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Aztek Cleaning and Maintenance Tips


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Can I clean my aztec nozzles and paint cups in any lacquer/enamel thinner? Has anyone done this and had problems? Also, do I have to use MM airbrush thinners or can I use other (cheaper/greater quantity) paint thinners? I've had a 3000S for about 7 years, and have used it off and on, with continuous clogging and splatter problems (even with a compressor moisture trap and pressure regulator). I use about 15-25 psi. Is this correct? Anybody have tips/preferrences on a different airbrush?

Welcome :bandhead2:

For cleaning I used regular old Ace Hardware lacquer thinner. It seemed to work out OK, though I did find that the nozzles I used most often still needed periodic replacement - I'm not sure if that had anything to do with the thinner I used or not, though I kind of doubt it.

When airbrushing enamels, I personally found that the paint manufacturer's thinner gave me the BEST results, though the cheaper ones - such as Ace - were usually more or less OK.

As far as pressure, try to keep it on the lower end of that range. I RARELY use anything above 15 psi anymore.

For the last couple years I've been using a Paasche VL and have been enjoying it - worth a try if you're considering a different set up.

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  • 1 month later...
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  • 3 months later...
I would like to know that answer to.

Ultrasonic cleaners do use a cleaning solution. Water by itself is ineffective in removing dirt and deposits, and the solution is the second half of the ultrasonic equation.

Also do you have to take it apart? can you place the whole thing in there?

As you probably know already, taking the airbrush apart will void the warranty, so I wouldn't advise it. I would, however, advise unscrewing the nozzle and removing it from the airbrush body.

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  • 4 weeks later...
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  • 1 month later...

Hey guys.My experience with the AZTEC. First ,I have two that I bought used . A metal body and a "Plastic" one.

I REALLY like both,much better than theD/A Badger that I gave away.

The good ,really easy cleaning. Spray lots of Laquer thinners after a thorough cleaning.I always leave the bottle attatched ,full of thinner between use.Soaking tips in lacq. thinners doesn'seem to do any harm.

THE BAD.The heavy bottle of paint allways wants to fall out of the handle in use.WHEN IT DOES check carefully the plastic parts.

Usually you end up with a VERY fine[almost unnoticeable] crack in the cap ,or more often in the socket of the ball joint.

This causes the gun to suck air instead of paint.Can be repaired with Epoxy,but,not permanently.

This has happened to me many times,but I still like the AZTEC.....Hope this helps....Ernie

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Hey guys.My experience with the AZTEC. First ,I have two that I bought used . A metal body and a "Plastic" one.

I REALLY like both,much better than theD/A Badger that I gave away.

The good ,really easy cleaning. Spray lots of Laquer thinners after a thorough cleaning.I always leave the bottle attatched ,full of thinner between use.Soaking tips in lacq. thinners doesn'seem to do any harm.

THE BAD.The heavy bottle of paint allways wants to fall out of the handle in use.WHEN IT DOES check carefully the plastic parts.

Usually you end up with a VERY fine[almost unnoticeable] crack in the cap ,or more often in the socket of the ball joint.

This causes the gun to suck air instead of paint.Can be repaired with Epoxy,but,not permanently.

This has happened to me many times,but I still like the AZTEC.....Hope this helps....Ernie

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Unless finances are a problem for you I would ditch that Aztek and get an Iwata. I have been reading this thread and I had all of the problems that everyone has mentioned when I had my Aztek. Aztek/Testors customer support is awesome and when I had a problem with my trigger they sent me a brand new brush. But since I bought my Iwata HP-C I have'nt even touched the Aztek. Much easier to clean and use. Iwata may have horrid customer support for all I know but who cares? You won't need it!

Aaron

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I've used many airbrushes in my modelling obsession, but the last 10 years I have used and still do an Aztek 470 and it's one of the best airbrushes I use.

Like Thommo, I regularly disassemble to body and clean it. The warranty is void, but when I bought mine it was only for a year anyway and is now long outside that period.

I generally only use the tan and grey nozzles and have not had problems with air or paint or water leaking.

