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Discussion Starter #1
Alright guys, I need your help. I'm looking for a small air compressor I can use on my bench to refill my air canisters and generally blow crud outta my firearms with. Should be able to plug into the wall.. I don't really know the first thing about compressors. I priced them once last Christmas but that's about as far as my knowledge goes.. Just wondering if any of you guys had something you kept under your bench that is light, compact and not to noisy. Any insight or places I can find this would be a big help. Again my uses are for filling up my reusable air canisters and general blowing, so It must have that.. Everything I bring up under "compact compressor" just shows the tire inflation chuck. Thanks for any help.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
yea im there now. I see the small portable ones. but then I have to get the blower part separately. Doesn't say if it attaches to what models tho :(
 

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I use my porter cable 6 gal pancake compressor, Its for my trim guns. it works great I have a 33 gal compressor but its a pain to set up
 

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For your uses, look at the pancake compressors. I have a Porter_Cable. It's not that quiet, and I have a larger compressor in the garage. It's even noisier!
 

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This one is from Sears and is on sale for $69.99.


Specifications & Dimensions
Dimensions:
Item Weight (lbs.): 28.5 lbs.
Product Overview:
Product Type: AIR COMPRESSORS & INFLATORS
Maximum Compressor psi: 100 psi
Included with Item:
Accessory Kit: Yes
Motor-Engine:
Horsepower: 1/3 hp
Voltage: 120 volts
Type: Universal
Nailer/Stapler:
Nailer or Stapler Type: Brad nailer
SCFM Delivery:
SCFM Delivery At 40 psi: 1.0 SCFM
SCFM Delivery At 90 psi: 0.6 SCFM
Tank:
Compressor Tank Capacity: 3 gal.
Compressor Tank Pump Style: Oil Free
Compressor Tank Type: Pancake
Fastener Tool:
Fastener Tool Type: Brad nailer
 
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I have one out side which is large however I have an air brush compressor I use in the house for guns etc. Some of these are pretty quite too unlike the larger industiral types. Here is just a site I pulled up at random that might give you and idea. Airbrush Compressors
 

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If you're going to use it on firearms make sure you put a moisture filter on it. Water condenses inside the tank, and you don't want to blow moisture into your weapons. The tank should be drained after each use too, and the petcock left open. Air compressor tanks deteriorate from the inside out, and if you don't keep the moisture out they can rust on the inside. Course you won't know that till the bottom of the tank blows out. It's by no means a common occurrence but it's better to be safe than sorry. That's the way I treat my compressor and it's been working dandy for about twenty-five years now. I personally like the bigger, higher volume compressors but I run a lot of air tools off mine. If you're only going to use it around the bench, then I'd second the Harbor Freight solution. They sell pretty decent units.
 

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Here is my 3 gallon compressor that sits next to my reloading bench.



 
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Usually once you have one you will find a lot of other uses for it. I know I did.

I lean toward a larger compressor since many tools and spray painting consumes large volumes of air. Yes a moisture filter is almost a requirement as debeardslee mentioned.
 

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I just put one on my work table for just that purpose. I found a small one at Tractor Supply for $69.95 - it's a JobSmart, two gal, one HP, 125PSI unit. For what I got it for, it's great. And, the moisture filter is a must, for any compressor.
 

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I personally don't have much use for the little bitty tanked compressors; they kick on constantly and are annoying to be around. They have their uses; I have one for filling tires when I can't get the vehicle to a real compressor and other small tasks. I have a medium size compressor which is about 5hp/60 gallon Craftsman. These compressors are called "oilless" because their compressor part doesn't have any oil in it. They are real simple and tend to break now and again. A dry and very simple "piston" with a rubber ring to keep compression runs up and down in a removeable cylinder. The piston is driven by an electric motor which has an eccentric shaft so it goes up and down in the cylinder. They tend to often kick on to keep the tank full and can get annoyingly loud if you use one indoors. The last type of compressor is an oil compressor. It has an electric motor (220v) which moves pistons that are similar to those in a gas engine. I also have an industrial grade one of these with a big tank I use for my business. The bigger the compressor, the more jobs you can do. If I were buying one for shop use, I would get one of the oil-less type and look on Craigs list. You can rebuild one in about 5 minute and the parts are cheap and it is easy to do, if necessary and most people that own this type compressor probably don't run the heck out of them. The air filter already mentioned is a good idea regardless of how you use your compressor as water inside air tools isn't good for them nor in paint or media blasting.
 

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Harbor Freight is running one that should fill your needs for $40 and then there is a 20% coupon that you can find in a number of gun magazines and your local newspaper. If my math isn't off, that's $32 plus tax.
 

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As a kid I worked on compressors about 5 years. Stay away from the 3450 rpm oilless ones they run hot and make lot's of noise I would get a Speedair 1HP fron Graingers on what ever size tank you want to lug around , You get 4 CFM of usable air per HP Don't believe what the maketing boy's are saying!! The tank is like a bank, You make 4CFM per hour and you have saved up for 3 hours so now you can make a big withdraw , but you will soon be back to your base 4CFM. As for moisture the cheep 3450 rpm compressors run hot and fast, hot air will not condense so you want to mount the moisture trap as far from the compressor as possible say between two 25' air hose's NEVER on the end of the tank !! And as for the tank EXPLODING.. Well let's say we have 100 PSI (pound's per sq in) ,, in the tank, divide that 100 into the number of inches of surface area on the tank and you see it is a drop in a bucket. I closing I would get a 1725 RPM BELT DRIVE Piston oil filled compressor, 1 HP will run on any home circuit pump up to 125 PSI fill tires clean guns and a hole lot more!! Mine has lasted me over 40 years !!
 

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And as for the tank EXPLODING.. Well let's say we have 100 PSI (pound's per sq in) ,, in the tank, divide that 100 into the number of inches of surface area on the tank and you see it is a drop in a bucket.
You went the wrong way on your computations - you don't divide 100 by the number of square inches, you multiply. The pressure is measured per square inch, so you'd have a hundred pounds on every square inch. If you have a tank that's 1 foot in diameter and two feet long you've got a cylinder with a total surface area of about 1130 square inches. Don't kid yourself - there's a lot of energy inside one of those tanks.
 

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So what size, type, brand compressor would you guys recommend for a sand blast cabinet, and what cabinets for blasting something up to 36" long and maybe the same height?
 

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My experience with blasting is limited to DIY soda blasting, which is pretty small scale. In general though, it'll probably work out best if you start with the tool your going to use. They usually list the cfm requirements, and then you know about what size compressor and tank you're going to need as they usually have a cfm rating too. A little extra capacity is always good. Can't help at all on the cabinet - never used one.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
thanks all for your comments, feedback and links. I really appreciate it.
 
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