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I am trying to do this as cheap as possible, so tell me if this will work. I can get a pancake compressor from sears witha 2hp motor that holds 4 gal. It says max psi is 125 lbs. My question is this.... Is this enough to run an air wrench at 90 lbs without stopping every 2 minutes waiting for it to fill up? Should I wait and spring for something with a bigger tank? It will be used for weekend projects in my garage.

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Brad
'68, 327, TH350 (some assembly required)
 

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I would say wait and get one with a bigger tank and more h.p. it will last alot longer and you'll be glad you did. I just don't like hearing them run either.
 

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Don't go with anything but a conventional BELT DRIVE compressor if you want it to last!! In addition to being aggravatingly noisy, the Sears airless (oops did I say that, I mean oilless) compressors are EXTRA light duty. I burnned one up in less than a week, and when I took the cover off the pump, I couldn't believe the cheap construction! Try a campbell haussflield or something similar with a made in usa cast iron belt drive pump! (and at least a 20 gal tank) I now run 2 of the above for my sandblasting cabinet.
Bruce
 

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The pancake compressors are designed to run nail guns - they provide a little puff of high pressure air but no volume. For anything like impact wrenches, spray guns, etc. you will need a conventional air compressor as suggested above. For DA sanders, pnuematic drills, cutoff saws, and similar tools you will need a much bigger unit - say 4 or 5 hp and a 60 - 80 gallon tank. Check out the SCFM requirement at various pressures and compare it to the compressor specs.

I personally went through a number of Sears compressors before I bought a commercial compressor. It's lasted 18 years and painted cars and boats and run all kinds of tools.

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Scott
'69 400SB, Richmond 5-speed; '99 HD Road King Classic
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I bought one of those sears compressors, 3.5 hp with a 15 gallon tank. If I had to do it over again I would get something twice as big. I sandblasted with it and it could not keep up. I have a cutoff tool that it cant keep up with. It will run my air rachete, and I can paint with it, but I spent a lot of time sandblasting and very little painting and wrenching. I got the job done but it took a lot of time just to wait for the pressure to build back up, and to cool off. It got very hot because it was constantly running. It was very noisy.

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Tim
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I own a Campbell/Hausfield 5hp 26gal. and When I do it again, it will be nothing less than 60gal. It works fine with my impact IR2131 etc. but, plug in a D/A or an angle head grinder, etc. and it can't keep up.

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"Jungle" Jim
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This topic has come up before, you might want to do a search under air compressors. For what its worth, I bought a 6hp 60 gal Campbell Hausfield from Home Depot last year for $400.00. I've been very happy with it so far. Air to spare.
 

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When I outfitted my new garage last Spring, I ordered a vertical 60-gallon 6.5hp DeVilbiss compressor from Harbor Freight. 2-cylinder belt-driven (oil in crankcase) compressor, 220-volt GE motor - great rig, supplies plenty of air volume. Free Freight (came by truck from Tennessee and unloaded right in my driveway), $399.95, no tax or freight charge. Quiet, can't run it out of air (mounted it with Camaro subframe mount cushions bolted to each of the four legs so it doesn't transmit vibration to the concrete floor).

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JohnZ
'69 Z28 Fathom Green
 

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Sand blasting takes the most air. Even a 5 or even 7 hp air compressor won't be able to keep up for long.
I had two old fashoned 60's service station air compressors with tanks hooked to a small sand blaster and they couldn't keep up. They were at least 5 hp each!
David

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Everyone has an opinion here! I bought a 5HP, 5 gal Sear compressor years ago, I wish I'd gotten a bigger tank. It runs the DA, sandblaster, die grinder, impact wrench OK, but not if you go non-stop. The first unit I got had a serious oil leak and Sears replaced it. I didn't use it much for a few years, but I'm using it a lot now and it's starting to blow a lot of oil through. I think this thing is about to quit and I'm pissed that it didn't last longer.

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Matt
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I have a 5hp 2 stage 80 gal tank at home paid $900. At work we have a 10hp rotary that kicks in at 185 and a standard 10hp that kick in at 150 bothh feed ta a 200 gal tank. The roary is cool. Ever seen a compresser with a radiator for coolong?
 

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YOU CAN INCREASE YOUR AIR STORAGE SOMEWHAT BY RUNNING PVC SPRINKLER PIPE FROM YOUR COMPRESSOR THROUGH YOUR GARAGE CEILING. I RAN 2" PIPE IN THE CEILING WITH 1" DROPS AT 3 SEPARATE LOCATIONS. BESIDES THE STORAGE IT'S MORE CONVIENENT. IT ALSO MAKES IT HARDER FOR MOISTURE TO GET TO YOUR PAINT GUN.
 

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The secret for minimal moisture in an air distribution system is to run the overhead main at a slight downward slope and run a drop at the end with a drain at the bottom; all the air takeoffs should come off the TOP of the main pipe, then turn 180 degrees to head down toward the floor. This way the moisture stays in the main pipe and cannot run from the main down the drops. If you run the drops straight down from the bottom of the main pipe, you'll get water in every one of them, constantly.

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JohnZ
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The only way to go for any serious auto body repair is at least a 5hp 2 stage compressor. The hp and tank size are not a great way of judging the air supply. I sold air compressors for 8 years so i seen alot people worried about tank size. The most important spec is the cfm rating at 90 psi (for air tools), dont confuse this with the "free air cfm delivery". For sandblasting and heavy DA use you want a minimum of 17-18 cfm at 90psi. And that would be for your average pressure blaster use (80-90lb capacity, 1/2 id. sand hose 3/32 orifice nozzle). Tank size on these compressors are usually 60 or 80 gallon doesnt matter, the cfm rating is product of the pump itself. The larger tank will give you more reserve air.For minimum home type restoration you can get by with a 5-6.5 hp single stage compressor they usaully give about 9cfm at 90psi, They will work but give you less power for impacts, and will run almost constantly with a DA sander. They will work but due to running almost constant you may go through a pump a little faster then you may like,(if you blast alot) but it will get you by. Definitely stay away from oiless direct drive compressors, They will not hold up.. Sorry for the long winded answer but just thought i would try to help.
Oh by the way a quick rule of thumb, If the air tool uses 6cfm you would like to have at least 12 cfm to run efficiently.
 
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