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Minimum size air compressor to power pneumatic chainsaw

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Forum topic by primuspaul posted 07-13-2015 04:56 AM 1151 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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primuspaul

11 posts in 511 days


07-13-2015 04:56 AM

What is the minimum (cheapest) air compressor I can use to power a pneumatic chainsaw such as this:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/SPITZNAS-AIR-POWERED-PNEUMATIC-CHAINSAW-COST-3-885-00-GOVERNMENT-SURPLUS-/121646904327

I’m hoping to stay away from the really expensive screw compressors and stick with belt driven ones since they are cheaper, but still reliable. I can take a break once in a while while using the saw so it’s not like I need it to run for hours at a time nonstop. I imagine it would be easier to find a compressor separate from the air tank and then just buy a big air tank so I can use the saw for a bit longer each session.


11 replies so far

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Shadowrider

183 posts in 671 days


#1 posted 07-13-2015 05:31 AM

Wish I could help but I have no idea. I’ve never even heard of such a thing. But I’ve used all sorts of other pneumatic tools and I’m thinking from the looks of it that you are going to need A LOT of CFM for that thing. My guess would be a 5HP with as big a tank as possible for the reserve to give the compressor a chance to stay in it’s duty cycle.

I’m betting they used those on BLM lands or some such with scroll compressors on large equipment. But that’s just a guess.

Edit: Looks like I was right. This link says their current saws all require 2.9 cubic meters of air per minute. Also have a 15mm hose ID which is almost 5/8”. That would convert to 102.41 CFM. WOW! My guess wasn’t even close! Not only will you need a screw compressor, it’s going to have to be a nice sized one.

http://www.spitznas.de/uploads/media/Chain_Saws_0615E.pdf

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AlaskaGuy

2406 posts in 1771 days


#2 posted 07-13-2015 06:44 AM

Wow, this looks like a very expensive way to go. Why not a gas chain saw?

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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Bill1974

110 posts in 2447 days


#3 posted 07-13-2015 04:47 PM

Unless there is no way you could use a gas powered chainsaw, this seems like a very inefficient way. That saw would require something like a towable compressor (30 hp minimum). A hydraulic saw would seem like a better bet. I am also guessing the pneumatic one is on the loud side.

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bigblockyeti

3668 posts in 1183 days


#4 posted 07-13-2015 04:58 PM

Based on my experience with pneumatic systems you’ll likely need something at least in the 15-25hp range using a reciprocating compressor. Likely a little less if you do go with a screw compressor. This is based on continuous usage which you’ve identified isn’t necessarily the case. What will you be cutting and what will the duty cycle be? You could fill a 120 gallon tank with a 12V car lighter powered compressor in less than a week and it would last less than 10 minutes under use. Too many variables to answer your question exactly. That being said, a diesel powered portable screw compressor would be ideal for powering this kind of saw.

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tomsteve

393 posts in 681 days


#5 posted 07-13-2015 06:07 PM

With the CFM requirements being up above 90 cfm, you could purchase A 261, 441, and 880 stihl or a husky 550, 390, and 3120 xp’s and have money left over for how much that saw and compressor will cost.
I’m thinkin the 3120 or 880 would also be lighter to run.

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primuspaul

11 posts in 511 days


#6 posted 07-14-2015 12:19 AM


Based on my experience with pneumatic systems you ll likely need something at least in the 15-25hp range using a reciprocating compressor. Likely a little less if you do go with a screw compressor. This is based on continuous usage which you ve identified isn t necessarily the case. What will you be cutting and what will the duty cycle be? You could fill a 120 gallon tank with a 12V car lighter powered compressor in less than a week and it would last less than 10 minutes under use. Too many variables to answer your question exactly. That being said, a diesel powered portable screw compressor would be ideal for powering this kind of saw.

- bigblockyeti

So constant use (holding the trigger down) would deplete a 120 gallon tank (pressurized to 125 PSI) to inoperable pressures in 10 minutes? That does not sound so bad.

I would be cutting thick tree branches and some tree trunks. The reason I wanted a pneumatic system is because I am tired of the weak electrical equipment I often use. Just not enough power. With a good compressor I can completely switch to the pneumatic system and never worry about weak tools or recharging batteries again.

