Current Airbrush Recommendations?

Looking for recommendations on airbrush setups. Our basic one needs an upgrade.

We started airbrushing 5 years ago and somehow got lost in the day to day operations. Recently we looked at our system and thought--this was a first step, how did we forget to go forward? Our current equipment is all cheap Harbor Freight gear, which amazingly gets small jobs done. However, our job scale has grown. Our 1/8HP airbrush compressor is getting close to water in the line and our little siphon fed airbrush is just at the end of line--and for $10 over 5 years, I think we beat the maximum life out of it.

So, we're researching some ideas. What are you all using? Gravity vs Siphon? Any other thoughts?

Comments
No. 1-16
DeliciousDarling
DeliciousDarling

I'm actually looking into getting a gravity gun as I don't like the airbrush coverage. Does anyone have any specific brand suggestions.

jim-dutton
jim-dutton

I have been using the Grex Tritium gravity-feed airbrush for several months now with a 2HP compressor (1 is probably enough, but because of an out-of-stock situation, I was given the 2HP at the same price). I am very pleased with the Grex, especially compared to the Paasche siphon-feed I had been using with a very small compressor. Coverage is much faster now (I suspect that is more the compressor than the airbrush). Note that this is an airbrush, not a spray gun. Unless you have significant volume, Grex does not recommend the gun it sells for chocolate work. For one thing, the paint cup is quite large and therefore requires a lot of cocoa butter--and I can only imagine how lengthy the cleaning process is. I agree with all the upsides and downsides mentioned above in regard to gravity feed, but with siphon feed, I had to stop and heat up the paint container every few minutes--now the situation is much better. But, to be honest, there is no getting around how difficult spraying chocolate through an airbrush is; after all, the instrument was never meant for this purpose. I do have a mini-spray gun in addition to the Grex (both are hooked up to the compressor), but have not used it very much because my production is fairly low and it is quite difficult to clean. I have the 0.7mm nozzle on the Grex (the largest they make). I'll be glad to answer any questions you may have about the Grex. As was pointed out, their customer service is excellent--above and beyond the call of duty in my experience.

TheSecretChocolatier
TheSecretChocolatier

@DiscoverChoc Sure, we don't have problems at this point--not that we haven't learned to deal with in the flux and fuss of the seasons. I'll never get 55% rH in our shop, too many variables.. When the offsite kitchen comes into being, you can bet we're going to spend a lot of TLC on working environmental controls. You learn a lot with your first kid, right? hehe!

Thanks @dbdchocolate for the continued thoughts and recommendations, we'll dig into their materials more fully and give a rep a call once we have our thoughts together to have a cogent discussion. :) I'm looking forward to some new equipment!

dbdchocolate
dbdchocolate

@TheSecretChocolatier- with regards to the Grex line, I would definitely recommend reaching out them with your specific questions. That said, I would probably be most inclined myself to work with a gravity feed spray gun for higher volume production. That said, I do not know what higher volume means in your context. Having a small syphon feed airbrush is always good to have as well when you need to do finer detail and lot of color change over, so if it were me I'd look to have both....a syphon feed airbrush and a gravity feed air gun. That would cover all your needs from small runs, to lots of molds and sculptures.

DiscoverChoc
DiscoverChoc

Editor

@TheSecretChocolatier - I know all about life getting in the way of plans, so no worries on that score. Humidity control is very important, as is temperature control. Having some way to monitor both temp and humidity in the space where you're doing the airbrushing is key as it will help you diagnose problems. I would think that trying to get to about 55% rH is going to help but more important is consistency in temp and humidity.

@dbdchocolate - Can you weigh in on the questions about Grex WRT gravity, siphon, and bulk?