January 5, 2013

Brainstorming about the Perfect Airbrush

A few things bother me in even the most advanced airbrushes. Improvements can be made in the handling and maintenance department. For the time being I thought of the following:
  • Trigger control should allow more accurate needle movement
  • Triggers should be placed closer to the needle tip
  • Paint containers can be separate from the main housing (connected with a paint supply hose)
  • Assembly and dis-assembly should be made easier
  • Parts should be less vulnerable and should be constructed in a way that allows to mount and dis-mount them without the use of tools
  • Airbrushes should accept various needle / nozzle sizes
  • Airbrushes should not leak paint during needle cleaning
  • Paint cups should not obstruct the view on the artwork

The perfect airbrush

The trigger mechanism should have a construction that enables artists to reduce needle travel in a controllable and fine way. Detail spraying requires minimal and accurate needle travel. Preferably there should be settings for fast and accurate needle travel control. Given all mechanical solutions available, this should not be a big problem, even when constructed inside a limited space.

Such mechanisms do away with the need many fine detail spraying artists feel to buy non-standard tall triggers or build DIY constructions. A Fischer Aerostar like flat trigger also allows a better view on the artwork (since it is ultra low), while offering the index finger a larger contact surface at more comfortable (natural) angles.

The paint container should physically be detached from the airbrush. It can be attached by way of a hose that is mounted close to the air hose, so that there will be no hoses leading in different directions. As long as the paint container is placed higher than the work area, gravity will do the job of the continuous supply of paint.

Not having the paint container directly attached to the airbrush allows to place the trigger further forward (closer to the needle tip) for better fine detail spraying, while there is no obstruction of the artist's view on the painting. Some artists prefer gravity feed paint cups over side mounted siphon feed ones because they feel it disturbs the balance of the airbrush - detaching the paint container from the airbrush housing should also take care of that problem.

From an other angle

The container can be made any size to reduce the frequency of paint refills. If the hose between container and airbrush is fitted with a quick disconnect, several containers containing different colors could quickly be hooked up to the airbrush. Also a container filled with a cleaning agent can be used between color changes. Unlike as is the case with gravity feed airbrushes, there will be no paint spills through the airbrush while cleaning the needle as well.

The separate paint storage allows to use the airbrush in all angles without spilling paint, while the option to detach the paint supply hose puts an end to paint spills during the cleaning of the needle that is an annoyance with airbrushes fitted with gravity feed paint cups. As I become more skilled in using Cinema 4D I might even draw the internal constructions of improvements mentioned above...

Nozzles should be self-centering (no screw type) for quick removal and airbrushes should be suited to fit several nozzle / needle combination sizes in one and the same airbrush. Also worth considering may be two concentric, yet separate air flows in the needle tip area to reduce spray cone width. This is a thought not worked out or tested yet, but thinking of jet engine exhaust constructions, it may be applicable. Perhaps additional things will come to mind in the time to come and if they do I will add them to this blog entry. Stay tuned.