the little black kopykake one that I bought on ebay years ago and it spatters really bad. I actually just ordered the purple airbrush machine from decopac and it was delivered today but I havent had a chance to use it... Im so excited to use it, LOL! I work at a local grocery store as one of the decorators and we have the red kopykake one and it did give us a problem spitting one time but we ordered a new needle and it fixed it. Be careful with the needle exposed when you check it.... Iv stabbed my finger a couple times with one and it hurts, lol.

ddaigle Posted 2 Aug 2013 , 12:41am
post #8 of 24

Back flush it.     Put some water or airbrush cleaner in the cup...cover the end of the nozzle with your finger and pull the trigger.   You will see the cleaner/water bubble in the cup.    Sometimes little particles get hung up.  Because I pearly spray a lot...I always have to back flush.  Hope this helps. 

DeniseNH Posted 2 Aug 2013 , 12:57am
post #9 of 24

The only time mine sputtered I changed the needle and it cleared up immediately.

LisaBerczel Posted 2 Aug 2013 , 4:10am
post #10 of 24

WHEN does the spattering occur?


Does it spray plain water ok? Or are there problems?


Do you backbubble (as mentioned above)?


If it is at the START of spraying, then, yes, you probably have un-atomized color sitting on the needle's tip from the end of the previous spray.

Always airbrush with Air - Paint - Air. Begin and END each and EVERY stroke with AIR. This should solve the problem.


If your spray is erratic, sputtery, off to the side, or pst-pst-pst like morris code, then look to replace first the fluid nozzle and worst case the fluid nozzle.

These ARE wear parts and WILL eventually need replacing.

Fluid Needle - Tires on a Car

Fluid Nozzle - Timing Belt....


High enough PSI.

If your pressure is too low for the thickness of the product you're airbrushing, the pray will be grainy, sandy or erratic.


Too large a particle for nozzle size.

Shimmers, pearls and lusters have larger particle sizes than "solid" color.

Does the airbrush behave differently when spraying one over the other?


Slow Build Up

Cleaner, Color ingredients, and "gunk" will slowyl build up in the fluid nozzle - slowly closing it off.

The easiest thing is to simply replace the nozzle. 

If you're a tinkerer with good eysight and a fair amount of bravery, you can remove the fluid nozzle and CAREFULLY scrape out the inside path with an old airbrush needle. EXTREME CARE must be used when removing, working, and rethreading the fluid nozzle. It doesn't take much to loose such a small part or over-tighten and snapping it off when rethreading.


It's always a good idea to have both a spare needle and nozzle on hand.

Annabakescakes Posted 2 Aug 2013 , 5:07am
post #11 of 24
Originally Posted by Sonya 

I have the little black kopykake one that I bought on ebay years ago and it spatters really bad. I actually just ordered the purple airbrush machine from decopac and it was delivered today but I havent had a chance to use it... Im so excited to use it, LOL! I work at a local grocery store as one of the decorators and we have the red kopykake one and it did give us a problem spitting one time but we ordered a new needle and it fixed it. Be careful with the needle exposed when you check it.... Iv stabbed my finger a couple times with one and it hurts, lol.

I used the purple one at a grocery store and the darn thing vibrated off the counter and hit the floor about 10 times... Big chunks were missing by the time we worked there 3 months, and we got it new! It kept working though, lol, so it is sturdy. After the first time it happened to me, I tried to "fence" it in, but it pushed everything out of it's way to the floor. I finally left it on the floor, and would just slide it over with my foot every time it wandered off and the hose got too short. We used paper towel to turn it off and on, so we didn't get our hands dirty :-) 

LisaBerczel Posted 2 Aug 2013 , 5:32am
post #12 of 24

Unless they're the smaller air pumps, compressors are best placed on the floor. My compressor has survived several drops - some while running - but that kind of abuse isn't good.


An in-line micro adjuster can be installed between the airbrush and the hose so PSI can be adjusted from 0 to as high as the floor compressor is set. This is my set up - and I use my foot to flip the on switch most times.


I don't know what "the purple one" is - someone can PM me a link if they want.

spantchr Posted 13 Aug 2013 , 12:06am
post #13 of 24

Thank you everyone for helping me.  I took out my airbrush and I tried each and everything you suggested.   I adjusted the psi so I could see the difference in the spray patterns.  Then I played with it for about 30 minutes and not once did it splatter.  I hope the issue is resolved and my airbrush is not just waiting to have a cake in front of it to pull this stunt again.  Well, thanks again.  I really appreciate all of your replies.

JamieCake Posted 15 Mar 2014 , 6:46pm
post #14 of 24

AI am having bit of a different prob. When I pull the trigger nothing comes out... i have never used an airbrush before so I have no idea how it works but when I turn the unit on I feel the air coming out thru the pen already. Is this normal? Then when I pull the trigger nothing comes out. I see bubbles in the cup. Can someone help?

DeniseNH Posted 15 Mar 2014 , 6:53pm
post #15 of 24

Yes, air comes out of my nozzle as soon as I turn it on without pressing the trigger.  This really is normal.  The bubbles you see in the cup means something's wrong with your needle.  The bubbles happened to me too but it was solved when I purchased a new needle.  Try taking the needle out of the machine and soaking it in airbrush cleaner.  Reinsert and press the trigger.  If this doesn't work you may need a new needle.  Is this a new machine or used?  Sounds like a clog.

