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Help me choose an air compressor for sandblasting and shop.


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307 replies to this topic

#1 NUTNDUN OFFLINE  

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Posted January 23, 2011 - 09:20 PM

I know I had another thread on air compressors but I wanted to start a new one because it is time to get a little more serious on picking on out that will work. I would love to stay on the cheaper side but I don't think it is going to be possible to stay too cheap with wanting to be able to run a sandblaster and normal air tools non stop without waiting for the air compressor to play catch up.

I have always been a fan of Ingersoll Rand air tools but it has been a long time since I really bought any air tools. I don't know if their quality has changed or not. The sandblaster we have says it uses between 6 cfm and 25 cfm at 90 psi. Well that is a big variance. I am guessing you can pull off the lower cfm number with a small tip and using a lot of sand?

I seen an Ingersoll Rand 3hp 230v 60 air compressor for around $550 and I think it was rated for: 11.3 cfm at 90 psi

The 5hp one which is around $850 is rated for 18.1 cfm at 90 psi.

I really don't want to spend that much but I also don't want to have to replace it in 5 years either. I would like it to be the last air compressor that I buy.

                       

#2 Texas Deere and Horse OFFLINE  

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Posted January 23, 2011 - 09:41 PM

I/R and Quincy both make good compressors

#3 olcowhand ONLINE  

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Posted January 23, 2011 - 09:44 PM

For any amount of blasting, 11cfm won't get it done. DEFINITELY go big on your compressor.
  • superaben said thank you

#4 mikebramel OFFLINE  

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Posted January 23, 2011 - 09:55 PM

Eaton Compressor & Fabrication Inc best compressor you will buy for the money

#5 Alc OFFLINE  

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Posted January 24, 2011 - 08:48 PM

I know what you mean about a big cfm compressor , all I have is an old single cly 1/3 hp 30gl tank from the 50's , have a sand blaster , air sander and body saw that just won't work. Good luck .

#6 caseguy OFFLINE  

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Posted January 24, 2011 - 10:16 PM

George I have and older (1990's vintage) IR T30, 2 stage, 7 1/2 HP, 80 gal., reciprocating (piston type) compressor. The spec sheet says that it's capable of 24 cfm @ 175 psi. unfortunately, they retail for about $2200! I found mine used at a body shop that was upgrading their compressors to rotary screw type units. I paid $300 for it and it has NEVER let me down! I went through several home-built units as well as a couple of the big box store versions and they were just no where near what I wanted or needed. I would suggest that you might be able to find one used as well for a much better price and get a lot more compressor for your money! See if you can find a local company that sells them and see what you can get for a reasonable price. You may even be able to get something through you workplace account for considerably less than retail. Whatever you do, don't settle for a "cheap" big box store unit. You'll likely outgrow it too fast and be quickly dissatisfied with it's performance. Just my $.02
P.S. IMHO, if it says oil-less...walk away!

#7 NUTNDUN OFFLINE  

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Posted January 25, 2011 - 08:45 AM

I am all for a used one too. If you happen to come across another one with those specs at a decent price let me know. I would drive over there and pick it up, it isn't that far. I seen one on ebay in Indiana that was tempting but that is a pretty good hike.

#8 Reverend Blair ONLINE  

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Posted January 26, 2011 - 03:37 PM

The screw type ones are always the best bet for shop tools and sandblasting. Unfortunately unless you've recently won the lottery, they are a little tough on the pocketbook. You might find one at a bankruptcy sale or something though.

I use a Campbell-Hausfeld 30 gallon piston-type one that's good for my air nailers, but when it comes to running an impact...well, let's just say that there's plenty of time to sip beer. It's not a great compressor, but the price was right and it's never let me down.

There was an old farmer back home who had figured something out using one way valves and a bunch of old propane tanks so he never ran short of air. I'm not sure of the details, but basically he created a lot of volume in smaller segments and kept it under pressure so he always had air. His compressor ran almost constantly, but he never had to wait.

#9 caseguy OFFLINE  

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Posted January 26, 2011 - 08:07 PM

I am all for a used one too. If you happen to come across another one with those specs at a decent price let me know. I would drive over there and pick it up, it isn't that far. I seen one on ebay in Indiana that was tempting but that is a pretty good hike.


Now that I think of it, It was one of a pair. My BIL bought the other one. I think he sold it to his buddy, but I'll see if it's for sale and get back to you.

