Airbrush CNC Support and control with Marlin

by dlb5 Jun 21, 2017
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This project looks amazing! I used to be a professional airbrush artist but lately can't get away from my MPCNC! Then I see this!!!! I'd love to document my build in the CNC Airbrush Group.

I see mention of a missing 'key' file. Is there a file not included that we need to request elsewhere? I joined the group but did not see it mentioned on there and most posts are from 2018....Hell, I'd not only request, I'll throw a tip out! I just hope the creator is still around to provide such a file, even better available to answer a couple basic questions I have.

Such as...can a single action be used? I don't intend to use this to paint designs...mostly to clear coat my models after I hand paint them. I'd assume the gcode for such a thing would be much more simple too. If I can have it doing an even spray in a space roughly 2 sqft, this would be so much fun and help me out quite a bit. I could be hand painting a piece while another is getting a clear coat :)

Hi there Tim! Thank you for commenting, joining the group and your words about the project!

The bad thing about "thingiverse" or maybe more about human being is that most of people download "amazing" things, maybe print or use them but never say a word... that's why I decided to share all my design but one part, needed to complete the "working thing"... I aplied the same rule to some of my other designs, like the typical pickup body and thanks to that I can see some makes of it...

For me the CNC airbrushing theme is interesting but I can't find more people who want to develope it a few steps beyound... If I undestood you correctly, what you want to do is something a lot easier than controlling paint quantity to "print photos"...

Maybe what you want to do needs a new "holder" for your single action airbrush. For such simple thing as spraying in a raster way maybe you could generate the code with 3dprinting software, or perhaps "writing" the code by hand... Something like... go to the first point... open spray, start moving over a path, stop spraying... sounds easy.

Maybe you can make an "airbrush holder" with some wood and a few clamps... then you only need to know a little about gcode to be able to use a servo motor to activate your airbrush. There is a lot of info about controlling servos with typical Arduino+RAMPs config... maybe your mainboard works a little different, but it will be a gcode line at the start of the raster to activate and another one at the end to deactivate "spaying".

I hope you find useful info in the group and share with us your expertise! Maybe you can give us a few directions about real airbrushing which I or we could use to improve the CNC airbrushing thing...

If you have some 3D design skills maybe you can desing a holder for your single action and share with us in the group!

Have fun and let us know more about you :)

Which airbrush are you using exactly? I'll order the same one.

Thanks for chiming in! I can totally empathize with why you hold back one part :)

As for this, while in the immediate I would only need single action, I'm going to go all out and 1st try it the way it was intended. Would be fun to try some techniques on clothing, my helmet, etc.

I'm NOT very good with modeling at all so unforuntately won't be able to modify the part much, though I will be able to provide feedback on somethings. I'd love to see how well it can do a 'rat tail'....simply slowly pull off from the paint, as it gets closer to the surface.

I stopped airbrushing because I developed a slight tremor in my hands and it would totally be noticeable in my work. This might allow me to get back into full on airbrushing again which would be amazing.

I have some of the parts printing right now!

Also is there a mount for the MPCNC?

I am very interested in this project. I already have CNC cutting and 3D printers and laser diode and I would use some of them to mount it.
The doubt that I have, I am a beginner in airbrush, is what should be the airbrush model to adapt to the printed parts, it would be very helpful to know. Before printing the parts I should know if I can buy it, for its price
Thank you for your contribution.

Edito: Acabo de darme cuenta que somos compatriotas.

Hey Makoki!

Con ese nick tuyo ya sospechaba yo algo de españolidáa la verdá ;)

Mira en el grupo del tema este del aerógrafo que hay un post sobre qué aerógrafo vale. Yo me he comprado dos veces el mismo en jugueterías poly, tirao de precio, pero ahora los han absorbido o algo así y no se si tendrán... En el post que te digo dejé varios links... echa un ojo y lo encontrarás!

Si te metes al lío del todo ya nos contarás!

Un saludo

Love the work you have done on adding an airbrush to a cnc. I have a 24x48 Lowrider2 MPCNC. I have a friend out of state printing the parts for me. She noticed something was missing after printing the parts. Would it please be possible to get the key part stl file?

