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Friday, April 24, 2015

Beware the Blacklung!!!

Greetings all!!!!

I just wanted to take a moment and share a little something with all you painters out there.  It might be nothing new for some and you'll say "Well, duh SonBae...tell me something I don't  alreadyknow."

But, hopefully this will help those of you who were like me until recently and doing something rather foolish.

What am I talking about?  Airbrushing without an airbrush booth.

"What is that?" You ask.  

"I have plenty of ventilation...what more do I need" you might say.

Well, an airbrush booth greatly helps the ventilation situation and helps pull those nasty fumes created from airbrushing away from you...and helps keep you healthy.

First, let's talk about what an airbrush leaves behind besides the paint on your model.  Depending on the amount of air pressure you use and the level of paint released you have a certain amount of "overspray."  That is all of the paint that "misses" your model.  It has to go somewhere.  The more pressure and paint you use the more overspray is created.  Most of it goes behind the model and into the backstop you set up.  Some of it just hangs in the air around the model and builds up the more you paint.  Here is where ventilation is important.  A good flow of air will help disperse that cloud and keep it from building quickly...but build it will eventually.  Unless you have a good breeze going, there will still be some type of cloud around the model...and that means it is also around you.

This was my setup before...just a big cardboard box cut down.  It didn't ventilate or anything.  All it did was give me a back stop.  I relied on the open garage door to give me the breeze I needed.  This was very unpredictable and at times actually worked against me and the breeze didn't pull fumes/particulate away

Now, why is that so bad?  Well, that cloud very easily can get into your nose, your eyes, and even your lungs.  How do I know?  Well, let's just say that I had a recent airbrush session where I was priming a metric butt-load of models.  I used the above setup as a back stop...had a window cracked and the garage door open.  I thought the ventilation was good.  A few hours after I stopped I just scratched at my ear and found a thin layer of paint dust.  The next day my nose was running and my eyes were red and running and I had a mild cough.  Joy!  Luckily, I had a nasal rinse kit around and did a quick sinus blast and wouldn't you know it...a nice mess of the primer color was coming out in the wash.  So that mess can get into your system even if you think your ventilated.  A little graphic, but I wanted to make the point clear to those naysayers.

But, you say "I do something like this...."

(War Eagle by the way)
Not good enough!  It might protect the eyes and the lungs from the larger particles, but you can still breath in the finer particles.  Think about are still able to breath with that get-up on right?  Well, those finer particles and fumes are getting through with that air.

Now, what does an Airbrush Booth do for you?  It does two things.  First is that it helps pull that overspray cloud around the model away from the model (and you) and draws it into a filter.  That filter is the second thing it does.  The filter traps both the large and smaller particles and lets pass clean air (for the most part) through it and back into the room. There are even attachments that allow you to vent that air through a duct even further away and through a window.

So, I went ahead and got a decent booth for around $80.
The work area is 16.5" Wide, 19" Deep, and 13.5" High. You can even combine booths together and get a longer work area.  Sadly, you can't stack them to get a taller work area. It packs into a nicer carrying case and has a little door to put the electrical plug.  There is even a cool little lazy Susan that use to rotate items you don't want to hold.

That's 4 ea 15mm 29th ID figures from Battlefront on the lazy Susan

The TCP Global version I bought is also sold my other vendors (Paasche comes to mind) and the only real difference I could see is the Paasche version has a different power cord (hard hardwired to the booth vice removable)...all for $50 more.  Some are even more expensive for basically the same thing

The suction is very nice and keeps the work area overspray long as the filters aren't clogged.  This is an added up keep expense.  A set of filters runs about $10 and you need to swap them out if you start to see buildup on the outer filter or start to see the overspray cloud again.

All I can say is that I don't need to cover head to toe for long airbrushing sessions any more.  The booth really works!  Very glad with the purchase.  There are others out there with bigger work areas, etc... but they cost more.  I have seen some folks even make their own booths from scratch.

A nice one.....

Not quite as nice....
Friggin' scarey!!!

You need to be very careful with the homemade ones as the vent goes through the fan and if you don't do things right you can make a fire hazard from any particulate/gas going through it and igniting with the fans motor....bad trade-off either...Black Lung vs Burnt House.  The you get  to cost and time to build the "cheaper" versions.  The top 2 could cost as much as the one I bought and the cardboard says it cost only $22.  

Regardless of the way you go...get to airbrushing the safe and healthy way.

That is all.  Dis-MISSED!

SonBae (AKA Jeff Flint) is a long time gamer and painter and runs a semi-active blog at Journey Back To The Table where he posts photos of his work, reviews, BatReps and the “Painting Miniatures Declassified” modeling and painting tutorials. Follow him @wwpdSonBae on Twitter.

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