The most common cause of free flow and it’s simple solution.
Free flow is the term given to describe when an airbrush is malfunctioning in the following way; as soon as you press down for air, the paint begins to flow freely – hence ‘free-flow’.
You no longer have control of when the paint should leave the airbrush and instead it acts like a single action airbrush.
This is a problem because it makes it very difficult to create smooth lines, you can no longer double action correctly and you may also find that you aren’t hitting the target you’re aiming for. If you’re doing a sensitive area like an eye or something with intricate detail, it becomes a much larger problem because you really do require control of your paint.
Why does this occur?
This generally occurs for the same reason in 95% of cases, which is because there is a small amount of junk stick inside the tip of the airbrush as pictured above right.
The junk could either be a small amount of coagulated pigment, binder, dust, dirt, contaminant etc, however free flow can also be caused by a cracked tip, bent needle or if you don\’t have the needle pushed all the way forward.
How is it fixed?
If the cause is a cracked tip, bent needle or not having the needle pushed all the way forward, then you’ll either needle to adjust the needle chuck and push the needle forward, or replace your parts.
For the other 95% of occurences, the way to fix this is to remove the junk from the inside of the tip! This occurs on average once every 12 hours and I never strain or filter my paints, so this is a pretty good average.
The solution is quick and simple is 95% of occurences and while the airbrush makes it easy to achieve such amazing results in portraiture and other artworks, one of the downfalls is that they are very temperamental! When you have a tip size of 0.23mm, then a clump of pigment the size of a grain of sand inside the tip is going to greatly affect the performance of your airbrush!
Take a quick look at the picture to the right and if you squint hard enough you’ll see a small amount of dry pigment slightly protruding from the front of the airbrush tip. This was causing enough blockage that I wasn’t able to proceed and needed to pull the airbrush apart in order to clean the tip! All fixed and I caught it on camera, plus gave a little guidance in the tutorial link provided above!