Air Compressor & Accessories

Is your first thing to consider and the major purchase an air compressor?

It is very simple that you just need to out and get the most suitable and affordable machine for you and your using purposes. The “criteria” for home painting are Sears Craftsman portable models, and the best thing to remember for you is buying the air compressor which is on sale. With some of my personal experiences, I will strongly recommend a 220-volt unit of at least 1 hp (preferably 2 horsepower). If your garage does not have a 220-V outlet, it can be a small problem if you have one wired in; but having a 110-V compressor blowing a circuit (fixedly containing garage lights) within in a paint job is a much more serious problem to concern, especially when this occurs repeatedly.

The following things will be what people need to know about how to choose the right air compressor, the parts and accessories this machine contains, as well as when and how people can operate an air compressor so that they will not meet any difficulty.

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1. How Much Compressor Do You Need?

– Specifically, it has to deliver sufficient volume at a certain pressure (listed as standard cubic feet per minute – “SCFM”) to run the paint gun or other devices that you want to use with the air compressor. Spray guns and every air tool have an SCFM-requirement rating, often given at 90 psi, at 40 psi, or both. A well-working spray gun often needs about six to eight SCFM at 40 psi, but air sanders might need six to eight SCFM at 90 psi. The best recommendation for you is to get a high quality air compressor that can operate air devices you will buy next times.

– With your own machine, obviously, you need a hose with sufficient length to pain all the ways around a car. A 25-foot hose can do this, and a 3/8-inch i.d. will diminish the pressure drop to the least. Second, you need a good water trap at least in the air line as water can be condenses out of compressed air. It will be best for you to put a big-size water separator at air tank’s outlet, and another yet smaller one next to the spray gun. If you only have 1 water trap, put it 25 feet far from your air compressor.

– You should not forget that all the things coming out of the air compressor will get sprayed onto your car. You should drain the air tanks in a regular basis, ensure that your air compressor will be drawing in clean air, and ensure it is not blowing oil past the rings if the air compressor is old. Any oil in the hose or air tanks can degenerate and destroy a paint job (leading to “fisheyes”). Thus, you should never use an air-tool oil-mister on an air compressor that you intent to use for painting. Never use a hose which has had oil in it.

Most types of air compressor in the nowadays market have a built-in pressure gauge and regulator unless you will need to add one at the air compressor outlet. Nevertheless, when the pressure drops in the hose (at the level of 10 psi every 25 feet), most painters need a small-size regulator valve at the spray gun, and impale it by “feel” for suitable spray patterns. If you want to go by the book, there will be a built-in pressure gauge with some similar adjusters available. In addition, to make things much simpler for you to use an air compressor, get a classification of fast-connect couplers for the tire filler, blow gun, spray gun, hose, and any air tool you might purchase. For the cost, you will be nuts if you do not use them.

2. Tool And Accessories:

– With suitable repacking, oiling, and cleaning of seals, a high quality spray gun should last for one lifetime at least. My machine can probably last a couple (someone gave that machine to me since more than one decade ago, and it was well-used after that time). The meaningful thing to remember here is very easy to understand: get a high quality spray gun and take care of the tool well. The instruction with a new gun will teach you how you can clean and provide it with oil. A siphon-feed gun with a one-quart pot is everything users need to paint a car; a high quality gun should contain a fast-release cup (a screw-on cup is actually a big concern); and the only “extra” that is worth bothering is the dripless vents of some sorts. One drip from the spray gun could degenerate and destroy your painting business; nevertheless, a vent which clogs with paint could become a trouble (paint will not absorb out of the cup if the vents are clogged).

– Some painters tend to keep another gun on hand for spraying primer. That is ok if you want to own an extra gun (might be a cheap gun will come free when you buy an air compressor). However, certainly, you do not need a primer gun as you never finish coats and spray primer in the same day anyway. Though it is a minor extravagance, a more effective tool you should have would be a touch-up gun. This gun is really great for painting body stripes, window frames, dashboards, door jambs, or doing what the name of the tool implies.


What the dandified garage painter “wears” depend on you, but a good respirator is the single thing you need. Never – repeat – never paint a urethane type of paint or catalyzed acrylic enamel without one. The label on the paint could show you what kind of filters and masks you need, and your paint store can provide them. Straight enamels, lacquer, and primers are nearly not toxic, but when spraying them, you still need to wear face mask. A small, throw-away “doctor’s mask” is good to keep Bondo dust out of the lung when you are doing bodywork. However, when you are painting, you need to use a respirator.


– If you are making use of lacquer (which you would rub out and color-sand afterwards and which can dry within a very short time period), you could paint your car in the driveway, but certainly, I do not recommend it. Supposing you have a garage that is not jammed – full of waste that is the ideal place to paint (clean it out if it is full of junk). The 2 major concerns are that it is well ventilated and well lit. An exhaust fan will be great. Do not shut the door when painting (for keeping out bugs, dust, etc., you can hold up the door for opening some feet. In reality, you can hold up it with a house fan, instead of blowing in, blowing out). For lighting, it is mandatory to be able to realize what you are doing on every side of your car. The overhead lights in the center of the ceiling will not do. If you do not have lights on the two sides of the garage, erect some temporary ones before starting to paint.

– 2nd consideration: you might need a god electrical circuit for your air compressor, ideally separate from the light circuit (better yet, 220-volt, as we said). Put the air compressor where it could get fresh, cool air. Hose the floor down, or sweep it. In addition, if you want to keep overspray off things in the garage you could hang plastic sheeting over them. Lacquer overspray is just a small issue. It will sweep up (or blow off) like dust. However, enamel overspray can get on everything.

– What will occur if you do not have a garage? There are many choices for you in this case. You can actually construct a spray booth out of 2×4′s and plastic sheeting. In reality, a company in the US makes do-it-yourself or pre-fab portable spray booths that feature rip-stop polyethylene covering and 3/4 – inch conduit tube frames, with the price ranging from $350 – $900. For better, you can look for pro-style spray booths to rent on a full-day or a half-day basis in a lot of urban areas. Ask at the local automotive paint store or look in the Yellow Pages to find one. Rental booths might be a great way to start your first paint job, since you even need just a spray gun, not your own air compressor. A rental booth is suitable for catalyzed or enamel paint jobs even if you paint in the garage. The single disadvantage is that you need to figure out how to get the stripped (prepped) vehicle there, and get it back in a fresh paint’s coat.

– The final and might be serious consideration you need to know is the impact of your machine on your neighbors. In some cities, there is a law which specifically forbids the car painting in a residential garage. You can paint a boat, bicycle, or table, but not a car. Many people are not aware of the ordinance until their neighbors complain, and both the fire department and police show up, and then you must move. Be aware of the local regulations. Don’t abuse the rights of your neighbors. This is another reason for you to use low-toxicity paints, like a lacquer. In addition, offering to touch up dents and scrapes on the cars of your neighbors can do wonders for the community relations.

That is too much for the article today. Next time, I will let you get your hands dirty–real dirty– when we discuss about how to strip paint and how far to disassemble your car to replace the old coat with a brand new one.

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