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  • air compressor recommendation

    What is a good air compressor for general shop use? Any recommendation on tank size and cfm??? Brand?? I am anticipating it will be usefull for air nailers and spraying finishes.
    wjbender<br />wjbender@comcast.net

  • #2
    Bill:
    Air nailers can be fed with any cfm with psi over 90. For spray guns, air tools, etc. you should have a cfm of at least 6 cfm @ 90 psi with a 20 gal tank.

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    • #3
      Check out the CFM requirement on your sprayer or the sprayer you would most like to buy and buy a compressor that will satisfy the minimum requirements of the sprayer. This site should be able to answer your questions www.chpower.com
      Teach your kids about taxes..........eat 30 percent of their ice cream.

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      • #4
        I bought an air compressor thinking that I would get a sprayer to go with it.

        When I went shopping for the sprayer, the salesman said that air sprayers were only good for small projects. For larger projects (like putting stain on my fence) I would need an airless sprayer. The packaging for the air sprayer seemed to back that up.

        I think the air sprayer has too much overspray, which might be worse with stuff you might be using in the shop.

        Anybody have experience with this?

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        • #5
          Robert, cars are painted with air guns, they are fairly large...

          It isn't the size, but the material and application location that dictates an airless gun.

          Dave

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          • #6
            Dave, et al. As someone who used to make his living as a professional painter, I can tell you that the type of spray outfit to be used is entirely dependent on the job to be done. For woodworking purposes, I would use an HVLP unit, and that is exactly what I intend to buy. You can get a good one for under $200 and it is completely self-contained, no need for a compressor at all.

            The airless spray units, with the exception of the contractors models, are not appropriate for home use due to the fact that they do not allow you to regulate the flow of materials as you should. Can they be used? Yes, but that is with the qualifier that you MUST exactly follow the directions, personally I won't own one. The contractors models are used, for buildings, houses(exterior and interior) and to some minor extent for fencing etc..

            The other types of guns are primarily used for painting equipment, cars, and other like items. They are used because you can control the mixture of air and material to very fine extent which is what makes them the preferred method for painting cars. That being said, it is best if they are only used in controlled situations such as a spray booth with a waterfall because of the amount of noxious fumes that are emitted, remember that you are spraying enamels and lacquers with these units which means that the fumes are not only hazardous for extended breathing but also flammable.

            Sorry for the length of this post, but I felt that it was important for everyone to understand the proper uses of the various types of spray units.
            Bill

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            • #7
              Good post, Bill. There are posts of mine around here that will entirely relieve your concern about length...

              Moving back to woodworking finishing a bit, the flammability and toxicity concerns are able to be alleviated somewhat with some of the newer formulations. Fuhr even has a new line out with zero VOC content, called ZVOC (creative, huh? )

              My point, poorly made, was confirmed by your post. Air, airless, air-assist, it isn't the size of job that dictates.

              Dave

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              • #8
                Thanks for the nice words Dave [img]smile.gif[/img] , you are quite correct. It isn't the size of the job that makes the difference but the material to be applied and the environment in which it is to be applied. I would wager that for the vast majority of home woodworkers the HVLP units would be just about perfect. They take up very little space, they require very little maintenance which can normally be done quite quickly and they will readily apply the types of coatings that home woodworkers are most apt to use.
                Bill

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                • #9
                  I have a VERY old huge 1/2 hp belt driven air compressor which was given to me many years ago. It takes forever to fill the tank, but for home use with all my air tools, I've never had a problem. I even use a framing nailer with it with no problems. 3/8 air drill, air sander, finishing nailer, spapler, and 1/2 drill, never had any problems. Next to my shop I have a 10 X 15 wood shed shaped like a barn. I use this as my paint booth. I cut a hole in the back the same size as an old window fan I had. I use the fan for exhaust. A buddy of mine works as a car painter and gets me filters. But new/old used furnace filters would work just as well. I attach the filters the the front of the fan with small bungee cords. I've never notice any "over spray" outside the exhaust fan. I use a cheap sprayer from HF with a regulator on the bottom of the sprayer. (Bought from HD for about $15.) The sprayer has adjustments on it for thickness of the output of the paint and the width of the spray. I've found that as long as I don't spray for to long, this old piece of junk works well. I'd LOVE to get a new one, (one that would fill in less then 20 minutes. Yes it takes that long!) but the LOML said no until this one dies. Can't argue the logic.
                  My 2 cents is: use the air compressor. You'll need/want/have to have it around the shop anyway.

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                  • #10
                    For general around the house usage get a regular compressor with a 15-25 gal tank. I would get a belt drive piston compressor (one that requires oil) versus the oiless type just because the oiless are so loud. I also think the piston compressors last longer. Having a belt drive let’s you change either the compressor or the motor should you need too. I have an old Sears model with 20 gallon tank, cast iron compressor which runs on 110V. It is 30 years old and I never have had to do a thing to it except change the wheels.

                    I have painted three cars, built one house, built and finished all the end tables and bookcases in my house plus all the many assorted painting, construction projects with the this setup. I did buy a Binks look alike spray gun at the flea market. I wanted an external mix gun and the one that came with the unit was all internal mix.

                    Things to look for, you need at least 90 psi to run most air tools I would find where the compressor cycles. Some cycle when pressure drops to 90 PSI and turn off at 125 others go as low as 65 PSI and turn off at 100 or 110. If this is not adjustable you will find yourself bleeding off air to get the compressor to turn on to get your pressure up. If your going to paint you need to look at the gun. It might be better to buy a compressor without a gun and then buy the gun you want.

                    Also once you buy the unit get the biggest air hose diameter you can find, people say it doesn't matter but it does. Also if you live in a humid area get a water separator to save your tools.

                    Stay away from the oiless direct drive units that everyone is selling for cheap. You get what you pay for!!! If you intend to spray indoors you need a spray booth with a explosion proof fan to vent the air out of your house. If you don’t do this I guarantee sooner or later your wife is going to get mad about some over spray that just infiltrated her house. [img]redface.gif[/img] Also do be careful which away the vent fan blows. Neighbors usually don’t understand why their white house has a pink cast to it after you painted something red. Luckily it was paint dust rather than wet paint.
                    [img]redface.gif[/img]
                    Rev Ed

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                    • #11
                      yep, everyone here has good tips. I use a smaller 1hp one for my air tools, and a quincy 5hp, 80 gallon one for spraying, air tools, etc.

                      Brew

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                      • #12
                        **whoosh** What was that??? Just tsbrewers and his drive-by gloat....

                        Quincy five horse, niiiiiiiiiicccccccceeeeeeee! [img]smile.gif[/img]

                        Dave

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                        • #13
                          For air tools, agree on 90psi. But there is an advantage to a small tank (I have a 13 gallon tank and sometimes wish for smaller). If you are only going to shoot a few nails, it takes a long time to fill a large tank, and most of that energy is wasted if you only need a little.

                          For high volume spraying, I appreciate the advice about airless sprayers - they have been tempting me for a long time, but I don't have one.

                          For furniture finishing... Lookout - here come my strong opinions. A regular spray gun (I have two) has a lot of overspray - lost material as well as mess. I wanted a HVLP setup, but most of the good ones cost hundreds of dollars. So I bought a HVLP conversion gun (Porter Cable). Conversion meaning it runs off a regular air compressor, but drops the pressure a lot giving far less overspray. And I use it to spray lacquer. Yes, that explosive stuff. The lacquer drys so fast that it is powder before it hits the floor - I need minimal protection around the shop (garage), and don't even wear special "paint clothes" (although I do wear a special Darth Vader mask to protect my lungs). With the fast dry, I spray by the garage door, and don't worry if the cars are 10 feet away. But the compressor has a hard time keeping up with the volume required by HVLP. So I have to pause occasionally while spraying for the compressor to get the tank full again. The size of the compressor motor is one of the religous debates about horsepower, but it draws about 13-14 amps, the max allowed on a conventional 110 volt circuit.

                          Bottom line, if you are going to buy a "complete" HVLP spray system, then I would buy an air compressor with a small tank for the air tools. If you are going to spray from your compressor, consider the conversion HVLP guns (I love mine), but you will need a larger tank, and the biggest motor you can power on a normal circuit.

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                          • #14
                            IF YOU PLAN ON USING THE COMPRESSOR FOR RUNNING
                            MECHANIC TYPE AIR TOOLS LIKE AN IMPACT GUN YOU WILL NEED 175 PSI. HEY THERE IS THINGS OTHER THAN
                            WOODWORKING! LOOK AT THE BIGGER COMPRESSORS AND YOU WILL SEE THE TANK PRESSURE IS 175.

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                            • #15
                              CCON,

                              I have a 6HP 30gal tank that only goes to 135lbs and I use an impact wrench with it. I also use it to power a 3/8" ratchet, a 1/2" drill, a framing nailer, brad nailer, finish nailer and to inflate tires and all those air matresses and toys the kids use in the pool. I haven't taken up spraying yet, but I'm sure it could handle and HVLP system.

                              It seems like after you get a compressor, you use it for a lot of things besides shooting brads. I especially appreciate it when I have to blow up 50 ballons for a birthday party!


                              Bob R

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