Re: compressor

A&Y Dave in MD

I used a loud Sears 12 gallon tank compressor for years. I’d run it during the day and fill the tank, then spray a car or two at night with the compressor switched off so it didn’t wake the neighbors.  Eventually, I found an Iwata Shark from eBay for $95.  An automotive custom detail painter used 15 of them for a class he taught, then sold all on eBay after the class was done.  Mine had two little paint spatter drops but was otherwise in like new condition.


Starting with something cheap (Sears version cost me $69 and still is used for my nail gun), and having patience can yield such deals that are far better than anything from a chain store.


Now, I think I’d pay $250-350 for the Shark upfront as it is so quiet and portable—a good tool makes ALL the difference to someone who knows what their doing.  But I didn’t have the $ or the knowledge/skill/experience then that I have now.  When I started, I’d buy any old kit (mostly 50’s era and many foobies that didn’t have a prototype), so my painting skills and tools didn’t matter except as experience.


Now I’m mostly painting resin kits and kitbashes for specific 1934 era freight cars.  So I don’t want to be screwing up. Plus I’m getting older, so I don’t want to waste time re-painting or playing around with the air pressure valve to get the right mix!  Of course, now the loud compressor doesn’t bother my wife or me so much since we’re half deaf (or just don’t pay attention to each other any more).


In other words, your mileage may vary depending upon your wealth, experience, and preferences.  You can buy cheap and add good regulator and water trap, but it may be loud.  Or you can go for the gold if you have the $ and want to work with the best from the start. What should matter to all is getting a compressor with enough pressure to hit 25-30 psi, a tank to smooth out air, a decent pressure regulator, and a water vapor trap. 




From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...]
Sent: Saturday, May 21, 2016 10:20 PM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: [STMFC] Re: compressor



Ron, pending the type of paint, ie the medium, you plan to spray you will need consistent air supply and pressure, ie no pulsating. Diaphragm compressors are notorious for pulsating. A piston compressor is better. Better yet is one that includes a tank. Max air pressure is not always the pressure you get once you start spraying, pressure under load often drops. Sometimes below what is needed for the job. Medium demands vary: acrylics are thick and require larger needles and a lot of air to move through the brush. Enamels and lacquers are less demanding, but still require more air movement than inks or thinned washes. You will also want a regulator and moisture trap. As not every compressor comes with these features, be prepared to spend additional funds if you choose a compressor without.


Max pressure is important, any compressor that does 25lbs or more under load should meet all your needs. Most popular model paints require between 12-25lbs of pressure. Equally important is the amount of air it moves, measured as CFM. The higher the CFM the more air you can move and more mediums you can use.


Here are some guides to air compressors that might be helpful:


Of the compressors you mentioned, you don’t give specific model names, each brand has several models.

I don’t think the Iwata Neo Air will meet your needs, it’s designed for finger nails painting and cake decorating, ie ver! y light use. And it has a max pressure of only 15lbs.

Testors offers several different compressors in their Aztec line. If you mean the Mini-Blue, I think you would be better with the Aztec 100 or 200.

Sparmax also has several compressors in their line. I would choose the Windstorm over the Airstream model.

Iwata, I like, I have their Hammerhead Shark air compressor, which is their top of the line silent compressor. Very nice, but very expensive. Hobby Lobby appears to carry only Iwata’s two low end compressors. The Ninja Jet has a max working pressure of 18lbs, which may or may not be sufficient. I would encourage you to look a little higher in their line. Hobby Lobby might be able to order one.


Hopefully others will offer some insights.


Doug Harding


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