A Few Interesting Notes About Air Compressor forAirbrushhttp://airbrushdoc.com/beginners/best- air- compressor/ November 26, 2012 You might be curious, why the hell is that dude writing all that stuff all over again? Didn’t hewrite something on how to choose the right air compressor? Yes indeed, but it was a long timeago and to be honest even I don’t remember what it was about. After extending the bestairbrush article for price ranges I checked the one about compressors again and found out thatnot everything has been said. I decided to take a closer look at the compressors used for airbrushing, go through every piece of the whole compressor machine and question the need of those pieces.Air CompressorsIndust rial compressors, have their good qualities (good air pressure and low price) but are stilltoo big and noisy. Because of that there isn’t that many people using them at their homeenvironment.To convince regular user to build homemade compressor is actually pointless right now but ifyou want you can find many instructions over the Internet or just follow this or this.Especially, in our case, airbrush compressors could use oil or be oil-less, anothercategorization would be pist on or diaphragm types. Oil-lubricat ed compressor is actuallysomething similar to homemade – compressor from refrigerator connected to a nice tank andpainted with nice color. The cost is definitely incomparable with homemade machine eventhough it is actually the same thing.What is nice about oil-lubricated compressors is that they are really quiet and if maintained wellcan live longer than you! They can pump at least 0.6 CFM and easily provide max. pressure of85 PSI (what PSI and CFM means is explained in the right compressor article).OK, they are pricey to buy but what about oil-less? Yes, there are some pros to it. They arecheaper and because they are oil-less they don’t require that much of maintenance. They arealso compact. The noise can’t be compared to the industrial type of the compressor but it isnot that close to oil-lubricated compressors. I would say that it is a bit louder than my PC (notusual PC :)).What I don’t like about oil-less compressors is that it almost became essential compressor forairbrushing. The other thing is that no matter where you buy them from – US, UK, Europe… Iam sure the origin is somewhere in Eastern Asia. They just put stickers over with their ownhome brand.So, what to look f or when choosing the best air compressor?The most important thing is PSI and CFM.For all of the kind of painting 30 PSI isn’t really enough because in some situations thecompressor might work on the edge. That’s not good, off course, that’s why you should usecompressor that has some reserves (for example max pressure from 60 to 85 PSI).0.35 – 0.45 CFM might be enough for some spraying but quality airbrush with internal mixrequire at least 0.55 to 0.7 CFM, so it’s also good to have some reserves in CFM too.
More CFM means more money. The optimal configuration for average airbrush painter would be0.6 to 0.7 CFM and 60 PSI of air pressure.If you are in the store buying the compressor, all you need is to plug it into power, switch it on,shut the output with your finger and watch. If you don’t see any air leaks then you can pay themoney for it.That’s it about compressor as a whole piece. What about gadgets?What gadgets?The compressor itself is an “idiot”. If you don’t have some additional accessories for it, it willburn or blow out.Many diaphragm compressors have t hermal-swit ch that protects them from overheating. Incheap compressors it used to surprise the artist. It might go on and switch the compressor offin the most important moment and sometimes your compressor might go for 4 hours without abreak.Because of that it is very useful to have a pressure swit ch which can be used only if you havea t ank. It will provide some time off for compressor. Of course if the tank will be small the breakwon’t be that long, but hey, even a short break is something. I wrote couple of articles on thattopic. How to make temporary pressure switch and how to set up the pressure switch for yourDIY compressor. If you don’t have it then the compressor will pump the air until it will tear up thehoses or maybe blow something out. It depends what additional protection is there.Regulat or is probably the most useful thing in all that setup. Usually it has a gauge on it whichis needed to set the proper pressure for certain purpose or paint used. For example if you painta big area you can set it to 30 PSI or if you’re going to paint a tiny details you may be fine with 5to 8 PSI using very thin paint.I would not recommend for 100% to believe those numbers on Chinese gauges but it is notreally that important in most cases, after all rough numbers are better than nothing.All the regulators have a transparent tit on the bottom – it is moist ure t rap. It should catchcondensed water coming from compressor and prevent spitting water from airbrush anddamaging the art piece. Sometimes you may see Iwata airbrushes with their own water trapsconnected directly to air input.Not all moisture traps work perfectly!The last piece of this puzzle is t ank. You may always read or hear that its main purpose is tosmooth the pulsing air coming from compressor, that’s in theory, but practically pulsing air canbe solved by using a 3m or longer air hose. Another use is as an air storage and time off forcompressor. Well, 3-5 liters tank in some airbrush cases wouldn’t last even a minute. So forthese sizes the question of air storage should be opened. On the other side many userscomplain when the tank is bigger because it takes a lot of time to compress all that air and thento switch the engine off.When talking about cheap oil-less compressors the only real use for tank is that it will provideadditional help for catching a condensed water – a kind of additional moisture trap.But when we look at oil-lubricated compressors t he t ank is a must have because it will catchalso oil.To sum it up. My best advice is, as you can expect, to get oil-lubricated compressor. If you don’thave the money, build one or find someone who can do it for you, I’m sure it will be muchcheaper than buying one. All those oil-less compressors are good only for playing but not for
cheaper than buying one. All those oil-less compressors are good only for playing but not forthe real jobs.That’s it for today. Have I forgotten something? to stay informed about my latest news and as a bonus I will give you access to my freebies Well never share your details.