JamieCake Posted 15 Mar 2014 , 8:54pm
post #16 of 24

AIt's a used unit I purchased. You don't think I should just order the whole dang airbrush? I took the damn thing apart, soaked in water, put it back together and still the same. At least this time when I pull the thingy on top the needle goes inside. It didn't do that before! An improvement. Lol. But yeah. Bubble still comes up in the chamber and nothing comes out...

DeniseNH Posted 15 Mar 2014 , 9:14pm
post #17 of 24

Yup you were sold a unit with an old or damaged needle.  Need to order a new one.  Everything you said happened to me and a new needle solved everything.  All better now.

JamieCake Posted 15 Mar 2014 , 10:30pm
post #18 of 24

AReally? So just a needle will fix it? I guess it can't hurt. Thanks so much!

LisaBerczel Posted 18 Mar 2014 , 3:12am
post #19 of 24

ASounds like a split in the fluid nozzle. It's a very small part that can be split like a banana peel if the fluid nozzel is pushed into the nozzle too hard or if the needle was snagged or dropped so hard that the needle tears into the nozzle. Both are parts that will eventually wear out and need replaced.

Cakepro Posted 18 Mar 2014 , 11:01pm
post #20 of 24

Hi Lisa,


I purchased your Craftsy class and can't wait to have some time to watch it!  I was wondering (if this is already not addressed in your class) what airbrush you recommend.  I would like to purchase a new one (gun only) and keep my current (very troublesome) Airbrush City one just for pearl spray.  Iwata has often been recommended by colleagues but they have quite a few different models and I don't know which would be ideal for cake work.  I would appreciate your expert guidance!



LisaBerczel Posted 19 Mar 2014 , 2:05am
post #21 of 24



Thank you, and I hope you enjoy the class!


I happen to prefer the Grex airbrush. This is the equipment I've bought for my classes and I also occasionally distribute for Grex at tradeshows and conventions such as ICES. That being said, the main factor in deciding on an airbrush is if can get replacement parts. Fluid needles and nozzles will eventually wear out and need to be replaced. Iwata, Badger, Paashe are all popular brands. I happen to dislike the super small units that blow air as soon as the power is turned on. While many are happy with them, their range is very limited in what they can do.


I'd need to know the model number of your airbrush and compressor in order to go into more detail with you.

But, the beginning of the class reviews all the major styles, which size is good for what product, and how much compressor air power will be required for what you want to do.


Hope this helps - and let me know if any more questions come up!

Cakepro Posted 20 Mar 2014 , 6:52pm
post #22 of 24

Thank you, Lisa...that's very helpful!  I will watch your class soon and certainly before ordering a new airbrush.  I used a Grex at a cake show a few years ago but forgot all about that brand!

LisaBerczel Posted 20 Mar 2014 , 7:27pm
post #23 of 24

First off, the super small beginner units blow air the moment the air pump is turned on. Beefier airbrush equipment does NOT blow air until the airbrush trigger is pushed down.


Air blowing BUT color bubbling in the cup can be caused by several different things.

1) Clog in the fluid path. This is the easiest thing to address. 

First - Backbubble (entirely block air flow at the front of the airbrush so ALL the air is forced back through the fluid path. Then DUMP out the fluid in the color cup. Many times this will dislodge the blockage. Then add cleaning fluid, spray, backbubble, dump, repeat a couple of times. If this doesn't work, then a deep clean (disassembly of the airbrush) will be in order. Clog could have been caused by several things: Fluid too thick or has too big a particle size for the size of the needle/nozzle. Fluid has settled in the airbrush (pearls and lusters are notorious for doing this - backbubbling can be used to Mix Up the color). Color has been allowed do try in the color cup. ALWAYS start a session by testing out the airbrush by spraying with water on a paper towel. This will show you if the airbrush is operating properly before you add color - AND will rinse out any stubborn color from the last session.


2) Nozzle Cap (part that covers and protects the fluid nozzle) has a leak and air is escaping. Could be the Cap is not screwed down all the way OR it needs plumber's tape (white teflon) to help seal the threads.


3) Damaged needle. If the needle tip is badly bent, it can't slide back and the fluid path can't open. Replace the needle. All needles will wear out eventually, and they are the easiest part of the airbrush to damage - so it's a good idea to have a spare on hand.


4) Damaged fluid nozzle. This is the very tiny part that the needle seats up against. It looks like a miniature metal traffic cone. The nozzle walls are steel, but they are very thin. The walls can be cracked or split if the needle is jammed to hard into the airbrush or if the needle tip is bent and rips the nozzle when trying to pull the needle out. Fluid nozzles are also a part that will eventually wear out.... not as frequently as the needle - but it is also a good idea to have a spare on hand.


I've included 2 pictures from my class materials that shows how the needle/nozzle work an Troubleshooting a problem.


JamieCake Posted 21 Mar 2014 , 6:25am
post #24 of 24

AThank you so much for the reply Lisa!!!

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