The airbrush is a simple tool with relatively few parts. However, if you want your airbrush to give you years of good and dependable service, you need to familiarize yourself with its parts. From time to time, you will have to disassemble the airbrush to clean it or replace some parts.
The basic components of the airbrush are the a) air supply, b) paint (ink or dye) container and c) body. The first two are fairly easy to understand. The air supply is usually a compressor or a CO2 tank. This is connected to the body, and if it ever needs repairing, you are better off taking it to an authorized repair shop.
The paint container is a vessel which holds the paint and is screwed onto the body. It may be made of glass or metal and will have to be detached whenever you need to refill it, and then re-attached to the body. You will also have to clean it after you are done with your airbrush job.
The body is the most complicated part of the airbrush. It is shaped like a pen and houses the following: the a) needle, b) head assembly, c) trigger and back lever, d) threads and e) handle.
The needle is the point at which the compressed air and paint meet and the mixture propelled forward. It runs through the body and controls the flow of paint. The needle has a very sharp tip and great care must be taken to avoid bending it, especially when removing and cleaning it. The toughest, most durable needles are made from spring steel, and the airbrushes with the finest spray have a nozzle size of 0.18 mm.
The head assembly of the airbrush contains the needle, nozzle and air cap. The nozzle is the part where the needle rests and has the same tapered shape as the needle. It controls the atomization of the spray. The nozzle and the air cap are at the front of the body and cover the tip of the needle. If you happen to drop the airbrush, you could damage the air cap and will need to replace it.
The trigger and back lever are the parts that regulate the flow of air and paint to the nozzle. The needle runs through a slot in the trigger and another slot in the back lever. The back lever, which is spring loaded, shuts off the air and paint flow when it is released. The needle holds the trigger in place, so care is needed to prevent the trigger from falling when the needle is removed for cleaning.
Threads are the points where parts are connected on the airbrush. For example, these may be where the hose connects to the bottom of the airbrush or the head assembly into the body. Improper or cross threading will cause air to leak.
The handle covers the back end of the needle and protects the internal mechanisms of the airbrush from damage. Some handles provide solid cover for the entire airbrush body, while others have slots that allow you to maneuver the needle without removing it.