Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Airbrushing Part 3, ABS 1 & 2

Today I am going to step you through setting up the ABS 1 and ABS 2 kits. I know that it will be at least 3 or 4 days before I finish up all that I have to say about airbrushing right now, so if you have any questions or concerns about airbrushing start bugging me and I'll take care of those over the next few days.

Copic ABS 1
When you first open up an ABS 1 kit you have a pile of parts that look intimidating at first, but I want you to not panic. Yesterday I explained what all the parts are for, today we can stick those parts together into a working kit. Do yourself a favor and pull all the plastic wrap and packaging off, take the directions and set them aside for now, and then lay the parts out in front of you like in the next photo.

Put the Air Grip at the top, with the Air Adaptor right below it, plastic cap off. Put the air hose with the small end below the air adaptor and the larger end near your aircan. Now all the parts look like they go together more like they will when you are done setting it up.

At this point you should stop and read through all the directions before you go any farther. I know you want to get ahead, but please bear with me here.

The next step is to attach the air grip and the air adaptor. Just screw the adaptor in until it is tight but not cranked down so you'd need a wrench to get them apart. Then, attach the small end of the air hose to the bottom of the air adaptor.

Before I move on to the next step I want you to note that right now you have a basic ABS-3 set up. The only difference between what you see here and an ABS 3 is that you would be connecting a hose from your compressor to the base of the air adaptor, not the airhose from the ABS 1 (this hose will NOT work with an air compressor). I'll talk more about air compressors in another post.

Next, this is the most important step:
Before you attach the air hose to the air can, release the valve half-way. If you look at the close up you can see that I have it unscrewed part-way so that I can see the first few threads on the valve-bolt. You don't need to release it all the way, just as far as you see it shown here. Think about attaching a garden hose to your faucet. Basically what you're doing is turning off the faucet before you attach the hose, or you'd be spraying water everywhere. In this case, you'd be spraying air everywhere.

Now you can attach the aircan without worry. Again, screw it on so that it is nice and tight without being too tight. Once the aircan is attached to the hose place the can in the holder. This keeps the liquid air from tipping into the hose and splattering when you go to spray.

At this point no air should be flowing yet. If you hear air escaping then you didn't release the valve before you attached the hose. Tighten the hose down before any more air escapes.

When you are ready, slowly tighten the valve bolt until you hear air flow into the air adaptor, then tighten a little more to make sure the connection is secure. Don't over-tighten. Listen very carefully for air escaping. You should have heard air flow into the air adaptor, but that is quick and you should not hear air escaping anywhere else. Press the trigger on top of the air gripp a few times to make sure that air is flowing properly.

Now you are ready to start spraying (more on that tomorrow).

Here are some of the most common questions at this point. For a complete list you can check the FAQ section of the Copic website.

Q. What if I DO hear air escaping?
A. If air is escaping from the air grip, press the trigger a couple times and that usually evens out the pressure inside the seal inside. If that doesn't solve the problem then stop and start over.

If air is escaping from any of the connections, tighten those areas until you don't hear any more airflow. Otherwise, there should not be any air flow except when you press the trigger, or you have a faulty part somewhere.

Q. When should I take this unit apart?
A. Only when you are going to be transporting the ABS unit and the aircan could get tipped over so it would spill canned air into the line. I used to keep one of these set up at all times under my desk. It doesn't leak air so there's no harm in leaving it hooked up for long periods of time (nowdays I just use a compressor).

Q. How do I take it apart?
A. Basically in reverse of how you set it up. Release the valve half-way. Unscrew the aircan from the hose (you'll hear the air escaping from the adaptor, not the aircan). Once the air is detached the unit is safe to transport, just put the plastic cap back on the aircan to protect the stem from getting damaged. There's no reason to take the other pieces apart, unless you're trying to fit them back in the package.

Copic ABS 2
I'm not picturing it because I forgot to take a new photo, but set up is easy. Take the lid off the aircan D60 and attach the can to the air grip. You are good to spray.

I didn't show a project today mostly because I wanted to focus on the set-up process, not what you do once it's set-up. Also, this is already a long post. Tomorrow I'll show something finished.

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