Author Topic: airbrushing indoors?  (Read 10557 times)

November 28, 2011, 03:05:14 PM
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Hi all, I'm considering upgrading form rattle cans to an airbrush and compressor and was wondering how safe it is to airbrush indoors? I have a worktable in a spare bedroom where I do most of my work and envisioned setting up a simple spraybooth on the table with a dryer hose and fan to vent out a nearby window.

Not having airbrushed before, does it give off a lot of fumes or particulate? I'm obviously concerned about health but also wonder how messy it will be to work inside. Thanks!

November 29, 2011, 12:32:47 AM
Reply #1


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I have a booth set up in my garage. The smell from the fumes depends on the solvents that you are propelling, regardless breathing protection should always be used. Cumulative damage is the big issue, wear a respirator and have proper ventilation. The intake should pull most of the particulates towards it. I haven't had an cleanliness issue with my shoddy setup, most of the over-spray is caught in my filter, it may be a matter of your habits. One suggestion I have is pick up a fan with a beefer motor. I got a basic bathroom vent fan, it doesn't disperse the lighter, more volatile particles to my liking, however, this may be a flow design issue and less a horsepower issue.

December 05, 2011, 10:55:37 AM
Reply #2


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...was wondering how safe it is to airbrush indoors?

Not to put too fine a point on it, but it would be impossible, or at least impractical, to airbrush OUTdoors.  It is radically finer than a rattle can and the slightness breeze will ruin your day (not to mention dirt and insects).

Not having airbrushed before, does it give off a lot of fumes or particulate? I'm obviously concerned about health but also wonder how messy it will be to work inside.

Subjectively airbrushing produces far less particulate and fumes in the workspace compared to a rattle can (where the majority of paint never sees the surface of your model).  That said, there is still over-spray (more or less depending on your technique) so you have to deal with it.  Exactly what you do depends greatly on the paint and/or solvents you chose, your relative concern for getting the work area dirty etc.

Your first line of defense is to wear a respirator, and one with the correct cartridge for what you are spraying, and you will want to do so even with a spray booth because virtually none achieve 101% particulate and vapor capture (about 1 in 100 DIY booths I've seen meet this description and surprisingly few of the "hobby" booths on the market do either).  Beyond that its a question of what you are spraying and how badly you need to get it out and/or capture it.

In the case of solvent based paint, including (in descending order of noxiousness) lacquers, enamels, and alcohol base acrylics (including Tamiya), you'll definitely need something to get at very least the fumes out safely, if not the particulate as well (note I underscore "safely"....lacquer thinner shot into a bathroom fan is NOT safe).

On the flip side if you use one of the growing number of popular water (solvent free) acrylics, and you are tolerant of a dirty room, you may need nothing more than a respirator since there are no fumes, only paint "dust" (quite literally, that's what you have 9" out from an airbrush with water based acrylics).  I use Vallejo ModelAir exclusively and have no spray booth or extraction system. I wear a 3M 7500 series respirator with P100 cartridges and after a few models every horizontal surface in the room needs a good wipe down. :)  While I do use an alcohol based cleaner, I use a clean-out jar with charcoal filter next to an open window so no issue there.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2011, 11:23:38 AM by sunsanvil »

December 05, 2011, 11:51:19 AM
Reply #3


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I am spray painting indoors for all of my projects.

When you spray paint indoors, you will need a place that has good ventilation by either allowing you to put in a powerful fan that can suck out all the paint fumes and particles outside or a place that has a fan that has a powerful fan that leads outdoors. Over the years, I have been able to use the kitchen stove top as a spray booth, all I did was find or construct a spray booth out of cardboard that will fit over the space. My old apartment stove had fan on top and I cut the top and the front of the box off, when I am ready I just put the box over the stove and turn on the fan and I am able to airbrush.  

A bathroom with lots of counter space and a large fan or window that allows you to attach a fan will also work. Personally, I have completely switched over to acrylic paints and use isopropyl alcohol to thin my paints, the fumes problem is less of a issue now.

The important thing to remember when looking for a place to spray paint indoors is to find a place that will allow you to clean up quickly and easily, even with a spray booth, paint particles will float around. A room with lots of hard surface counters and linoleum or tile flooring will make the clean up very quick and easy.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2011, 11:52:03 AM by clee-cm »
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December 07, 2011, 04:53:32 AM
Reply #4


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    • Ultramini!

despite i usually use a low pressure (0.2 bar) that limit the overspray, my advice is to always use a proper mask and, if possible, to set up a spray booth.

I made up one by myself, using a bathroom fan and a plastic container, with a tube connected to a window:

Nuova cabina di aspirazione by alessino, on Flickr

Nuova cabina di aspirazione by alessino, on Flickr

Of course, it needs a lot of room, but it's a permanent solution...

Anyway, when working with enamels i always wear also a 3M organic solvent mask, the fan can "clean" the room in the mid term but during the exact time the airbrush is spraying probably you produce much more aerosol than the fan can suck out...
« Last Edit: December 07, 2011, 04:54:31 AM by ultramini »
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December 13, 2011, 11:26:55 PM
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It will give off a lot of fumes and particulates, and do wear a respirator, but I airbrush indoors still. (in the garage too, but right in my office a lot)

I did the home spray booth mod that is here in this forum,and I used two 4" AC computer fans at 65cfm, and 2100 rpm each. (Found at Radioshack) Soldered the leads directly to a 120v AC main plug end and it works like magic. No problem pulling the fumes/particulates out through the ventilation hose out the window. Probably better than some expensive pre-made booths. It's a similar bin to the one ultramini posted but mine is less fixed in place (for example I left my hose detachable) and can be transported anywhere very easily.
Total cost including fans and materials was about $60 USD.

We live in a house now, but I used this setup in our apt for 2yrs and we still got our damage deposit back and I have no brain damage from fumes :)
Hope this helps dude.

« Last Edit: December 13, 2011, 11:32:16 PM by Grail »
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