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  #1  
Old 09-20-2007, 04:17 PM
funkadelic funkadelic is offline
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Budget air compressor for stone carving

I need to buy the cheapest possible air compressor that will run a Trow and Holden 3/4" pneumatic hammer... any suggestions?

T&H said that a 3-5HP compressor w/ a 25-30 gallon tank will work, but prices are all over the place... can I get what I need for less than $1000? Less than $500?

Many thanks.
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  #2  
Old 09-20-2007, 10:35 PM
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dondougan dondougan is offline
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Location: Marietta (Atlanta) Georgia
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Re: Budget air compressor for stone carving

funkadelic,

Sure, but it you want to use it for anything else you may have problems. In my experience air hammers require less pressure/p.s.i. than almost any other tool except perhaps nailers/pinners. If you only plan on using it with the hammer go for it (the cheap one), but don't expect using it for die grinders/sanders ([as a happy camper, anyway] for more than a couple of minutes at a time).

Consider checking out used compressors at pawn-shops, Ebay, and craig's list. Sometimes you can get a great bargain for about half (or less) of the going rate for a new compressor. Caveat - avoid 'oil-less' compressors -- they are initially less expensive, but if anything goes wrong = "forget-about-it!" And buying used make sure you can listen to it running . . . if it sounds OK it probably IS. If they won't let you listen to it then YOU forget-about-it!

Good Luck,
Don

www.dondougan.com
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  #3  
Old 09-20-2007, 11:24 PM
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sculptor sculptor is offline
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Re: Budget air compressor for stone carving

if memory serves,
my 5hp 60 gallon tank air compressor was less than $500(maybe $399 plus tax)

with a larger air hammer, you may want to take the occasional break to let the compressor rest a bit and cool down---if you drive it hard and hot, chainge the oil more often---and bleed the tank frequently
also an inline oiler
for the hammer
if you choose to also spray paint, bypass the oiler

bonadventure
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  #4  
Old 09-21-2007, 09:16 AM
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jOe~ jOe~ is offline
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Re: Budget air compressor for stone carving

Stay away from the "oiless" ones. They are LOUD and won't last as long.
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  #5  
Old 09-23-2007, 05:08 AM
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LimeCutter LimeCutter is offline
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Re: Budget air compressor for stone carving

my 3hp 50 litre (13.2 us gallons), belt driven oil lubricated compressor with a 14 cfm output is sufficient to drive my 3/4" cuturi hammer, my die grinder (6cfm), and sander/polisher (6cfm).


Suggested running pressure for all 3 tools is 90psi.

I don't think I could have bought anything smaller and got away with it. There are lots of oil free direct drive compressors out there but I think they are aimed at the home hobbiest.
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  #6  
Old 09-26-2007, 03:55 PM
funkadelic funkadelic is offline
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Re: Budget air compressor for stone carving

Anything wrong with this one?
http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/w...1707_200311707


Thanks for all the replies.
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  #7  
Old 09-26-2007, 04:35 PM
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danthoman danthoman is offline
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Re: Budget air compressor for stone carving

I bought this from Lowes and use it to run my woodworking (and sometimes stone sculpture) shop.

http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...054&lpage=none

I use the T&H 3/4 air hammer and have no problem. With 115 volts your limited to about 1.5 hp. If the manufacturer claims more their lying. The 5 and 6 hp shop vacuums actually run around 1 hp. The 5 hp is the theoretical limit as they burn up.

This compressor won't run a sander but works ok with a die grinder, air hammer, nailer, etc.
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  #8  
Old 09-28-2007, 11:15 AM
funkadelic funkadelic is offline
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Re: Budget air compressor for stone carving

Any other specific recommendations?

I don't have a permanent shop space, so I really need something semi-portable that I can just plug in to a regular (US) power outlet.

Also: how important is the tank size? Do I really need 25+ gallons?

Many thanks.
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  #9  
Old 09-29-2007, 01:00 AM
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dondougan dondougan is offline
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Re: Budget air compressor for stone carving

funkadelic,

since you seem to shopping at Northern, this would be my suggestion as to the minimum you would want:

http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/w...1705_200311705

There is a similar-looking one for less on their site, but it is oiless (i.e., disposable). Nothing they have that is smaller/less expensive is going to keep you a happy camper a few months down the line.

The one in the link above will be serviceable for your hammer(s), and very limited amounts of drilling/die-grinding/sanding, and it is portable. It can be rebuilt ten years down the line if you want, though I imagine long before then you will have graduated to a 'permanent' studio with a much larger/better compressor.

At the risk of repeating myself, check-out the local pawn shops, Ebay, Craig's list for bargains on used compressors for about half the price of new. Just make sure you try listening to the used one running for a complete pumping cycle before any money leaves your hands. It should sound regular and steady with a rhythmic sort-of soft thumping throughout the cycle, neither knocking sounds nor wheezing from the compressor pump, and should automatically cut-off pumping at about 125 lbs. pressure with a short hiss of air from the switch, followed by complete hiss-free silence (hissing means there is a leak -- if it seems to be coming from one of the air hose fittings that is minor and probably fixable with minimal labor/cost -- maybe just tightening with a wrench, and if hissing is coming from the compressor pump that is probably fixable too, but at considerably more labor/cost -- significantly reducing the benefit of buying a used 'bargain'). If they will let you, try opening the petcock drain (under the tank) slightly (easy does it!) into a cup and see what comes out (clean air is very good, a little milky-looking water is OK (a lot is less so), rusty-brown water is not so good, oily brown water or just oil is definitely not good). The water comes from the humidic moisture being compressed along with the air and then condensing in the tank -- the tank should be drained daily after use, so there shouldn't be any rusty water (means it isn't being drained regularly so is rusting the tank interior), and oil means the rings/seals in the compressor pump are leaking (rebuilding needed).

Good luck with your decisions,
Don

www.dondougan.com
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  #10  
Old 09-29-2007, 10:40 AM
funkadelic funkadelic is offline
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Re: Budget air compressor for stone carving

Thanks yet again for the advice.

I know a used model may be a better deal, but I think I want to buy new -- I have no real mechanical knowledge, and a warranty/return policy are also important. In addition, I am thoroughly sick of the hassles that come with used equipment-- I have wasted countless hours at my friend's defunct studio struggling with old, rusty tools. This is one of the main reasons I have decided to put together my own studio.

I am also looking very closely at this model:
http://www.toolsusa.com/asp/item_det...P&GENB=ac&UID=

The main problem I am seeing is that many of the higher CFM models (even some in my price range) require 2xxV power, which I do not have access to. What is the highest CFM I can hope for on 1xxV (i.e. regular power outlet)?

Many, many thanks to all who have replied. I look forward to posting some of my stuff here when I finally get all my tools together and start carving again.

Last edited by funkadelic : 09-29-2007 at 10:52 AM.
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