Have you ever wondered whether nozzles and needles are interchangeable across different airbrush manufacturers and models? This might have crossed your mind when your airbrush needles are damaged or bend, and you realize how difficult it is to find compatible replacements for that exact airbrush.
There are several other reasons why changing an airbrush’s needle is necessary. For example, when we want to spray a larger paint volume or when we want to work on fine-detailed art or maybe because the old needle broke and you need to replace it.
Or you might also need to change an airbrush’s needle when you want thicker paint to spray smoothly.
Generally, the diameters and sizes of the nozzles and needles are usually universal but the length of the needle and the size of the threads of the nozzle are not always universal. Sometimes they aren´t even interchangeable between different models from the same manufacturer.
Nozzle & Needle Size
Airbrush nozzles and needles are designed to fit on each other. Therefore, the needle’s size must be precisely fitted into the nozzle, and the nozzle’s interior part must be sized to fit well with the needle’s tip.
If both of these parts are not perfectly sized for each other then the paint will not flow properly resulting in an uneven spread.
Unfortunately, the size of the threads of the nozzle and the length of the needle can vary quite a lot from manufacturer to manufacturer.
This is on purpose so that you can´t just buy a needle from anyone else than the company that your airbrush is from.
You need to make sure, that the size of your airbrush nozzle and the size of your needle is the same or otherwise paint will not spray properly.
For example, if you decide to choose a 0.5 mm needle for a 0.3 mm nozzle. The needle is too large for the nozzle which means that the paint either won´t flow at all because the deedle is simply stuck or the paint will leak because the nozzle desn´t create a proper seal.
So make sure, that your nozzle size matches the size of your needle and also make sure, that you are using the needle from the manufacturer, that your airbrush is from.
Compatability Between Different Manufacturers and Models
For example, can a 0.35mm size nozzle manufactured specifically for an Iwata airbrush work with a 0.35mm size needle specifically made for a Badger airbrush?
And what would happen if we used a nozzle size 0.35mm specifically made for an Iwata Neo airbrush with a 0.35mm needle made for an airbrush by Iwata Eclipse?
Theoretically, we expect this combination to work since the nozzle matches the needle but is this entirely true?
Each company has a unique design for their airbrushes, both mechanically and visually, and it’s easy to point the differences. This, therefore, means that needles are made explicitly for specific airbrushes. If you try to switch needles between various manufacturers then you will most likely not be able to install the new needle correctly or it just won´t fit properly.
However, it is essential to note that the probability of a needle from another company connecting with an airbrush is higher than a nozzle from another company connecting with an airbrush.
More often than not, nozzles are threaded so that they fit only with a specific airbrush body from a specific manufacturer.
High-end airbrushes, especially, will only be able to be fitted with nozzles and needles from the same manufacturer.
The nozzles are designed to fit the nozzle top, the needle, and the airbrush’s body. Finding a nozzle from a different manufacturer that satisfies all these three criteria is going to be quite difficult.
Nozzle and Needle Compatibility Across Different Models, Same Manufacturer
It is tempting to imagine an airbrush from one company will have the same parts across different airbrush models manufactured by the same company.
Swapping nozzles and needles across different airbrush models by the same manufacturer might not always work. Some manufacturers make each needle and nozzle unique for particular airbrush models.
You’ll also be shocked to realize that needles manufactured by the same company are not always of the same size and thickness.
After some research, we realized that sometimes needle thickness and length from tail to tip varies from one airbrush model to another within the same company.
A friend of mine a while back needed a different needle for his Iwata Neo airbrush.
He went to the store to pick one, but unfortunately, they did not have any for the airbrush by Neo but they had several for the Iwata Eclipse.
On closer inspection, he noticed the diameter was similar, but the length varied considerably. The needle made for the airbrush by Eclipse would not fit in the Neo airbrush since it was long.
Just like with needles, nozzles may also fail to connect to different models from within the same company.
However, the nozzles are most likely to merge effortlessly with other components within one manufacturer compared to a different manufacturer.
About Needle Sizes
Needle sizes translate to the quantity of paint that can be sprayed. Different needle sizes are most appropriate for specific jobs.
For example, small needles (not larger than 0.2mm) are best for art that require fine details. 0.3mm to 0.35mm are considered mid-range needle sizes. They are reasonably good for fine-detailed artwork and also moderately large artwork.
A nozzle and needle set of 0.4mm or more is best when large areas need to be painted.
It’d be super tedious to paint a ship with a 0.2mm needle.
Likewise, it would not be neat working on a small piece of art with a 0.4mm needle. Some of the needle aspects for your airbrush that you need to consider include; needle length, the needle’s diameter, and the needle’s tip taper.
The nozzle dimensions to take into account for an airbrush include the facet where the nozzle joins the airbrush’s body, the nozzle’s diameter (i.e., the outer and the inner diameters), the thread length of a nozzle, and the inner and outer tapers of a nozzle.