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 Post subject: Compressor Selection
PostPosted: November 30, 2018, 4:43 pm 
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Joined: January 14, 2006, 1:06 pm
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Location: Vista (north of San Diego CA)
My old Craftsman 2hp 20gal compressor finally died a horrible death. I'm guessing the piston siezed or something because the head/body was pushed off it's bracket and the piston rod was broken.

Does anyone have recommendations on compressors? I'm leaning toward an upright 2hp Harbor Freight that's on sale for $150. Any opinions on Oil or Oil-less?

John H.


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 Post subject: Re: Compressor Selection
PostPosted: November 30, 2018, 4:48 pm 
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Joined: March 30, 2011, 7:18 am
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Location: central Arkansas
"Oilless" seems to be synonynmous with "ear-bleedingly loud."

You might check on prices for a replacement compressor head for the one you have now.


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 Post subject: Re: Compressor Selection
PostPosted: November 30, 2018, 5:52 pm 
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Joined: July 17, 2008, 9:11 am
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If the old compressor died, there is a good chance that the tank may not be far behind. I "patched" my Craftsman 2HP/20 gal compressor tank 2x before buying a 5HP vertical 240VAC (used) a few years back. Even still, it can't keep up with my sandblasting. It runs continuously. As my son says, "Go big, or Go home". In compressors, I think that holds true. Figure out how much compressor you need and buy the next one larger. That is.....not considering the dollars.


FYI, the HF automatic drain sucks! 1st one stopped working on mine as did the 2nd one. I would recommend adding a simple ball valve with some linkage to a convenient location. Being a Locost builder, it shouldn't be too difficult to figure that out. That is on my list.

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 Post subject: Re: Compressor Selection
PostPosted: November 30, 2018, 7:14 pm 
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Joined: March 19, 2011, 10:22 am
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Location: Holden, Alberta, Canada
rx7locost wrote:
there is a good chance that the tank may not be far behind

Excellent advice Chuck
When I was a Safety Coordinator at work I showed this Youtube video at our safety meeting because lots of guys have portable air compressors and brag about how many years they've had them. Moisture in the tank over years and years leads to this.
The explosion happens at 1:30 into the video, very lucky man indeed
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVP_A7eGYxw

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 Post subject: Re: Compressor Selection
PostPosted: December 1, 2018, 12:45 am 
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Location: Louisville KY
Can any 110vac compressor keep pace with sandblasting and other higher-volume applications?

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 Post subject: Re: Compressor Selection
PostPosted: December 1, 2018, 1:52 am 
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Location: Holden, Alberta, Canada
geek49203 wrote:
Can any 110vac compressor keep pace with sandblasting and other higher-volume applications?


Yes I have done it. 3 - 110v single stage air compressors piped in parallel run through a single air drier. Keep in mind they barely shut off. Used this configuration for painting my airplane.

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 Post subject: Re: Compressor Selection
PostPosted: December 1, 2018, 9:44 am 
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geek49203 wrote:
Can any 110vac compressor keep pace with sandblasting and other higher-volume applications?

Not any single one that I know of.

I did sandblast with my 2HP 120V back in the day. the compressor ran 100% and the pressure was really low, making it inefficient as all get out. You'll spend a lot of time blasting with little work accomplished. Small parts, here and there would be no problem. Maybe 1 min at a time would work. Get the smallest blaster nozzles that you can find.

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 Post subject: Re: Compressor Selection
PostPosted: December 1, 2018, 1:06 pm 
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Location: Vista (north of San Diego CA)
Very interesting comment about the noise. I didn't know there was a difference in volume between oil/oil-less but the old compressor was oil-less and REALLY LOUD.

This compressor was a hand-me-down 20+ years ago so I don't think repairing it would be cost effective. I did consider it since the motor still seems OK, but how much longer could it and the tank really go?

I don't do sandblasting and just need to fill tires, blow off dirt/dust and use the occasional pneumatic tool (impact wrench mostly.) The old compressor did 7.0@40 and 5.6@90 and the one at HF I'm looking at does 5.8@40 and 4.7@90 so it's a bit of a step down. But any more than that and the prices almost double.


