View Full Version : Air Tool advice....

12-07-2004, 10:41 PM
So for X-mas I am contemplating getting myself hooked up with air. I am way tired of just hand tools and the cordless impact. Any suggestions as to my minimum needs as far as a compressor go? A basic explanation of all the ratings i.e. HP,PSI,capacity etc etc would be helpful(not asking what HP or PSI mean rather what their effect on performance would be while using the air tools). Also any brands of tools that are better or worse than others? Thanks in advance for the help.

12-07-2004, 10:58 PM
Go to the parts store and ask if they have a ToolWeb sale flyer. http://www.toolweb.com/
Order the IR impact that has the steel forward section. http://www.toolweb.com/itemdetail.cfm?partno=IRT231C
The no-name clone is like this: http://www.toolweb.com/itemdetail.cfm?partno=FPT744
The CP stuff is OK, one of the better cheap names.
Get any air ratchet, CP is good.

Captain Bondo
12-07-2004, 11:50 PM
Agreed, ingersoll is kickass bang for the buck. When I started out the new Blue Point composite stuff gave me a big woody and I paid more money than I should have.
As far as compressors go, buy the biggest "oil" compressor you can afford. Oilless compressors are the loudest, nastiest objects on God's green earth. Do you want to use buffers or spray guns or sanders? Stuff like that uses mucho air. If you just want to use impact/air ratchet/etc then you could get away with 20gal/2hp maybe. 5hp would be better. 220v and 10hp/50 gal would be better for HVLP paint, air buffers, etc.

1/2" impact, air chisel and a 3/8" butterfly gun too would be key. Handy stuff. Some people like air ratchets, some people like butterfly guns, i like butterfly guns for the most part although air rathcet fit in some spaces better. Reason? A 50 dollar butterfly gun will work like a 200 dollar one more or less. A 50 dollar air ratchet will work like a 200 dollar one but be it will make such a loud freakin' high pitched sound you won't use it.
Just my thoughts.

Hank Scorpio
12-08-2004, 12:24 AM
stay away from habor frieght

get as big a compressor as you can (oil'd)
get as many water traps installed as you can. You can build a 'condensor' easy enough, we have a fairly good sized one for the twin compressors @ the shop.
remeber to oil daily (though we hardly ever keep up with that lol).

12-08-2004, 09:07 AM
I rarely use air ratchets, 1/4 inch more than 3/8".

A big air tank is more important than CFM to a degree..

12-08-2004, 09:31 AM
I have a small 230 volt 2 hp compressor with a 24 liter tank, pressure 115 psi. Together with an air ratchet, blow gun, tire inflate thing, etc, some usefull tools.
The best brand I have seen is atlas copco (also swedish) but it is very expensive. I have some tools from them (second hand) and they work perfect.. even after 20 years. (disc grinder and drill)

12-08-2004, 11:40 AM
Also might check out the Porter Cable stuff. I've got a 1/2" impact that broke the crank bolt loose on a chrysler v8 and was able of pulling the nuts off the u-bolts of the same truck...without really working too hard. Tried the same deal with my brother's CH impact and it wouldn't even budge the nuts on the u-bolts, but used a lot more air trying. CFM IS a big player and with the higher quality tools, you'll generally have slightly more power from them but usually less airflow required to run them, which in turn allows you to have either a smaller tank or compressor. Personally I'd look for a compressor that can supply 7-8cfm @ 90psi as that should handle most of the tools a DIY'r will use with only having to take occaisional breaks if you're doing something huge. I've been able to rotate all 4 tires on the car and the compressor turned on once and it's a 27gal. tank with a 1.5hp motor and the compressor is rated at around 8cfm @ 90. Also be aware that a lot of lower-end companies are providing RATED HP instead of true HP. Generally more HP means you can turn a bigger compressor or the same compressor faster, but the quality of the motor and compressor will determine the duty cycle. Also the motors that run @ 3450 will generally make the compressor a little louder than the 1725rpm motors. You'll also want a GOOD regulator to set the air pressure in the lines.

As for tools, keep in mind you get what you pay for. In general the CH stuff works but it's cheap. IR stuff is great, Porter Cable is great (IMO), Central Pneumatic seems to be right there with CH...available from Harbor Freight...for very little cash compared to the IR stuff they sell. Just to give an idea on torque from a 1/2" impact. My PC is rated at 400lb-ft and when putting the u-bolts back on, I went back over them with a 1/2" breaker bar and wasn't able to do much with that.

Enough rambling. Hope that gives a little insight.

12-08-2004, 12:01 PM
i have a porter cable compressor and i think its a 3hp with a 6 gallon tank. more of a portable thing then anything else. the reason i like it is it puts out 6cfm@90psi, which is rather nice compared to most other portable compressors. i run a die grinder, impact gun, cut off saw, some other random little tools. i bought a cheapo set of tools that all seem to work ok and i got a good assortment. i figure i can upgrade when i feel like it and depending on what tools i use most.

12-08-2004, 12:03 PM
I like my snap on air tools, IR is great too. got them both. You need an air hammer. So much fun! :twisted:

12-08-2004, 01:48 PM
not me.... I bought myself a Craftsman oil-free with a 33 gal tank. Waited all summer til they offered it with $100 in tools for free. Came with an air hammer, ratchet and impact wrench, plus other stuff.
Probably more than I need, but I like it. Was $299 with 0% financing for 1 year (Sears card).
I plan on using it for painting, powdercoating among other things.

12-08-2004, 01:54 PM
do what my dad did, go buy a 3/4" drive ingersoll impact :)

We work on our tractors and stuff so its needed, i guess for a volvo unless its a semi:) you don't need that big hehe

12-08-2004, 02:02 PM
do what my dad did, go buy a 3/4" drive ingersoll impact :)

We work on our tractors and stuff so its needed, i guess for a volvo unless its a semi:) you
don't need that big hehe

Oh but it sure is fun........ :badboy: