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Thread: Looking at a compressor and air tools

  1. #1

    Looking at a compressor and air tools

    For a while now, I have wanted to get a compressor along with some nailers and sprayers. Anyone make some recommendations? I have little to no knowledge on the differences.

    Basically it will be used for finish nailing, and spraying finishes.

    Thanks so much in advance!

  2. #2
    you are in luck because some compressors stick a label on the tank that tell what equipment the compressor will power

  3. #3
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    Dom, shooting nails and spraying finishes are kind of at the two ends of compressor spectrum. Nail and brad guns can be driven easily by the little portable compressors, and although you can spray with the little compressors, if you're doing much of it, a bigger compressor is better.

    Although a lot of the stickers on the compressors at the home improvement stores will be advertising horsepower or the tank size, the primary measurement to look at is the cubic feet per minute (CFM) rating of the compressor and the CFM rating needed by the tools you want to use. Here's some good reading about CFM requirements of spray guns:

    http://www.spraygunworld.com/Information2/CFM.htm

    I don't drive a lot of nails or brads, and when I do spray finishes it's typically only on smaller pieces, but I use a pneumatic sander (a lot) that eats a lot of air. I did have a small portable compressor from Auto Zone, but got tired if having it run constantly while trying to keep up with my sander. A couple years ago I bit the bullet and bought real compressor (19+ CFM with a true 5 hp motor) and have thanked myself for that decision many, many times.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    Dom, shooting nails and spraying finishes are kind of at the two ends of compressor spectrum. Nail and brad guns can be driven easily by the little portable compressors, and although you can spray with the little compressors, if you're doing much of it, a bigger compressor is better.

    Although a lot of the stickers on the compressors at the home improvement stores will be advertising horsepower or the tank size, the primary measurement to look at is the cubic feet per minute (CFM) rating of the compressor and the CFM rating needed by the tools you want to use. Here's some good reading about CFM requirements of spray guns:

    http://www.spraygunworld.com/Information2/CFM.htm

    I don't drive a lot of nails or brads, and when I do spray finishes it's typically only on smaller pieces, but I use a pneumatic sander (a lot) that eats a lot of air. I did have a small portable compressor from Auto Zone, but got tired if having it run constantly while trying to keep up with my sander. A couple years ago I bit the bullet and bought real compressor (19+ CFM with a true 5 hp motor) and have thanked myself for that decision many, many times.
    This help you just gave me is fantastic. Now I know what to look for. How do you like spraying?....and do you spray Urethane, stain, paint????

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dom DiCara View Post
    For a while now, I have wanted to get a compressor along with some nailers and sprayers. Anyone make some recommendations? I have little to no knowledge on the differences.

    Basically it will be used for finish nailing, and spraying finishes.

    Thanks so much in advance!
    Top end of both budget and quality would probably be Ingersol-Rand.

    For home shop use, probably Porter Cable or Campbell Hausfield (actually, both pretty much the same, since they're both owned by the same parent company).

    If you go the Sears (Craftsman) route, stay away from the oilless models and get a belt driven oil sump model.

    You'll need a fairly large compressor & tank to do much paint spraying, although you can still do a fair amount with a 1.5 hp model with a 20 gallon tank. That's what I have, and I use mostly an HVLP 'touch-up' gun for most of my spraying, with good results.

    For nailers, you don't need a big compressor. One of the 'pancakes' or 'hot dog' models is plenty. Senco, Paslode, and Hitachi all make high quality nailers, but for home use, Porter Cable, or even the (cheap!) Harbor Freight models work well.

    If you intend to use air sanders, then you'll really need a big compressor. Sanders reallu use a lot of air - most are in the range of 9~12 CFM @ 90psi, and it taks a big compressor to keep up.

    Probably more than you wanted to know, but there ya go!
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim DeLaney View Post
    Top end of both budget and quality would probably be Ingersol-Rand.

    For home shop use, probably Porter Cable or Campbell Hausfield (actually, both pretty much the same, since they're both owned by the same parent company).