PS added a little $ to your Paypal for all of your work.

Hi there David!
Thank you for your interest in the project and for your tip! If your machine works with Marlin I'm quite sure you will have no trouble to make it work after some tweaking.

Please ask your friend to send you some photos of the printed parts and upload them as a make of the thing. The same way it would be so nice if you introduce yourself in the related group so you can update us about your build and your ideas there. I'd really love you become an active member of the group, and see at last some airbrushed images produced by other than me...

Finally, send me a Private Message and I'll give you access to the "missing" file. Excuse me for all these inconveniences, I hope you can understand why they exist...

Comments deleted.

I havent done it by myself a friend of me did it, because maybe the teacher would get mad,
I can keep you up to date? If you give me the missing parts, it is just for my own use.
Its my school project for my second year

Because its a school project, its only for my own use, im sorry

I would ask you to do so many things to give you the "key", mostly because you removed the logo with no real reason, and those would be joining the group, introducing yourself, posting about your project there, uploading a make of the airbrush holder with all the parts but the key explaining your printing parameters and dificulties to print it and filling up your user page. I think you could do all this things in about 2h as much. High price for a little part?¿?

Maybe if you can edit the thing to remove the logo you can create yourself the "missing" part, its geometry is simple and depends of other objects you can measure...

Finally, the license of this thing includes "Atributtion", wich means you have to explain where the thing comes from if you show it... I understand you joined thingiverse just to ask for the file and thats why I'm "hidding" the key file, to know about the people who wants to use the thing.

If you need more info about why i do it this way please read:
The "key" of the thing!!!

I would like to join the group, be cause i need the rest of the parts to make it complete

Why did you remove the logo?¿? I'm sorry for that :(

Another one, you have the 3d printed part of the part where the m8 nuts alre inside?

Yes I do :) please, upload a make of the rest of the parts if you are really interested in the project and if you want, introduce yourself in the related group, read about the method and tell us about your project and/or spectations. I'll give you access to the "key" part then...

what kind of valve was used for the air regulator?
and can i get the most updated codes for the air brush cnc?
and if its possible the codes for printing the head of the air brush
Thank you

Hi there Sander! Thank you for your interest in the project. I did nothing new in a lot of months and if others did, they didn't share. Please take a deep look to the rest of the comments and the ones in the cnc-airbrushing group here in thingiverse.

The presure was regulated by manometer at the output of the air compressor. The "valve" is a microservo pushing the button of the airbrush.

You can find the files to print the thing here in thingiverse. There is a "missing" file... ask me for it if you finaly print the rest of the thing :)


I printed this airbrush jig, and also noticed the missing file for 'the key'. Do you by chance have the .stl for it? thanks!

Hi there David! Please join or take a deep look at the CNC Airbrushing group. You will find a rar containing the "key" file just around there. If you already printed the "thing" please upload some photos of your make to thingiverse. And thank you for giving it a try!!!

I am Basil, an artist from India. I would like to do a CNC machine exactly what you did. But having only a little knowledge in this filed. Could you please help me to make my dream true.

Hi Basil! Welcome to Thingiverse!!!

I imagine that you are interested in airbrushing with a CNC machine, and that's why you posted here and not in any other CNC thing or group related. Building a CNC machine is not a weekend project... I originally build mine years ago to cut wood. Then i used it as a 3D printer and now im using it to make my airbrushing experiments.

Anyway, probably you don't need a CNC as big as i did. If you make a little CNC, you probably be able to use 3dprinter components for its design. I tell you this becouse 3D printer components are way cheaper than CNC ones.

My CNC's workspace is about 2000x800x200 mm and the machine is perfectly moved by the same stepper drivers than a prusa. The steppers are 2x nema23 1Nm for X axis, 1x 1Nm for Y axis and a 2Nm nema23 for the Z axis. They are so big and strong and the bridge of machine or head weights a lot, but i ensure you a "conventional" 3dprinter brain can move it nicely!

So... many things to think before getting to the airbrushing "thing"... The net is full of DIY CNC projects, also in thingiverse there are some models you could start looking at... Don't forget to take a look to instructables web too!

