Air compressors

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Jay H, Dec 3, 2002.

  1. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Is Porter-Cable a good Air compressor mfgr? My father is looking for a smallish one for general household work like buying an attachment to make it a paint sprayer and a general air sprayer.. I'm interested cause I'd love to use it as an impact wrench as well as tire inflator and general air gun. We're looking at electric for ease of maintenance and will probably get a super long hose rather than the 25ft one that typically comes with the P-C one (especially for the electric kind). And of course a paint accessory. It comes with a nail gun attachment and I bet your general contractor kind of stuff. This would be light use, painting a house every 4-5 years or so and I would use it occasionally.

    Jay
     
  2. Andrew W

    Andrew W Supporting Actor

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    Here's the proper way to buy a compressor.

    Go look a the tools you want to use. For example the impact wrench and paint sprayer. Look at any tools that you MAY want to use in the future. They will list a CFM (cubic feet / minute) and pressure that they require to operate.

    If you will only use one tool at a time, buy a compressor that can output equal or greater CFM at the desired pressure. Overkill is good, one that's borderline will have the compressor on all the time rather than running from the tank. If you are going to use multiple tools, add up the CFMs of all the tools you want to use.

    Don't worry about hose length unless you intend to use leaky hoses, it has no major impact on the calculations.

    Porter-Cable is fine, they probably make more compressors than anyone out there.
     
  3. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    The hose length is so when you're say painting, you don't have to drag the main unit all over the place for the high places. We live on a hill so the front is alot higher than the back.

    I think a bunch of the electric ones out there have a peak 5hp or so. Size is an issue though since my father wants to be able to move it from house to house in his Acura TL.

    We'll be looking at the unit in more detail once we get around to it but thanks for the heads up. I think the ads list a SCFM and I'm familiar with the CFM, but what does the S stand for?

    Jay
     
  4. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    The "S" stands for "standard": its use in SCFM means CFM under some standard test conditions.
     
  5. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    I dunno much about compressors, but I do work at a pretty large professional tool store, I can ask around at work which of the porter cables are decent if you'd like. We don't seem to sell a lot of them, but a lot of the dewalt emgo compressors. I think sears sells some crafstman branded compressors that are built by emgo too..

    You're probably looking at the funky little short porter cable? with the tank on top so it looks like a mushroom?
     
  6. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    I'm also interested. Mine will be 99% for tires and that sort of thing- and looking to go cheap. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    -vince
     
  7. Shawn Sefranek

    Shawn Sefranek Second Unit

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  8. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Philip_G, yeah that would be cool, I'd appreciate that. Home Depot is selling a Porter Cable one for $300 right now, I think that is about roughly the budget for what we're looking for. We know we will spend some more for accessories but we presume the model has the basic assessories. It says it comes with the nail gun accessory and what looks like your basic shraeder gun. I'd look into the painting accessory and perhaps an impact wrench if it doesn't come with one. Like I said, we haven't really looked in detail and haven't even touched one yet.
    I gather if you're looking for one to inflate tires and stuff, you probably don't need a $300 AC, that craftsman almost looks.... cute! [​IMG]
    Awwwwwwww...
    Jay
     
  9. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    if I was just going to inflate tires I'd buy an air tank and fill it off someone else's compressor for free [​IMG]
     
  10. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    $100ish budget.

    There is a local service station with a air pump-- but during the winter it's a bit, well, too fucking cold to be standing around outside for 5 minutes filling tires.

    For $100, I'd rather just have one on my garage!

    -Vince
     
  11. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are Cinematographer

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    I know this is a different animal, but I just bought two small, 12V air compressors from, of all places, Radio Shack. On sale for $14.99 each. They work fine for tire inflation, though a bit slow. Very compact units - there is a built-in storage area for the hoses. Stuck one in each vehicle for emergencies.

    Jon
     
  12. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Plus in the winter, you can really hear those free air compressors grind away, sounding like they're gonna die..
    To recoup the costs, I'm gonna set it up in the driveway and charge 50cents for air for my neighbors just like some gas stations charge. bwwwaaaahahahahaha.. [​IMG]
    Jay
     
  13. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    I forgot to ask today [​IMG]
    think I'll talk to service, they fix em, they'll know which ones break and which dont
     