    If you go the Sears (Craftsman) route, stay away from the oilless models and get a belt driven oil sump model.

    You'll need a fairly large compressor & tank to do much paint spraying, although you can still do a fair amount with a 1.5 hp model with a 20 gallon tank. That's what I have, and I use mostly an HVLP 'touch-up' gun for most of my spraying, with good results.

    For nailers, you don't need a big compressor. One of the 'pancakes' or 'hot dog' models is plenty. Senco, Paslode, and Hitachi all make high quality nailers, but for home use, Porter Cable, or even the (cheap!) Harbor Freight models work well.

    If you intend to use air sanders, then you'll really need a big compressor. Sanders reallu use a lot of air - most are in the range of 9~12 CFM @ 90psi, and it taks a big compressor to keep up.

    Probably more than you wanted to know, but there ya go!
    Thanks Jim....appreciate it!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim DeLaney View Post
    Top end of both budget and quality would probably be Ingersol-Rand.

    ...

    If you go the Sears (Craftsman) route, stay away from the oilless models and
    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    I use a pneumatic sander (a lot) that eats a lot of air.
    +1 on what Jim and Vaughn have said. I started off with an oiless 20 gallon? or something Craftsman compressor that they rated at 5hp. It was a joke. That thing was LOUD And couldn't keep up with much. But at least it took up a lot of space in the garage when I wasn't using it and it was relatively portable...

    So then I went big and got a 15.8cfm 80 gallon 2 stage 175 psi 5hp Ingersoll Rand. It's not bad, but like vaughn says, those sanders and polishers can really suck a lot of wind and even those will wind up my IR. I was using it to polish a concrete counter top and I could keep it running constantly.

    I've used it for spraying finishes and such and it really is nice to have something big.

    That being said, I missed having something portable, so I did buy a little 99$ compressor. It works great for driving brads and nails when I want to use them away from the shop and don't want to have to run hundreds of feet of hose. It's also a great little tire pumperupper...

    So, I guess my advice is go big, but you might just want to get a little portable one as well, but I'd stay away from anything in-between...
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash


  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Dowell View Post
    +1 on what Jim and Vaughn have said. I started off with an oiless 20 gallon? or something Craftsman compressor that they rated at 5hp. It was a joke. That thing was LOUD And couldn't keep up with much. But at least it took up a lot of space in the garage when I wasn't using it and it was relatively portable...

    So then I went big and got a 15.8cfm 80 gallon 2 stage 175 psi 5hp Ingersoll Rand. It's not bad, but like vaughn says, those sanders and polishers can really suck a lot of wind and even those will wind up my IR. I was using it to polish a concrete counter top and I could keep it running constantly.

    I've used it for spraying finishes and such and it really is nice to have something big.

    That being said, I missed having something portable, so I did buy a little 99$ compressor. It works great for driving brads and nails when I want to use them away from the shop and don't want to have to run hundreds of feet of hose. It's also a great little tire pumperupper...

    So, I guess my advice is go big, but you might just want to get a little portable one as well, but I'd stay away from anything in-between...

    Thanks Brent!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Dowell View Post
    ...It's not bad, but like vaughn says, those sanders and polishers can really suck a lot of wind and even those will wind up my IR. I was using it to polish a concrete counter top and I could keep it running constantly...
    My compressor pumps more air than my sander uses, so if I'm doing long, uninterrupted sanding, the compressor actually gets ahead of the sander and has to wait occasionally. I smile bigtime every time that happens.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    My compressor pumps more air than my sander uses, so if I'm doing long, uninterrupted sanding, the compressor actually gets ahead of the sander and has to wait occasionally. I smile bigtime every time that happens.
    I need to get better sanders! But actually, my DA sander is an IR as well. I should probably look up it's CFM to see what it really needs.... Yours is 19cfm? At 15.8@90, mine is ok. Compressors are one of those things where bigger is definitely better.

    Can't wait till I get to do the camo paint job on the '87 Pathfinder....
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash


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