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Tools & Supplies: Compressors
Talk about compressors.
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Air Tank Question
BillGorm
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Posted: Wednesday, August 25, 2010 - 08:38 AM UTC
I bought a tank-less airbrush compressor (model TC-20) from TCP Global about a year ago. It works fine except that it gets hot quickly and then doesn't seem able to provide steady pressure. As a result, I end up having to quit paint jobs mid-stream. I have been told a tank would solve this problem as it will enable the compressor to work less. My question is whether it's possible to connect my compressor to a tank or do I need to buy a new set-up? Every compressor I see (e.g. TCP Global, ebay) has the tank built in or not at all.

Thanks for any guidance.
matt
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Posted: Thursday, August 26, 2010 - 03:14 AM UTC
you can on that small of a compressor a 1-2 gallon tank would be the largest I'd go. Put in a check valve between the tank and compressor to be safe.
Wolfsangel
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Posted: Thursday, August 26, 2010 - 05:51 PM UTC
Hey Bill, I second what Matt says. A one-way valve is going to be a necessity or you run the (almost inevitable) risk of blowing out your seals.

Another option, and one that I use, is a bigger compressor. Depending on your space and budget, wait for Seers or Lows, or Home Despot to have a sale. I picked up my 30 gal. 5 hp for around 275 with tax 12 years ago and it's a rarity that it refills before I'm done with the airbrush, plus you can paint a house, dust off the driveway, air up tires, run airtools, etc.

Another idea if you already have one: I picked up some 1/2" CPVC pipe and fittings when we moved into this place and ran a line from the garage, under the back yard, up to the second story, and down the eave to my Man-Cave... urr... Office. It was a long but fun afternoon project and I painted and trimmed everything in so it's virtually invisible. For an approximately 115 ft run, all the pieces and a ball valve cost around 55 bucks. Add in a regulator and I can mess around all day with no compressor noise and no sweating. Plus, for me, the wife still doesn't know about it after 11 months.
Just a thought,
Charlie
BillGorm
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Posted: Friday, August 27, 2010 - 03:01 AM UTC
Hi Charlie - You know, now that you mention it, I do have a compressor sitting in my garage that I got as a gift last year. I'll take a look this weekend, but I'd say it's roughly in the range you describe. You just hook your air brush up to that sucker? Do you need ear plugs when you use it indoors?
HawkeyeV
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Posted: Friday, August 27, 2010 - 05:59 AM UTC
Tankless hobby compressors might not be suitable for adding a tank. If the unit overheats now, imagine what it will do to fill the tank. On the offset it has to work harder to fill the tank, which has more resistance (pressure) demands.

Mfrs design their units to meet certain specs, a tankless compressor is designed to deliver air at a given cfm/psi. Something as simple as different rings on the piston or head size/material can be the difference between one that is compatible with a tank or not.

If your lil compressor is getting too hot. Set it somewhere where you can increase the air flowing over it with a fan to disapate heat quicker.
plastickjunkie
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Posted: Friday, August 27, 2010 - 03:32 PM UTC
If you have a Harbor Freight nearby, give them a peek. You can sometimes pick up a compressor, 5-8-10 gallons, depending on the sale for under $150. I use a Cambell Housefeld 10 gallon compressor in my garage, and not just for painting but for a ton of other things.
Grumpyoldman
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Posted: Saturday, August 28, 2010 - 01:35 AM UTC
I agree with Gerald, if your compressor is over heating with just the small back pressure caused by your airbrush, it's going to be worse with a tank as it's not designed for a tank.
I'd suggest saving up and buying a proper small quite compressor/tank set up designed for airbrushing. They are cheap enough on Evil-Bay.
SSGToms
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Posted: Wednesday, September 01, 2010 - 04:17 PM UTC
Bill, Harbor Freight Tools is the place to go! I got my 3 gal. tank compressor for $39.99 with a coupon and it's perfect! Fits under the desk and is quieter than the vacuum, then shuts off. Harbor Freight has a different compressor on sale every month, so you can always get a good deal.
BillGorm
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Posted: Thursday, September 02, 2010 - 04:19 AM UTC
Matt - Were you referring to one of these models from Harbor Freight?

http://www.harborfreight.com/air-tools/oilless-compressors.html

I also have this sitting in my garage. Any idea whether it's suitable for an air brush?

http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_00915309000P?prdNo=11&blockNo=11&blockType=G11
SSGToms
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Posted: Thursday, September 02, 2010 - 05:11 AM UTC
Yep Bill, those are the ones, here's the one I have:
The Craftsman compressor you have will also work with an airbrush, but with a 1.5 gal. tank it's going to cycle on and off a lot.
Any compressor can be used with an airbrush as long as you attach an airbrush regulator/moisture trap to the outlet. You don't want to be pumping 60 PSI into your airbrush, and a regulator that's graduated in 1 PSI increments is best for airbrushing. It's tough to finesse the regulator that's on the compressor.
BillGorm
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Posted: Thursday, September 02, 2010 - 05:14 AM UTC
But at 60 PSI I can paint it from across the room, right?