Cleaning using lacquer thinner, cotton buds and a pair of tweezers has kept my airbrush running no problem.

Secret to any airbrush is learning how to use it and how to properly thin paint, air pressure and paint types that are suitable for the airbrush.

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  • 1 month later...

looking at this image posted in the first message:

aztek-ago.jpg

Before of to destroy something using pliers or others tools, I would to know how to extract the NEEDLE from the his encasement.

moreover, is this operation of needle's extraction repeatable or is it an operation that can be done few times?

That is, is this a way to destroy the nozzle at long go?

Thanks in advance!!!

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looking at this image posted in the first message:

aztek-ago.jpg

Before of to destroy something using pliers or others tools, I would to know how to extract the NEEDLE from the his encasement.

moreover, is this operation of needle's extraction repeatable or is it an operation that can be done few times?

That is, is this a way to destroy the nozzle at long go?

Thanks in advance!!!

No tools are needed. Just grab the little plastic grey bit on the end and pull it out with your fingers. Yes, it can be done numerous times and put back in. I'd say I've pulled the needle out of my grey nozzle 100+ times and put it back. To put it back, just slide it in, then push the grey bit till it makesa little 'click' and stays there.

I clean the inside of the white plastic bit with a twisted up piece of damp tissue paper.

Note - the little grey bit on the end of the needle and the spring, I have never pulled off - no need to.

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and here's the link to my old article on what to do when you are stupid and ignore the advice in the first post in this thread :whistle:

Fixing a busted Aztec

BTW, this airbrush is still working after the fix. You really can be pretty damn rough with the A470 and still keep it working.

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  • 2 months later...

I've had mine since the spring of 2005, and have painted 133 models with it between that time and now.

I just finally took mine apart to give it a good cleaning when I noticed tonight that the trigger didn't seem to fully engage the needle.

Nothing was broken but I did find that the plunger that engages the needle in the tip had a big blob of dried paint at the base. This was causing the plunger to not be able to sit forward all the way.

Had the thing taken apart, cleaned, and reassembled all in 15 minutes. Not bad for the first time, and now that I know what to I'll probably do this every month.

Like any tool, if you take care of it, it'll take care of you!

:whistle:

Mike

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  • 1 month later...

mlicari,

I couldn't agree with you more. I received my Aztek a number of years ago as a Christmas present. I've used it on everything from painting models, to tan paints on Ruck-sacks and other kit, to, well, you name it. Recently mine crapped out - a few nights ago. After a good cleaning I realized it was a combination of two things - mixed up my paint/thinner mix and made it too thick, and an eventual build up of paint over time. Gave it a good cleaning, and well, presto! Works great again!

My Aztek has taken a beating over the years, but works great for the work that I do. The topic of airbrushes really seems to be one of those that falls under the "to each their own" catagory, and it is up to the idividual what works for them. But, yes, take care of it, and it'll definitely take care of you.

Mark.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Instead of putting it in Laquer Thinnger can I use Mineral Spirit instead? Thats all I have around the house right now. I have been using Mineral Spirit to thin out my enamel paint. Does anyone else do this or should I just go get some Laquer Thinner? Also anyone know if using Mineral Spirit for a wash is good? Becuase I been having bad luck. Thanks.

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i am new to this hobby, and i was thinking of purchasing A430.. but too many people are complaining about its maintenance? so even after cleaning it thoroughly does it still mess around??

Iwata all the way. One of the best airbrushes on the market, I use Acrylic paint so it is a lot easier to clean and maintain but that is my own choice alot of people prefer to use enamel paint though

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  • 2 weeks later...

to the member using mineral thinners:Big no no Ive tried it before just a couple of months and you will start to see the paint flaking and bubling up I live in RSA its always hot so maybe it just happens faster under our conditions but it should do the same thing over by you guys after some time.

And yust something else:READ the packaging your tips come in and use the recomended PSI settings then a lot less bad things happen to your azrek

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  • 4 months later...