#10 WQDL753 OFFLINE  

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Posted January 27, 2011 - 03:27 AM

If you can find a heavy duty single phase(unless your willing to deal with a phase converter) compressor from a shop auction nearby than you could get a good deal. Keep in mind though, getting a used piece of machinery could become it's own project.
A buddy of mine got the 3 hp IR probably 3-4 years ago, last year I got the 5 hp. I wish I could have got the 2 stage that was a few hundred more, but I have not been dissapointed! We both got them from northern tool, could not find a better price and free shipping, check on freight for a 300 lb home delivery lol. I'm a little more hardcore than my buddy but both of us are metal workers and demand(have been spoiled at work) a lot from the air supply.
I should probably mention now you should take air tool ratings with a grain of salt. They usualy are given with duty cycles but they don't tell you that...eg. a die grinder might be rated at 6 cfm, but if they expect a 10% duty cycle that's 60 cfm used for 1 min. every 10 min!
I got the single stage 5 hp rated for 18.1 cfm. I brought home my big cleco grinder from work and it was able to keep up with me, the only trouble I had was the demand overwhelmed my design to keep condensate out of the lines. This is a 0.8 hp grinder that is rated for 27 cfm, when I use it at work if anyone else is plugged in on the same manifold there tools slow down when I start it up, tried to use it once with my neighbors 30 gal. crapman and it took about 15 sec. to drain it to 0 psi.
Well, without knowing what your needs truely are, or your budget, I guess I've done all the babbling I can do. This does fall into the how I make my living catagory, so if you wanna pick my brain it more it might be easier to give me your number and a time and I'll give you a call.
almost forgot, my sandblaster put less demand than my grinder on the compressor...

Edited by WQDL753, January 27, 2011 - 03:31 AM.
forgot to mention


#11 NUTNDUN OFFLINE  

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Posted January 27, 2011 - 07:22 AM

I wanted to ask about the single phase or 3 phase. I keep seeing a lot of used 3 phase compressors for sale although they seem to all be a good distance away. I definitely want to make sure I make a good choice as I don't want to regret it later. How hard is it to do a phase converter? I don't know anything about wiring outside of standard household current.

I think if I can get a compressor rated for 17cfm or a little more that it would be good. I have been thinking about doing a sandblasting cabinet to do medium to small size parts and then it gives me the option of using the regular sandblaster for the big stuff like frames and hoods or I can take them down to the local guy. We did find out the local guy charges $95 an hour. I can't see it taking longer then a half hour to do a frame if you have the right tools.

#12 caseguy OFFLINE  

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Posted January 27, 2011 - 05:08 PM

I called my BIL's friend. He said he uses it at his business, so he's not interested in selling it. It was worth a shot!

I wanted to ask about the single phase or 3 phase. I keep seeing a lot of used 3 phase compressors for sale although they seem to all be a good distance away. I definitely want to make sure I make a good choice as I don't want to regret it later. How hard is it to do a phase converter? I don't know anything about wiring outside of standard household current.


It's fairly easy to hook up a phase converter. They even come with instructions if you buy them new, but they cost about $250 last time I checked! The one thing that you need to know about a phase converter is that you're feeding it 2 phases (both legs of a single phase service) and it's mimicking a third leg. The third leg is a "ghost" leg, i.e. there is a voltage potential present, but there is no current flowing through it! What this means is that whatever the rated HP of the motor is, you reduce that by 1/3, and that's what you'll actually get out of it! Just wanted you to know that so you can make an informed decision.

#13 NUTNDUN OFFLINE  

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Posted January 27, 2011 - 05:16 PM

I called my BIL's friend. He said he uses it at his business, so he's not interested in selling it. It was worth a shot!



It's fairly easy to hook up a phase converter. They even come with instructions if you buy them new, but they cost about $250 last time I checked! The one thing that you need to know about a phase converter is that you're feeding it 2 phases (both legs of a single phase service) and it's mimicking a third leg. The third leg is a "ghost" leg, i.e. there is a voltage potential present, but there is no current flowing through it! What this means is that whatever the rated HP of the motor is, you reduce that by 1/3, and that's what you'll actually get out of it! Just wanted you to know that so you can make an informed decision.


Thanks for asking your BIL.

I think I will try and stick with single phase. I know 3 phase provides more power with less energy if you have industrial voltage coming in but since we don't have that I don't think spending money on a phase converter on top of the compressor would be worth it unless I came across one heck of a deal.

The other idea that has been crossing my mind is building my own compressor considering there really isn't that much to them. I could use an old propane tank for the tank.

#14 Alc OFFLINE  

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Posted January 27, 2011 - 07:59 PM

If get a good deal on a 3phase compressor how about mounting a gas or diesel engine in it's place, think it would need a unloader valve added . You could keep your old compressor for most uses then use the gas/diesel for the big jobs.

#15 tractormike OFFLINE  

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Posted January 27, 2011 - 10:58 PM

Here is another idea to ponder George. I have 2 air compressors in my shop. The first one is a 3 horsepower 2 cylinder one I have had for years. It is on a 20 gallon tank. I have that hooked up to my airline all the time and builds pressure pretty quickly. I ran across a used 5 horsepower 2 cylinder one with a 30 gallon tank pretty cheap. I have that one on a seperate switch and the air line from that one is connected to my first compressor with a ball valve in line. If I don't need a lot of air the smaller compressor will work just fine and if I am sanding and grinding and using a lot of air I throw the switch for the other compressor, open the ball valve and have both of them running, giving me a pretty good supply of air. I know this isn't a fancy way to do it but it didn't cost very much.