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  • In short, the answer is no.

    A small/portable compressor with a 20-30 litre tank will serve most applications you'll need if coupled with a midi/mini sized gun anywhere from 0.8 - 1.2 needle and nozzle kit.

    You can downsize a compressor that size with water traps and different fixtures and fittings to make it run an airbrush but it will be noisy.

    A compressor that size is fine for your living room, fine for decking and most basecoat application; if it loses pressure, it'll fill up and you can wait. What you can't do with a tank that size and an HVLP gun is a clearcoat, even on something as small as a bike. Clearcoat isn't just squirting product at a substrate as many other approaches are; it's vital to keep that wet edge and maintain that perfect overlap so if the pressure drops or your tank gets too empty, you're knackered and your clearcoat is ruined.

    For an airbrush, you can use a pocket sized, tank-free compressor for less than £50 for most things. You can also get wireless USB rechargeable screw-on compressed air tanks.

    For reliability and hot-swap colour and product changes, I run two Iwata Studio airbrush compressors with dual quick release fixtures and a 2 litre tank. One of which is set up to take a "full size" gun and I use a SATA Dekor with a 0.8 setup and this is for larger logo coverage that would build too high with a full sized gun and take too long with an airbrush - stuff like big carbon frames with massive lettering. You could use a setup like this for small and mid-sized panels but you'll need a big compressor for anything beyond that.

    Get a Stanley compressor from screwfix for less than a oner.
    Spending more than that will buy you too much compressor if you're not using it frequently enough.

    Look into getting yourself a range of guns for different fan patters/sizes and coverage.
    0.2/0.35/0.5 should be your airbrushes
    0.8 can get you an airbrush/midi gun hybrid
    0.8/1.0 are good midi sizes
    1.0+ in a full sized gun will give you lots of coverage but eat loads of air.

    Can I ask what application you need liquimask for rather than tapes or cnc stencils?

  • Thanks for the awesome reply.

    So a basic mid size compressor could drive HVLP and Airbrush (with adapting) but won't do applications where continuous long duration HVLP spraying is needed and will be loud. Got it. I'm not doing anything that requires long duration continuous HVLP so could get away with this if I could tolerate the noise.

    It sounds like then I could consider a dedicated device for DIY applications and large areas and a dedicated (and quiet) airbrush device. OK.

    Can I ask what application you need liquimask for rather than tapes or cnc stencils?

    Lexan RC car bodies - 1:8 - 1:12 scale. 3d nature of it makes LM compelling and it works well although I'd like use cnc vinyl stencils.


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