Given your responses, perhaps a pneumatic Sawzall would be a a better choice and pneumatic chainsawing is out of my price range. Perhaps I can get a $300-500 oil-lubricated compressor and 6×10-gallon air tanks connected to each other for 60 gallons + the compressors integral reservoir (30 gallons I would assume) for a total of 90 gallons. Should last for light work short of jack-hammering or chainsawing.

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gfadvm

14940 posts in 2152 days


#7 posted 07-14-2015 12:26 AM

Get an Echo CS400 with an 18” bar ($300 for a new one). It is VERY reliable, VERY light weight, and plenty stout enough to fell 3’ diameter oak trees. The biggest drawbacks I see to the pneumatic are total cost and complete lack of portability.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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primuspaul

11 posts in 511 days


#8 posted 07-14-2015 03:04 AM


Get an Echo CS400 with an 18” bar ($300 for a new one). It is VERY reliable, VERY light weight, and plenty stout enough to fell 3 diameter oak trees. The biggest drawbacks I see to the pneumatic are total cost and complete lack of portability.

- gfadvm


Sounds good, but my main concern is regarding the air compressor, since this is at the heart of all of the pneumatic tools. My primary concern is operating hours before it breaks. I can wait for the tanks to refill, but what good is that if the extensive hours of operating break the compressor?

Suggestions in the $300 to $500 range are welcome. Most of the work I do involves smaller branches. They are very tough, but not big enough to warrant a chainsaw. The only reason I even gave that specification is because I wanted to have room for expansion, but I’ll stick to the Sawzall for now and maybe get a gasoline chainsaw later.

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bigblockyeti

3668 posts in 1183 days


#9 posted 07-14-2015 12:11 PM

No more than 10 minutes. I didn’t do the research on the exact air flow requirements but rather extrapolated a best case scenario on motor efficiency and low power output (which doesn’t look to be the case). It sounds like gas powered saw would be your best bet. There are several options from Husqvarna, Stihl, Dolmar, Echo, and some less prominent brands out there. If reliability is your primary concern, visit your nearest dealer and see what they have, what they recommend and how quickly they can get parts if you have a breakdown.

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tomsteve

393 posts in 681 days


#10 posted 07-14-2015 12:33 PM


Get an Echo CS400 with an 18” bar ($300 for a new one). It is VERY reliable, VERY light weight, and plenty stout enough to fell 3 diameter oak trees. The biggest drawbacks I see to the pneumatic are total cost and complete lack of portability.

- gfadvm

Sounds good, but my main concern is regarding the air compressor, since this is at the heart of all of the pneumatic tools. My primary concern is operating hours before it breaks. I can wait for the tanks to refill, but what good is that if the extensive hours of operating break the compressor?

Suggestions in the $300 to $500 range are welcome. Most of the work I do involves smaller branches. They are very tough, but not big enough to warrant a chainsaw. The only reason I even gave that specification is because I wanted to have room for expansion, but I ll stick to the Sawzall for now and maybe get a gasoline chainsaw later.

- primuspaul

There’s a sawsall blade made specifically for limbing/ pruning
http://t.homedepot.com/p/Milwaukee-12-in-4-5-TPI-Pruning-Sawzall-Reciprocating-Saw-Blade-48-00-1305/202256182

On the compressor, if your air tools will be standard tools used in a shop( not the massive CFM pneumatics used in construction where trailered compressors are required), look for a two stage,80 gallon, preferably 5+ HP unit. $300-500 can get a good used one.If that’s something your interested in, let the folks here know and they can give suggestions on brands to look for.

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bigblockyeti

3668 posts in 1183 days


#11 posted 07-14-2015 03:09 PM

The other thing to consider is the massive inefficiency built into pneumatic motors, the trade off being long life (when properly lubricated), light weight, stalling without damage, absence of electricity & physical size. A 5hp compressor (true hp, not the made in china false SPL hp) can usually just keep up with a 0.5hp die grinder running continuously making for an efficiency of approximately 10% that of electric alternative. So, if you have a 5hp air motor on a chainsaw, it stands to reason you would need a compressor in the order of ~50hp. As compressor size increases, typically so does efficiency and furthermore when you switch from a reciprocating compressor to a screw, centrifugal, axial or scroll compressor.

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