The second most common problem with airbrushing is another form of dried paint, but not found on the needle.
The symptoms are a loss of pressure, either partial or complete.
The problem is dried paint on the face of the nozzle cap, usually around the needle hole.
Paint builds up and dries, either by a deflection from tip dry on the needle, or paint ricocheting from the painting surface.
It is difficult to detect because the needle protruding from the hole visually conceals it, but once the cap is removed, it is easy to spot.
A simple test is to remove the cap and spray air. If air flows without the cap on the airbrush, and air didn't flow while the cap was on the airbrush, then you have identified the problem.
The cure is simple:
1. Remove the needle guard (if present)
2. Remove the nozzle cap.
3. Use your fingernail to scratch away the dried paint on the surface. If the needle orifice is still blocked use a toothpick or similar wooden object to dislodge the dried paint. DO NOT use a needle or metal object to clean the hole, as the hole may become distorted.
4. Reattach the cap to the airbrush.
The nozzle cap should look like this.
In the next installment, we will deal with the third most common problem with airbrush troubleshooting.
That's it. Happy spraying.