View Full Version : Compressor Question

Michael O'Sullivan
12-29-2006, 12:31 AM
I am pretty new to the forum, and just got a DW51256 Straight Finish Nailer as a throw-in on the 718 CSMS that I really wanted.

Is there a compressor I can use that would also safely power a hobby-type airbrush as well as a finishing sprayer? As you may guess, I am not an expert in these areas.

Low price would be a major bonus ;)

Rich Engelhardt
12-29-2006, 5:47 AM
Check out the SCFM requirements of the spray gun you want to use, and gauge the compressor accordingly.
The airbrush and the finishing nailer are generally not real heavy air users.
You can get by with a small - say 1/2 HP compressor.
I bought one of the small Coleman's Lowes had on "Black Friday" for $49.00. By hooking up a 5 gallon portable tank to it, it does OK with my Porter Cable finishing nailer.
I bought the little Coleman simply because it was cheap and very portable. I'm only using it as an example of how air requirements for air tools can vary all across the board./How you can gang an aux tank to even a tiny compressor to supply a more constant air flow.

My other compressor is also a Coleman. It's an older 110 v 3hp model w/15gal tank.(which in today's terms - is probably a 2hp). IIRC, it puts out 7 SCFM or so @ 40psi and around 5 or 6 SCFM @ 90psi. It's adequate for most light work. It runs hard though to keep up with even a small bleeder type cup gun.
Figure around $300 or so for a similar compressor. (checking real quick - yeah, Sears has a 2hp with similar output for $299).

The small "pancake" type compressors that are designed to power nailers can also be used for higher consumption air tools by ganging aux tanks to them. This isn't anything more than a workaround though. It's not a substitute for a higher output compressor. The downside of doing this is that the compressor runs constantly. That means more wear and tear on it plus more expense to operate it. My larger Coleman draws 15amp under load. When I push it too hard, it constantly trips the breaker.

Best advice I can give is browse all the air tools available & try to find someone that uses them a lot. Hang around with them and pay attention to what they use, and the amount of air required for that tool.

Pick up an 18 GA brad nailer, or 2 or 3. Make sure one of them accepts staples. A year ago I thought I had no use for an air stapler. Last spring I made a wishing well for my wife and had to staple rough sawn shingles to it's roof. I can't even begin to tell you how many uses I've found for that stapler! I swear, next to a cordless drill, the thing is probably one of my most used tools.

When you narrow down how much air you'll figure you need,,,go the next step up.
Just like you can never have too many clamps, you can never have too much air.
I swear sometimes I think it's a conspiracy, where the air tool I want, is always the one that is rated .1 cubic feet of air more than my compressor puts out ;) .

Shop around for a package deal that includes fittings & extra hose &/or nailers. Most of the packages with nailers are decent quality. Most of the tools offered in the packages aren't really worth it. I have as much money invested in hose & connectors as I do in the compressor. The only difference is the fittings/hose buys came in $10/$20 bites.

I'll shut-up now. I guess you catch that I love my compressor.:D

Michael O'Sullivan
12-29-2006, 10:26 PM
Rich -- thanks for taking the time to respond in so much detail