Triple the Action!
Part 1: Getting a Grip on Iwata’s New Triple Action Handle
by Thomas Adams
If you are anything like me, art and airbrush supplies are always at the top of your holiday/birthday gift lists. Perhaps one of the most innovative and desired new items is the Iwata-Medea Triple Action Handle.
This amazing handle setup can be tacked onto almost any Iwata airbrush to create the ultimate airbrush. The Iwata Triple Action Handle has three main benefits to save any artist time, money and headache. First off, it has a quick needle release that’s great for fast and easy cleaning. Secondly, the spring loaded chuck on the back of the handle operates as a quick flush. Lastly, and probably most impressive, is the pre-set feature. The handle can be “dialed out” to create a fine, consistent spray pattern. The handle also includes a spot on the back
where you can screw on the airbrush’s needle cap when not in use. I cannot tell you how many hours I have spent looking for mine. This invention is one of the most innovative and valuable tools to hit the market in years, yet it is one of the simplest airbrush accessories around. In this article we will spend some time setting up and testing the Triple Action Handle, and then in Part 2 we will put it to the true test on a fine canvas painting.
When you get your own Triple Action Handle, the box will contain five triple action barrels in five awesome anodized colors. You will also receive a needle knob, needle chucking knob, needle knob chucking spring, and an Allen wrench. (Fig. 1) For those of you not technically inclined, don’t worry–I will explain what all of these parts do. If you are familiar with your airbrush setup, there should be no problem. First remove the handle and needle chucking nut from your airbrush. (Fig. 2). This is the nut you would normally tighten to secure the needle in
your airbrush. Store these in a safe place because you can always convert back to your old airbrush later (although I do not think anyone would want to after they got a taste of the Triple Action Handle). Next, simply slide the needle in the airbrush until it stops. This is called seating the needle.
Now for the fun part, spend some time choosing from the five fabulous colors of barrels; red, blue, silver, gold, or green. I am partial to green myself. Once you have chosen your favorite color barrel, screw it onto the body of your airbrush, checking again to make sure the needle is seated. When you look at the airbrush from the side, the end of the needle should be sticking out about a sixteenth to an eighth of an inch. Next it’s time to get out the needle chucking knob. This is simply a new needle chucking nut like you removed before, only this one gives the Triple Action Handle the quick release ability. Before you slide this piece in, place the Allen wrench in the screw and loosen it, leaving the Allen wrench in it. Now slide over the needle and make sure the needle knob set screw is backed out enough to allow the needle to enter. Slide it in until the Allen wrench comes in contact with the barrel. (Fig. 3) Now tighten the set screw, being careful not to over tighten. Once you have tightened the screw, remove the needle with the new knob attached. Now install the needle chucking knob into the barrel
on the back of the airbrush. (Fig. 4) Screw it in until it is almost tight and then back it off a turn. Place the spring over the new needle assembly and slide it into the barrel. (Fig. 5) As you push the assembly tight against the end of the airbrush, simultaneously tighten the chuck to lock in the needle assembly.
But enough of all that; lets see what this thing can do! One good thing about the triple action handle is that it counter balances the airbrush, but it leaves the grip virtually the same, so it does not take a lot of getting used to. When you start spraying with your brush you will notice it’s virtually the same except for the fact that now a slight tug on that needle chuck will give you a hearty spray out. (Fig. 6).
This is incredibly useful when spraying T-shirts and other fast-paced projects where a clog can put a damper on your performance. If the clog is more serious than that or you wish to clean the head or needle itself, simply give the chuck a twist and the needle assembly will pop out completely. Now let’s get down to business! With your finger off the trigger, slowly unscrew the barrel about one turn. You will notice that it takes about 1/2 turn to get the barrel to start pushing the needle back. One turn should give you a nice small, consistent pattern. (Fig. 7) I cannot express how much this has helped out in some recent spots where consistent line thicknesses were necessary. If you want to go larger or smaller just experiment with screwing the handle in and out and seeing what you get. The great thing is you never lose the ability to make the pattern larger on the fly using the trigger action. (Fig. 8)
Great work! It looks like we have become familiar with our new and improved triple action brush, but the real test lies in Part 2 of this article (March issue). We will bring out the “Big Guns” on a WWII bomber/pinup painting. There are plenty of special effects, textures, and fine line work involved that will force the triple action handle to earn its wings. So stay tuned.
Finish by heat setting your shirt according to the directions on your paint.
Reprinted with permission of ARTtalk.com