My CNC was build before 3dprinter fever, so i didn't know nothing about 3d printing. I made it with DM wood and aluminum profiles, skateboard bearings and cheap stuff like that, but also with some "non 3d printer size" parts wich i had to pay well for.

If you really get your hands and pocket to work designing and building a CNC don't doubt about asking me anything by PM. If i can i'll help you!.

Could you please touch in mail basil99998@gmail.com

Just noticed that there is a file missing, the part that the back of the airbrush slides into that connects it to the stepper motor.

You are the first to notice thats cool! You took a deep look at all! I call it "the key" :) Yesterday i restarted my diy cnc machine and made some trys after many months with the project stopped... i got some troubble but also some little good results. I´ll share the key with a photo of those little good results in the group!

How did you do the code? It allmade of points correct? No movement with brush always on

Hi Joao! I use a photo to generate a 3d model in wich the Z (height) of each point corresponds to the darkness of the associated pixel. Then i use CNC software to generate the gcode doing a 3d Raster over the generated model. Then i replace the Z axis coordinates with E coordinates. I also make some other adjustements and adds to the code so finally the head of the machine only moves in XY doing a raster but the E axis coordinates makes the airbrush shoot more or less paint. If you talk portuguese maybe we understand better each other in Portuñol :) Say me something by private if you want to know more.


This is the solution I was looking for. Thanks for sharing! How do you "tune" the E axis so that the move to the next X,Y coordinate is timed appropriately?

Does the air brush stay on continuously and smoothly or is it a series of individual pixels in a pattern?

Do you think a better quality brush would work better? It looks like your last post may have had some drips.

Have you made more progress since your last post?

The smoothness of the movement is influenced from the feed rate and the max acc and speed of each of the axis motors. My extruder motor just moves the needle 1mm up and down. If this motos speed or acc is very low the airbrush xy speed will have speed reductions where there is a sudden change from black to withe or viceversa. If the feedrate XY is slow the extruder motor will have enough time to move over high contrast zones without making XY movement reduce its speed.

When doing a raster photo the airbrush is continuously on. The air button is pressed from the first raster point to the last and the quantity of paint is what changes over the raster path.

The drops in the last published photo by now are not related to the airbrush. Its about the resolution of the code. In some tests my printer stops a little, i think it happens when the needed speed for the extruder is over its capacity. Anyway if you reduce code resolution or smooth a little the photo you are trying to print this problem dissapears.

I notice the increasing interest in this thing so ill try to go on with it soon (christmas is not best moment).

Also ill try to upload a short video in youtube so you can judge for your self the smoothness of the movements.

I may have missed it. What are you using for steps per unit on E0?

The M8 screw normal pitch i think is 1.25mm. So 200steps (1 turn) with no microstepping should lift the airbrush needle 1.25mm. So it should be 200/1.25 = 160 steps with no microstepping to lift needle 1mm. And for example, for a 8 microsteps per step config, it should be 160x8 = 1280 steps. Double it for 16 microsteps per step. I think this is how it works :)

Thanks. Hoping to run a test this evening.

I used a 5/16-18 bolt in place of M8
Pitch is .703mm
RAMBO controller using 8 microsteps
284.495*8 = ~2276 steps/mm

It's so cool to know you are so near of printing!!! Please go on sharing your experience with this as you are doing!

All the firmware units are in mm?¿? I supose must be hard to use both measure systems. Did that bolt fit well enough in the bearings or did you use some adapters?¿?

It fits fairly well. I think it will be okay. I've run some dry test prints and everything is running well. I am working on adding the additional axis right now at 90 degrees but I will see if I can reposition the head back to 0 degrees today and run a test print.

I imagine you will be feeding the airbrush paint through a tube so it can rotate while painting without making the deposit rotate too, isnt it?¿?

Please open a thread in the forum about your project so you can share some photos and also show us a way to use a 4th axis or research about it with the other members.

As always, thx 4 sharing your activity

Muchas gracias por tus palabras significan mucho para mí :) Eché un vistazo rápido a tu user y things y estoy seguro que podemos hacer buenas migas si quieres! Un saludoo