Airbrush Aircaps

An airbrush aircap is one of the key components of an airbrush where paint atomization takes place. In fact, an aircap is a dome-shaped cavity within the airbrush head. Inside of it, there are horns that direct air from opposing sides and form a cone spray pattern. So, as you can probably see, this airbrush part along with a tip and a needle has a significant impact on the paint pattern. That is why experienced airbrush artists pay so much attention to this detail. Besides, understanding its working principles can help you choose the right fit for your airbrush and meet the requirements exactly for your applications.

How airbrush aircap works

Commonly, the process of paint atomization proceeds in the following way. At first, an airbrush compressor supplies the compressed air through the hose to the airbrush or spray gun. When the air passes through the gun body, you control the airflow with the trigger. By pulling it, you open the air valve and the air is distributed to the air cap through holes in the baffle ring. Also, inside the aircap, a fluid tip and a needle are located. So, at the same time, a fluid medium is supplied to the spray gun air cap. And there the streams of air from the baffle ring meet the stream of fluid and breaks in into tiny droplets. Then, this mixture of fluid droplets and air go through an orifice in the front end of the air cap, forming the spray.

Types of spray gun air caps

In order to optimize paint spray performance, you can choose from several types of spray gun air caps. Depending on the mix type and feed system of an airbrush or spray gun, it is possible to differentiate between

  • External mix

In this type of guns, the mixing of the paint and air occurs outside in front of the external-mix aircap. For this type of mixing, you will need a higher level of air pressure and, hence, use more air. This allows for the finest spray patterns and provides control over their size.

  • Internal mix

Quite on the contrary, the internal-mix aircaps have the air and paint mixed inside. For this type of atomization, only a pressure feed is required. So, the gun works with a lower pressure level and uses less air. But this gives coarse spray patterns and no variations in their sizes. For the same reason, the paint flow rate is higher than in the case with external-mix type.

  • Suction feed

Suction-feed aircaps, according to their name, suck in the fluid from the bottle. It is usually airbrushes and spray guns with such feed system work with ¼ or smaller airbrush bottles.

  • Pressure feed

When this type is used, the fluid is pulled out from the airbrush bottles and enters the gun through the air pressure. Pressure-feed guns are best for large-scale finishing applications.

How to clean airbrush aircaps

As it is with nozzles and needles, you need regularly clean spray gun air caps. Because paint quickly builds up in there and won’t let the airflow pass through the airbrush tip.

But in comparison to tips and needles, an aircap is a much stronger component of an airbrush. So, all you will need to clean it are a paintbrush, tissue, and reamer.


We hope this guide has helped you to decide on the right fit for your airbrush needs. Shop with Touche Airbrush and enjoy our selection of airbrush equipment and accessories!

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