Guide to electric air compressors for home shops

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Admittedly, my post does not dovetail with this thread since you're talking electric motor driven compressors. However, I simply must brag and chortle about my air cooled DIESEL milsurp air compressor. Apparently it was designed to air up tires on jets. It's similar to the "wheel barrow" compressors that carpenters use. It has a single tank and a two stage compressor (175 psi!) compressor, belt driven by a Yanmar 3 hp, fuel sipping, air cooled engine. It is well balanced and light weight. It CHURNS out air. It starts from a battery or with a rope. I swoon over its efficiency, reliability, and fuel economy. In fact, I think I'll go give it a hug right now. Vernon
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Admittedly, my post does not dovetail with this thread since you're talking electric motor driven compressors. However, I simply must brag and chortle about my air cooled DIESEL milsurp air compressor. Apparently it was designed to air up tires on jets. It's similar to the "wheel barrow" compressors that carpenters use. It has a single tank and a two stage compressor (175 psi!) compressor, belt driven by a Yanmar 3 hp, fuel sipping, air cooled engine. It is well balanced and light weight. It CHURNS out air. It starts from a battery or with a rope. I swoon over its efficiency, reliability, and fuel economy. In fact, I think I'll go give it a hug right now. Vernon
Now Vernon, you weren't over there squeezing her jugs now were you?
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Up North. Noooo. But I was tweaking her nipples! V
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175 lb. is not enough pressure for many Jet aircraft tires, and most of the time dry nitrogen is used because of that fact. I remember a couple of jets taking 250 lb. in the mains. The Jetstar was one.
John
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john wrote:

If I ever have a JetStar then I'll worry about getting a bigger compressor.
Geez, how rich do you think that the people hanging out here _are_?
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J. Clarke wrote:

I'm so poor my prop only has one blade...
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Morris Dovey wrote:

You've got a prop? Why in my day we had to flap our arms . . .
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J. Clarke wrote:

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Step 1. Decide what you need.
Step 2. Multiply that by 1.5 - 2.0
Step 3. Shop for a high quality two stage, or a two piston oil crank compressor if you only need a small one.
Step 4. Consider used, as you can sometimes get a killer deal on a big one.
Step 5. Install it right, electrically, piping, and air dryer.
Step 6. Enjoy and use, knowing you won't fry it, overwork it, or have it fall short when you need it the most.
My observations from not following these steps.
Steve
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And noise. Put it somewhere NOT where the people are. Use big shock mounts and flexible lines to avoid coupling.
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James Sweet wrote:

Some of the auto paint shops in my area have switched to turbines and HVLP guns for use with water based finishes that get destroyed by the smallest amount of oil.
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All the advice in the article is good stuff. One critical point is missing, however, The author should have added a section named "Delivery". More power is wasted by undersized or over long hoses and restrictive couplings than any other feature. The ubiquitous 1/4" Milton M fittings almost everyone buys are serious offenders in that respect. That is why so many shops for years kept buying air compressors with higher and higher tank pressure ratings. The currently popular 175 PSI rating is absurdly dangerous because design parameters of most air tools are by regulation pegged at 90 PSI. Milton some years ago introduced the "V" series plugs and couplers. These have substantially higher flow rates than the "M" series which 98% of the lads reading this now have in their shop. The specs are listed in the Milton catalog available (PDF) online. I converted my shop some time ago when they were first introduced to improve my HVLP paint systems. Couple this with a good quality 3/8" air hose (throw out those wretched 1/4" hoses) and a modest 125 PSI compressor will serve you very well for everything but removing earth mover wheels. The laws of physics will work for you if you let them.
Joe
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Joe wrote:

General rule for air compressors is buy the biggest one you can afford, because you always seem to need more air later than you thought. Mine is a "5HP" (yeah right) oiled reciprocating compressor which is just *barely* adequate to run my abrasive blasting cabinet. Had I know I'd get one of those, I'd have bought a larger compressor in the first place, though what I have is about as big as you can run from a 120V circuit.
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James Sweet wrote:

If I were ever to buy a stationary compressor, it would be one that you wouldn't be able to run on a 120V circuit. A real 5HP one sounds about right...30A at 240V.
Chris
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"Chris Friesen" wrote:

Make that a 5HP, cap start, cap run motor, driving a 2 stage compressor with an 80 gal vertical receiver and you will have gone about as far as you can go.
BTW, you will need a 240V, 2P-40A CB to handle the inrush.
Lew
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This just makes me wonder what the application is. What sort of shop would require a machine like that? I guess a production shop (or a shop where you were doing auto mechanic work) would need a large compressor but I think that would be overkill for most home woodworking workshops. What sort of tools do any of you using compressors use?
Ed
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On Fri, 12 Dec 2008 13:12:24 -0500, "Ed Edelenbos"

There might be a bit of a noise issue, too.
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"Ed Edelenbos" wrote:

Any decent spray gun will require around 15 SCFM.
Almost any air tool used for sanding, etc will need a lot of air.
Lew
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Ed Edelenbos wrote:

Currently I only have a little twin-tank one-lung luggable compressor. A bigger one would be useful primarily for spray guns and air tools (drills, sanders, etc.). The bigger ones are also generally quieter than the little ones.
Also, most compressors aren't designed to run for more than 50% of the time. I was stapling down some sheathing with my little one and it was getting mighty warm.
Chris
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Chris (and Lew and Salty), thanks. I'm knee deep in trying to sort all of this compressor stuff out. I'm at the point where I can't see much of a use other than a brad/pin nailer and maybe an airbrush now and then. Especially since I already have electric sanders and drills and dremels and such out the wazoo. There are isolated instances where an impact wrench would be a nice tool to have but not enough to justify the compressor it would require. I have come to the conclusion that a cheap little compressor isn't the most economical solution, though. The noise issue is one I've been sort of pushing to the background. Hmmm.... more data.
Ed
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