Q. Which Airbrushing set should I get?
A. It depends on how you will be using it.
If you just want to try airbrushing before jumping into a larger system or you need a really portable system without much fuss, use the ABS-2. Uses Aircan D60, which hooks directly into the air grip.
Pro: This gets you started with our smallest, most basic system.
Con: The Aircan D60's don't hold much air and just when you figure out how cool it is it runs out. This can be an expensive way to airbrush.
ABS-2 includes: Air Grip, aircan D60
If you want our complete, most cost-effective system without buying a compressor, then you should get the ABS 1. This lets you use our larger, more efficient Aircan 80 and Aircan 180.
Pro: Cheapest unit without a compressor, larger aircans last quite a while before you need to replace them.
Con: You're still throwing away an aircan. After you've gone through 5 of the large aircans you really should start looking at getting a compressor.
ABS-1 includes: Air grip, air adaptor, air hose 1/4 to 1/8, aircan 80, and air can holder
If you already own a compressor, then use the ABS 3 set. You’ll need to get an adaptor to match your air compressor to our 1/8 inch hose fitting. This set-up will work with almost any compressor that can go between 40 & 60 psi, as long as you can match the hose fitting.
Pro: Never buy another can of air
Con: Compressors come in all sizes, costs, and levels of noisiness. Choose a compressor carefully since it is a long-term investment.
ABS-3 includes: Air Grip, air adaptor
Whichever set-up you get, be aware that the parts are modular. If you start with an ABS 2 and you realize that you want to use the larger aircans you don't have to buy an ABS 1, just the rest of the parts to make an ABS-1. Also, all the parts except the aircans will last a long time (until they are damaged) so you're not looking at something that you'll eventually have to throw away.
Q. What does each part do?
Air Grip: This is the main part of each airbrush system. This holds your marker and has the spraying trigger. To change a color you pop it into and out of this grip. The air sprays out of the little metal nozzle and across the tip onto the paper. There is nothing to clean-up and you never have to replace this part unless it breaks.
Air Adaptor: This evens out the airflow from either an aircan or from a compressor. The Air adaptor looks like an aircan with a bolt stuck to the bottom. If you remove the plastic cap there is a thin metal stem that screws into the air grip. You can use this part for years and years, as long as it doesn't get punctured. (I had one that was caved in because the compressor fell on it and crushed it. It still worked fine, it just looked really bad)
Aircan Holder: This is a thick piece of foam that holds your aircans upright. Very handy, since you do not want your aircans tipping over during use or else they will spill compressed air into the hose and cause spitting and splotching. Each hole is cut to accurately hold one of the sizes of aircans.
Airhose 1/4 to 1/8: This is the Airhose that comes with the ABS-1. It only works with Copic aircans, and is needed for proper use of the Aircan 80 and 180. One end has a large metal piece with a valve, the other end is a small, simple fitting. Does not work with a compressor
Airhose 1/8 to 1/8: This needs to be purchased seperately, and is an airhose for hooking the air adaptor up to a compressor. Both ends are a small fitting (not pictured). Does not work with aircans.
Aircans: Under each plastic lid is a tall metal stem. Keep the cap, since you want to protect the stem from getting bent when not in use.
Aircan D60 lasts 7-8 minutes. D stands for Direct, since this is the only aircan you can use directly into the air grip
Aircan 80 lasts 20 minutes.
Aircan 180 lasts 45 minutes. Aircan 80 and 180 are extra-compressed aircans and either one should be used with an airhose.
Q. Why does the Aircan D-60 hold less air than the other cans?
A. The Aircan D60 has a built-in regulator that allows it to be used directly in the air grip. The other size aircans need an Air Adaptor to regulate the air pressure. Because the adaptor is built in, it takes up space. If the aircan were much larger it would be uncomfortable to hold, so there really is not enough room inside to hold the air and the regulating parts. Also, the air is not as pressurized, since it is going straight through the built-in regulator.
Physically you CAN attach an aircan 80 or 180 directly into the air grip. However, this splatters and spots each time you tip the aircan becuase you're directly spraying compressed air across your page and it has no air adaptor to even out the pressure or flow. It really looks bad and is unpredictable in the spray pattern.
For a quick final project today, here is an egg that I airbrushed. I used BG32 as my base color, then with the brush end of a V17 and a G28 I added larger speckles through the airbrush system. With the airbrush system this is super easy and fun (Notice that I'm holding the egg with the lid for my aircan).