SharpenAir Needle Repair System Review
|Date of Review||April 2018||Manufacturer||SharpenAir|
|Subject||Needle Repair System||Pros||Simple tool for tuning up or repairing your airbrush needle|
|Cons||Nothing noted||MSRP (USD)||$44.99|
Tom Grossman from TAG Team Hobbies contacted me recently to ask if I had heard about a new company and its first offering. The company is SharpenAir and its owner has developed a simple but effective tool for straightening and/or repairing airbrush needles. I don't know about you, but I've gone through more than a few airbrush needles over the years, some with subtle bends at the tip, one with a hook. Bends will happen when trying to re-insert a needle into the back of an airbrush where something isn't quite aligned. It doesn't take much to damage a needle tip, but if left unchecked, a damaged needle tip will affect your airbrush's performance and may cause collateral damage to your nozzle.
The cost of replacement parts varies by the quality of your airbrush - entry-level airbrushes have relatively inexpensive replacement parts, but as you move up the food chain to the higher-end airbrushes, so goes the price of replacement parts. The cost of a new needle and nozzle among the mid-to-high-end airbrushes will easily pay for this handy tool.
So what is this handy tool? When it arrived, I had to take a closer look, and the label attached to the underside of the tool pointed to the SharpenAir website for instructions on how this tool works. If you look closely at the end of the tool, there are four holes along the edge. The first hole on the right is the starting point - insert your airbrush needle into the hole and rotate the needle about 10 times. Think of it as an old-fashioned pencil sharpener - stick it in the hole and rotate the pencil. When finished, move the needle into the second hole, rotate 10 times, then the third, then the last hole on the left. In each case, you'll feel the grinding as you rotate the needle, and each hole features a different grit or angle to properly sharpen and shape the end of your airbrush needle.
This sounded simple enough, I took the needle from my Iwata HP-CS and followed the process. While the end of my needle didn't look damaged when I started, it was definitely shinier when I finished. The tip still had the feeling of scratches which is why SharpenAir also includes one 3000 grit polishing pad so you can polish the tip after using the tool. While the HP-CS has a .35 needle, I also have another HP-CS with a .5 needle and ran that through the SharpenAir process. While I wouldn't recommend using this as a preventative maintenance step in your airbrush clean-up, it is a quick and easy way to fix your bent airbrush needles.
The inside of the SharpenAir has two 600 grit and two 1200 grit stones to sharpen/straighten your needle tips. You see the two screws atop of the tool, this provides access to the stone inside for replacement (available from the SharpenAir website) though each stone will likely last you many years of perioidic use.
You obtain the SharpenAir Needle Repair System directly from the manufacturer. According to the website, there are two versions of this tool, one for the Iwata, Grex, Harder and Steenbeck, Olympus, Master, Sats, and Badger airbrushes, the other for the Paasche and Devilibis Dagr brands (thicker needle diameters).
I don't know about you, but I am glad Tom told me about this tool as it is going to save me money. It doesn't take but a nozzle and a couple of needles to pay for the cost of this tool. Definitely recommended!
My sincere thanks to SharpenAir for this review sample!