Airbrush Filter Fan Backstop.




Introduction: Airbrush Filter Fan Backstop.

I picked up an airbrush kit for my daughter a while ago. She is very artistic and I thought she could parley her skills into using an air brush. I have always been impressed with what others can do with one, to be completely honest I thought I might have a couple uses for it is well. So we proceeded to set up a corner of my shop where she(we) could airbrush. We used acrylic paint thinned with some water. The airbrush basically atomizes this into an airborne spray. I’m no expert but I assume that this paint is less toxic than what comes out of a rattle can, it smells better anyway. Nevertheless I was aware that it would take a lot of practice before she(or I ) would be painting T-shirts at the fair. That in effect would result in breathing more of this atomized paint over time than I felt comfortable with. So I set about to make something that would not necessarily exhaust the overspray but at the very least control, consolidate and contain the particulate. I wanted it to be portable, lightweight and not take up a lot of room in my small shop.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

  • Coroplast Board: This is what is used in yard signs, frequently campaign signs, (I would not suggest you steal one from your neighbors yard, depriving them from expressing their political affiliation with one of our outstanding candidates.) however, this material can be put to numerous uses; any of which would probably be appreciated more than your neighbors campaign sign. I had some lying around because I grabbed it somewhere I can’t remember, thinking it would be handy…. And it was. (Note: you could probably make this out of cardboard it just wouldn't be as water resistant or durable)
  • Plastic Corner Guard: These are fairly common and available at hardware stores everywhere large and small.
  • White Duct Tape: Self Explanatory
  • In Line Duct Fan: I used a 4” in line fan that was previously used on my kitty litter box exhaust system. We no longer have a kitty, therefore we no longer have a kitty litter box, therefore no longer have a need for a kitty litter box exhaust system. Besides that is a story and an instructable for another time.
  • Thin Plywood: Or other board, I used a piece of ½” cut to size This is needed for some structural rigidity, and to mount the fan to.
  • Furnace Filter: I use a size 14x20x1 but the size you pick depends on your personal preferences.
  • Wall Plug and Cord: Just about any cord you cut off of any powered item you throw away , or the end of an extension cord, the in line fan does not draw a lot of amps.
  • Heat Shrink Tubing: Optional but creates a more professional look you could use wire nuts and elec. tape.
  • Solder and Iron: Optional but creates a more professional look you could use wire nuts and elec. tape.

Step 2: Measuring and Cutting

Determining the width, cutting back, top and bottom:

The back top and sides will match the selected filter width. If you have enough material you can cut each long and then start putting it together to determine the length of the pieces. Cut the plywood to match the width as well.

Determine what you want the face slope to be, this kind of depends on your height, whether you are standing or sitting, the height of the table, etc. we went with about a 5 degree angle. This will then determine the overall shape of the side, the combined height of the back (including the plywood and the top and the bottom. Cut them all out.

Step 3: Fan Installation and Connection

Mark a hole for the in line fan and cut it out with a coping saw or jig saw. Cut the wires, strip, put on the heat shrink tubing, solder so it together, shrink the tubing etc. so you can plug in the fan.

I added a piece of 1 x screwed to the bottom of the plywood to help with rigidity as well as you can see in the third picture.

Step 4: Tape It All Together

Duct tape it all together.

Step 5: Filter Frame (Plastic Corner Guard)

Attach the clear corner guard to the inside of the box, offset 1" (or the thickness of the filter) from the face with hot glue, a strong double sided tape or another slower drying type of glue that will adhere to plastics.

Step 6: Install Filter and Test:

Put on the filter and test it out. The suction from the fan will pull all the overspray into the filter, as a bonus the draw from the fan will hold paper on the surface for painting without the need for tape when you are practicing.


Make a Box Contest

Participated in the
Make a Box Contest

Hack Your Day Contest

Participated in the
Hack Your Day Contest

Hand Tools Only Contest 2016

Participated in the
Hand Tools Only Contest 2016

Be the First to Share


    • Sculpting Challenge

      Sculpting Challenge
    • Heart Contest

      Heart Contest
    • Fiber Arts Contest

      Fiber Arts Contest

    3 Discussions


    4 years ago

    A neat idea, however it should be noted that this ought not to be used with lacquer based paints unless the fan motor is flameproof, otherwise you run the risk of a fire. Sparks from a non flameproof motor will ignite the paint solvents.


    Reply 4 years ago

    Good point kymst, this is not a fume hood and the filter will not stop vapors, it only directs and filters fine particulate. Painting with lacquer should only be done in a well ventilated space.

    I don't know if the inline duct fan motor I used is flame proof but it does have a class B thermally protected motor and is intended for use in ductwork, so if the motor were prone to sparking it in your ductwork it could burn your house down there as well.


    Reply 4 years ago

    The motor may be safe in an air atmosphere but cause ignition when in an atmosphere containing flammable and volatile organic solvents. I know you are only using it with water based paint, but others may be tempted to try using something like this with flammable solvents.