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 Post subject: Re: Compressor Selection
PostPosted: December 4, 2018, 10:47 am 
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Forget hp numbers.. can you access 240v? I couldn't recommend bigger enough. 2 hp is the limit for 120v.

The reason for failure could have been that your compressor was undersized and pushed its duty limits overheated and let go.. maybe the pump mount broke as a result. Just speculating .

Perhaps more storage and a slower running pump would meet your future needs. Also, heat generated from compression can hold more moisture in the air, and in turn contaminating your air supply.

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 Post subject: Re: Compressor Selection
PostPosted: December 4, 2018, 2:08 pm 
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Location: Louisville KY
airframefixer wrote:
Forget hp numbers.. can you access 240v? I couldn't recommend bigger enough. 2 hp is the limit for 120v.


You're eventually gonna want 220 for Aluminum welding anyway.

Oh, and make sure that your compressor is big enough for that plasma cutter you're gonna buy once you get that 220... 6 cfm / 90 psi is the normal rating which puts it up there with sand blasters, etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Compressor Selection
PostPosted: December 4, 2018, 9:07 pm 
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A small ohc 4 cyl short block (like a b3, b5, b6,etc), replace the head with a 1/2" plate, drill the plate for check valves, fit a motorcycle final drive pulley to the crank, use a 240vac industrial motor with matching pitch pulley and timing belt. You can make it 2 stage by looping two into the other two.

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 Post subject: Re: Compressor Selection
PostPosted: December 18, 2018, 5:03 pm 
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Location: Vista (north of San Diego CA)
So I got the Central Pneumatic 2.5HP 21 gallon oil type compressor from Harbor Freight. It's normal price is $175 but it was on sale for $150. The staff at our local HF in Vista is great - very friendly and helpful. The compressor seems ok so far, but time will tell. Some observations so far:
    The literature outside on the box and inside in the manual states that oil is not included. But there was a pint bottle strapped to the power cord with what certainly looked like compressor oil.
    The exploded parts diagram in the manual has some differences from the compressor as shipped. Looks pretty close though.
    There are many places (stickers, manual, etc.) warning about not running the compressor without oil. But the assembly, first start and break-in instructions don't say to add oil. I added the oil anyway.

It has a 90 day warranty and I will definitely mention it here if something goes wrong before then.

John H.


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 Post subject: Re: Compressor Selection
PostPosted: December 18, 2018, 10:42 pm 
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Posts: 225
Location: ontario
Locost_Johnh wrote:
My old Craftsman 2hp 20gal compressor finally died a horrible death. I'm guessing the piston siezed or something because the head/body was pushed off it's bracket and the piston rod was broken.

Does anyone have recommendations on compressors? I'm leaning toward an upright 2hp Harbor Freight that's on sale for $150. Any opinions on Oil or Oil-less?

John H.



Hi John,

How do yo use your compressor? If you are not running tools on it I guess any 2- 3 hp cheap HF should do. Oil-less is only needed to spray paint. Anything else go for oil lubricated. If you want to run tools check the CFM requirement of your most voratious tool and buy a bigger machine accordingly. :cheers:


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 Post subject: Re: Compressor Selection
PostPosted: December 19, 2018, 2:58 pm 
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Joined: May 27, 2006, 9:46 pm
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Location: BC, Canada. eh?
And, to echo the others, do NOT get an oilless model, unless you (and your family, and your neighbors, and your dog) are all totally, profoundly, stone-deaf. Because if you aren't now, you will be if you buy one!!

I scoured the local used-everything website, and found a nice 3 hp, 80 gallon unit out of a commercial shop that had switched to one as big as the box a Lincoln Mk. X would come in. Its motor was getting tired, so they threw in a brand-new, commercial, all-atmosphere 3 hp one. I leave the compressor on 24/7. Unless I'm using it a lot, it only comes on every day or two, and only for 90 seconds. LOVE that machine - it's the first one I've owned (and I've had lots!) that kept up with every, single, air-hog tool I own. I mounted its feet on hockey pucks, so it's nice & quiet, too.

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