I am a straight up newbie. Don't even know the model of my Aztek airbrush. Had to go to Hobby Lobby where I spotted nozzles like the one in my airbrush. I took my nozzle with to compare for next visit. Didn't remember how or when I aquired the airbrush. Discovered it came with a starter kit. After some research on this site, I decided it was time to put some effort in aquiring some control over this dual action model. At this time I put some straight Tamiya XF-62 Olive Drab into the siphon bottle and just practiced trying to control to a fine line as if I needed to maybe? someday weather some panel lines. Not that I have any knowledge of whether this would be the method for that. I had a fairly good result. I cleaned with laquer thinner spraying thru brush. I disassembled nozzle and cleaned all outer surfaces. I have no microbrushes at this time. During reassembly I inserted tip and spring together back into the white plastic barrel and put that back into black nozzle screw-in tip. I screwed it back into airbrush while holding trigger back and could not get it to spray any straight air without spraying thinner(in this case) at the same time. I disassembled and realized the plastic part of needle tip was sticking out alittle more than when I first took it apart. I reassembled the needle tip and spring separately. The needle spring had not completely seated into the white plastic barrel. This cured my problem so from now on I will always be aware of the spring seating properly during reassembly. I used a sewing kit straight pin with the plastic bead on the end to make a spring removal tool. I bent the needle end to a 90 degree angle. I then filed the sharp tip off the end and further dressed it using sand sticks and headstrap magnifier to insure no damage could be inflicted by the pin scraping on the inside of white plastic barrel while removing spring. I also noticed a fine layer of plating chipping off of this pin where I had bent it. I then sanded entire surface of pin to remove all plating. This is to prevent any future possibilities of plating flaking off into any part of nozzle assembly. I just thought my first experience could benefit someone else and anyone please feel free to inform me of proper thinning of Tamiya Acrylic, Model Master Enamel and Acrylic, Testors Enamel and Acrylic, and old Testors Enamel. I have new 8 Fl.Oz. container of Universal Enamel Thinner that says Testors, Aztek, Model Master and Floquil on the container. The recommended mixing ratio says gloss colors 3 parts paint 2 parts thinner. Flat colors 3 parts paint 1 part thinner. I have read some things that say the Tamiya and Testors acrylics are ready to airbrush straight from the bottles. Would appreciate any direct information on this subject to help me get me started. I have a 1 3/4 Fl.Oz. container of Testors Enamel Thinner & Brush cleaner. I also have a 32 FL.OZ. of laquer thinner with methyl alcohol, toluene, acetone, ethyl acetate, etc. base.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Welcome to ARC

yes, you have to push that needle & spring into the white plastic barrel else it won't spray. It sort of 'clicks' when it is in right. I just pull the needle & spring assembly out of that barrel with my fingers by grabbing the little grey plastic bit on the end and pulling. I never remove the spring from the needle, just clean them as one item.

as for thinning, i mostly use Tamiya acrylic and never use it straight out of bottle. I thin it about 1 part paint, 2 part thinners, using Tamiya acrylic thinner. Of the others you mention, i've only used Testors enamel and thin that about 1 part paint 3-4 parts thinner using Humbrol enamel thinner.

good luck with it all. I don't measure my paint/thinner all that accurately - just put some thinner in the airbrush cup, then add paint using a small stick and stirring until i think it looks about right.

i tend to avoid using enamels though, because it involves airbrush cleanup with smelly turpentine & spraying straight humbrol thinner thru (also smelly). acrylics i can clean up largely with tapwater by just pulling the nozzle apart and washing in the kitchen sink. i also blast plenty of waterr through the airbrush in the sink, then finish off by spraying either water or acrylic thinner through it.

