LumberJocks

New Rescue: Air Compressor. Now... what do I use it for?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by FeralVermonter posted 556 days ago 1121 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View FeralVermonter's profile

FeralVermonter

100 posts in 567 days


556 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: air compressor

I’ve been putting together a shop, mostly out of junk and broken tools, brought back to life. Most recently, I picked up a little air compressor from a friend. “One day it was working, the next it wasn’t,” he said, and he’d already bought a new one. I didn’t particularly want an air compressor. Never used one. No idea what you even use them for. But I knew they could be useful, and it was free for the taking, so I brought it home. It was never really meant to be taken apart or serviced, being a tiny, cheap little thing, and the plastic housing shattered as I tried to remove it. Now, don’t go getting the impression that I know what I’m doing, when it comes to fixing things: I don’t, but I see it as an opportunity to learn. Each new project starts very slowly: first I try to get everything out where I can see it. Then, I make detailed diagrams of just about everything I can see. Then, I research every angle I can think of. Only then do I start fooling around, seeing how the thing works.

In this case… I soon found that the problem was just a bad connection. When I wiggled a certain wire going into a certain switch, the whole thing powered up. Of course, the plastic housing is now destroyed, so I’m never gonna be able to put this thing back together but… it works! It’s not pretty but… it works!

So, for the price of a couple hours, I now have a whole new set of options in my shop. I just now got this thing working. Just about to set out to research what I can actually do with this thing. Figured, though, I might as well as you guys (and gals) for your ideas. Now, I’m a total newbie to woodworking and any sort of serious tool use, so I won’t be embarassed by the really obvious stuff!

This is a 1.5 gallon Husky compressor, “portable,” meaning that it’s powered by rechargeable batteries. I believe it can get somewhere near 130 psi.

One thing that I do know I’d like to hook up to this thing is a die grinder. From preliminary researches, it seems like I have enough pressure. But those same preliminary researches suggest that air power has many uses, and many advantages. What do you think?


23 replies so far

View FeralVermonter's profile

FeralVermonter

100 posts in 567 days


#1 posted 556 days ago

Er… really can’t seem to find any good stuff, at least so far. Educational links would be greatly appreciated!

View AandCstyle's profile

AandCstyle

1243 posts in 853 days


#2 posted 556 days ago

I think you could able to run a small spray gun or a nail/brad gun with this compressor. Sorry, I don’t have any links to suggest.

-- Art

View Tedstor's profile

Tedstor

1369 posts in 1229 days


#3 posted 556 days ago

The most important spec on a compressor is CFM (cubic feet per minute).
If I remember correctly, a die grinder runs on about 4 CFM. Being a really fast turning tool, I don’t see that tiny compressor keeping up for long. You’ll probably get about 10 seconds full power on the grinder , before the compressor kicks back on to recharge the tank. Its worth a try, but I don’t see it being a very practical combination.
Nice job on the save though.

View JoeinGa's profile

JoeinGa

3088 posts in 603 days


#4 posted 556 days ago

Small as this is, it’s only good for short bursts of air. Like blowing up balloons or prehaps tires. No way it’ll push a sander or spray paint gun. Most air tools need more volume than you’ll get from this. You’ll be able to blow dust from around other tools when you’re cleaning your shop.

It will push an air nailer or stapler. Because these type tools only require short bursts of air, with little recovery time.

Hey, for free you done good!

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View History's profile

History

395 posts in 577 days


#5 posted 556 days ago

With all those wires hanging allover the place it looks to me like a HUGE safety hazzard. If you don’t know what your doing, as you have admitted, and from the looks of the picture, I think that you should send it off to the trash before someone gets hurt..

View FeralVermonter's profile

FeralVermonter

100 posts in 567 days


#6 posted 556 days ago

Yeah, I figured that this would be, at best, an “entry level” air compressor… a good way to learn about pneumatic tools… the more I learn, though, the more I’m interested. For my purposes, at the moment, 10 seconds at a time with a good die grinder sounds pretty desirable… and they’ve got a refurbished one at the local hardware store for $39…

Don’t get me wrong. From what I’ve read so far, there’s a lot of great reasons to invest in a good air system. It’s already jumped to the top of my list. But I am pretty sorely constrained by my budget at the moment, which is basically nonexistent. So, for the time being, I’m stuck with figuring out how to get the most out of this thing. Which, I figure, will be a pretty good education for the eventual upgrade. It’s a learner-compressor.

