I have a Paasche VL airbrush that, up until a month ago, hadn't been used in about 30 years. I got a compressor and used it twice successfully for about a half hour each time. A booklet that came with the compressor recommended cleaning it with a 50-50 mix of Windex and water, so I sprayed a few ounces through it each time when I was done painting.

I went to use it today and air comes out when depressing the trigger, but pulling back on the trigger is very stiff and won't dispense paint. Once pulled back, the trigger is loose and the rocker stays put. When I loosen the lock nut, the trigger and rocker snap back into the normal position.

Airbrush with stuck needle

I think the needle is stuck. I've tried pulling it out per the instructions but I can't move it more than a millimeter or two by hand. I'm reluctant to use pliers in case I damage it, but don't know what else to do. Assuming that's the problem, how can I fix it?

The compressor booklet says to lubricate the needle but don't use WD-40 or light machine oil. It doesn't say what type of lubricant to use instead.

1 Answer 1


To be honest, I usually just use my teeth in situations like this, because I'm uncouth.

In your case, take a pair of pliers with a wide flat set of jaws, and a thick elastic band. Grip the needle with the elastic band between the needle and the jaws. This will allow you to get a good grip without risking damaging the needle.

If it doesn't come out with a gentle tug, then soak your airbrush in the appropriate thinning agent for the paint that you're using overnight, and then try again in the morning.

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