Introduction: Homemade Airbrush (super Precise)

Picture of Homemade Airbrush (super Precise)

This Instructable will explain, in detail, how to make an airbrush out of parts that can be easily purchased at your local hardware store, or found around the house.  With this airbrush, you will have full and complete control over the paint flow, the airflow, and the shape of the exiting spray.  

The final product (if constructed properly) will rival many high-end airbrushes, for about 1/3 of the price.  

Step 1: Parts List

Picture of Parts List

Here is the exploded view of the airbrush.  
All parts are listed here.  

Note: All of the parts have the same thread pattern, so make sure of this when constructing your own airbrush.

Step 2: Modifying the Pneumatic Tubing

Picture of Modifying the Pneumatic Tubing

For this step, you will need the following items:  

2 pieces of pneumatic tubing (one at 4" and one at 4.5")

For the tapered piece (part #3) 
Heat up the middle of the tube evenly (don't heat it until you see bubbles- this means you have ruined that section).
Then slowly pull on either end, and the tube should stretch.
Don't let go yet!  Keep your hands on either side until it has cooled (otherwise it will deform)  (blow on it to cool it faster)
Cut the tubing in half, and set those aside for now.  

For the angled piece (part #12)
Evenly heat the tubing 1.5" from the end (it doesn't matter which side at this point)
Bend the tubing at a 135* angle
Do the same for the other side, and make sure it looks like the picture (if it doesn't look like the picture, it won't work)

Step 3: Assembling the Airbrush

Picture of Assembling the Airbrush

Once you have obtained all of the parts, you can begin assembling.  
But first, wrap teflon tape around all of the threaded joints.  (this is essential for an air-tight seal)

Begin at the back of the airbrush, and work towards the tip.  (you will need your pliers for this)
Keep assembling but do not attach Part #8 or #9 to anything just yet. (wait until the end)

Make sure you pre-assemble Parts #1, #2, and #3.                       Instructions 
                                                                                             sharpen the tip on Part #1
                                                                                             Insert Part #1 into Part #2
                                                                                             Crimp the end of Part #2 where it contacts Part #1
                                                                                             Insert  Part #2 into Part #3, and make sure it is airtight
Cut/ melt/ drill holes in Part #9 so that Parts #8 and #12 can fit into it.
Once Everything is assembled, glue Part #9 to Part #7, Clamp it, and let it sit overnight.  

If you have done everything correctly, you should have a fully functional, Super-Durable airbrush.

If you need any more explanation, or wish to see the internal components of my airbrush, just leave a comment.  Thanks :) 


lwoolward (author)2011-05-28

This is super cool! I've always wanted an airbrush, but I'm not serious enough about any of my hobbies to put down for one.

A typed parts list would be much appreciated, though!

Lokisgodhi (author)lwoolward2012-08-07


Try Harbor Freight. They have inexpensive airbrushes.

dabo750 (author)Lokisgodhi2016-04-21

Yes, of fairly good quality, to see examples of work done with them see

epitai.koragh (author)2014-09-18

can i get a step by step instruction of this

choppercat (author)2013-08-17

Can I see a pic of the actual parts 1,2 and 3 thanks and I hope the work awesomely.

jcsevero (author)2013-01-20

Otimo instructable, com certeza vou montar um. obrigado..

Kojaq (author)2011-06-02

With all those brass parts I don't think you would want to be spraying for any length of time. I found that the price of all the brass parts outweigh the cost of a new badger.

Lokisgodhi (author)Kojaq2012-08-07

I've got to agree with Kojaq.

While this a great theoretical instructible, demonstrating you can make an airbrush, it's going to really expensive to make and result in a heavy unwieldy tool with minimal usability.

An airbrush is supposed to be an easy to handle painting tool that can apply paint and ink with precision. This instructable isn't that. You're much better off to put your money into buying a real airbrush and your time into practicing with it to improve your skills in handling it.

desmondtheredx (author)2011-06-08

what kind of pump should be used

budforum (author)desmondtheredx2011-08-24

you can use anything from lung power to a shop compressor (if you somehow have the lungs of an Olympian). my recommendation, though, is to utilize a canister of computer cleaner. please use a respirator, and happy painting

xtian12 (author)budforum2012-02-05

dude what ink you used?

jimmytvf (author)2011-06-21

i really want to make it out. with your permission, i want to improve your 'ible because is hard to figure out how to assemble it and is an amazing gadget. what do you say?

budforum (author)jimmytvf2011-08-24

what would you like to edit about the ible?

jimmytvf (author)budforum2011-10-24

when i'm going to make it (sure i will) post some images on it. What you say? is a great 'ible and the lack of pics make it somehow difficult to understand

budforum (author)2011-08-24

for all those who have asked and waited patiently

1) 3/32"od brass rod--1/2" long
2) 3/32"id brass tube--1" long
3) elongated polyurethane pneumatic tubing--3/4" long
4) brass hose connector 1/4"od threads
5) female to female connector--1/4"id threads
6) male to male connector
7) brass 3-way T-shape junction
8) 3/32"id Brass tube-- 1/2" long
9) small plastic container (for paint)
10) lid for aforementioned container
11) Brass tube 3" long by 1/8"id threads
12) Polyurethane pneumatic tube 1/8"id X 3.5" long
13) 90*- Multiple rotation valve
14) brass 3-way T-shape junction
15) 90*- Multiple rotation valve

Happy constructing! :)
note: when I tested this invention, the cap for the paint cup popped off, due to the pressure. I have potential solutions, but please, feel free to innovate. by the way, test with water first!!

splazem (author)2011-08-20


zydro (author)2011-06-21

hmmm... so nice........but.........too difficult to decipher the list parts.....confidential?

lee_schnitz (author)2011-06-15

I hate to beat the dead horse.. but... while this is an awesome IDEA, it seriously lacks in the execution for an Instructable.

