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Best Air Compressor for DIY Guy?

What air compressor will allow me to do all the things I need to restore my car?
Things I'd like to include:

Soda blaster (I may not use this tool but potentially I was thinking the inside of the trunk and engine bay might be better done this way, please let me know your experiences).

Random orbital sanding for bodywork

Spraying primer

Painting

Using Impact wrench and am open to any ideas regarding told that work better under air power. For example, I think there are scissor lifts that are air powered but could be wrong?

There's so many choices and I just don't know what to choose?
Old 05-07-2016, 05:58 AM
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Buy the one with the most cfm you can afford.
Old 05-07-2016, 08:03 AM
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For media blast you need a LOT of CFM. A biggass compressor by Ingerol-Rand will get it done. Big $$ for a new one but used ones are around and they are built like tanks. Remove media blast from your wants and you can greatly reduce your compressor needs.

Compressed Air Basics by Media Blast & Abrasive

I sorta went the other way and hire out my media blast work. Cordless tools replaced all my air tools and my compressor needs are approaching zero. I sold off 3 compressors and now keep a small one around when nothing else will do. Different strokes.
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Old 05-07-2016, 02:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cajundaddy View Post
For media blast you need a LOT of CFM. A biggass compressor by Ingerol-Rand will get it done. Big $$ for a new one but used ones are around and they are built like tanks. Remove media blast from your wants and you can greatly reduce your compressor needs.

Compressed Air Basics by Media Blast & Abrasive

I sorta went the other way and hire out my media blast work. Cordless tools replaced all my air tools and my compressor needs are approaching zero. I sold off 3 compressors and now keep a small one around when nothing else will do. Different strokes.
I'm thinking you're right. The prices of compressors is high and media blasting isn't necessary. I'm only restoring one car so it doesn't make sense. I do want the ability to prime and paint but that doesn't take near as much CFM as soda blasting so I'm told so I might just focus on what will primer and paint my car. Eastwood has a self contained prime/paint compressor drier that is fairly inexpensive at $350 that I'm going to look into.

Otherwise Dewalt 20v tools seem to work pretty well and I've got two brand batteries already.

Thanks for the insight.
Old 05-07-2016, 03:34 PM
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Yep, $350 will buy a nice compressor that will paint just fine. My painting skills are relegated to the rattle can so I trust media blast and paint to the pros.

I used to do a lot of wrenching with air tools but at some point the noise of tools and compressor just got to me and took the joy out of the process. I still own a few tools but they never come out of the drawer.
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Old 05-07-2016, 07:37 PM
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Wrong!!!! Just because your skipping media blasting doesn't mean you can get away with a three hundred dollar compressor. If you want to run a little die grinder or sander your still going to need a lot of cfm's. You can't paint with a professional spray gun either if your using a 5cfm compressor. You can get a 12cfm for $700. Trust me if your restoring even one car a three hundred dollar compressor is a waste of money.
Old 05-08-2016, 05:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cajundaddy View Post
Yep, $350 will buy a nice compressor that will paint just fine. My painting skills are relegated to the rattle can so I trust media blast and paint to the pros.

I used to do a lot of wrenching with air tools but at some point the noise of tools and compressor just got to me and took the joy out of the process. I still own a few tools but they never come out of the drawer.
Wrong most quality paint guns need more cfm's than a three hundred dollar compressor can make. You can't run a DA or angle grinder properly either. Don't wast your money on a three hundred dollar compressor unless your just blowing up tires.
Old 05-08-2016, 05:49 AM
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Quote:
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Wrong most quality paint guns need more cfm's than a three hundred dollar compressor can make. You can't run a DA or angle grinder properly either. Don't wast your money on a three hundred dollar compressor unless your just blowing up tires.
Well which compressor do you recommend?
Old 05-08-2016, 05:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Puma View Post
Well which compressor do you recommend?
Shop your paint gun first so you know your CFM requirements. I never used a "pro" paint gun because I wasn't painting whole cars, just parts, wrought iron gates, fences, etc. Many hobbyist guns will run on 8 CFM as long as you are not painting continuously. If you want to paint a bunch of cars, get a "pro" gun and a 20CFM 3 phase IR compressor. Figure about $4k for the pro paint rig, 20 CFM compressor, and significant electrical upgrade needed to run it. If you plan to restore a dozen cars over the next few years, a pro rig makes some sense. If you are doing one or two, there is no ROI for the pro paint and media blast rig. I can buy a pretty nice "pro" paint job for $4k.

