mad_machine SuperDork
8/2/09 4:15 p.m.

I know the welders are junk.. but I need an air compressor, but I do not want to spend a fortune for it. needs enough volume to paint and run air tools without it cycling every 10 seconds

ditchdigger Reader
8/2/09 4:49 p.m.

I have this one

It is pretty loud

It uses a plastic air line into a compression fitting for internal regulation that, after the machine runs for a while and gets hot softens and blows out. It is an odd metric size so just replacing it is problematic. IIRC I had to make some adapters to install regular 1/4" compression fittings so I could use copper line. That fixed the problem.

Any ambient temperature under 40 degrees or so and it is hard to start up. at 30 degrees I have to warm it with a propane torch for a few seconds or it simply will not run.

Other than that it compresses and stores air. It isnt really big enough for what I need though.

Trans_Maro HalfDork
8/2/09 5:03 p.m.

Those direct-drive compressors like the one shown in the link are junk.

I know, I had to service them for 5 years until I convinced the company to stop bringing them in.

You need to look a belt driven air compressor. They will outlast anything else by a long shot. Campbell Hausfeld, Ingersoll, Devair, Speedare, Kellogg, Gardner Denver, Quincy all make good units.

Even the chinese-built belt driven pumps are half decent, Kobalt, Habor Freight, Princess Auto and suck all have these pumps and they're not bad for the price you pay.

I have a chinese V-twin 3hp on my shop compressor and I've been working it hard for the last three years with no trouble. It even spent 6 months in the boiler room of my in-law's drycleaners when their unit failed.

Watch of the HP rating, it's generally grossly overrated by the manufacturer.

15A draw at 110V is roughly 1.5hp. Some manufacturers will sell this as a 5hp machine because when the motor starts it will draw 3x the full-load draw (capacitor start motors) and they rate it by the 45A it's drawing. This is a lie.

You can't get a machine that is over 1.5hp on a conventional house circuit.

The most important thing is the output CFM at 90psi, compare the draw of your tools to that and it will tell you if the machine is big enough.

If you want to paint without stopping, you'll need a 220V, 20A compressor to keep up.

Noise: Most of the noise you're hearing is from the intake system. My shop machine has a 6' long piece of 3/4" air hose attached to the inlet with the air filter placed in the rafters of the shop.

I can have a normal converation with someone in my shop while my compressor is running. The added intake length cuts the noise quite a bit.


mad_machine SuperDork
8/2/09 10:29 p.m.

good to know about the intake noise.. and all I can draw is 15 amps.. I rent the garage and that is all I have

Trans_Maro HalfDork
8/2/09 11:47 p.m.

I don't think you are going to get a machine that will give you enough air to paint a car with only 15A.

You might get by with a touch-up gun but not a full-on spray gun.

If you're only planning to paint a car or two over the years, consider renting a gas-powered contractor's compressor, They're small enough to be portable but make a ton of air.

Campbell Hausfeld makes a wheelbarrow style 5hp gas machine that supplies enough air to paint with. They are loud though.


JThw8 SuperDork
8/3/09 7:50 a.m.

Yes and no to what Trans_Maro said.

You should have a bigger compressor for sure. But I have sucessfully painted quite a few cars using a little 25 gallon 2hp compressor using both standard and HVLP guns. You need to take your time and plan your spray to allow for some short "recovery" periords but it can be done. If you are new to this then you will probably find more frustration than its worth though.

That being said I did eventually move up to a much bigger 220v 7hp 80 gallon compressor and its much easier to work with when painting.

On the subject of air tools though, that's probably where you will suffer more especially if as you said you dont want it cycling often. Using an impact wrench with my old compressor I had to wait for it to catch up alot.

Also as mentioned the small direct drive compressors are LOUD, annoyingly so.

poopshovel SuperDork
8/4/09 11:16 a.m.

Go to craigslist. Search "Ingersol Rand" and "Campbell Hausfield." HF's great for "disposable" tools. Not so much for large purchases.

Keith SuperDork
8/4/09 1:30 p.m.

Pawn shops are a good place to find tools and compressors. I suspect that is particularly true these days - I do hate to see someone having to sell their tools.

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