Please, take some time and dress up this Instructable, add more details, even a price list, and time estimate.

Keep up the good work, and make it great work!

Taurgus (author)2011-06-10

With a bottle of CO2 and some thinned latex paint in the pressurized canister, this would probably work very well for touching up wall and trim paint. (From a construction point of view.)

jayfuller (author)2011-06-02

The confusion comes in the construction of the paint orifice above. There is not any detailed photographs of this step, plus it seems counter-inuitive in operation. In a normal airbrush, a valve is opened to commence air flow, this air flow, via venturi effect, causes a vacuum which sucks paint out of a cup, the sharpened needle blocks the orifice and is slowly retracted to control paint flow. This airbrush seems to pressurize the paint cup, which is the methodology in some commercial spray guns, but this two valve system to control air flow and paint cup pressurization seems clumsy at best. Plus "make sure it is airtight," instruction, with the flared plastic tubing, adds confusion in how the paint makes its way through the barbed nozzle. I too, would like to see a video of the device in operation.

jfherring (author)2011-06-02

I clicked the little "i" in the upper left corner of the image, then viewed the large version of the image and typed up the parts list for you all (from the image in step 1):

1. 3/32" OD brass rod 1/2" long
2. 3/32" ID brass tube 1" long
3. Stretched pneumatic tube 3/4" long
4. Brass hose connector 1/8" ID threads
5. Female to female connector
6. Male to male connector
7. 3-way T-shape junction
8. 3/32" ID brass tube 1/2" long
9. Small plastic container
10. Lid for container
11. 1/8" ID brass tube (threaded) 3" long
12. 1/8" ID pneumatic tube 3.5" long
13. 90 degree multiple rotation valve
14. 3-way T-shape junction
15. 90 degree multiple rotation valve

The Papier Boy (author)2011-06-02

I need more explanation, and wish to see the internal components of your airbrush. Also, let's see what the unit is capable of and how it works.

leendertbob (author)2011-06-02

I would like a typed out partslist and assembly tutorial.
The idea is great. I can do this with the kids who love to paint.
I like to thank you on their behalve too.

SantaB (author)2011-06-02

I am sure this is wicked awesome and all, but you can't read the guys writing or discern how to put this thing together... Not to be mean, but how did this 'ible even get featured...? I have yet to be featured and am much better at explaining things than this guy. :-S

If he updates this with better info I would love to try this out... It at least looks cool. :-)

l8nite (author)2011-06-01

very confusing and it looks heavy, more pictures and better instructions along with a parts list that we can read would all help. Harbourfreight often has a basic airbrush set on sale for $10-12us, its not real great for fine detail but as a basic filler it works rather well and at only a couple of ounces you dont need an engine hoist to move it around

jtobako (author)2011-06-01

Could really use a pic of what it is capable of-not much use copying someones design if you don't know what it can do : (

Why is the paint pot pressurized? All of the three airbrushes I have (and the two I jury-rigged before getting my first) just uses venturi effect to draw up or down the liquid into the air stream.

Where is the flow control, or is it an 'always on' type of thing? Sounds messy : )

PS118 (author)jtobako2011-06-01

I think the valve #13 was supposed to control the paint and the valve #15 the overall air.

I totally agree that I'd like to see this thing in action before trying it myself.

Also, ditto to your "sounds messy" comment. I shudder to think what happens when the air pressure pops that cap off!

spiderham (author)2011-05-31

It looks like everything is basic brass fittings. The needle, from what I could make out, is a shaped brass rod and the output on the cup is a 1/2" long brass tube.

-one 1/8" push on hose barb
-two 1/8"compression angle needle valves
-one long (1/8" x 3") and one 1/8" hex nipple
-two 1/8" tees
-one 1/8" female coupler
-3 1/2" x 1/8" pneumatic hose
-some 3/32" brass tube and rod.

If anyone else can make out some of his handwriting feel free to add to or correct this list. Hope it helps

mrmartyman7 (author)2011-05-29

what is budforum , that is what shows up when you click on any part

ilpug (author)mrmartyman72011-05-29

budforum is the authors name

tinker234 (author)2011-05-29

yes a typed parts list

Mr.Sanchez (author)2011-05-29

Me no comprendo....

habeeba (author)2011-05-29

unclear to follow, please elobrate with pictures & mechanism, thanx

mdog93 (author)2011-05-28

would be nice to see picture or video of construction and maybe an explanation of how it works

mdog93 (author)2011-05-28

if you click the i in the top lefthand corner of the picture then click original you can see a much larger image

spiderham (author)2011-05-28

It's difficult to read your handwritten parts list. Could you please type it out? Thx. Nice build, BTW. I'm interested in seeing how it'll compare to my old Badger

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