More info on this:

DeVilbiss, Anest Iwata, Asturo AOM, Sharpe, Astro Pneumatic, Binks - Spray Guns & More
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Old 05-08-2016, 07:00 AM
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Builder grade portable compressors & some thoughts

If you are going small, builder style compressors are plentiful but you need to listen to them. The Hitachi has about the same CFM as the Makita, BUT the NOISE of the Hitachi will drive you nuts.

I am considering a lift and a compressor. I am planning on putting the compressor in a boxed in, (and heavily insulated) corner of my tool room, vented to the outside.

I would rather listen to old rock and roll than a hammering compressor.

Buy a little bigger compressor than you think you might need it will cycle less often, last longer and give you a little more flexibility, (like buying a blast cabinet).

chris
Old 05-08-2016, 07:14 AM
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Here's the $350 compressor I'm talking about.

Earlex HVLP Turbine 5500 System

Keep in mind, I'm not trying to cheap out. I'll spend in the name of doing the job right. This was just something I came across. I have no idea if it will do a good job, if it will power other tools or anything. Let me know what you think?
Old 05-08-2016, 07:28 AM
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Don't know where you live but check Harbor Freight or maybe Sears/Craftsman.

That Earlex looks nice but it appears to be limited to paint; it has high volume the specs don't give a pressure. If all you do is paint looks OK.
Old 05-08-2016, 07:52 AM
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Caution with harbor fright

A past employee bought a fair sized compressor from hf, only to have it fail shortly after purchase.

It has been my experience with a floor standing drill press and a 14 inch metal cut off saw that they are over rated and don't hold up.

I broke every piece of a pilot bearing puller on one job.

If you need a 1/2 horse drill, buy a 1 horse rated unit.

Pushing their stuff to the advertised limit usually results in failure.

I would feel better with a craftsman unit even if it is made in china.

As a plackard on my favorite engineer's wall states:

"If you want first quality oats - you are going to have to pay the price. On the other hand, if you are willing to settle for oats that have already passed through the horse - the price MAY be less"

chris
Old 05-08-2016, 10:52 AM
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Check kijiji/craigslist. You will likely regret anything small.

I found a 400 gallon tank with a dead motor and starter. $100 with 3-stage, 3-piston pump attached. valves all attached.

New nice Baldor motor for $300.

New starter $50.



Learned how to wire a starter...had an electrician put in a 240v circuit...

Having the big tank allows the air to cool off and keeps the pressure more consistent.

This setup keeps up with an air file, die grinder and media blasting. Nothing more frustrating than standing there waiting for the air to keep up. You want something that replenishes air faster than you can deplete it.

A new IR unit will be about $3000, you can do it for $500. Dont bother with the little guys.
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Old 05-08-2016, 12:49 PM
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We have some great spray guns, kits and accessories here if anyone needs any. Just revamped our tools section and added these great items to the pot.
Old 05-11-2016, 01:48 PM
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Thanks for the information everyone. I haven't completely decided what I'll do yet. I'm oscillating between going all out with a powerful compressor or just not buying any of it and sending it out for paint. I know, polarizing.
Old 05-11-2016, 04:08 PM
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It depends if you want to spend money on tools or labor. You can pay for a very nice 18 scfm 5 HP IR plus all the spray guns, air tools, blasting cabinets you'll ever need for less than half the price of what a professional paint job will cost you. But, your first paint job will most likely not look like a pro job, but it can. An 18 scfm rig will keep up with a blaster with a medium tip. If you are talking about stripping paint off a whole car do yourself a favor and get some aircraft stripp er and saran wrap.
Old 05-14-2016, 06:47 AM
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In a related story: I bought a Millermatic today! I'm thrilled beyond description.

An experienced restorer told me the other day to buy a primer gun and match my compressor CFM to it and shoot my own primer and send it out for paint. Seems like sage advice. We didn't talk about other air tools.

How well do electric angle grinders, dual action sanders work?
Old 05-14-2016, 02:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dpmulvan View Post
Buy the one with the most cfm you can afford.
+1

I went with a 1950s restored Gilbarco I found on CL local, it was owned by the same automotive shop for the past 45 years and as i said they had recently restored it. These are really the Rolls Royce of compressors in terms of their build quality. The flywheel/fan is balanced and the castings beautiful. The tank is not original. Great find.

I bought it for $150 or his asking, this thing is so heavy it bent my full size Ford tailgate when loading and removing.

Works great, Gilbarco is an old compressor company and still around, actually older than the Ford Motor Co. Based on the location of manufacture in Mass., we determined it's age.






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Old 05-15-2016, 06:24 AM
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Fixer, that's like seeing a unicorn!
Old 05-15-2016, 07:31 AM
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