Wednesday, 21 August 2013

New and shiny vs. old and busted (not really busted)

I've bought myself a new gravity-feed airbrush, a Paasche Talon, to complement my ancient Badger 150 that has served me loyally and well for near enough to forty years. The Badger is at the top of the image, the Paasche is at bottom.

Thanks to the internet making it so cheap and easy to buy things from overseas, this new airbrush only cost me about $75. When I bought that Badger, it was near enough to $200, and that was in the mid-1970s; I'm not sure what that would be equivalent to now, but it would be a lot.

I elected to go for Paasche this time around because I'd used a couple of Paasche brushes at polytech, and found them generally smoother of action than my Badger 150. It meant having to fiddle around with thread converters to attach it to my compressor and what-not, but I thought it would be worth that small trouble.

Alas, this Paasche does not live up to the standard set by those I used at school. Its double-action air/paint trigger is rather abrupt, and quite difficult to use with any delicacy of touch. I've lubricated it as far as I can, but even so it's not nearly as smooth or gentle an action as the old Badger.

I think the issue lies with the machining of the trigger shaft; there are visible machining marks on the sides, as can be seen in the hugely bloated image to the left, and I think these striations are catching as the trigger is depressed, resulting in the brush's jerky and rather clumsy action.

I'll see if I can polish them out, and we'll see if that makes any appreciable difference.

The new Paasche isn't wholly unsatisfactory, by any means. I do like its system for limiting paint flow, which is easier and more accurate to adjust than that of the Badger. The top-mounted gravity feed cup is more convenient for very small volumes of liquid too; there's less wastage as it doesn't need to keep a siphon working. I'm hopeful that if I can ameliorate the trigger action, it will prove to be a very useful tool.


The Talon has become my default brush over the last couple of months, mainly because the gravity-feed makes it a breeze to clean, and being able to use just a few drops of paint at a time is very convenient. I ordered the super-fine (0.25mm) and heavy duty (0.66mm) heads and needles as well, and the .25mm needle has ended up being the one I use all the time. It is quite fragile though; I've already bent its tip once, and although I managed to get it straightened out again I don't think it will take too much more of that sort of abuse.

The trigger is still somewhat problematic, but I no longer think it's to do with the trigger itself, but with the return valve — it has a propensity to stick in the "on" position, especially if being used at low air pressures.