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  1. #1
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    Why get an air compressor?

    Hi,

    I read the "show us your shop" thread, and there was a comment in there exhorting some one to add a compressor to their shop. Something along the lines of "once you get one you will wonder how you lived without it"....

    I a curious what the uses are beyond the obvious pumping up tires (which my floor pump manages quite well). I would like to have one to blow the solvent out/dry of my chains/parts when I clean them, but are there any other uses I am unaware of?

    Thanks,
    Bruce.

  2. #2
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    plain and simple, it is to save time. nail guns, blow guns, impact wrenchs, air hammers. all can be done with hand tools or powered

  3. #3
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    some more painting, sandblasting. I use mine everyday for something. I think it is 80-100 gallon and stands in the corner. Bought it used for 150.00 best money I ever spent.

  4. #4
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    For me, it's Tubeless set up and cleaning off dusty/grimy parts with air. When you can instantly seat any tubeless tires with no mess or fuss, it becomes indispensible.

  5. #5
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    When I moved north, I left my just too big compressor behind w me Dad, for his barn. Once relocated, soon I found I needed one -preferably, to do some custom projects.

    Then when I started to run our mtb's tubeless -what a treat.

    Anyway, used air compressors are one of the more ubiquitous items in the tool section of Craigslist.
    Two days of looking and I got a nice 2hp 20 gal w 25' of heavy duty hose for $75. Glad I didn't wait for all the times I tend to use it.

    (Plus I feel good keeping the vehicles' tire pressures right on, instead of guiltily waiting for a station opp).

    .

  6. #6
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    Grip removal.

  7. #7
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    So many uses... here are a few more:

    Cleaning the dust and funk off of your car's dashboard and center console.

    Blowing water out of wheels, panel joints and mirrors after washing the car. Makes drying the car much quicker

  8. #8
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    Something to consider when shopping. The oilless ones are noisy.

  9. #9
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    An air compressor is great for all of the above uses, but really only make sense if you'll be doing one or more of the above frequently. The larger ones take up a lot of space, and the small ones give up a lot of volume for extended use. They're annoyingly noisy and can be a hassle if you use it infrequently enough that you need to dig it out and let it run to fill before using it.

    A permanently installed one in a distant corner or another utility room, with some retractable hoses from the cieling... now you're talking

  10. #10
    Birdman aka JMJ
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    Quote Originally Posted by lwright View Post
    grip removal.
    x2!

    Jmj

  11. #11
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    It's not just for bike use... I use mine for keeping my cars tires at the correct psi (better mpg)... Dusting/blowing out anything dusty, grab a 10$ spray gun from HF and now you can stain/paint anything without having to go through 20 spray-bomb cans...
    Oil-less units are loud (but smaller), try and grab a good oiled pump compressor off CL for cheap... Remember to drain it!!!
    "Are you a girl? Keep that huge ass and deal with it. Are you a guy? Ride your bike more. You disgust me."

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1967marti View Post
    Remember to drain it!!!
    THIS.

    I was at my friend's shop a few weeks ago using a rarely used part of the airline and it turned the ratchet into a lawn sprinkler. This is so bad for the tools, lines, tank, etc.
    Try to at least drain tank once every few weeks and put a half decent separator/dryer in the line near to the tank as you can. Start playing with plasma cutter and this becomes even more crucial.
    Time wounds all heels...

  13. #13
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    Don't forget that you need one to do any dental work on your buddies after a long ride and numerous beers

  14. #14
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    We are still not thinking far enough out of the box...

    - Filling beach balls, rafts, and other various pool toys.
    - Filling 100's of balloons for party decorations
    - Converting stomp rockets into ballistic missiles
    - Converting home-made science project soda bottle water rockets into soda bottle water ballistic missiles
    - Converting PVC marshmallow blow guns into non-lethal riot control weapons
    - Modifying nerf guns so that you can reach the squirrels on the bird feeder from a concealed location
    - Filling (and refilling, and refilling, and refilling) rocket balloons as a kid's party activity
    - Making funny squeaky fart noises with the blow gun and your hands
    - Starting a new tool collection (impact wrenches, socket wrenches, air chisel/hammers, die grinders, cut-off tools, spray guns, etc.)
    - Starting to rotate your tires yourself because you bought the impact wrench and now have to justify the purchase to your wife. Rotating her tires, too.
    - Obsessing about how to plumb your shop for compressed air so you are never more than arm's length from a connection
    - Getting brand new hoses (even thought the old ones worked fine) because you like the color better

    All of the above and more was made possible with a Campbell-Hausfeld 25-gallon horizontal tank compressor with an old-school cast iron pump that my wife got me for Christmas 20 years ago. I highly recommend avoiding the oil-less designs, they are bloody loud when they fire up.

