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Old 12-31-2003, 01:30 PM   #1
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Air compressor

I am wanting to buy a roll around type air compressor for home use. It will be used for general pump up, rv tires and such, and also in the warmer weather to spray paint some lower body trim area, and so on.
How about some opinions on the size and power ratings?
I can get a 2hp small tank Cambell-hausfield with all sorts of tools for 175 or move up to a 5hp 15gallon with out tools for 197.
Also saw a nice coleman 5.5 with 18gallon tank, no tools for 235.
What have you guys used? Thanks
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Old 12-31-2003, 01:46 PM   #2
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air compressor

Happy New Year AlanSD-
when you spray, you want the biggest tank you can be happy with. You'll be squeezing LOTS of water out of the air in GA. In a big tank the water has a chance to cool and condense. I recommend you get some kind of filter/separator to take out some of the water (especially) when you spray. Also besure to compare the delivery rates in cu. ft. min. I think compressor ratings are .standardized at 40# & 90#.
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Old 12-31-2003, 01:56 PM   #3
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oil-less?

The new oil-less compressors are LOUD, and don't last as long as the oil-filled (although they are supposedly cheap and easy to rebuild). I did some painting with a borrowed oil-less compressor several years ago. I had to move it as far away from the paintbooth as possible due to the noise. I'm much happier with my oil-filled compressor even though you would never hear a pin drop while it is running.

Try and listen to a comparison between the two before making a final decision.
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Old 12-31-2003, 02:21 PM   #4
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Bigger is better - up to a point

Alan:

As with all tools, you pretty much get what you pay for.

For general needs, except for painting, I would have to recommend an el cheepo campbell-hausfield.

If your anything like me, I use it only on occassion, mostly for airing tires, air nailers and staplers (almost no air useage), and an occasional impact tool to change or rotate tires. I did use mine when I built the Airstream Port to run a butterfly driver and an air drill, but the drilling could have been done with electric.

One area I do use it for with regularity, though is on the Airstream. I have been wetsanding the difficult areas on the 345 as I polish.
Start with 100 grit, work up to 2000. After the 2000 grit, I hit it with rubbing compound and SS. Each section seems to work a little differently, and I am still working on the front end only. If you intend to polish, get an air tool kit that includes a "jitterbug" sander.

Tool kits can be found all over, Wally World and Sams both had some real buys this past Christmas for under 90 bucks. The more complete the tool kit, generally, I think, the better the bargain. This is one place that shopping around will save a bunch of bucks.
(See if there is a Harbor Freight or similar store in your area.)

As I get older I find that I cannot outwork a 2 HP compressor, and very seldom finding myself waiting on air pressure or volume any more.

I have a large two cylinder back at the shop in New Orleans, and lots and lots of volume to bring the pressure down in stages for drying and pressure stability for painting, but here in Houston I have only a 2 HP.

I did have to change out the one here last month. Had a small craftsman recip that gave up the ghost after many years, was going to get the same thing, but my neighbor made me an offer I couldn't refuse on a Coleman oiless unit.

Works fine for general purpose work (I think I'll leave painting to the pros from now on), and even though I miss the familar "chugita-chugita", it gets the job done.

Be sure you get a volume tank that you can handle and store easily, as I usually find I have to take the compressor to the job, rather than stringing out a hundred feet air line.

I usually set the "stop" pressure for 80 psi. The discharge to 120 psi is a stretch for a single stage compressor, besides, no use compressing all that air to a high pressure when almost all of the requirements are for 40 psi or less. It only takes a couple of seconds to raise the pressure setting to 100 psi for the 345 requirements. I generally let the on board compressor pressurize the 345's holding tank.


Good Luck!!!

Keep us posted.
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Old 12-31-2003, 03:20 PM   #5
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thanks for the ideas so far. Dennis are you saying th 2HP will not cut it for painting? Would the 5hp do it? Is it because the tank is so small? I am wanting to paint the lower gray trim work, and also the spare tire cover, and who knows what else....
My neighbor has a large 5.5 hp with what I guess is a 40 gallon tank, he wants to sell, seems to work great but is heck to move around.
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Old 12-31-2003, 04:04 PM   #6
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I am browsing through my Sears Craftsman catalog and it shows that you can get away with a 2 HP, 6 gallon, 135 max psi for home use and automotive spray gun. It shows that you can move up a step to a 3 HP, 15 gallon, 150 max psi for home and professional use with the automotive spray gun. In this case, more is better! I really like the 5.5 HP, 22 gallon, 150 max psi vertical cpmpressor they have at $289.99 and weighs 135 lbs. Since it stands upright, storage space taken up is small. You just need to make sure that the spray gun you are going to use can be handled by the compressor. The last one I mentioned can handle up to a 3/4 inch impact wrench. 3/8 inch ratchets would be a breeze.
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Old 12-31-2003, 04:37 PM   #7
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alan

i've got a 30 year old rol-aire 5 hp with a 40 gallon tank.

