I Need The Ins And Outs Of Airbrushing!

Decorating By mi_patisserie Updated 1 Jan 2013 , 5:45am by waggs

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mi_patisserie Posted 28 Dec 2012 , 3:12pm
post #1 of 11

I recently got an airbrush kit and could use some advice on using it. I have watches some videos on youtube on basic technique but have some questions once I started using it.  If anyone else has questions on this I encourage posting them as I am new and will not think of everything. 


I have the Master TC 20T Compressor (http://www.tcpglobal.com/airbrushdepot/tc20t.html) with Master G76 gun. While using the compressor for the first time it over heated. It was about an hour of use on and off while setting it up, testing for leaks, practicing some coverage & colors and starting on the cake.  The design was on a 6" round. I did a very light background color fill and then a giraffe pattern to cover. I was not even half way though the cake design when it overheated.


So question #1: How long should I be able to use this machine constantly without it overheating? It has a tank and a regulator so I thought this would prevent overheating. It turns off when the psi reaches 57 psi and then will turn back on when it gets down to 43 psi. Does anyone have experience with this compressor?


Question #2: At what psi should I be operating at? I have seen elsewhere people have said between 15-20 psi normally. I have also read somewhere someone said to try the 'dimple' test. Placing the gun 6-8" away from the inside of your if the air dimples your skin, it is too high. When I do this with my machine at 40 or 50 psi, it does not dimple my skin. So I am not sure if this is just not an accurate test, or is my machine defective! haha

10 replies
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Marianna46 Posted 28 Dec 2012 , 3:37pm
post #2 of 11

Sorry to say, I have no answers, just questions like you. But I'd be really interested in anything anybody has to say about using an airbrush. I bought mine over a year ago and haven't had the courage to try it yet. It seems so daunting - so many little pieces! I love the effects you can get from it and the deep colors. I've used the Wilton Color Mists a lot, so I'm not afraid of spraying, just of putting the thing together and taking it apart to clean it. I've found tons of uses for airbrush paint, too - the metallic ones are a lot easier to use with a paintbrush than luster dusts dissolved in vodka. I haven't even gotten far enough to ask a question as technical as the ones mi_patisserie is asking. Help!

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mi_patisserie Posted 28 Dec 2012 , 3:44pm
post #3 of 11

I just got my machine. I just dove in. I read the very brief manual, took apart the gun while looking at the assembly, and watched some videos on youtube. Just dive in, I think it seems harder than it is.

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lilcakebaker Posted 28 Dec 2012 , 4:06pm
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I agree..just dive in! That's what I did and I LOVE mine!. I have no idea about how long you can use yours but I have used mine for pretty long periods of time and never had a problem with over heating.

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FromScratchSF Posted 28 Dec 2012 , 5:53pm
post #5 of 11

I can't help with your original question because I have a cheap-o airbrush and compressor that has an on/off button (works for me), but the BIGGEST tip I have is never pop your trigger like it's a machine gun.  Always smoothly press and depress your trigger.  Popping your trigger causes splatters and clogs, especially if you are using a color that has a sheen or metallic anything in it.

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LisaPeps Posted 28 Dec 2012 , 8:18pm
post #6 of 11

AAnother tip is don't finish your cake off with a spray of pearl sheen and then forget to clean your airbrush... Clogged for weeks!! Metallic colours are a nightmare to clean out so be prepared for your colours to have a little pearlescent sheen to them. I use hot water or vodka for the initial clean and then airbrush cleaner once the majority of colour is gone. Just saves on the cleaner fluid that way. Disclaimer: not sure if that's the right way to clean it but it works for me!

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remnant3333 Posted 28 Dec 2012 , 9:24pm
post #7 of 11

Marianna46, you say you have used the Wilton spray colors. Do they do a good job? I have thought of buying some but was not sure if it worked properly.

Thanks for any information/Mary

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soozicake Posted 29 Dec 2012 , 12:49am
post #8 of 11

Admit I am no expert and haven't had time to properly experiment with my airbrush and compressor.  I bought a compressor similar size to yours rather than a small hobby/decorator model as I wanted to use with a staple gun etc. I am not sure I can get a low enough psi for detailed close up work.  I have since wondered if I need to invest in a little hobby compressor.  We are having warm weather here now and can go outside and experiment and not worry about the spray floating around everywhere.  In fact I am on holidays for a couple of weeks and I should get off my butt and go do it now!


Is your compressor turning on and off to regulate the storage pressure rather than from overheating? The compressor will take in air until the preset pressure is met (goes quiet) and then when the pressure in the storage chamber falls the compressor will start taking in air again.  You can continue to spray whilst this is happening.  Does your manual suggest the length of time for use before letting the machine cool, mine suggests not using for more than 2 hours.


Will let you know how it goes.

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Marianna46 Posted 31 Dec 2012 , 2:37am
post #9 of 11

Hi, remnant3333. Yes, I find the Wilton sprays work very nicely. You can spray from close up for total coverage or from far away for a lighter coating, just as you do with an airbrush. If you're using a stencil, you need to make sure the stencil is flush up against the surface, though, or the design will come out smudged. My only objection to the Wilton sprays is that the range of colors is not very wide or appealing.

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mi_patisserie Posted 31 Dec 2012 , 3:39pm
post #10 of 11
Originally Posted by soozicake 


Is your compressor turning on and off to regulate the storage pressure rather than from overheating?

It turns off at 57 psi and back on at 43 psi to regulate the pressure but it did over heat as well.  When it over heated I was not able to do anything. It would not turn back on or respond at all.  The problem I am seeing is that if I need it only at 20 psi and it will not shut off automatically until it reaches 57 psi, it will be running continuously as I use it. I have seen something that may fix this problem. It is some sort of regulator that connects between your gun and the end of the hose. It makes for easy on/ off of the guns and also has a small knob to control more of the pressure.  So maybe I need to set my compressor to 60 psi and control what comes out at the end of the hose at 20 psi. This would allow me to use only 20 psi out of the end and also allow the compressor to take breaks automatically when it goes down to 43 psi at the tank.  The manual says not to use the compressor continuously for longer than 10 minutes and to allow it to cool down for 15 minutes after every 10 minute working cycle. This seems a little silly and makes having a compressor this size if I can only work for this short amount of time spurts.  So I was hoping to find some people who have used this machine before. 

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waggs Posted 1 Jan 2013 , 5:45am
post #11 of 11

AI would like to know if anyone has the duff air brush kit and what they think of it. Is there a better one out there for someone just starting out? I read some reviews and they seem to like it but I'm not too sure.

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