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Compressor knowledge???

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by rgarcia26, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. rgarcia26


    Jun 9, 2008
    Miami Florida
    So I pulled the trigger for an Onsrud inverted router 2003:


    What I didn't know was that it need it an air compressor to raise the router and drop the pin (IDIOT!) lol that's ok that did not stop me.

    I figure that I could get one air compressor for cheap ($50-$80)... ok here is my question: I am hobbyist instrument builder, very light use, but since i am buying an compressor i would like to get one that i can use with the Router, blow dust and use a spray gun in the future. dont want to spend lots of money, but something that I can have some practical uses for woodworking in general...what should i be looking at?
  2. Hapa


    Apr 21, 2011
    Tustin, CA
    Well something that's not a lot of money and is practical for wood working is opposite ends of the spectrum :/ . The small tanks hold very little cubic volume so they are on all the time and there is a lot of drop in pressure that happens quickly. The big tanks, hold a lot more air, are much more pressure stable because of it and the compressor isn't on all the time.

    You may want to look into the HVLP guns/ systems. they are much quieter than traditional systems and work great for most finish applications. I remembering hearing that they have a tough time with the thicker catalyzed finishes.
  3. rgarcia26


    Jun 9, 2008
    Miami Florida
    Lol I am always looking for something that it doesnt exist... well but if I am looking for an compressor lets say an used one, do i need an CFM number that I should be looking at, or Gallons or HP?

    lets say something like this:

  4. Hapa


    Apr 21, 2011
    Tustin, CA
    Gallons is how much air it can hold, CFM is cubic feet per minute - how fast it can blow out air in volume at what pressure, HP is how hard the compressor can work to keep that pressure stable/ fill the volume of the tank.

    That is good for filling tires, and pneumatic guns like air staplers/ nail guns. when you hold open a blow off valve that will drain the tank quickly. Let alone trying to spray finish. It will work for your needs now but for finishing it will be a pain. Air pressure will constantly be dropping with every pass until the compressor kicks on and the a pressure spike and weird pumping while spraying thing that makes a spray gun a PITA. If pressure drops too low, especially with thinner finishes you can get spatter.
  5. rimbaud

    rimbaud Banned

    Nov 17, 2011
    An old washing-machine engine, a belt, a compressed air reservoir and indicators, my dad built me one with just that, but my dad was our town's MacGyver :D

    No kidding, if you can find someone doing that DIY compressor for you, the components are really cheap (i.e, you can find them used and still working !! as spare parts), no need to spend all that money in compressors.
  6. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    Try to find something with a 10-30 gallon tank, 3hp +, 5.5+ cfm, will serve you well for both the over arm router and light duty spray work. You can usually find something like a Campbell Hausfield, Kobalt, Husky etc at the big box tool stores for a decent price. I run a 40 gallon 6hp electric pump model in my shop. It's a store brand and I have had it for almost 10 years. Cost was $259, so at 25.90 a year, I feel it has been quite a bargain, and shows no sign of quitting. You don't have to spend a mint to get something that will do the job well for many years.
  7. rgarcia26


    Jun 9, 2008
    Miami Florida
    +1 that's the spirit a true DIY... I will look into it...
  8. rgarcia26


    Jun 9, 2008
    Miami Florida
    Thanks Musiclogic that gave me a reference "I havent see good online reviews about "Campbell's" they are the least expesive ones...
  9. Hapa


    Apr 21, 2011
    Tustin, CA
    If you have the transportation, one can find used compressors for really cheap.
  10. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    To add to what the other guys are saying:

    The air cylinders in your Onsrud pin router don't require much air flow or volume. A small portable compressor (2-3 cfm, 10 gal tank, 1 1/2 hp, $300) will handle it fine. The small compressor will also supply blow guns and some air-powered tools like nailers.

    Where you need a bigger compressor is for spray painting. Old-style standard spray guns need 6-8 cfm and newer HVLP guns (which most of us use these days) need 10-12 cfm. For this, you need a "medium" size compressor. Typical ones are 12 cfm, 60 gal vertical tank, 3 hp, 220 volts, and cost about $600 new. That's what I have; I found a used Cambell-Hausfield for $375, and it's been working fine for 8 years so far. A medium size compressor will supply most things that a one-man shop will ever use.

    Like Hapa mentioned, the alternative way to go for spray painting is to get a turbine-powered HVLP spray setup. That has its own air source, and doesn't require any air compressor.

    So, the decision on how much air compressor to buy depends on how you want to eventually expand. You can buy a small compressor to handle the router, and later get a turbine HVLP spray system. Or buy a medium compressor now to handle everything. Or buy a small compressor now, and later upgrade to a medium compressor.

    It actually isn't bad to have both a small and a medium compressor. There are many times when you need a small bit of air for something, and it's a waste to pump up the big tank. That's what I did. When I upgraded to the medium compressor, I mounted it out behind my building. My previous small compressor is inside, and I use it occasionally.