    Oh...almost forgot the best use of all. I won't try to put words to this, you can see for yourself (safe for work unless you work at PETA):

    Air Skinning a Coyote - YouTube
    Inflating a racoon - YouTube
    Dad is sad.
    Very, very sad.
    He had a bad day.
    What a day Dad had!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dad Man Walking View Post
    We are still not thinking far enough out of the box...

    - Filling beach balls, rafts, and other various pool toys.
    - Filling 100's of balloons for party decorations
    - Converting stomp rockets into ballistic missiles
    - Converting home-made science project soda bottle water rockets into soda bottle water ballistic missiles
    - Converting PVC marshmallow blow guns into non-lethal riot control weapons
    - Modifying nerf guns so that you can reach the squirrels on the bird feeder from a concealed location
    - Filling (and refilling, and refilling, and refilling) rocket balloons as a kid's party activity
    - Making funny squeaky fart noises with the blow gun and your hands
    - Starting a new tool collection (impact wrenches, socket wrenches, air chisel/hammers, die grinders, cut-off tools, spray guns, etc.)
    - Starting to rotate your tires yourself because you bought the impact wrench and now have to justify the purchase to your wife. Rotating her tires, too.
    - Obsessing about how to plumb your shop for compressed air so you are never more than arm's length from a connection
    - Getting brand new hoses (even thought the old ones worked fine) because you like the color better

    All of the above and more was made possible with a Campbell-Hausfeld 25-gallon horizontal tank compressor with an old-school cast iron pump that my wife got me for Christmas 20 years ago. I highly recommend avoiding the oil-less designs, they are bloody loud when they fire up.

    Oh...almost forgot the best use of all. I won't try to put words to this, you can see for yourself (safe for work unless you work at PETA):

    Air Skinning a Coyote - YouTube
    Inflating a racoon - YouTube
    funny, i tried selling the idea of wintering our own sprinkler system(more like, for tubeless applications) by buying a compressor to the wife and all i heard from her was her making a snoring sound more like her saying here we go again, ive heard this before.. .
    2014 TREK FARLEY
    2013 TREK RUMBLEFISH PRO
    2012 TREK SUPERFLY AL ELITE

  16. #16
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    The larger tank ones-like the ones you keep in a corner and run line too-you still have to drain daily yeah? So every day you use you have to make sure to drain?

  17. #17
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    Draining it every day would not be a bad idea....But is not needed unless you run an auto-shop.
    The reason you get water in your tank is because the pump compresses the air and makes heat + water (from compressing the moisture naturally found in the air). There is no cost effective way around this (at least not for an at-home set-up).

    First of all in its stock form the drain valve is the same as on a cars radiator, so it looks like a wing-nut that you screw into itself to open it. This sucks because it is small and is at the very bottom of the tank.

    There are a few ways to go about the drain issue: Some people get some 1/4 npt fittings and a small ball valve. Extend it out so you can reach it without having to crawl on your hands and knees to drain the tank.

    The second way is to go to harbor freight and get one of their auto-valves for a compressor (replace the plastic tube with a copper one though). This valve will open every time the compressor blows it's head pressure (AKA that hiss you hear right after the pump turns off). By doing this you are getting rid of any water that has developed after the last time the pump ran... This is a good solution but not the best IMO.

    The third and best way (I think anyway) is to get an auto-valve that is on an electric timer (cost between 130-250 on Grainger or McMaster Carr). This valve will open at a set time and duration that you input. This works great because the best time to remove the moisture in your compressors tank is after the air has cooled and collected in the bottom. I have mine go off for 15 seconds every late afternoon (usually after I’m done in the shop and the compressor has stopped running for a few hours).

    The only real downside to this is that after a few days your compressors will kick on because the pressure has been let out in small bursts over the course of a few days. But on the plus side you will always have a tank of pressurized air and no water rusting out the bottom of your tank.

    Edit: forgot to add that most tanks will have a sticker to drain every week, but this depends on when you use it... After it stops running for the last time wait a few hours and then crack open the valve for 10-15 sec. You should be good to go after that.
    Last edited by 1967marti; 10-23-2012 at 09:29 AM. Reason: Add info
    "Are you a girl? Keep that huge ass and deal with it. Are you a guy? Ride your bike more. You disgust me."

