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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm looking to step up my tool game and that means I need a good compressor. I am looking to get one from Harbor Freight but I want to know the cheapest one I can get to fulfill my needs. I wish to run air tools ( impact wrench), and also a paint gun. I know the terms cfm and psi are important but I just want practical advice.

Would this get the job done, or would it fail to be powerful enough for air tools?
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=95386
 

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2005 Subaru Impreza RS 5MT
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Pretty much anything will run air tools without a problem, but paint is a bigger issue. Paint requires a very constant pressure, and 8 gallons will be kicking on almost constantly to keep up with anything that has you pulling the trigger for more than a few seconds at a time. You need something much much much bigger for a good paint setup at home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Isn't that what the CFM part is about. Haw many cubic feet per minute the pump can produce? What size would you recomend for painting purposes?
 

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It's not the CFM, it's the PSI. From my understanding, the fewer CFM, the less paint you can shoot at once, but the PSI is what keeps the flow constant.

I'm no expert, I don't even want to try painting at home. I keep a little generic 10 gallon around (I can find the name later, it was only like $50 and it runs pretty well) for the impact wrench and other air tools, and the occasional spray to blow grass off the lawn tractor and whatnot. But besides the other specialized stuff, I *think* you would want at least 30 gallons for painting.
 

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'99 OBS
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I have a "true" 5hp 220 volt, 30 gallon compressor made by Coleman (Sanborn), and it's plenty capable of running my big honkin' impact gun, cut-off tools, die grinders, and even paint guns. It runs the impact with no sweat whatsoever, but it can just barely stay ahead of the high CFM requirements of painting or running a high-RPM tool like the die grinder.
Be aware that most of the U.S. General/Harbor Freight compressors are crappy chinese made junk. This can be compounded by their shitty (yet attractively priced at $5) air tools.
My compressor is VERY capable, but if I put my cheap-ass Harbor Freight die grinder on it, it's kicking on every 45 seconds to keep it running at top speed. Those tools are built to sell for 5 bucks, and virtually NO engineering has gone into making them efficient.
Moral of the story? If you're going to buy from Harbor Freight, you need to know what you're getting into. If you buy the cheapo compressor, you'll need to spend money on good tools - you'll never run the cheap tools with that compressor. Likewise, you can buy the better compressor, and cheap out on tools. You just can't cut corners on both items.

My advice is to spend the money on a better compressor, and cheap out on the tools. For my money a "good" compressor would have these traits:
1. Indirect Drive - aka: belt-drive. they're quieter, and generally more powerful. Plus if the motor burns out, you can just buy a generic new one. (or a bigger one ;)) But most importantly, it's the easiest way to ensure that you get the rest of this list.
2. Oil-lubricated pump - the "direct drive, oil less" things that you see in every tool store are loud, inefficient crap. My Sanborn is over 15 years old, and runs like the day it was new. Try that with a $150 Crapsman, or something from Home Depot/Lowes.
3. 220v - this is not a critical item, and varies depending on what you have available, but it really is a superior tool if it runs on 220.
Side note: owing to physics and electromotive laws, any "5hp" electric motor that runs on 110v is a complete lie.

See here for more reading material: http://www.truetex.com/aircompressors.htm

Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Damn, this could get pricey quick. I can't afford most of this stuff right now. I was wanting to save some money on painting some stuff myself but It looks like it might be impossible on my budget. I wonder if I could build one and have it be cheaper. I could make a tank no problem.
 

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'99 OBS
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Damn, this could get pricey quick. I can't afford most of this stuff right now. I was wanting to save some money on painting some stuff myself but It looks like it might be impossible on my budget. I wonder if I could build one and have it be cheaper. I could make a tank no problem.
I know this is bringing back a dead post, but I have to caution you about building your own compressor tank.
DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES BUILD YOUR OWN COMPRESSOR TANK!!

Seriously, nothing good can come of it.. Unless you're an experience (and certified) builder of high pressure vessels, you're just asking to end up on the Local News. Followed soon by the Darwin Awards....
There is a ridiculous amount of destructive energy stored in a pressurized compressor tank - if it ruptures while you're using it - you may not live to tell the story.

I know it's a bit pricey when you're just getting started, and if you're in your teens or early 20's, it's hard to think long-term,but you'd be wise to invest in a tool that will be with you for a while. I'm 36 - my compressor is 15 years old - you do the math...
If you can't afford to buy the right tool now, rent it. It may seem like a waste to have to return it, but you'll be ahead in the long run, and can save up to buy the tool you want.

I hope you solved this without doing anything foolish - feel free to PM me if you need help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I know this is bringing back a dead post, but I have to caution you about building your own compressor tank.
DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES BUILD YOUR OWN COMPRESSOR TANK!!

Seriously, nothing good can come of it.. Unless you're an experience (and certified) builder of high pressure vessels, you're just asking to end up on the Local News. Followed soon by the Darwin Awards....
There is a ridiculous amount of destructive energy stored in a pressurized compressor tank - if it ruptures while you're using it - you may not live to tell the story.

I know it's a bit pricey when you're just getting started, and if you're in your teens or early 20's, it's hard to think long-term,but you'd be wise to invest in a tool that will be with you for a while. I'm 36 - my compressor is 15 years old - you do the math...
If you can't afford to buy the right tool now, rent it. It may seem like a waste to have to return it, but you'll be ahead in the long run, and can save up to buy the tool you want.

I hope you solved this without doing anything foolish - feel free to PM me if you need help.
:blol: Ok??? It's not like our shop doesn't specialize in that sort of thing or anything. I could easily make it out of some really thick metal 1"+ But your probably right. It would take to much effort.

We do make some huge ass pressure vessels though. Some were big enough to skate in!
 

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:blol: Ok??? It's not like our shop doesn't specialize in that sort of thing or anything. I could easily make it out of some really thick metal 1"+ But your probably right. It would take to much effort.

We do make some huge ass pressure vessels though. Some were big enough to skate in!
I have no idea what shop you work for - maybe I missed the memo:rolleyes:. You could work at Office Max for all I know. Just trying to keep you from blowin' yer fool head off.;)

So yeah man, if you work in the tank makin' biz - by all means, do it. Hell, make me one too, and I'll stop actin' all dad-like.

Harbor Freight sells decent twin cylinder pump-heads (maybe motors too). Just mate those up to whatever tank you end up with. Or just cruise craigslist for old compressors for parts. You can usually find them with blown motors for pretty cheap.

So what'd you end up doing about the paint?
 

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I rock the 33gal/150psi Craftsman compressor at home. Works like a champ.

 

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formerly subidub
'01 Aspen RS & 97 Toyo Tacoma
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I rock the 33gal/150psi Craftsman compressor at home. Works like a champ.

I origionally bought this one because it has a larger tank and was $300. i used it for 2 months and it started falling apart. i was moving it across the shop and a wheel fell off, causing the bleeder to snap. took it back and upgraded to the 25gal craftsman professional. it is oil lubricated, which makes it A LOT quieter. it keeps up with my tools, not sure about a painter though. good luck
 
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