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My wife and I went shopping this weekend at Big Lots and have come across what we consider a 'deal' - an electric air 'pancake' compressor for $88.

The specs. are as follows: 3 HP Peak, 4 gallon, 120 volt / 60 Hz. Weighs 57 #s, fits in an 18" square cube of space. 1/4" NPT outlets. 6.78 CFM @ 40 PSI, 5.29 SCFM @ 90 PSI, 115 PSI Max.

We aren't running a shop, nor do we have big construction plans. What we were anticipating is having a compressor for quick work, which might spring up. Don't know squat about air tools - thats where you folks (hopefully) come in.

What tools can this thing handle? I don't need pneumatic jack hammers - I'm looking at impact wrenches, air hammers (nail gun), that sort of thing. Should I pass on it or run over there and snap one up - there were eight or nine on display, as it was.

Thanks in advance for the advice.
 

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I believe that each air tool has a required cfm to operate properly. Check the tools you want to buy and see if they will operate at the cfm that particular air compressor provides. The continueous cfm is what is important

We have a 7hp 60gal tank compressor we purchased in houston for $269.00 a couple of years ago and it works fine for our needs which is is sand etching.

Good luck
 

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I have a buddy in the constuction industry who swears by those el cheapo type compressors for his nail guns his first one lasted 2 years and cost $99 he figures it would have gone longer if one of his bozos had checked the oil when he did a huge job. He bought another one for $68 identical to the first. He does say it wont run air wrenches or a paint sprayer because the tank is too small. He can buy a couple more before he has as much money into it that a brand name unit would cost.

Kirk
 

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It really depends on what kind of tools you want to use. The one you're looking at definitely won't handle any impact wrenches, sanders or paint sprayers for larger projects. I have a Campbell Hausfeld that's got about a 20 gallon tank and it has a hard time keeping up with the impact wrench when I'm taking the wheels off my car.

The kind you're looking at would be good for brad nailers and smaller air nailers (I wouldn't go roofing your house though), die grinder or other rotary tools with intermittant use, brief sanding with a palm type or detail sander, painting for hobby stuff (models, wood workings, etc.), airing up tires and inflatables. You might be able to use a rachet wrench, drill, or cut-off tool but it would be very limited use and you'd probably end up waiting longer for it to cycle than you would if you'd have done it by hand.

These were basically designed for carpenters doing finish work and now the retailers and manufacturers are over-marketing these things to unknowing consumers who say "Wow! $88, I can do all the body work and repaint my car now. I can build my dream house too! It won't happen and you'd end up wearing the thing out in no time. It's all relative to what you want to use it for.
 

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As a secondary compressor i would have a couple of them [if i was still doing carpentry work full time] i have used one similar for roofing shigles and they are ample, but im nott a professional piece roofer.

I have the 20 gallon campbell that my wife bought me for christmas a couple years ago that will drive a paint sprayer [5 horse] buit even it takes awhile to air up a tire that is totally flat on the suburban...... not sure just how long the pancake would take. If you have the extra dollars, it would make a nice blow gun tool for theshop so you wouldnt have to keep switching air hoses, but it will runn all the time and they can be noisy irratating little buiggers too.

William
 

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Yes, these mini compressors will run just about any air tool, after you install an accumulation tank somewhere in your system. A tank of say 120 cubic feet or larger; then you can use it to sand cars, nail with a big gun, ect - but only in short bursts of time. Most homeowner air compressors yeild about 4 cu ft per minute, so the mini ones are just a bit quicker than the more conventional type.

'Recovery time' is the watch word here.
 

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now don't get me wrong - i'm not badmouthing big lots - i buy a LOT of thiings there - BUT - when it comes to tools (manual or power) the decision to buy has to consider that the item is cheap for a REASON and that warranties are virtually non-existent -
big lots tools are ok if it is to be a rarely used item (where is that leather punch) or an item purchased for a single job - if it lasts any longer, celebrate
good luck
 
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You're never going to run an impact wrench on that thing. And who makes it? I would never even consider buying a tool at Big Lots. I have learned my lesson about cheap tools. You're not saving any money! You'll just have to buy another one next year. Cheap tools can make even a real professional's work look bad, while high quality tools can make a conscientious amateur's work passable.

Here's a link to the starter air set up that I've been thinking about getting. This thing is made by Porter Cable (a real warranty) and gets good reviews. Comes with a nail gun (drives 1 1/4 brads). Could probably drive a framing nailer occasionally.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/t.../ref=sr_1_6/104-0039118-7934329?v=glance&s=hi

-Jack_Cville



j.r. guerra in s. tx. said:
My wife and I went shopping this weekend at Big Lots and have come across what we consider a 'deal' - an electric air 'pancake' compressor for $88.

The specs. are as follows: 3 HP Peak, 4 gallon, 120 volt / 60 Hz. Weighs 57 #s, fits in an 18" square cube of space. 1/4" NPT outlets. 6.78 CFM @ 40 PSI, 5.29 SCFM @ 90 PSI, 115 PSI Max.

We aren't running a shop, nor do we have big construction plans. What we were anticipating is having a compressor for quick work, which might spring up. Don't know squat about air tools - thats where you folks (hopefully) come in.

What tools can this thing handle? I don't need pneumatic jack hammers - I'm looking at impact wrenches, air hammers (nail gun), that sort of thing. Should I pass on it or run over there and snap one up - there were eight or nine on display, as it was.

Thanks in advance for the advice.
 

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j.r. guerra in s. tx. said:
Thank you all for the input - I really appreciate the advice.


Those small pancake compressors are ment for tools that don't run continously, like nail guns, staple guns etc.... They work great for these type of applications.

For anything like an impact wrench, grinder, sprayer etc... you need a much larger tank and a compressor that can keep up with the tool.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Someone on this forum privately mailed me another tip which moopups also alluded to above. Plumb up some extra air tanks in a series and connect it to the compressor, so that the extra air capacity will be available.

Great idea - thank you for giving me that tip. Too good to keep to myself.
 

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We bought a small compressor like that. The one thing we have found is that it will not work with an extension cord. It has to be plugged into the outlet. Makes it a little inconvenient if you want to use it away from the house or shop. We have thought about making up a cord with housewire, but have not gotten that far yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well, thats kinda bad news - I was hoping that given a gcapable power inverter (plugs into car battery), I would be able to use this compressor a long way from grid. If its that sensitive, it likely won't be able to draw enough juice to be useful.
 
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