Author Topic: Decent Air Compressor to paint entire car?  (Read 175 times)

78TA_In87

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Decent Air Compressor to paint entire car?
« on: June 08, 2021, 02:12:31 PM »
What is a decent one at around $750-$1,000?

I plan to paint my car only once.  And maybe a panel or 2 on my daily car.  And then also use the compressor to attach tools to it (I'll probably only use it about 10 hrs a year after the car gets painted).
So I don't think I need something super duper great that is required in a professional daily use environment that needs to last forever.  I know I need to get a 220V holds enough air to paint the car all in one shot.  But what exact model to get?  Ones I've seen recommended are discontinued.
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roadking77

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Re: Decent Air Compressor to paint entire car?
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2021, 06:25:23 PM »
I dont know a lot about the cfm vs hp vs whatever debate. I was always under the impression that you needed a good air reserve pushing lots of cfm to be effective for painting. To that end I bought a 60 gal job from Tractor Supply quite a few years ago. It is 220v. I got mine on sale, and tax free and think it was around $700. Has worked for me great for the last 6 or 7 years, I apologize for the lack of detail I will get more details in the morning. For painting, the dryer/regulator is as or more important than the compressor. Keep in mind a decent one of those will run $300+
I think you can do the same with a smaller tank/compressor but it will cycle more.

I walked into Lowes a couple of years ago and they had a 60 gallon kobalt model that was half price. I think I paid $300 or $400 for it. Still not hooked up but now that I have electric in my shop it will be soon.

FWIW. I was in TSC last week and they had ZERO compressors in the store, sign of the times.
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TonysTA

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Re: Decent Air Compressor to paint entire car?
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2021, 06:44:36 PM »
There is a lot of info on the web regarding compressor size and air filters/dryers. From my experience, 60 gallons is the minimum I would go, mine runs a lot when I paint and it takes a beating when I media blast parts. If you don't plan on doing either very often, 60 gallons is fine for occasional use.  As for CFM - look at what your paint gun calls for and make sure the compressor can keep up. TSC is a good place to look. 

 As RoadKind mentioned, your dryer is equally as important. I have a few air dryers hooked up in sequence and some down spouts / blowouts included before the air dryer. These come in handy when it is humid out. Best of luck in your quest.

roadking77

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Re: Decent Air Compressor to paint entire car?
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2021, 06:52:56 AM »
2018-05-17_02-52-47 by Kerry Grubb, on Flickr
This is what I am going to hook up in my shop. I paid half of the sticker. I figured for the price I couldnt go wrong, or I was going to turn it on CL. But that didnt happen and it still sits in the barn on the pallet. This is almost identical other than brand name of the one I have in my garage that I got at TSC. I have never had any problems painting with it.
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78TA_In87

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Re: Decent Air Compressor to paint entire car?
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2021, 03:38:04 PM »
I heard good things about Kobalt compressor.  I'm following on YT a person who's been doing his 77 Camaro build for over 6 years and he used one in his garage to paint it.

Now, half off the sticker price??  So $250??  Even at $499 that seems like a great price!  How did you get that price?  Black Friday?  New from the store or from a person?
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Re: Decent Air Compressor to paint entire car?
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2021, 03:38:04 PM »

roadking77

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Re: Decent Air Compressor to paint entire car?
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2021, 03:22:22 PM »
It was a couple of years ago. I am at Lowes or HD many times a week. We went in first thing one morning for work stuff. This was sitting right at the contractors entrance along with 2 smaller ones and some other tools. Big sign said half off of everything. I thought the 499. was the half off price. I asked the clerk and she verified the price was 250. NO BRAINER. I paid for it right then. I did have a load on the truck. They put a sold sign and I stopped on my way home that evening to pick it up. When I got back in the afternoon everything else was gone. They said the sale was due to 'slow moving' merchandise.
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Ford5of5

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Re: Decent Air Compressor to paint entire car?
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2021, 09:06:20 PM »
CFM's are the important thing when buying a compressor for HVLP. I think you're gonna want something like 10-14 cfm@40psi. Do you have an HVLP gun? Check the cfm requirements for whichever gun you have or buy. The basic 120v, 20 gallon compressor is gonna be a pain for such duty but I've heard people saying that it's doable.

