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First Air Compressor

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  • First Air Compressor

    I'm looking to buy my first air compressor. I'm looking for something in the 4 gallon range, enough to run a framing nailer and small enough to be easily portable. I've narrowed it down to a few compressors:

    RIDGID OF45150 4.5 Gallon, 1.8 Running HP, 4.9 SCFM @ 90 PSI
    MAKITA MAC2400 4.2 Gallon, 4.2 SCFM
    DEWALT D55152 4 Gallon, 1.1 Running HP, 4.0 SCFM
    BOSTITCH CW200ST 4 Gallon, 2.2 Running HP, (don't know what the SCFM is for this model)
    BOSTITCH CPACKF28 (doesn't say how many gallons), 1.5 Running HP, 4 SCFM this also comes with a framing nailer and 40' 3/8 hose

    My dad has a Bostitch N88WWB framing nailer and it works pretty slick...

    Anyway I'm looking for comments and suggestions on which one to buy-thanks

    oh ya and one more thing- whats the difference between a clipped and a round head framing nailer?

  • #2
    Re: First Air Compressor

    I would go with the Makita. It is a great compressor. Noise level is nice.

    Clipped means, the head of the nail is partially clipped off. Some areas in the U.S. do not allow the use of clipped head nails.
    Anyone can tear a man down, few can build one up.


    • #3
      Re: First Air Compressor

      With either clipped head or full-round head, it's kind of how the nails are connected together. With a clipped head, it's sort of like a 3/4 moon - there's a small chunk taken out, to allow the nails to fit together closer, and allow more nails per load. A round head is just that.

      Now, certain regions only allow full round-head nails to be used for framing and building - it depends on the individual regions' building codes. The idea is that a clipped head nail doesn't have as much strength/resistance to hold the wood together, and is not as resistant to shear or shifting.

      The advantage with clipped head, and why they're even offered, is due to the construction of the nail and the manufacturing of the strip. You can simply get many more nails per cartridge/load, thereby reducing down time. Here's what a straight/angled load (ie - non-coil load) looks like for each, to show the differences.

      Full round head:

      Clipped head:

      Hope this helps.


      • #4
        Re: First Air Compressor

        I have the Ridgid. Bought it off craigslist and rebuilt the pump for short money. Runs great, plenty of air for more than just 1 tool at a time (as long as the tools aren't air hogs). It is heavy at around 75lbs, much of which is the motor, and it is pretty loud. Not bad if being used outside or if it is being kept in a closet but if you are looking at keeping it in a small workshop or garage it might be a bit loud. Other than that it is a great compressor, easy to fix and parts are readily available.


        • #5
          Re: First Air Compressor


          I purchased a Craftsman 2-gal, lubricated unit a few months ago and it works terrific. Fairly lightweight, easy to carry with just one hand, and nicely compact. It is much quieter than any of the NL aluminum units I have seen and heard. The unit is lubricated, with cast iron cylinder and therefore should last significantly longer than any aluminum cylindered NL unit. The regular price is $129, but I bought mine on sale for $108. (

          So far, I've driven brad, finish, and stud nailers with it, so I suspect it will pretty much drive anything. Rated at 50% duty-cycle, it produces 2.4 scfm @ 90 psi, with a top pressure of 125 psig. From empty, to full capacity takes less than 3 minutes and the cylinder is only slightly warm to the touch. Normal cycling after 10 to 20 whacks (depending on nailer) is less than a minute to full pressure, so no loss time waiting for repressurization.

          For about $15 more, the same compressor is available with a 3-gal tank. Both easily run off a 15-amp circuit and the compressor is so quiet enough that I use mine with a 25-ft hose and no need for hearing protection. The unit equipped with two outlets, guages, and an easy adjust pressure regulator. The condensate drain is easy to get at and is equipped is a single 90-degree turn T-knob.

          I looked at and used several other units before I discovered this gem.



          • #6
            Re: First Air Compressor

            How nice it's got to me not having to listen to a LOUD air compressor blasting away. I love my old vintage real DeVilbiss made in Canda big stationary chugging along at about 500 RPM with an intake filter-silencer on it. I can stand next to it all day and my ears don't bother me. Awwww the nice things from the past. Now there is one little issue. NO way is that beast portable. LOL

            CWS, You need to hear an old timer I-R 2 cylinder, 2 stage V block chugging along nice and easy. Real air, real efficiency, little waste heat for amount of air delivered and it will last a lifetime given good care. A nice old type 30 at say 450 - 500 RPM just loafing along. A good filter-silencer so it has a nice bug HUFF HUFF HUFF sound. Awwwww nice music to the old ears. Remember them?