Thanks for the feedback. It’s weird how hard it can be to figure things out on your own: it can take you such a long time to figure out the most basic things. I’ll be going back over what I’ve read so far with an eye to CFMs.

My research has me drooling over something like this: https://www.google.com/shopping/product/2280795626355922539?q=air%20compressor&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=lgF&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=fflb&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.&bvm=bv.1357700187,d.dmQ&biw=1171&bih=590&sa=X&ei=LSvyUP77Dayx0QHn_IHYBQ&ved=0CJ8BEPMCMAQ

View Jerry's profile (online now)

Jerry

2158 posts in 2143 days


#7 posted 556 days ago

Like was said before, a die grinder is very likely out if range of operation for your compressor. Buying a grinder or most any other air tool will only serve as a reason or need to buy an upgraded compressor sufficient to support your newly acquired air tools. In the low to mid 200 range a nice oil lubricated pump rol air or comparable unit can be had, around 4 gallon tank and 4 or more CFM. Then you can die grind til your hearts content. In fact he upgraded compressor would allow you to spray some really nice finish coats, run nail guns, maybe run a pneumatic screw gun, pump up tires and an assortment of other fun air types of things. Your current compressor though, should run nail guns, which are very important to woodworkers, but I believe that is about it.

-- Jerry Nettrour, San Antonio, www.topqualitycabinets.net

View Tedstor's profile

Tedstor

1369 posts in 1229 days


#8 posted 556 days ago

Let me rephrase. You MIGHT get 10 seconds of full power with a die grinder. I doubt you’ll find the compressor to be adequate for your needs, but its worth a try.
I see 4 gal compressors on CL all the time that would run just about anything. Some sell for under $50.

View fuigb's profile

fuigb

164 posts in 1553 days


#9 posted 556 days ago

Blowing dust is about all you’ll be able to do with this size of compressor. The good news is that wands for accishing that are only about five bucks at Harbor Freight. Oh, and it’s kind of fun and satisfying to blow out the corners and other impossible-to-reach spots.

An old guy gave me an even older compressor one time, and I was like “what am I supposed to do with this?” Air tools and their care can be expensive and a chore, and frankly they seem like overkill outside of production shops. Still, maybe your kids could have fun with you in shop with the wand that I mentioned, and that wouldn’t be all bad.

-- - Crud. Go tell your mother that I need a Band-aid.

View FeralVermonter's profile

FeralVermonter

100 posts in 567 days


#10 posted 556 days ago

Well, shoot… yeah, I’ve come to pretty much the same conclusion myself, that it just isn’t fit for much.

@Sawsucker, thanks for the concern. Might not know much about woodworking, per se, but I take great pains to keep myself safe. If this thing had turned out worth the effort, I would have closed it all up safely before really trying to use it.

View FeralVermonter's profile

FeralVermonter

100 posts in 567 days


#11 posted 555 days ago

It also seems like an air compressor just really isn’t the sort of thing that you’d like to DIY—personally, I usually draw the line at “chance of explosion.”

Still have yet to find any real good resources on the topic, beyond some very, very basic introductions. The more I look into it, however, the more I’m convinced that a decent air compressor and some air tools definitely have an eventual space in my shop. So maybe I can run my thoughts by you guys for some more feedback:

What I’ve found so far tells me to start with the tools you’d like to use, pick the one with the highest SCFM, and then look for a tank that offers 1.5 that. Well… what’s really attractive about this, to me, is the combination of power and flexibility. But I don’t have a production shop, nor do I really intend to–what I want from my shop is the widest range of possibilities, not just for woodworking but for a variety of what I call “mad science projects.” So I’m interested in how pneumatic tools perform at the outside margins. The two tools on my list that seem to have the highest SCFM requirements are paint sprayers and especially the angle grinder (both seem to run in the neighborhood of 6). I can’t foresee using either tool all that often. So would it be feasible, given my situation, to get a decent compressor that can manage 6 SCFM and use those tools in intermittent blasts? And in this scenario, will a bigger tank make a difference? From what I understand so far, it would seem that a bigger tank would help that intermittent blast last a little longer. I do realize that this would be a frustrating setup: I’m just trying to get a handle on how, exactly, these things do what they do.

I know that I really don’t need anything over 100psi. Also that I’d rather keep the compressor in the 110V range (not hard and fast on that point, but it’d make things easier). So I’m looking at something like Central Pneumatic’s 2HP, 29Gal, 150psi compressor, which is capable of 5.9 SCFM @ 90psi. This should easily allow me to power all the things I’d be using regularly, and would want to be able to use reasonably continuously: drill, ratchet, hammer, die grinder. If it will allow me to power an angle grinder and a sprayer (even if I have to use them in short bursts) it should meet all my needs, and then some.