  14. DaveHo

    DaveHo Supporting Actor

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    It sounds like you're looking at the Porter Cable that comes with a brad or 16 gauge finish nailer, which is their smallest pancake compressor. While this will work great for nailers and general inflation duties, it does not have near the air delivery capability needed to paint or run mechanic type tools such as an impact wrench. Take a look at the SCFM rating on the compressor and compared it that need by sprayers and mechanic tools and you will see what I mean. Also SCFM ratings are meant to be average delivery/requirements and are not 100% duty cycle.
    Sprayers take a fairly large amount of air to run continuously, and if you'd like to be able to paint a house with one you will really want a 60 gallon or larger stationary unit unless you like to wait for the compressor to rebuild pressure frequently. I wouldn't even consider a pancake unit for such a project.
    When looking at compressor ratings ignore the horsepower ratings, and go by the cfm ratings and the amperage draw by the motor. Oil lubed units will be much quieter, more durable, and generally have higher air delivery capacity compared to oilless units with the same tank size.
    Right now I have two compressors. One is 20 gallon, 220V motor drawing 15A that is rated at 7.7 cfm @ 90psi. I use this mainly for mechanic type tools but even this is too small to handle cutoff tools, drills, sanders, and other air hungry tools. The second one is a twin tank hotdog compressor that I use soley for running nailers and other light duty work when I'm away from home and don't have access to a 220V line. This is a 4 gallon unit, 115V 14 amp motor, and delivers 4.4 cfm @ 90 psi continuous. I'm currently looking to replace my 20 gallon with a stationary 60 gallon two stage so that I can run everything.
    Sorry for the novel. I'm a bit of a tool junkie, and an avid DIY'er. The short version of the above is that once you have an air compressor you will find that you'll use it and want to use if for all kinds of stuff. Don't get something inexpensive just to get going because you will regret it and find yourself buying a bigger unit in no time flat.[​IMG]
    -Dave
     
  15. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    Totally agree with Dave... a pancake compressor is not adequate for sprayers or air tools. However, it will work well for filling tires and driving a brad nailer or nail gun.

    Porter-Cable makes a nice product. You'll need to decide if you want an oil-less or oil-lube compressor. An oil-less is very noisy but requires less maintenance. A compressor that uses oil is less noisy but requires that you keep the oil filled. Also, a compressor with oil could have an adverse effect on spray finishing (unless precautions are taken). If you are just looking at something for spraying then take a look at HVLP (either a whole HVLP system or a HVLP conversion gun).
     
  16. Shawn Sefranek

    Shawn Sefranek Second Unit

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    After reading some of the other posts here I think I may upgrade my “cute” little compressor I ordered last week to a bigger unit.
    For another 100-bucks I think I can get something with a LOT more capabilities.

    Shawn S
     
  17. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Jay, one suggestion is if your father wants to carry it around in his car, you might prefer one with a horizontal tank rather than a vertical one. I think I have seen those with tanks up to 20 gallons. I have a Coleman that is 3.5 horsepower and an 11 gallon tank. I got it mostly for darkroom use, but it is also powerful enough for me to blow out my sprinkler system, so it paid for itself in a few years just from that. It is still just small enough that I can get it around easily on it's wheels and I can pick it up pretty easily to put it in the car or bring it up the stairs.
     
  18. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Thanks guys for the responses!

    DaveHo: a 60gal compressor I'm quite sure will not fit in a car, but my father is a patient guy who doesn't like to spend an arm and a leg. The money it costs to paint our house is nuts and since he's retired he really has all the time in the world. I doubt he wouldn't mind doing a little at a time. I will, of course, help him but I can only do it on weekends. He had one of those Wagner paint spayers, the little hand unit with a motor on the unit itself but that was always heavy and hard to use because the motor was on the sprayer, unlike an AC with hose.

    What's the maintenance on the oil-lubed systems? Basic check the level, change the oil kind of thing, or do you have to take out stuff and relube bearings and seals and stuff?

    The impact stuff is basically icing, it's not completely necessary to get one that can do it, but it's nice sometimes if you have a hard nut to extract, etc.

    We're not fixed to one type, there appears to be the "pancake" ones and those with a vertical tank and those with a horizontal tank, and then there are the "vertizontal" which I presume means it can be setup one way or the other. Is there a benefit to running one versus the other?

    I presume a vertical one will be slightly less stable (easier to knock over) than one that is horizontal and take up less floor space if that is an issue.

    Jay
     
  19. Eric Kahn

    Eric Kahn Guest

    I have a cambel hausfield 60 gal upright (bought it on closeout, was cheaper than the 20 gal I was going to buy)
    ignore the HP ratings posted on the compressor you are going to buy, compare the SCFM rating at 90 PSI since that is what all air tools are rated at (not counting paintguns)
    HP ratings on small compressors are way overstated
    it takes appox 800 watts to generate 1hp with a small induction motor (7 amps at 110 volts 3,5 amps at 220 volts)
     
  20. DaveHo

    DaveHo Supporting Actor

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    Jay,
    Yep, might be a little tough hefting the 60 gal into a trunk. [​IMG] But seriously, a pancake will probably allow you to spray for about 20 sec before the pressure drops too low to spray effectively. A 20 gallon, while not exactly small, are usually on wheels and still portable. Still not the best for large spraying projects but will probably work OK if you're patient.
    -Dave
     

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