Anyone Else Here Use CO2 for airbrushing?

07-04-2012, 12:27 AM
Howdy from Texas,

There is some really great help here when it comes to solving airbrushing problems, but when it comes to choosing a source for air I don't see a lot of people opting for CO2.

Am I the only one who uses it?

If there are other CO2'ers on this forum I'd like to here from you and if anyone has questions for me about using CO2 instead of regular air I'd be more than happy to answer them.

07-04-2012, 02:34 AM
I switched to CO2 a few years ago. The air is always dry and clean. Consistent air pressure. No compressor noise. Costs $15 to fill 20lbs tank, lasts 6-12 mos depending on use. Highly recommend it if you have a place nearby to refill the tank.

Hemi Killer
07-04-2012, 12:37 PM
Wish I would have seen this a few days ago

07-04-2012, 02:07 PM
is mr. hobby airbrush pro spray mk2's propellant co2? used to use it but the cost of buying those propellant cans got too expensive and couldn't find an adapter so i could use an airgun's co2 tank, so switched to tamiya spraywork.

i sorta miss using co2, mainly due to the lack of noise :)

07-04-2012, 10:13 PM
I'm not sure what is in airbrush propellant cans, but, considering how fast they freeze up, it may probably be refrigerant used for air conditioning. (((If anyone has a can of propellant please tell us if they list their ingredients and what they are.)))

If you still have that air gun tank you might be able to find an adapter for it at a place that has welding supplies. These dedicated welding supply shops should have an adapter or be able to make one for you. They are also the main sources for CO2.

The basic adapter needed is a simple male to male one and has threads for CO2 on one end and threads for air on the other end. CO2 and regular air systems use different threads on their connectors to prevent anyone from accidentally cross connecting the systems. The threads for CO2 are actually the same threads as on the regular air systems but they are just reversed. It is usually a brass fitting and should cost less than $5 US. However, be sure that the tank you use has a separate shut off valve. I usually don't see this on air gun tanks.

07-06-2012, 03:41 PM
Hey guys, I see a lot of views but not a lot of posts. Does anyone have a question about airbrushing with a CO2 system?

07-06-2012, 04:17 PM
hmmmm i just looked at my old mr hobby 480mL propellant can and there is a flammable warning sign. i guess it isn't just CO2 if it is. heheh.

i'm not sure if my tamiya spraywork basic compressor's about to call it quits but i regularly get moisture now. am contemplating actually on switching to a CO2-based system lately due to that.

could you post your actual setup, CFairias? i'm planning to use tanks like these, how long would a tank like the vertical one at the center of the pic last? aaa66079b.jpg

Adam Baker
07-06-2012, 08:51 PM
Oh yea, those propellent cans are definitely flammable. Being a stupid kid, more than once I remember spraying the propellant into a flame and getting a nice flame thrower effect.

It looks like I'm going to be moving back into an apartment late this year, so I'm seriously thinking about getting a CO2 bottle when I move. My compressor is also starting to show its age, and instead of spending the money right now to get a new one, I think I might just go w/ CO2 for now.

Hemi Killer
07-06-2012, 11:06 PM
I used to kill spiders with my dad's spray on deodorant or a lighter

07-06-2012, 11:11 PM
from nugundam93 ("could you post your actual setup, CFairias? i'm planning to use tanks like these, how long would a tank like the vertical one at the center of the pic last?"

It's hard to tell but from the shape it looks like a 20 lbs tank, like mine. This should last for dozens of models.

Before you buy consider "leasing" a bottle. Many CO2 providers will give you a bottle fully charged for a fee. When you get it refilled they simply keep the bottle and then give you a new one and, consequently, only charge you for the refill. These bottles never look as pretty as having a brand new bottle, but it is usually a cheaper alternative than buying your own. Also, replacing a bottle only takes a few minutes while refilling one can take a week or so as their refilling places are usually somewhere else. And, since your new bottle will be transported with others it will probably get scratched up anyway.

07-06-2012, 11:17 PM
interesting. i'll go ask around if they provide charged tanks and a swap for a fee. thanks!

07-06-2012, 11:47 PM
Here's my setup.


It consists of the tank and its shut off valve, a regulator with a pressure gauge, another shut off valve, and a CO2 to air adapter.

Many regulators have two dials not just one, but you really only need something like mine. Regulators with two dials indicate the pressure going through to the airbrush but also the pressure inside the tank. The second dial will let you know if you are going to run out of CO2, but it is not necessary for airbrushing.

If you really want to worry about when you'll run out try this. A 20 lbs tank holds 20 lbs of CO2 so when you get your newly filled tank home weigh it on a bathroom scale and write that number down on the bottle. When the bottle is near empty it will weight 20lbs less than what you wrote down. By weighing your tank every so often you'll get a feel for when its about to be empty. You'll save a good amount of money by not getting the extra dial.

The extra shut off valve is handy to have. When I have to stop airbrushing to answer the phone or get a new model piece to paint, or whenever I have to stop temporarily, having the second shut off valve is much more convenient than using the tank's shut off valve.

The most special part is the adapter. It was custom made for me based on my own design, but there are off the shelf adapter that you can buy. CO2 systems use reverse threads than what your airbrush has so you can't simply screw your airbrush hose to a CO2 system like you would a compressor. The adapter has CO2 threads on one end and regular airbrush threads on the other. My design uses a rubber hose between the two ends about 6 inches in length. This provide a neat little warning device. If I stray two far away from the tank and the air hose gets stretched the hose warns me with gentle tension before that airbrush gets yanked out of my hand. It costs less than $5 US to make and many well stocked welding supply shops can make it for you while you wait.

You'll notice that their is no moisture trap. CO2, like other "dry" gases has no moisture so their is no need for one. The second advantage of having a "dry" gas is that you get intensely consistent flow through the airbrush.

I operate my system like this:I open the tank's shut off valve a couple of turns.

I adjust the regulator to the pressure I need.

I open the second shut off valve and start airbrushing.
When I'm done I close the tank's shut off valve, bleed out the remaining CO2 through the airbrush, then close the second shut off valve.


07-06-2012, 11:55 PM
I forgot to mention...

When you get your tank replaced during the refill, they will re-attach your regulator for you, just be sure that, when they do, they mount it so that it's convenient for you to read your pressure gauge. You'll see that mine is tilted slightly upward so that I can read it while its on the floor and I'm standing next to it looking down.

Also, you'll notice that my tank does not have a protective cover guard around the tank's shut off valve. I've never had a situation where the tank fell over and risked damaging the valve, but if you've got large pets or children it would be something worth getting. Just ask the CO2 supplier for one on your tank. Those guards also have grab handles so it makes lugging your tank around a lot easier, too.

07-07-2012, 12:03 AM
My compressor is also starting to show its age, and instead of spending the money right now to get a new one, I think I might just go w/ CO2 for now.

My CO2 setup of over 17 years old and I've never had to replace a part, except for the CO2 bottle when they get refilled.

07-07-2012, 04:39 AM
wow. that's an impressive setup. i'm definitely saving up to build a CO2 setup like that. thanks!

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