But is that overkill? Also looking at CP’s 2.5HP, 10Gal, 125psi compressor, which does 5.3 SCFM at 90psi. That compressor also does 6.2SCFM at 40psi… I could, after all, just buy a separate angle grinder, and continue doing my painting with a brush.

One final question (thanks for your patience): am I correct in thinking that a compressor’s horsepower relates to the speed at which it can refill the tank?

Thanks for the help!

View JoeinGa's profile

JoeinGa

3088 posts in 603 days


#12 posted 555 days ago

Horsepower alone isnt what fills the tank faster. The output of the pump is. And yes, the bigger the tank, the more air volume you’ll have.

In the short time I’ve read your posts I think you and I are somewhat alike. I have “Champagne taste on a Dr Pepper budget” and it seems you do also. So I always get a lot of satisfaction in making something when I cant afford to buy it. My compressor is mounted on a 35 gallon tank and although it didnt take too long to refill when the pressure switch kicked in, I always wanted more volume so I could run air powered tools for automotive use. I have DA sanders, air powered drill, an air hammer, several impact guns and paint guns for example.

So what I did was I found a compressor that the motor and pump was burned up (the guy gave it to me) and I stripped it down to just the tank. Since I didnt want to take up any more floor space, I hoisted it up to the ceiling and hung it there with chains. Then I plumbed an airline which daisy-chained it to my existing tank and TA DAAAA, I doubled my air volume for zero cost to me.

If you can find an HVAC guy near you ask if he has any old freon cans that he might give you. You could daisy-chain it to your little tank there and do the same thing I did.
.
.
This was my compressor “Before”

.
.
This is the tank from the burned up unit hung from chains

.
.
And this is my setup now

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Jerry's profile (online now)

Jerry

2158 posts in 2143 days


#13 posted 555 days ago

Now that is a neat set up Joe. I have wanted to do that. We run a speedaire 80 gallon with 7.5 hp motor and output of 25 CFM. Yes the specs are very adequate but we run our shop full time, and we run 2 DA, an air.drill, face frame table, other pneumatic clamps, spray guns. Always thinking of a way to maximize our capacity and have wanted to add a 60 gallon tank.

Joe, I would look to Rol Air myself. Price point is very fair for a quality product. American made product verse what you are looking for. A better built unit such as the Rol Air will likely be cheaper in the long run as it will still be hanging out with you 20 years from now. A hf version made cheaper might have you in the market for another or looking to rebuild the pump or looking for a new motor when these things wear out. I have wore out my fair share of heap compressors so I speak from experience. I would have probably 700.00 more in my acct today if I would have avoided cheap compressors from the get go.

Look on CL, every now and then I see a Rol air, a speedaire, an ingersol rand for a good fair price. And look to get an oiled pump. I would stay away from oiless.

-- Jerry Nettrour, San Antonio, www.topqualitycabinets.net

View FeralVermonter's profile

FeralVermonter

100 posts in 567 days


#14 posted 555 days ago

Champagne taste on a Dr. Pepper budget, I like it… though for me it’s a little more like Bourbon taste on an Old Crow budget…

Thanks for the feedback Joe. If you don’t mind, what do you think of the numbers I’ve posted above? Do they add up? I’m starting to piece it all together, but another (hopefully more experienced) set of eyes is always helpful… I’ve found enough, researching the matter, to know that I don’t want to go the DIY route, not until I understand things a LOT better, so I’ll be buying to get myself started. Someday. Might be a little work coming up though, so that might come sooner rather than later. I’m leaning towards something like the second compressor I mentioned, not least because of cost: the Central Pneumatic 2.5HP, 10Gal, 125psi compressor, which does 5.3 SCFM at 90psi—I believe I’ve found angle grinders that will operate at that rate of flow, at least in shorter bursts, and it seems more than sufficient to do everything else I can foresee wanting to do. Once I get the hang of that, maybe I’d start adding extra tanks…

View mtenterprises's profile

mtenterprises

815 posts in 1289 days


#15 posted 555 days ago

I use my small compressor, like yours mostly for my air brush.
MIKE

-- See pictures on Flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/44216106@N07/ And visit my Facebook page - facebook.com/MTEnterprises

showing 1 through 15 of 23 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase