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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
All I need one for is to blow out guns and parts when disassembling and cleaning. I'm at a loss as to which size tank I should be looking at.

Would a little 1- or 2-gallon pancake compressor do the job? Or should I be looking at five gallons or larger?

Any good sources for such a piece of equipment?
Thanks, Boltman.
 

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Go to Sears and buy what's on sale. If you are going to use it for strickly blowing air on to parts anything will do provided your volume and production is low. Some of the smaller pancake type units are actually more expensive that the average size units. Who knows, maybe you will find other uses for it too like airing up tires or running a die grinder for short time periods.
 

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Compressors should be purchased by CFM, which is a volume measurement, and not by pressure. Any air tool you want to use, except a blow gun, will have a CFM requirement. So first make a list of the tools you think you will use in the future, and base your compressor size on the largest CFM rating you come up with. Some tools may surprise you. Make sure to buy a compressor that is rated well above your highest CFM requirement. A larger tank will give you more reserve, and will extend the time before the compressor kicks on, but after that it's all up to the compressor. Lower ratings will have you waiting longer for the compressor to catch up.
Hope that helps!
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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I can't imagine you need much more than the smallest one available. Of course, you may find other uses later.

Be sure to drain the tank after each use, or they'll quickly rust.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Thanks for the help.

My reason for asking: I was about to throw $50 at an el cheapo one-gallon pancake compressor. Then someone told me it would about as useful as puffing up the cheeks and blowing through a soda straw for five seconds. I realize that's an exaggeration, but how much of one I don't know.

Now that I think about it, it would be useful to have the necessary capacity for one of those tiny sandblasters they sell in auto parts stores. I'll check out the CFM rating and head to Sears because I doubt the little pancake will do that job.

Appreciate your time.
 

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I have two compressors a large 30 gal single stage and a Home Depot 2 gal special. The special came with a brad nailer and a pin nailer. The bigger one now sets most of the time as I don't want to fire it up just to topup a car tire. The smaller 2gl is very portable and that was the reason I bought it. But for just blowing off some small parts why use 5hp for a 1-2 min. use?

Sand blasting takes a lot of cfm, the small hand held units are good for small jobs but for anything larger you should have a pot gun or a cabnet type. And also a larger compressor.

Watch the new years day ad's the 4 AM specials at HD there may be something you could use.
 

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What kind of voltalge do you have? 1.5hp is about as big as you can get and still run on 115. Most any larger will require 220/240. If you can afford it, get a 5 - 7 hp (that's in a home type compressor) that puts out at least 13CFM and a 60 - 80 gallon tank. The average single stage compressor in that size will give you approx 130 psi. A two stage will give you approx 160 - 175 psi and will deliver approx 17 cfm. The reason for goin big, I've never seen anyone with an air compressor start trying to use if for all sorts of projects and those little get too small real quick. I also prefer a belt driven piston compressor those direct drive, diaphram type. While the diaphram type deliver plenty of air, they usually don't last no where near as long as the piston type.
 

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I've got a 2hp (230V/12.0A) single stage twin, 10cfm on a 20 gallon tank here at home and consider it just barely acceptable, but I run more than a brad nailer too.
I might be spoiled too?, the compressor at work is a 10hp V4 two stage on a 100+ gallon tank, and it operates between 140 and 175!
Figure out what you'll think you may need and get one twice that big.
 

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watch the output as i have a crapsman 6 hp 33 gal unit and have found it to be a nuisance to use. it does not recover fast enough. if you try something such as painting you will blow the tank off then the motor just runs continuously. once motor starts it takes about 8 minutes for pressure to rebuild with no draw.
 

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For Christams, my wife bought one of Porter Cable's 6-gal little pancake compressors. Of course, I asked her to take a look at it. Home Depot (et al) has them.

It's fine for blowing out cases and any other activity, such as running nail guns (which I do) and airing up the truck tires. They're $160 and come with a little kit including a little 1/4" air hose and some tools and adaptors. It weighs 34#, which was my primary consideration. SO often, I need to transport my compressor out back and, though I have plenty of 3/8 hose, it's still a hassle. This little auzillary is perfect for that. I can take it out back and, if I need more air than is in the tank, my generator is out there, ready to run.

The thing about compressors is: you'll find their usefullness in more than just blowing out cases. For that reason, I recommend spending the extra and getting a 5 or 6 gal portable if your budget allows.
 

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Sand blasting takes a lot of cfm, the small hand held units are good for small jobs but for anything larger you should have a pot gun or a cabnet type. And also a larger compressor.
That's good advice.

The only thing wrong with big compressors is cost and they tie up room. Everything else, in my opinion, is reasons to own one. Piston compressors last a long time and aren't nearly as nerve racking to listen to as the small oilless types. Especially if you have to be in the same room with it. Grinders, polishers, drills and blast cabinets use alot of air. It's amazing how many uses you will discover once you have a machine that will support any air powered tool.

Just my experience and opinion.
 

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Oilless compressors (the noisy ones) are referred to in the compressor industry as "throw aways". When they break its cheaper to throw it away and buy a new one rather than fix it. I am a dealer for Campbell Hausfeld, Ingersoll Rand and Champion compressors and in my personal opinion the Campbell Hausfeld is the best buy for the money when it comes to non-commercial compressors. They have a good warranty and, with proper maintenance, will last a good while.

The number one killer of the oilless compressors is overworking them. 95% of the oilless compressors that I do warranty work on have been overworked and the pump arm and sleeve have to be replaced.
 

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I have a CH oilless I bought a few years ago on sale. It has long outlasted its intended use..... sanding boat bottoms once a year. Boat is gone, but I still use that compressor for tires, a body saw, a die-grinder. Have worn out 3 or 4 DA's. But, the compressor probably doesn't run 20 hours a year anymore.
 

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HF has a sale going on right now, they have a 3 gallon small compressor for about $50. If you out grow it and buy a larger unit you will still have the small one that you can take with you when needed.
 

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I have a small CH oil-less it is really loud. I use a small air brush compressor for most gun stuff and when I need more air I got a line plumed from the shop compressor into the basement. It has a regulator mounted right inside the "gun room" (as the wife calls it) I made a manifold inside the room after the 1/4 turn ball valve shutoff. I have an air dryer and water separator feeding self coiling hoses. One under the reloading bench, one at the manifold and the other near the gun vise. I rarely run over 80 psi down there. I never seem to need more down there. I also use an inline air nozzle, in case I misplace others. A 3 gallon sounds great for the job and 50 bucks seems pretty cheap.
 

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If all you want the comp. for is blowing dust, et c. then find a fridg. that runs but doesn't cool and pull the comp. wire it up and put tubing on the output to blow off the dust and solvent. A little work but it's free. I've used mine for several years and when it dies I'll get another. I also have a Quincy 10HP compressor that I use for auto and home stuff that requires the grunt for big jobs.
Just my tuppence.
 
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