rebuilt it twice. tough as nails.

bought it used years ago. for what you will be using it for, don't be afraid to get a larger used unit!

check your classifieds or auction notices and see if any are out there.

as for painting, i have two guns, a big one and a smaller touch up gun. both binks.

both used and work great!

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Old 12-31-2003, 04:46 PM   #8
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Another thought, do you have a surplus outlet for Sears or other brands. A friend of mine recently purchased a nice compressor that had a scratch on the tank. He saved a bundle. Also, check Northern Tools, formerly Northern Hydraulic, for compressors as well as Harbor Freight.
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Old 12-31-2003, 05:26 PM   #9
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Go for it

QUOTE]My neighbor has a large 5.5 hp with what I guess is a 40 gallon tank, he wants to sell, seems to work great but is heck to move around.

Alan:

I'm all for a bargain!

Definitely, if you have the room and the electrical hook up (I assume the compressor does not require a 3-phase hookup), the big compressor would be the way to go. I would guess that the 5.5 HP is 220 volts, if it is in any way portable you will have to invest in 220 extension cords.

For portability (car tires, wheelbarrows, etc.) you can pick up a 3 gallon portable tank for less than 20 bucks, and both coiled and conventional rubber air hose is cheap enough.

The larger recips are generally reliable, and, short of a rod or crank, repairable. Usually it's valves, seats, and springs that go bad, and they are replaceable on most brand name compressors.
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Old 12-31-2003, 05:36 PM   #10
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I run a auto repair shop and do body work so, one thing to consider when looking at a air compressor is to get one that has a two stage compressor instead of a single stage. A single stage will run most smaller air tools and spray guns, but will lack in cfm to run sand blasters or DA's. Two stage compressors are more costly up front, but will out last a single stage by years. To be honest I learned this the hard way. But if you just need it for home use and small jobs, don't get me wrong a single stage compressor will do it for less money and will probably last a long time.
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Old 12-31-2003, 05:44 PM   #11
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CFM and pressure are the most important with a compressor. Tank size will determine how often the pump runs and how long it runs, a larger tank means more time between runs but it will run a little longer. That is good because of the noise and everything has more time to cool. 5.5 hp is more than you will ever need with a roll around compressor. I've got a 2 stage and it is 7 1/2 hp. Slower rpm's are a plus, so is a cast iron pump, quieter and it will last longer. A spray gun doesn't use much air and uses it at relatively low pressure so nearly any compressor will run one. Most air tools will run on 100 lbs. of air so anything over that will cut the time the compressor runs. Drills, sanders. and grinders use the most air. Any decent sized roll around will run an impact. Drills and grinders will run but probably use more air than than the compressor puts out so you have time waiting and are overworking the compressor. Decide what you want for tools and size the compressor output to that.

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Old 12-31-2003, 06:26 PM   #12
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air compressors

By all means go with the 2 stage--you'll love it.

a real creampuff single stage is the Grainger 4B227.
It will fill your needs i've had 2 in 20+ years and I only replaced a valve in *one*. They saw a lot of hours. They were still strong when I sold them and I know one of them is still working fine...my friend sprayed enamel last week with it. It will draw 15 amps so use a new 20amp circuit breaker or you can use it in 220 mode.
about 400.00
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Old 12-31-2003, 06:35 PM   #13
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Believe it or not, the 5.5 HP Craftsman I was looking at is a 110 (120) volt rather than the 220 volt version. They are single stage but you are correct in stating the double stage units will last longer if you are doing heavy work.
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Old 01-01-2004, 09:14 AM   #14
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I think Sears hired Tim Allen to choose the motors for a lot of their machines-MORE POWER!!! 5.5 hp is 34 amps at 120 volts. I found one on their site that is 6 hp and draws 15 amps, that is more like 2.4 true hp. Put your money in the pump not an over rated motor, that is what will actually power the tools.

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