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  • Contractor Compressors

    I had my compressor stolen it was the usual serious hobbiest unit. Belt driven cast iron compressor with 20 gallon air tank that took all kinds of room in my garage. I used it once in a blue moon usually to inflate a tire, or an impact wrench to take some lug nuts off, blow dirt out of something, or to use the ratchet wrench to remove the mower blade. Nothing longer than a few minutes at a time. While I did use it to paint 4 vehicles I think those days are over. Lately I used it mostly to power nailers, dragging the monster around.

    I'm drawn to a stacked tank compressor Porter Cable model CPF23400 that puts out 5.3 scfm @ 90 Psi with a max of 135 psi, which is enough to power everything I think I might use. A big draw to this is it takes about a space about a 2 foot cube, this would be a real space saver in my shop. Plus it would be easier to move around for nail gun operations.

    I was wondering has anyone out there used their "contractor compressor" or "nail gun compressor" for such things as an occasional impact wrench, air ratchet wrench, or even to paint a small wood project? If so how did it work?

    I'm looking for opinions. Thanks
    Rev Ed

  • #2
    Before I got my shop an old 20 gallon belt drive compressor, I used my twin stack PC model for everything including air ratchets and impact guns. I am restifying a 1978 El Camino SS and a 1973 C-20. The twin stack worked fine , but was rarely in the shop...now the 20 gallon stays there 24/7!
    Kelly C. Hanna<br /><a href=\"http://www.hannawoodworks.com\" target=\"_blank\">Hanna Woodworks</a>

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    • #3
      KellyC
      How did it work? Was it a viable alternative to a big tank unit? Did you notice the motor getting hot? Do you have any idea how much the motor ran when you were using the impact driver?

      I thinking this may be like battery drills were to many of us about 10 - 15 years ago. I think most of us figured they were worthless, why use a battery when you can just plug it in. However after having a battery unit I find I rarely ever use any of my three corded drills.
      Rev Ed

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      • #4
        It worked very well...it ran a bit more during the lug nut removal with my impact gun than it would during the shots of 3.25" framing nails, but it never faltered a bit.
        The only reason I bought the other compressor was that I usually like to leave the twin tanker on the job and not cart it home each night!
        Kelly C. Hanna<br /><a href=\"http://www.hannawoodworks.com\" target=\"_blank\">Hanna Woodworks</a>

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        • #5
          If it helps you any, I've had the PC pancake model for over a year. It's been great for finish nailer and stapiler---and as you note, it's excellent to move around for jobs. It's biggest weakness is blowing air---steady draw----when it runs constantly and you can feel the drop in pressure. Also, for filling car tires, it does seem to take a while----of course so do these "modern" gas station compressors (those darned coin-op ones).
          But for nail gun use, it's been great.
          Dave

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          • #6
            Dave
            Have you tried using it to power any tools like a impact wrench or air ratchet?

            Has anyone done any small spray paint jobs with one?

            Would buying an auxillary tank to use on bigger jobs help? I saw an 11 gallon tank for around $70 that I could store overhead until needed.

            Like I said for space concerns I'm relly thinking of replacing my stolen tank compressor with one.

            Thanks again for everyone's input.
            Rev Ed

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            • #7
              Ed---I think the key issue is how the tool uses the air----vs. how much tank capacity. I'm no expert, but nobody smarter has shown up.

              Tools like nail guns only use a little are at a time----an impact wrench uses air in bursts----if, for example, you were installing tires--I think you'd exceed the supply on one of the little ones. Then, with continueous use---like a sander, the compressor would run all the time.

              The only thing I could see as a compromise would be one mounted on a two wheel cart, where you could pull it where you wanted.
              Dave

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              • #8
                The pc compressors not to bad at all, it needs a little breaking in period when you first get it. run it for a couple of cycles . it probally will get a little hot. its actually a campbell-hausfield.

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                • #9
                  I have one. Don't even think about running any kind of air gulping tool with it. It's made for nail gun applications and will not sustain air wrenches and the like. It will not even keep up with the needs of my little 8 oz touch up paint sprayer. If you use it for the heavy air applications you will find yourself waiting about every 30 seconds for the compressor to catch up the air pressure. The tank is just too small. The best that can be said for it is that it does a good job powering air guns, it is light and easily transported from place to place, it is useful for filling tires and air mattresses, etc.,

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                  • #10
                    Thanks for the input Jon. However the Porter Cable compressors are made by DeVilbiss not Campbell Hausfeld. Penair a conglomerate owns both DeVilbiss, Delta and Porter Cable.

                    GaryC thanks for you input, from what your saying this compressor won't do what I want. However KellyC and Daveferg seem to say it will. I don't mind waiting for the compressor to pump up every so often, I just don't want to run it so much I exceed the advertised 50% duty cycle and burn the thing up.

                    The salesman at PC says things are changing, in the future air tools will run at higher pressure 175 plus, but will use a lot less air. He says nail guns built on this technology are small lightweight units. I know impact wrenches use to require 9-12 CFM at 90 psi now I seeing newer ones that are down around 3-4 CFM at 90 psi

                    Any other thoughts?
                    Rev Ed

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                    • #11
                      I have a PrimeAir 2HP with dual tanks tottalling 4 Gallons. Motor and compressor are rated for 100% duty run time. Great unit!!...but doubt it would keep up with painting ...and already know it will not push a texture gun.

                      Did anyone answer the question regarding an Auxillary storage tank? Will this help the above shortcomings?
                      keep makn\' sawdust!...just don\'t breath any.

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                      • #12
                        well sorry about the miss informatin but that is what i was told. see i had to send one out because we were not a warranty center for CH. maybe the shop we sent it to gave the wrong info, thanks

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                        • #13
                          Greg's Garage asked a question that I had asked earlier that was would an auxillary tank solve the problem and make one of these "contractor compressors' do the job of powering a impact wrench or air ratchet.

                          The salesman at Tools for Less swears it will. He said he has a customer that does on the spot auto body repair and they mounted PC stacked tank compressors with one and two 11 gallon aux tanks on their trucks and it is working fine.

                          Porter Cable salesman tells me this compressor will serve my needs in fact that is the one he recommended over everything in the store. I will say he did this after I gave him my specifications. One being the smallest compressor that will do the job. I asked about a oil lubed belt drive and he assured me it was total overkill and what I needed was the CPF23400S.
                          Rev Ed

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                          • #14
                            Rev ED...
                            Take a look at the PrimeAir compressers. The little one I have is great. Oil Lube. Rated for 100% run time. Price is very competive and is much quiter than oilless models.
                            keep makn\' sawdust!...just don\'t breath any.

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                            • #15
                              If I can chime in a little bit late. I originally bought one of the small pancake compressors, but I banged the side of my knee everytime I picked the blasted thing up. Took it back and exchanged it for a 25 gal. upright with wheels. It has the same sized footprint as the pancake style, and a lot more capacity. The cost was relatively close. It's a 6 horse, 135 psi model PC. I've been very pleased
                              De Colores,
                              Dow
                              Boerne, TX

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