Tobykanobe

Air Compressor

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As I build out my wood shop, my father has offered to buy me a dedicated air compressor for the shop.  Although just a hobby now, I want to future proof myself a little bit for retirement when I plan on actually making money on this hobby.  I would like an upright model, probably 60 gallon.  Was wondering what some of you have in your shop.  I have several portables, but I'm looking for something that will serve me today and in the future as my hobby turns professional in the next few years.  One requirement, low noise.  My warehouse has an apartment built into it that has a tenant and I try to be respectful of them.  I know California Air Tools make some quiet compressors (I have a small portable), but if you have something you're pleased with on the noise front, let me know.

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I have always heard that California Air Tools are quiet.  I have never heard anyone say the same of any other brand.

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18 minutes ago, Mark J said:

I have always heard that California Air Tools are quiet.  I have never heard anyone say the same of any other brand.

x2 I have a small one and it pretty quiet especially compared to my previous pancake compressor.

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I got a Husky 60 gallon compressor from HD a few years ago because it was on for a screaming good price. Now I'm not so sure about that price because after moderate use the thing sounds like it's gonna grenade any day now. And it's as noisy as a freight train. Definitely NOT recommended.

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2 hours ago, Tobykanobe said:

As I build out my wood shop, my father has offered to buy me a dedicated air compressor for the shop.  Although just a hobby now, I want to future proof myself a little bit for retirement when I plan on actually making money on this hobby.  I would like an upright model, probably 60 gallon.  Was wondering what some of you have in your shop.  I have several portables, but I'm looking for something that will serve me today and in the future as my hobby turns professional in the next few years.  One requirement, low noise.  My warehouse has an apartment built into it that has a tenant and I try to be respectful of them.  I know California Air Tools make some quiet compressors (I have a small portable), but if you have something you're pleased with on the noise front, let me know.

Making money, now that the trick . I decided awhile back if I had to do it again I would look at the compressor as the #1 tool in the shop and not the tablesaw. I like to run pnuematic sanders but requires 13-15 cfm these days. Look into it...sanding,spraying even blowing tools off....

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Go with a unit that uses crankcase oil and belt drive. Oilless units are typically very loud, and not really designed for the volume needed to fill a 60 gal. tank.

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2 hours ago, drzaius said:

I got a Husky 60 gallon compressor from HD a few years ago because it was on for a screaming good price. Now I'm not so sure about that price because after moderate use the thing sounds like it's gonna grenade any day now. And it's as noisy as a freight train. Definitely NOT recommended.

I think I have a similar one but its been going strong for over a decade. When I got the small California Air Tools one I thought I should replace the big one...then I looked them up at $2,700 my old one's not that load lol

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I have a 10 gallon California Air tools one I'm quite happy with. It's far quieter than my previous oil filled 5 gallon no name one was. It's not going to have the same air flow as a bigger unit, but I'm pretty sure they also make bigger sizes these days.

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I'll add my endorsement for California Air products. I have a small one in my shop - does everything I need it to do (mostly pneumatic finish nailer and filling my bike tires)  and very quiet.

I'm just a hobbyist, so I may be missing something, but why would a one-person woodworking shop need a 60-gallon air compressor?  

 

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To operate a venturi vacuum pump for a vacuum chuck, or a vacuum kiln.

What's a pneumatic sander :D?

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I have a 4 HP vertical 80 gallon twin V cylinder compressor that is really handy when I need the air. I can run a spray gun without any strain. Nailers aren't any problem. Air tools aren't a problem. My venturi vacuum pump barely makes it break a sweat. I used copper pipe to plumb my shop and have three reels for the hoses. 

Having said all of that, there are drawbacks to a big compressor. While not loud like a diaphragm pump, it definitely isn't quiet in a deep thumping way. Most off the time, it doesn't even cycle while nailing a project together. And it takes about quite a bit of space. I have it tucked back behind my saw, so it doesn't interfere much, but I can't use the space on the wall behind it because it is too tall (almost 6 1/2 feet). Sometimes I wonder if I overbought, but other times I am glad I did. At least I never need to worry about having enough air!

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After the first tank full of air drops below the required pressure for the intended use, the size of the tank doesn't matter.  That's when the amount of air that the compresser will produce comes in, and why you need to look beyond just the tank size when shopping for one.  Tank size really matters little.

 This one has pressurized oiling, and I'm not sure exactly why, but it's not even as loud as the little oilless ones.  It's on a 120 gallon tank, and will run everything I own without waiting for it to pump back up, except a pneumatic rock drill.  It's now detuned down to a smaller motor,  produces 38 cfm at 175 psi with the 7-1/2hp motor, and feeds a refrigerated dryer that can handle 55 cfm.

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Wow Tom! That thing is a monster!

I've used pneumatic sanders in the past on cars and airplanes but I like electric for woodworking. They're instant on and don't blow any oil out the backside. I like to keep my pneu tools well-oiled but not my wood projects. They also blow dust around when you may not want that.

Pneumatic die grinders are the best, but I don't have much use for them, again, in woodworking.

That said, if I had an aux air tank hooked to my excessively noisy oil-less compressor I bought from Costco in '98 I'd feel more comfy about running pneumatic tools with it. I would suggest putting some money into a nice plumbing system around your shop so you have air ports anywhere you may need them. I share my shop with the rest of the garage and am always jonesin' for air outlets near car tires. :)

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I got it off CL for 500, and paid the seller to deliver it.  Also found a deal on a 7-1/2hp single phase motor, and starter.  Refrigerated dryer also came off CL.  All together, I have less than a grand in it, including the dryer.  It runs like a new one, and now have a spare 10hp 3-phase motor.

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Just now, BillyJack said:

Blow oil out the back side? I would NEVER use electric when pneumatic is available.

Not me Billy. They’re great for metal but if you oil them regularly they will blow a small amount of oil out the exhaust. That’s not good for wood. Metal it can be cleaned off. I have a full suite of pneumatic tools from my aircraft days; they’re sparkless and safe in a hangar environment and they work great. But not in my wood shop. Each to his own :) 

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Pneumatic is all we use on large shops or factories. Hey don't pay enough for me to use electrich when pnuematic  is faster and not as hard on your hands...

Good pneumatic  sanders can be bought for $150-$200

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