Help me understand Air Compressors? - Page 2 - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #21 of 23 Old 12-13-2011, 01:52 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for so many replies, and the vast amount of information. What I lack is knowing where a hobbyist/home DIY guy's general purpose needs end and where a pro type setup begins. Tank size and the ability of the compressor to keep up for a pro shop using either air tools or paint sprayers continuously requirements are more demanding than a home dude needing air for the odd project, some obviously more demanding than others. Thus having to pause to allow the compressor to cool or catch up while an annoyance would be acceptable provided those pauses were not too long, and affected work flow. Sort of like a part time hobby wood worker owning a hybrid 1.75-2hp table saw vs a true cabinet 3hp, both can do the job but that 3hp cabinet beauty is designed for more demanding production and thicker hardwoods. I'm looking for the hybrid version of air compressor.
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post #22 of 23 Old 12-13-2011, 07:07 PM
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As you've seen there are two types of compressors available; oiled and oil-less. The difference is that the oiled compressors have a separate motor connected to a pump via a belt, while the oil-less have an all-in-one universal motor/pump unit. The differences are actually very similar to cabinet/hybrid table saws compared to direct-drive portable table saws.

You don't want to spend big money on an oil-less. They're aimed at homeowners and hobbyists who don't know better. They're loud, designed to wear out, and are basically disposable. A good cast iron oiled compressor pump will last forever, and can be rebuilt easily if necessary.

Decent oiled compressors start between $400-$500, at the very low end. You will not be able to get good spray painting results with anything less. I usually point people toward a cheapo Harbor Frieght oil-less for ~$100 ( ) to use for filling tires and blowing off sawdust while you save up the money for a real compressor.

Last edited by Mandres; 12-13-2011 at 07:09 PM.
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post #23 of 23 Old 12-14-2011, 08:17 AM
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both types of ac, oiled and oiless are rebuildable. btdt. imho, the primary concern is whether or not the unit will be placed where temps drop below freezing. up in the north, we run oiless out in the unheated spaces because the oil lube thickens and you loose the lubrication qualities. i guess you could change to a lighter viscosity every season, but few would. so (my) general rule of thumb - oiless - unheated, oil-lubed - heated/warm climate.
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