Rise of the Machines: 6 Different Airbrush Uses in Professional Painting Reply

When we think of paint robotics, we most often think of cavernous paint factories and intimidating robots. These large machines work quickly, with appendages swirling around at breakneck speed applying paint at a dizzying pace. But not all paint robotics are so robust. In fact, one of the most widely used paint robots is much smaller and much simpler in function: the air brush. Air brushes work by connecting a regulated nozzle with a source of high pressure air. The air atomizes the paint and forces it through the nozzle under pressure, wherein it is applied to a substrate. While this may not be what you think of when you imagine paint robotics, air brushes incredibly handy mechanical devices devices that help facilitate paintwork for professionals everyday on everything from toy trains to taxidermy tigers!

Makeup application with an air brush

Air brushes can be used to apply custom makeup in amazing ways.
Image courtesy of CMC Makeup School.

Airbrushes can be used on most any surface, meaning the number of ways in which airbrushes can be used is expansive. Here are six common uses for airbrushes:

  1. Automotive and motorcycle detailing.  The most commonly known use of airbrush technology is in automotive and motorcycle design.  From pin stripes and abstract designs to finely detailed pictures of animals or characters, airbrush work on the fuel tanks of a motorcycle or the hood of a sports car is most often performed by an expert airbrush artist.
  2. Taxidermy.  When it comes to different airbrush uses, most people don’t think about a taxidermist working to make sure a mount looks as realistic as possible. But airbrush technology is actually perfect for this kind of work! Taxidermists use airbrushes to create uniform color in a subject’s coat, skin, scales or hair as well as to finely detail facial and foot features. The flexibility of airbrush painting means that thin lines and soft shading can both be accomplished with the same tool.
  3. Body Art and Makeup.  While it is far from long lasting, airbrushes are used to color bodies of models and performers in a variety of situations. The non-contact application of airbrush paint makes it the perfect took for providing a uniform coat or detailed design to elastic and porous human skin. Airbrushes are also great for applying makeup everywhere from at department store counters to movies sets.

    Taxidermy airbrush

    Airbrushing detail on an animal mount.
    Image courtesy of Airbrush Action.

  4. Manicures and Fingernail Painting.  From adding a custom design to a clients fingernails to simply making cuticles and nails look healthy, airbrushing is an excellent way to address imperfections in fingernails and toenails due to their curvature and texture.
  5. Book and Comic Illustration.   While all types of illustrations can be created with an airbrush, the best place to see this kind of work on display is within comics and children’s books. Artwork in these mediums demonstrates the flexibility of which airbrushes are capable, from and rich color saturation to subtle, atmospheric coloring that’s difficult to attain with a pen or brush.
  6. Models and toys.   Model-railroaders have long used airbrushes to realistically recreate not only specific train cars but also intricate and realistic settings. Most small scale models and toys use airbrush technology to replicate real world subjects and environments, bringing scenes to life with details from the weathering on the side of an old train car to the changing foliage of a tree.
Airbrushing a tree.

Air brushes can make model sets come to life.
Image courtesy of Model Train Help

Many people fail to appreciate the versatility of the modern airbrush. From shading details in taxidermy to decorating fingernails with intricate artwork, airbrushes have changed the way art is produced. Once upon a time, thin racing stripes on a muscle car had to be painted with the steady hand of a painter with a small brush. Now, designs and shapes of all types and sizes are applied using airbrush technology that is both faster and more flexible then using a brush.

Airbrushes admittedly don’t look like the machines you are used to when you consider paint robotics or paint automation.  As we’ve discussed before, not all paint robotics are a threat to the professional painter.  In some cases, as with the airbrush, paint machinery and paint robotics exist to help the professional painter in their work, making it an incredible opportunity to expand your skill set and your business. Click here to learn more about paint robotics and their impact on professional paintwork.

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