            Nice heavy ASME - NB 60 or 80 gallon receiver too. No more making the little toy grunt and groan. LOL


            • #7
              Re: First Air Compressor

              My first air compressor is the one I still have in my basement. A cute little Quincy model X2 which has a 1/2 HP motor driving it. Cast iron, roller bearings and BUILT. It's now sitting on a 12 gallon stationary receiver. Sometime I'm putting it on a dual 4 gallon wheel borrow tank setup.


              • #8
                Re: First Air Compressor

                Wousko you old hound,

                Listen to an old Type 30 you say.... hey man, I've spent a lot of years in the old Type 30 shop, when it used to be here in Painted Post. Now their built down in Campbellsville, KY (and probably elsewhere). But back in the 60's, 70's, and the early 80's, Painted Post used to be the center for Type 30 production. As a matter of fact, the first illustrations I did for Ingersoll-Rand were for the T-30X9G which was a naval application. It was a five stage (three crank with extended cylinders) with both intercooler and aftercoolers.

                I also wrote and illustrated both the operator's manual and the parts catalog for the many T-30 that were packaged for circuit breaker blow-out applications. Some for TVA and for other electric transfer stations. These were basiclly two high-pressure multi-stage unit that were installed in totally enclosed cabinets and mounted with huge bottle-type receivers (about 16 - 20 feet long and two - three ft in diameter.) They were used to blow the arc out of loaded circuit breakers at power stations.

                The rest of the my 30 plus years with Ingersoll-Rand and Dresser-Rand were spent with everything from factory air units to petro-chem processing application compressors. As writer/illustrator I had some great opportunities in the labs, machining areas, assembly and test, and some field activities.

                Yeah, I do know what both quiet and loud compressors are, with both recips, sliding vane, and rotaries.



                • #9
                  Re: First Air Compressor


                  Don't you just love the PRRRRRRing of a good rotary screw air compressor? How about the big deep panting of a type 40?

                  As to where type 30s are made today, my bet is in China like everything else. If not the whole of the type 30, I bet many parts are made over there. It's just the way when our Govt. won't stop all the importing of slave made *&&^$

                  RANT OFF - Woussko runs back inside The Woussko Hut and takes a looooong nap


                  • #10
                    Re: First Air Compressor

                    I'm not really sure where they are made. Overall, I think I-R has done a fairly good job of trying to keep manufacturing operations here in the U.S. They did have a manufacturing facility in Naroda, India but they sold that to Dresser-Rand around 2000, as I recall. At one time, they (I-R) had some parts made Mexico, but that didn't work out too well as I understand it. In the late 90's they closed facilities in the UK, as did D-R.

                    Likewise, they had a lot of receivers made in Italy back in mid-70's and early 80's but that came back to bite them too (big recall a few years ago because of corrosion and leaks).

                    Up until 1986, Painted Post was an Ingersoll-Rand facility and at that time they spun that off to Dresser-Rand (a joint venture between I-R and Dresser Industries). So, I worked at that plant from 1973 to 2003 when I was layed off and decided to just retire. In 2001, D-R started moving product out of Painted Post to thier Naroda, India and Shanghi (sp?), China facilities. In the early 70's, Painted Post employed over 3,000 and was the world's largest compressor plant. Today it employs around 700.

                    I really haven't had much to do with them since. Still, I can see the plant from here. (A good reason to be moving to Binghamton, I think!)

                    I knew all the engineers in both the T-30 division and the Air Power Division, where they made the T-40, ESH/V, LLE, XLE and a few others. Although I worked in the Air Power Division until 1982 (when they moved the division to Davidson, NC), I did work for several division. In 1985, I was picked up by the Process Gas Compressor Division which makes the big stuff for the petro-chem industry. A year later we were spun off to become Dresser-Rand.

                    The T-40 was a beast of a machine compared to the T-30. Really heavy duty. They tried to replace it with the newly developed "Delta Air" but it was a market failure, as was the rotary "Dri-Lobe".

                    Recips are very reliable, but the forces of slinging that much weight around in a big unit can present some challenges with frame weight and foundation requirements. On the other hand, they'll run forever and when things to break, they're easily fixed. Rotary and turbine equipment run much smoother, can have lighter frames, and less foundation; but when things go bad at that RPM, it is usually catastrophic to the whole machine.