I bought a Harbor Freight 60 gallon, 2 stage for around $750ish after tax about 5 years ago. I added a 20 gallon tank as a water catch; it also adds to my air capacity a little bit. Also, I used an after cooler and copper pipe as a water trap. There are many options for dry air.

Expect to pay another few hundred to setup electrical and whatever you're gonna use for drying or cooling.

Do you have a 220v connection? Can you do your own electrical? Expect to spend around $100 just for wire and another $40 for boxes and a breaker. I did my own electrical work but I can tell you that my electrician bills himself out @ $150 an hour.



You may want to consider an HVLP Turbine. They are basically a tankless compressor dedicated to spraying paint and run on 120v; I don't know if that's an accurate description but close enough. IIRC, they go for $400-800. If you're not gonna do anything else with a compressor then it's a reasonable choice.

Other than HVLP, media blaster or filling tires I don't use my compressor for much. I prefer wired electrical and battery power for most of my tools.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2021, 09:19:20 PM by Ford5of5 »

FormTA

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Re: Decent Air Compressor to paint entire car?
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2021, 03:21:45 AM »
Like everyone else, 60 gallon and 11 CFM min. I too found a 60 gallon V twin 14CFM for $200 clearance at a store and like Kerry, it sits on a pallet in my barn waiting until my old Campbell Hausfield 60 gallon goes.  I thought it was going to go as I have rebuilt the head twice now (the reed valves are what go) but I bought my first one when I was 10 or 11 and it has been beat to death and keeps on running. I use it everyday for something.
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roadking77

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Re: Decent Air Compressor to paint entire car?
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2021, 06:47:26 AM »
Thats a nice set up Ford, I am glad you reposted. Us being in the same profession, I too prefer electric and now battery for most of my tasks. Sounds like I use my air compressor about as much as you do. Although I have some staplers and brad/pin nailers I will use in my cabinet shop.
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jonathonar89

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Re: Decent Air Compressor to paint entire car?
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2021, 10:03:10 AM »
I’m in agreement on this consensus.  I read a painting book years ago and I remember reading the recommendation for automotive painting to be 5hp and 60gal minimum.

When you paint with an HVLP gun, it’s exactly what is stated.  High-Volume Low-Pressure (HVLP) should signify that you want a large tank…and a strong enough motor to pump the volume.

Hope that keeps the thoughts simple here.  Brands/companies/suppliers are a different story.  I’m not sure who sells the best bang-for-the-buck product.

NOT A TA

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Re: Decent Air Compressor to paint entire car?
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2021, 11:27:51 AM »
I have a 60 gal. Ingersol twin piston V in the garage plumbed to an additional 40 gal. tank that is in the laundry room off the garage I can AC. Having the additional tank in an AC area really helps drop the condensation, key here in S Fl. Of course I also have other inline water drops, filters, etc and use a disposable filter at the gun, it's humid here.

The additional tank helps reduce the pressure drop when spraying a whole car. With a small set up you can get your gun settings set up the way you want  for spray pattern, volume, etc. and then as soon as the compressor can't keep up with the pressure drop in the tank you start changing your gun settings to keep up with the reduction in the air pressure. With the additional storage volume of an extra tank the overall pressure in the tanks stay higher and changes slower.

For 220 V electricity I made a heavy duty extension cord from stuff you can buy at HD and use the dryer outlet in the laundry room which is next to the garage. Funny but I leave the compressor plugged in most of the time because it gets used frequently and only plug the dryer in every couple weeks to do laundry. Not ideal but the easy button.

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Re: Decent Air Compressor to paint entire car?
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2021, 11:27:51 AM »
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