compressor size


I'm getting ready to buy a lot of large tools, one of which is a compressor. I'm having a real hard time deciding how big to make it. My goal is to get a largish one so that I can do whatever I want in the future. I can't say that money is no object, but I can spend some serious money on it. I don't need portability since I have a small porter-cable pancake compressor for that. I'd also like an upright one to save floor space. I'd like for it to be quiet, so an oil-lubed compressos is best. I'll use it maybe an hour a day during the week, then all day on a saturday as an example. I also have 220, so that's not a problem.
They seem to cluster into several price ranges. There's the $500 group, the $800 group, and the $1500 group. I'd like to get one from the $500 group so I can spend the extra money elsewhere. I'm prepared to spend the $800 though to get what I want. The $1500 is probably out of the question. Here's a quick list of what I want to use it for:
Automotive stuff like impact wrenches.
I'd like to be able to spray finishes for furniture and possible automotive paint, hvlp or otherwise.
Nailers (this is trivial)
Hand-held tools like random orbit sanders.
I think you can use your compressor with a vacuum press, but I haven't done the research yet.
I can see getting into car restoration, so sand blasting is a definite possability.
I know I could look up all the scfm at psi numbers for each of these things and then compare it to the compressor rating, but I'm not sure that would give a complete picture. My pancake can run the impact wrench, but it runs too much. And I have other questions like would I notice the difference between 60 and 80 gallons? If both run only once a day, I don't need the 80. What's the general feeling? Is there a sweet spot for advanced home users?
brian
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You might not like the results from an HVLP if there's any moisture or oil in the lines. Even with filters, moisture comes out when the compressor gets hot from running in a near-constant cycle. HVLP takes a lot of air, so I expect the pump will be "on" a lot. If you live in a humid area, the problem's worse than for me. I use a 30 gal oil lubed Sears unit that works ok for lug nuts, but has a heck of a time with a die grinder. That keeps it running and moisture builds up quickly.
Dave
brianlanning wrote:

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More is better in air compressors. A 80 gallon, 5HP two stage is your classic "best bet".
A buddy of mine tried sand blasting with a small unit and it was a joke.
More is better in sand blasting.
Air sanders are also major "air hogs".
More is better in air powered ROS.
brianlanning wrote:

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I have one of those $400-500 units and it does OK for light air tool use but not quite enough capacity for hogs such as an orbital sander or light sand blasting after about 5 minutes of continuous use water droplets begin to bypass the water separator/filter and show up at the tools exhaust and also plugs up the sand blast nozzle. Spoke with an air compressor expert from one of the Internet stores that features compressed air filtering, water separation etc and this fellow said if water droplets are bypassing the filtering units then the air compressor is cycling longer than it was designed for, i.e. compressor is under sized. If I had to do it over again the $800 units would be an entry level purchase and I would even consider the 1500 ones because doing it right the first time is cheaper in the long run. PS don't believe anything printed on the sides of the A/C at the DIY stores such as output ratings, I have seen identical units but just painted different color schemes state different outputs. They have already been labeled for false representation of their HP ratings . BELIEVE IT NOT BUT INGERSOL RAND HAS GOT SOME REASONABLY PRICED UNITS WITH CONSERVATIVE RATINGS
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Thanks to everyone.
Someone over on woodnet mentioned the ingersoll rand compressors. There's one for about $800 on amazon which sounds like a winner.
brian
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I like to buy this type of stuff where I can go see it first and make sure that I like what I'm buying. In my area Tractor Supply had great prices on the Ingersol Rand compressors and I brought one of them home with me. In fact, I haven't found the one that I bought anywhere else for the same or better price. They even put it in the truck for me with their forklift. Getting it out when I got home wasn't nearly so easy. I see a few of my friends less often now, since they helped me with it that day.
--
Charley


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Charley wrote:

WTH? It's easy to get things like that out of the truck by yourself. The hard part is doing it in such a way that it still works later. <g>
Seriously, I've unloaded two 400+ pound tools (18" bandsaw and 8" jointer) off pickup trucks into my garage with just myself and one other guy. There was no hit and miss to it; we weren't killing ourselves to do it, and neither of us were gorillas. You just slide it out until it reaches the balance point, then ease it over onto the floor (or dolly). It ends up a lot easier than you think it's going to be.
I also offloaded a 15" drill press out of the backseat of my car by myself. It took two great big guys to help me stuff it in but it only took me and gravity to get it out. I will admit it was a massive PITA.
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Mortimer Schnerd, RN

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