  18. #18
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    Awesome info! Thanks! I had a larger air compressor and sold it due to newt really having a need for something so big. Ended up buying a 5 gallon pancake that I've been using and has worked well for me. I'm doing a lot if my own home remodel so small and portable works great for me. Now I built a workshop in the backyard and was toying with the idea of placing a larger air compressor and running lines from it into the main area-the timer valve sounds great! What I did now was I built a little station using a 10 gallon portable tank and my little pancake. Both are connected and feed my lines to a regulator and filter, then I also have a second line with a inline oiler.

  19. #19
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    Sounds like a good setup. A large oiled compressor will be much quieter and last much-much longer.
    I also have my 80-gal compressor outside with a copper line running inside to a few drops.
    Just make sure you use a flexible hose between the compressor and hard-lines. I use a 3/4 hydraulic hose I got made for me at a tractor supply store, but any “hose” shop should be able to make you one for under 30 bucks.
    Way-to-go with the inline lube set-up, most people over-look the fact that air-tools need oil put through them on a rather frequent basis. Another good trick I learned for that is to have two different hoses, one for your oiled air tools and another color for your “clean air” used for things like dusting, painting and filling tires. I take it one step further and use the automotive style quick-disconnects for one hose and the standard type for the other. That way if I’m being lazy I can’t swap hoses between drops even if I wanted to.
    "Are you a girl? Keep that huge ass and deal with it. Are you a guy? Ride your bike more. You disgust me."

  20. #20
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    I think I may look into a larger one-actually have the perfect spot for it! What size do you recommend for a small shop. I'd basically need it for inflating tires, some painting and using my brad nailer.

  21. #21
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    Painting will be your biggest user of air. The bigger your tank the bigger the "buffer" you will have so that you won't notice any drop in pressure at the gun. I would get nothing smaller than a 60gal single stage. A 2 stage compresser is not needed unless you are running something air crazy like a large-ish blasting booth. But you can't go wrong if you can find a good 2 stage on CL.
    Another thing to think about is if you have access to 220V where your compressor will go?
    If yo uhave access you your breaker box it's an easy fix though....
    "Are you a girl? Keep that huge ass and deal with it. Are you a guy? Ride your bike more. You disgust me."

  22. #22
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    I do! Made sure to add its own sub panel to the workshop/man cave! Would one of the Craftsman professional compressors do the job? Thanks for the info!

  23. #23
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    Craftsman pro series should do you just fine. I've neve had a with any of the oil puped craftsmans that I've had. We are talking the tall black ones right? If so than that's a good choice. They don't come with any fancy drain so for ease of use you'd have to do something like i talked about before.
    Even though you CAN use a normal wall outlet to use with 220V, I would install a twist-lock socket and plug for the compressor. Also make sure you match up the breaker to the pump, i have a bigger compressor and it still uses a 2x 15amp breaker (i think my motor is rated at 11 ampmax).

    If you need it i can sent you a list of homedepot/lowes part numbers that you will need to get it running.
    "Are you a girl? Keep that huge ass and deal with it. Are you a guy? Ride your bike more. You disgust me."

  24. #24
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    Sure that would be great! Ok gonna start pricing them-do you know if anyone makes something with the auto valves built in?

  25. #25
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    No, I’ve yet to see any compressor with a auto-drain as standard equipment…
    Here’s your list of needed parts… This is the way that I would hook it up, but of course you COULD go cheaper and use a standard 20A socket and plug-end and wire it up for 220V.

    Lowes shopping list:

    1. Pass & Seymour/Legrand 20-Amp Black Locking Locking Electrical Outlet, Item #: 246669Model #: L520-RCCV3, $13.97

    2. Pass & Seymour/Legrand 30-Amp 125-Volt Black 3-Wire Grounding Plug, Item #: 246659Model #: L530-PCCV3, $17.90

    3. STEEL CITY 1-Gang Metal Old Work Electrical Box, Item #: 74218 | Model #: 51-20L /OR/ STEEL CITY 14.5 cu in Handy Metal Electrical Box


    Item #: 74216 | Model #: 5837112-20L (Depends if you want the box in the wall or outside the wall). under 3$ a peice.

    4.Pass & Seymour/Legrand 1-Gang Stainless Steel Standard Single Receptacle Stainless Steel Wall Plate, Item #: 103996 | Model #: SL720CC15, $1.96

    5. Eaton Type BR Double Pole 20-Amp Circuit Breaker, Item #: 94436 | Model #: BR220, $8.37


    6. Misc connecting wires (at least 20amp rated)
    "Are you a girl? Keep that huge ass and deal with it. Are you a guy? Ride your bike more. You disgust me."

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