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Tool folks - gather round - need your counsel . . .

1045 Views 12 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  j.r. guerra in s. tx.
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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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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