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Old 10-19-2017, 09:33 PM   #1
Skippy
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Default What size air compressor

Folks potentially repainting my wheel paints this winter what size air compressor do you think will work for that size job. Do I need to go all in for a 30 gal? Or will something smaller get the job done


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Old 10-19-2017, 09:36 PM   #2
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Never painted before so will take all advice while I try to learn and tackle this project.


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Old 10-19-2017, 09:47 PM   #3
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I have a 30 gallon from Northern Tool. It's quite adequate for smaller painting jobs -- we used it for the cockpit and canopy frame of our (mumbles something about it not being a biplane) as well as a lot of priming on another project. No matter what you buy you'll probably never think, "Gee, I really have more air compressor than I need, wish I'd bought something smaller".
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Old 10-20-2017, 02:49 AM   #4
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I think for most of us, an air compressor is something you can safely buy at Harbor Freight (i.e. not something you use terribly often). I think they had a 30 gal for $150 a little bit ago. Wait until they print a 20% off coupon and pick one up for even less, maybe.
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Old 10-21-2017, 03:26 AM   #5
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Buy the largest you can afford, you won't be sorry. An oil lubed will be quieter than a dry one and will last much longer. I have a 30 gal. In my shop and it is nice but it would be small for painting. However pants are small items so probably adequate. I have an oil less in the garage to blow up tires only and it is one noise piece of cr*p but serves the purpose.
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Old 10-21-2017, 12:08 PM   #6
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Keep in mind tho that the bigger the compressor, the more amperage it will draw, and might even require 220. Out in the hangar, I have to shut off everything else and run an extension cord over to my neighbor's hangar to run the fans and booth lights to keep the 2.5hp, 30 gallon compressor from popping the breaker.
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Old 10-23-2017, 04:00 AM   #7
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Good point Ray, my neon lights flicker when the compressor is running and if it's cool I may lose a light or two on start up.
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Old 10-23-2017, 10:45 AM   #8
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All depends what you plan to do with compressed air.

If something serious (other than inflating tires) you probably want a 220v.

It's not the size of the tank but can it put in more air than you are taking out. An 80 gallon tank will empty quickly with a spray gun drawing air, with only a mini compressor filling it.

I saw this on craigslist New Bern. It looks a bit shabby, but could serve you well. And it's 220, if you have that available.
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Old 10-23-2017, 11:09 AM   #9
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Never knew of anybody that was sorry they bought a big air compressor but know of several that was sorry they bought too small. Those oil less things are for people that fill tires and air mattresses once in a while. Harbor Freight would be my last stop in shopping for an air compressor.
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Old 10-23-2017, 01:13 PM   #10
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That Bern Eric posted will be far better than a new HF unit. Eric is right, to a point , about tank size. The advertisements quoting tank size are misleading, CFM means more. However, that said, a bigger tank, on any compressor, will be a benefit. If your compressor is marginal, add another tank inline. It will take longer to fill, and longer to empty, that will help especially on small jobs. It will also give more opportunity for water to condense out, giving dryer air.
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Old 10-23-2017, 01:17 PM   #11
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just so you don't waste your money....... with respect to HF stuff, with the exeption to their 9 dollar paint gun, if it has an air fitting on it or an electrical cord, stay away from it. most everything else in the store you can get your moneys worth out of before it breaks on you. that's what ive found anyways........ as others have said, you can never have too big a compressor and once you have it youll use it a lot.......
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Old 10-23-2017, 03:09 PM   #12
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Hypothetical Question what if you had a 30 gallon compressor and your buddy had one that you can barrow could you tie them together in parallel ?

I have neither a 30 gal compressor or a buddy just merely asking.
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Old 10-23-2017, 04:11 PM   #13
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Absolutely, if you have the hydro to run both. On big sandblasting jobs I run a 10 hp electric and a diesel compressor in series.
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Old 10-23-2017, 04:52 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skippy View Post
Hypothetical Question what if you had a 30 gallon compressor and your buddy had one that you can barrow could you tie them together in parallel ?

I have neither a 30 gal compressor or a buddy just merely asking.
As to the pumping part of a compressor. If you have a 5 hp pump and you double it with an add, on you should get 10 hp.
But the question is how much air can they produce?
Better than working alone.

As I was saying, the tank is not so important, it's how fast the compressor pump can fill it or keep it filled.

I am not saying tanks are not important. For example a DeWalt nailing gun compressor has a very small tank, for mobility sake. But good for quick bursts of good PSI air
But not good for continuous use.

Hypothetically speaking:
If your equipment needs 15 CFM of air to run (at a best performance PSI)

Say a spray gun =15 CFM consumption@ 30 PSI
This tool requires 15 Cubic Feet of air per Minute

How many cubic feet of air in the tank? = say 90., that would give you 3 minutes to empty the tank.
Now put two tanks in tandem = 6 minutes.
So double the working time if you tandem two identical tanks.

Its nice to have a reservoir (reserve) but sometimes you need a river to keep the quantity up and not a stream If too many people are using water at one time.
Otherwise the reservoir runs dry.

By the way, as the reservoir runs lower, the line pressure drops a little.
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Old 10-23-2017, 06:06 PM   #15
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And as the pressure drops the air quantity increases. At least a bit. Tanks ganged up works great but takes up space unless you put them outside. It should also increase your diligence as a rusted tank can ruin your day!
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Old 10-23-2017, 08:27 PM   #16
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Make sure you have a water separator what ever you decide on
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Old 10-23-2017, 09:58 PM   #17
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I use a nicer contractor/nailer type compressor and it works fine for painting smaller things. I see no drop in pressure but it does run quite a bit while painting (guess it can keep up on the motor/pump alone). I'm in New Bern too if you want to give it a go to see how it does with your wheel pants.
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Old 10-24-2017, 01:02 AM   #18
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What type of compressor are you using and when you say it works well for small job, how small compared to a wheel pant. Actually haven't lived in New Bern (KEWN) since 2014 but can't figure out how to change my location the forum, in Tampa now.
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Old 10-24-2017, 04:47 PM   #19
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It's a 4 gal tank dewalt but has an oiled pump compressor that works pretty good. Youd need a water and oil separator but it would work fine for wheel pants, a cowl, or individual panels. Probably not good for wings, fuse or frame.
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Old 10-25-2017, 08:52 AM   #20
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A few years back I discovered 2 pack aerosols. They are "trade only" (you still need an air fed mask) I get them made up by the local auto paint suppliers colour matched to my aeroplane. Once activated (you break a seal on the bottom of the can to release the hardener into the top section) I can get them to last about 3 days if stored in the fridge.

I painted all the interior of my RV build and most of the metal parts of my pitts with them. The advantages are many fold - Perfect "mix" (Paint / hardener / thinner ratio). Perfect spray pressure to match above, Perfect paint hygene, awesome coverage, less waste, and last but not least - less mess .

I could paint a pair of spats with 1 can of each colour (@ about 16 per can here in the UK)

The results are better than I can get with my compressor / devilbiss spray gun set up. If you are not painting for a living I'd suggest they are very difficult to beat.

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Old 10-31-2017, 12:14 AM   #21
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Speaking of wheel pants I noticed the Oracle Challenger has a NACA style scoop In the front portion, anyone know why ? I can't imagine brake cooling is a real issue so is there a aerodynamic reason?


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