Do compressor water/oil separators go bad over time? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 12-28-2016, 07:42 PM Thread Starter
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Do compressor water/oil separators go bad over time?

I've been trying my hand at spraying lacquer and I seem to wind up with what looks like little bubbles in my finish. After trying a number of things to resolve what looked like solvent pop, I now think it isn't bubbles, but rather some contaminant which is coming from my ancient compressor. I got the water/oil separator when I got the compressor some 35 years ago (the compressor was probably 10 years old at the time !).

So, back to my original question - do the seperators quit doing their job after just a few decades? I'm not sure how good the separator was to begin with.
If I should get a new one, can someone offer some brand recommendations?
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post #2 of 4 Old 12-28-2016, 08:58 PM
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The separators won't remove all the water. There are two ways to do that. Desiccant drier or refrigerated drier. Both expensive. Could it be what you are seeing is fish eyes? They are caused by contamination on the surface. Silicone used within 100 miles is a slight exaggeration but most furniture polishes have it in them. If you decide it is fish eye, you will need to do a really good cleaning of the surface. Don't sand it, that only imbeds the contaminate deeper. There is a product called fish eye preventer. What it does is makes the entire surface one big fish eye so you don't see all the little ones. BUT once you have used it in your gun you will have a hell of a time getting rid of it.
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post #3 of 4 Old 12-28-2016, 09:04 PM
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Any separator I've ever bought went bad before I took it out of the package. I finally gave up and run the piping from the compressor up the wall and down to the outlet. That seems to remove much more water. If you are getting any measurable amount of oil in your air better just use that compressor for nail guns and not use it for any painting.
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post #4 of 4 Old 12-28-2016, 09:11 PM
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Had a similar issue a few years ago with ML Campbell stealth pigmented conversion varnish. The tiny bubbles looked like solvent pop but it wasn't. I had various reps and product experts come out and review the situation. They couldn't provide a solid solution that worked every time. Finally, with the right combination of 3 different retarders we were able to eliminate it.

At this same time I could spray other brands pigmented conversion varnish without issue. Unfortunately I couldn't change brands due to the circumstances.

Having said that, I'd say try other brands of lacquer and see if you get different results. Otherwise, try lacquer retarder and see what happens.
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