I am a straight up newbie. Don't even know the model of my Aztek airbrush. Had to go to Hobby Lobby where I spotted nozzles like the one in my airbrush. I took my nozzle with to compare for next visit. Didn't remember how or when I aquired the airbrush. Discovered it came with a starter kit. After some research on this site, I decided it was time to put some effort in aquiring some control over this dual action model. At this time I put some straight Tamiya XF-62 Olive Drab into the siphon bottle and just practiced trying to control to a fine line as if I needed to maybe? someday weather some panel lines. Not that I have any knowledge of whether this would be the method for that. I had a fairly good result. I cleaned with laquer thinner spraying thru brush. I disassembled nozzle and cleaned all outer surfaces. I have no microbrushes at this time. During reassembly I inserted tip and spring together back into the white plastic barrel and put that back into black nozzle screw-in tip. I screwed it back into airbrush while holding trigger back and could not get it to spray any straight air without spraying thinner(in this case) at the same time. I disassembled and realized the plastic part of needle tip was sticking out alittle more than when I first took it apart. I reassembled the needle tip and spring separately. The needle spring had not completely seated into the white plastic barrel. This cured my problem so from now on I will always be aware of the spring seating properly during reassembly. I used a sewing kit straight pin with the plastic bead on the end to make a spring removal tool. I bent the needle end to a 90 degree angle. I then filed the sharp tip off the end and further dressed it using sand sticks and headstrap magnifier to insure no damage could be inflicted by the pin scraping on the inside of white plastic barrel while removing spring. I also noticed a fine layer of plating chipping off of this pin where I had bent it. I then sanded entire surface of pin to remove all plating. This is to prevent any future possibilities of plating flaking off into any part of nozzle assembly. I just thought my first experience could benefit someone else and anyone please feel free to inform me of proper thinning of Tamiya Acrylic, Model Master Enamel and Acrylic, Testors Enamel and Acrylic, and old Testors Enamel. I have new 8 Fl.Oz. container of Universal Enamel Thinner that says Testors, Aztek, Model Master and Floquil on the container. The recommended mixing ratio says gloss colors 3 parts paint 2 parts thinner. Flat colors 3 parts paint 1 part thinner. I have read some things that say the Tamiya and Testors acrylics are ready to airbrush straight from the bottles. Would appreciate any direct information on this subject to help me get me started. I have a 1 3/4 Fl.Oz. container of Testors Enamel Thinner & Brush cleaner. I also have a 32 FL.OZ. of laquer thinner with methyl alcohol, toluene, acetone, ethyl acetate, etc. base.
Edited by Thommo
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Thanks for the thinning tips. I am gathering all the info I can on the paint side of things. I am building a wooden paint booth so I can get to work on some plastic beverage bottles for practice. I live in an apartment and can't do any experimenting till I get the booth up and running. It is built. I still have to install fan, make the board for the window with dryer vent and put a coat of Minwax gloss polyurethane on it. Working area inside of booth is 24"x 24"x 24". Filter and fan use remaining 6" of depth. I am using a polyfibre stuffing media in a two inch thick wire cage as filtering system. The filter will be the back wall of the working area. It will be the full 24"x24" area. So outside dimensions of booth will be 30"x24"x24". Front cover is removable and stays in place with locating dowel pins to keep dust out when needed. I can't wait to get practicing airbrushing. I will have about $120 US dollars in it. There is some sweat, blood and a few choice words in it as my working with mitre corners and a couple of sharp hand saw proved to have a learning curve also. All hand cut and hand mitred. I will use a powered scrolling sabre saw to make holes for the exhaust fan and window board venting pipe. That is what I am working on today.

Jerry

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well, my spray booth is an opened up beer carton on the kitchen table - just to stop the overspray going all over the place :)

no dust extraction or air filtering at all. when i'm doing a lot of spraying i wear a dust mask, and mostly use acrylics as enamels seem a bit too toxic

Thanks for the thinning tips. I am gathering all the info I can on the paint side of things. I am building a wooden paint booth so I can get to work on some plastic beverage bottles for practice. I live in an apartment and can't do any experimenting till I get the booth up and running. It is built. I still have to install fan, make the board for the window with dryer vent and put a coat of Minwax gloss polyurethane on it. Working area inside of booth is 24"x 24"x 24". Filter and fan use remaining 6" of depth. I am using a polyfibre stuffing media in a two inch thick wire cage as filtering system. The filter will be the back wall of the working area. It will be the full 24"x24" area. So outside dimensions of booth will be 30"x24"x24". Front cover is removable and stays in place with locating dowel pins to keep dust out when needed. I can't wait to get practicing airbrushing. I will have about $120 US dollars in it. There is some sweat, blood and a few choice words in it as my working with mitre corners and a couple of sharp hand saw proved to have a learning curve also. All hand cut and hand mitred. I will use a powered scrolling sabre saw to make holes for the exhaust fan and window board venting pipe. That is what I am working on today.