One other question and I think I'm clear. The regulator and moisture trap I'm using now would transfer to the new compressor, right? Just wondering whether I am likely to need more than the compressor itself.
SSGToms
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Posted: Thursday, September 02, 2010 - 06:23 AM UTC
.....and paint the whole tank in half a second!
Yes, compressors this size all have 1/4" fittings, so your current regulator will switch right over. Put nylon tape on the threads to seal them.
BillGorm
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Posted: Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - 01:21 PM UTC
I finally bought a 3-gallon pancake compressor to replace the not-so-old smaller compressor I asked about last August. I had forgotten about the problems it was giving me until I fired it up recently and it quit on me in the middle of painting session. So I bought the following from Harbor Freight Tools:



My question is how to configure it properly for my airbrush. The instructions reference various parts, but don't provide much visual guidance. This is how I hooked it up:



The silver outlet from the compressor on the left is fixed in place, the gold part in between came with the compressor, and the silver part on the right is part of the hose for my airbrush. Is this set-up correct? Where does the water trap fit in this silver-gold-silver order? By water trap, I mean the item on the left in the following photo. Apologies for the lack of correct terminology, but I'd appreciate any help getting this squared away.

SSGToms
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Posted: Friday, February 25, 2011 - 10:45 AM UTC
Hi Bill,

All you need to add your regulator is a brass 1/4" male - male fitting and a roll of nylon tape. Any hardware store or big box has them. Here are photos of mine, they should explain everything:





If you have any questions, just ask! It's easy to do.
BillGorm
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Posted: Saturday, February 26, 2011 - 06:58 AM UTC
Matt - Thanks for clearing that up ... I found the fittings. What is the purpose of the large gold fitting between the regulator and the hose to the airbrush in your photos? Any issue with connecting the hose more directly to the regulator?
SSGToms
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Posted: Saturday, February 26, 2011 - 09:07 AM UTC
Bill,
That's a quick release, just like you have. Yours should screw onto the silver male outlet on your regulator. Or, If you only have one airbrush, you can connect the airbrush hose directly to the regulator outlet.
BillGorm
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Posted: Sunday, February 27, 2011 - 10:37 PM UTC
Matt - I'm in business, thanks for the help. It's a good compressor - much better than what I had - but I'm surprised how often it clicks on to bring the internal tank pressure back to 100 psi. It's quiet for about five minutes and then ... WHAM!

SSGToms
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Posted: Monday, February 28, 2011 - 11:02 AM UTC
Glad to hear it Bill. What I do is once the tank fills, I shut it off. I can shoot a whole basecoat on one tank of air. I don't get spooked by the compressor clicking on when I don't expect it!
BillGorm
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Posted: Monday, February 28, 2011 - 02:51 PM UTC
Duh. I swear it's a miracle I manage to dress myself in the morning.

RainstoryX
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Posted: Sunday, March 20, 2011 - 07:57 PM UTC
Another option, and one that I use, is a bigger compressor. Depending on your space and budget, wait for Seers or Lows, or Home Despot to have a sale. I picked up my 30 gal. 5 hp for around 275 with tax 12 years ago and it's a rarity that it refills before I'm done with the airbrush, plus you can paint a house, dust off the driveway, air up tires, run airtools, etc.

Another idea if you already have one: I picked up some 1/2" CPVC pipe and fittings when we moved into this place and ran a line from the garage, under the back yard, up to the second story, and down the eave to my Man-Cave... urr... Office. It was a long but fun afternoon project and I painted and trimmed everything in so it's virtually invisible. For an approximately 115 ft run, all the pieces and a ball valve cost around 55 bucks. Add in a regulator and I can mess around all day with no compressor noise and no sweating. Plus, for me, the wife still doesn't know about it after 11 months.
Just a thought,




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