There are quite a lot of problems that you can encounter when you want to use an airbrush. From bad airflow to using the wrong paint. Today we will look at one of the rarer problems which is what to do when the needle of your airbrush is stuck. In this aricle I will go over all of the issues that could lead to a stuck needle and I will tell you exactly how to fix all of them.
In short, your airbrush needle is stuck because of one of three things. The needle chuck might not be tight enough to grab the needle properly or the needle might be dirty because of dried-up paint or something similar or the needle has the wrong size for the airbrush and the tip.
The Needle Chuck is Not Tight Enough to GRab the Needle Properly
This is probably the most common solution for a stuck airbrush needle.
The needle chuck is commonly located at the back end of the airbrush close to the end of the needle. It is a nut that can be turned with your fingers.
Not to be confused with the nut at the end of the airbrush, this nut is for limiting how far the needle can move back.
The needle chuck nut is inside the airbrush.
The needle chuck nut is for tightening down on the needle itself therefore allowing the mechanism of the airbrush button to grab the needle and to pull it back.
If this little nut is not tight enough then the mechanism can´t grab on to the needle properly.
So make sure, that the needle chuck nut is tight enough for the mechanism to pull it back.
The Needle is Dirty And Doesn´t Move Properly or At All
When your needle is not mooving properly or with a slight delay then its most likely dirty.
Sometimes paint or small particles or dirt grains can get stuck inside or on the needle. When this happens then the needle won´t be able to move freely anymore.
Unfortunately, the only way to check if your needle is dirty is to disassemble the airbrush.
Then take a close look at your needle. If it is dirty then you have to clean it with some airbrush cleaner or something similar.
I usually put some airbrush cleaner or window cleaner in a small bowl and submerge the needle in it for a few minutes. Then I take the needle out and wipe the dried paint off with an old towel or some cloth.
I repeat this process two or three times until every little bit of the paint is gone.
If the needle is not dirty then there could still be some dirt or dried paint be stuck in the nozzle of the airbrush.
So carefully take it off and clean it in the same way as you cleaned the needle.
When I clean the needle then I usually also clean the nozzle at the same time. Just because it is convenient and a little bit of cleaning never hurt any of my airbrush parts.
The Needle Has the Wrong Size
This might sound like an obvious issue that is easy to identify but you might be surprised at how often this actually happens to beginners and even some more advanced airbrush users out there.
If the needle is too big for the nozzle then no airflow can be generated because the needle will get stuck in the smaller nozzle.
This isn´t something that happens all that often because you have to use a needle that is at least two sizes too big for the nozzle in order to really get the needle stuck in there.
But if you just switched needles or nozzles then checking if both have the right size for each other might be a good idea.
Luckily the solution here is pretty straight foreward.
Either take the nozzle off and replace it with one that fits the needle or replace the needle with one that fits the nozzle.
The Needle Has the Wrong Size for the Airbrush
I have to admit that this happened to me before and it took me way longer to figure out than I want to admit.
Needle sizes are not universal among airbrush manufacturers. And I am not only talking about the diameter but also the length can actually vary slightly.
In some cases, it is actually quite obvious when a needle is too long for your specific airbrush but in some rare cases, you can´t really tell by just looking at the needle.
In my case, I installed the needle and it looked almost identical to the previous needle but in actuality it was slightly longer.
This caused the needle to hit the backend of the airbrush whenever I pulled the button back. So the needle wouldn´t move even though it was clean, the needle chuck was tight, and the needle had the right diameter.
So when you change your airbrush needle make sure that it is either from the same manufacturer as your airbrush or measure exactly how big and long it is before you install a new needle in your airbrush.
Hi, I am a passionate maker and professional prop maker for the entertainment industry. I use my woodworking, programming, electronics, and illustration know-how to create interactive props and puzzles for Escape Games and marketing agencies. And I share my knowledge and my experience on this blog with you so that you can become a maker yourself.