Jerry

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well, my spray booth is an opened up beer carton on the kitchen table - just to stop the overspray going all over the place :whistle:

no dust extraction or air filtering at all. when i'm doing a lot of spraying i wear a dust mask, and mostly use acrylics as enamels seem a bit too toxic

I knew I was forgetting something when I designed mine. You can claim yours as a 1 time use and then you have an excuse to drink more beer. I guess I'll just claim I'm still exhausted from building it and need to drink an ice cold beer. I am more of a Captain Morgan and Mountain Dew drinker. My body tolerates that better than beer.

My filtering is mainly to stop any problems from getting paint on the screen and or building exterior as I live in an apartment. I can't have any overspray getting on walls or carpeting for the same reason. I have a respirator mask as the lungs don't like any fumes. I am too new to this to know what paint types I will take a liking to. Still absorbing all the info about different paints. Booth will give me the opportunity to practice and experiment before I do any painting of model. I have a Trumpeter 1/32 A-10A N/AW that I bought 10+ years ago for $50 at a local hobby shop. When I was younger and in the Air Force I was stationed at Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona. It was pretty much the home of A-10s. I got to fly in the base A-10 pilots simulator as an Atta Boy for good conduct. That Rocked! Been hooked on A-10s ever since.

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I knew I was forgetting something when I designed mine. You can claim yours as a 1 time use and then you have an excuse to drink more beer. I guess I'll just claim I'm still exhausted from building it and need to drink an ice cold beer. I am more of a Captain Morgan and Mountain Dew drinker. My body tolerates that better than beer.

no, i get about 6 months out of one beer carton - but plenty more cartons of beer are consumed in the meantime :mellow: - mostly by my mate who comes around every second Sunday and guzzles 4 for every 1 i get down :woo:

My filtering is mainly to stop any problems from getting paint on the screen and or building exterior as I live in an apartment. I can't have any overspray getting on walls or carpeting for the same reason. I have a respirator mask as the lungs don't like any fumes. I am too new to this to know what paint types I will take a liking to. Still absorbing all the info about different paints. Booth will give me the opportunity to practice and experiment before I do any painting of model. I have a Trumpeter 1/32 A-10A N/AW that I bought 10+ years ago for $50 at a local hobby shop. When I was younger and in the Air Force I was stationed at Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona. It was pretty much the home of A-10s. I got to fly in the base A-10 pilots simulator as an Atta Boy for good conduct. That Rocked! Been hooked on A-10s ever since.

you should see the outside brick work in our courtyard where i do my undercoating with a Tamiya spray can (a lacquer undercoat) - i use the beer box there too to stop overspray, but it has been less than perfect :o

as for paint types, i always get good smooth results spraying enamels (Humbrol, Testors, Model Master) - probably a bit smoother than acrylics - but the cleanup is just too messy, especially when i have to pull the Aztec apart to clean in neat acetone. Same with Alclad metal paints - nice result, smelly messy cleanup

my wife & kids complain when i use anything other than acrylics - mind you they are sitting just 15 metres (yards) away while i'm spraying behind my beer box :unsure:

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  • 3 months later...

just learned another trick.

sometimes the nozzles will block and nothing seems to clear them.

last time i had a root canal at the dentist :jaw-dropping: , i came home to find that tiny little wire auger they use to clean out the tooth root attached to my sweater. turns out this is perfect to clean out the hole in the clear plastic sleeve inside the nozzle - just don't move it around too much or you will file the tiny hole too wide.

then shoot some straight acetone thru the beast to give it a final clear.

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