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Tag Archives: air tools
  • What Size Air Compressor Do I Need For My Tool?

    If you're using pneumatic tools, there's no avoiding the need for an air compressor. But when it comes to compressors, you'll find they come in a variety of shapes and sizes - so how much compressor do you really need? Use these simple guidelines to determine which air compressor suits your needs best.

    In most scenarios, a portable hand-carry air compressor will provide more than enough power to keep your pneumatic fastening tool up and running. Take this for instance - a small 1HP portable unit (delivering 2.0 CFM – cubic feet of air per minute) allows a large nail gun to operate at about 15 nail drives per minute. That same compressor will run a medium-size finishing nailer at about 30 nail drives per minute, and will run a small brad nailer at over 70 drives per minute. So as you can see, the specs of the tool will ultimately dictate the air compressor's performance.

    Senco PC1131 Workshop

    Each tool takes a “breath” of compressed air, which then provides the driving force necessary to sink each fastener. The larger the pneumatic tool, the more air it requires to operate, which is also known as “air consumption per cycle”.

    PRO TIP: If you divide the air consumption per cycle into the CFM of any given air compressor, you will determine the possible drives per minute. This simple calculation should tell you if the compressor is able to properly power the tool you are intending to use.

    Senco Compressors

    All that's left to do is determine how quickly you're planning to run the tool. A professional construction contractor may need the extra juice to operate one - or more - large tools at a high rate of speed. In this instance, a wheelbarrow compressor (either gasoline or electric depending on preferred power source) will provide the necessary power required. If similar output is required, but the application is in a fixed location (think assembly line), a large stationary compressor may also work.

    For those running one or two smaller air tools, a portable electric compressor should provide more than enough energy - especially if used with an additional expansion (holding) tank of air. If you are running several small to medium-size air tools, you'll want a compressor rated for 4.0+ CFM. If you're looking to run a finish and trim tool (or similar) individually, a 2.0+ CFM compressor should provide ample power.

    For easy reference, we've included this handy chart below, provided by Senco.

    Senco Compressor Chart

    Which compressor will best suit your project?

     

    ~The Team At Nail Gun Depot

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  • How To Maximize Air Compressor Efficiency

    The Nail Gun Network proudly presents the following guest post, originally published on "Zero Sick Days" by RolAir:

    "The key to optimal air compressor efficiency is to maintain the integrity of your entire pneumatic system. This includes the air compressor, fittings, air hose, and tools. An efficient pneumatic system will ensure that you’re getting the air you need, when you need it. An inefficient one will cost you time and money. Follow the steps below to make sure your pneumatic system keeps operating the way it was intended to.

    RolAir Compressors Banner

    1. Use 3/8″ air hose whenever possible. All hoses cause some degree of frictional loss. While 1/4″ air hose is lighter and generally easier to work with, the smaller diameter restricts air flow more than a 3/8″ diameter hose would. If the CFM requirements of the tool(s) being operated is close to the air compressor’s limits, every bit of pressure counts. To ensure you’re getting the maximum amount of pressure to the tool, opt for a larger diameter hose. To get an idea of how air hose diameter affects working pressure, check out this handy Air Flow Calculator.
    2. Use shorter lengths of air hose. The idea here is similar to #1. The farther the air has to travel, the more pressure you lose. We completely understand that situations will arise when you are forced to use long runs of small diameter hose. When that happens, refer to the next step.
    3. Use an auxiliary tank. Adding an auxiliary tank in between two lengths of hose allows the user(s) to maximize distance from the compressor while minimizing frictional loss. For example, if you were to use two 3/8″ x 100′ air hoses, you’d be able to work 200′ from the compressor, but only lose pressure over the length of one 100′ section. The icing on the cake is the fact that the Air Keg can go where the compressor can’t, like on a pitched roof.
    4. Lubricate your pneumatic tools regularly. Just be careful what you put in them. The wrong type of lubricant can cause more harm than good by damaging o-rings and other internal components. The correct type of oil will be labeled as a tool lubricant and will contain special additives to promote long life for pneumatic tools. Of course, the obvious question is “How often?” That depends on the type of tool and how hard it’s being used, but for tools that get used daily, applying 4-5 drops at the start of each shift is a good rule of thumb.
    5. Check the system for leaks. This includes the entire air compressor, all fittings, air hoses and tools. Simply allow the compressor to build to top pressure with the air hose and all other tools and components hooked up. Once the compressor has stopped pumping, watch the tank pressure gauge and listen closely. If the needle stays put, you’ve got a leak-free system. If the needle starts to drop continuously (a slight drop is normal as the air cools) or you hear a hiss of air, you’ve got a leak. Excessive leaks in the system can cause your compressor to run more often than necessary, which leads to premature wear. If you have a difficult time locating the leak, we recommend spraying a soap and water solution on the hose and all fittings. A leak will cause the solution to bubble.

    Rolair on Nail Gun Depot

    Like anything else in the trades, a little bit of planning and preparation up front will pay dividends in the end. If you plan out your pneumatic system prior to each job and add steps 4 and 5 to your preventative maintenance plan, you’ll avoid a few headaches and maximize the lifespan of your equipment. If you feel like your pneumatic system is not performing like it should, give us a call and one of our service reps will help you troubleshoot the issue."

    Give these tips a shot and let us know if you see improved performance!

     

    ~The Team At Nail Gun Depot

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