Air tools

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  #1  
Old 02-28-03, 05:43 AM
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Air tools

Hi folks,
I'm looling into getting a Porter Cable oil lubed air compressor. I've pretty much decided on the model.

Now, it's onto thinking about air tools. I've noticed that Porter Cable has air tools as well. Are they any good? Would it be worth spending an extra $20 or so to get a Chicago Pneumatic or other brand? When talking impact wrenches, what's the difference between "working torque range" and "maximum torque"?

I want to make sure I get a good impact gun and air ratchet. Those will probably be the tools that get the most use when I work on our cars.
 
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  #2  
Old 02-28-03, 12:27 PM
Joe_F
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Buy the best you can afford. Cheap tools are not worth the effort, frustration, and danger they can bring to the shop.

Stick with Ingersoll Rand, Craftsman or other well-known brands that have some backing in case of problems.
 
  #3  
Old 02-28-03, 01:17 PM
Jayhawk
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I'm with Joe. I've got Craftsman air compressor, 3/8 and 1/4 air ratchets, air impact wrench, air brad nailers, paint sprayers, air staplers. Never had a problem...make sure you oil them regularly. Guess I sound partial to Craftsman, huh.
 
  #4  
Old 03-01-03, 05:20 AM
mikejmerritt
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I've been using CP 1/2 impact and 3/8 ratchet as well as some Debilvis tools everyday and am very pleased overall......Mike
 
  #5  
Old 03-01-03, 07:11 AM
Joe_F
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I believe CP makes some of the lower end Sears tools. The upper end ones are IR. If they are made in Japan, they are likely IR.

I have some Home Depot by Husky air tools and a Snap On air rachet that I found in the street (yes!) and rebuilt. I almost fell off the chair when I called Snapon and the guy told me it was a 300 dollar item!

The ones from HD are made by Florida Pneumatic, which in turn partners with Fuji on the ones made in Japan, which in turn I believe is who IR partners with. LOL.

The reason I went with HD over Sears (I normally go with Sears) is that the HD ones seemed of the same quality or better and offered a lifetime warranty.

My impact sockets are Husky (Stanley) and Craftsman (KD Danaher). Both offer a lifetime waranty and seem well made.

Craftsman air compressors are made by DeVilbiss (919 in the model # prefix), and if I had my choice, I would not have bought the oilless one I have now---but I paid 60 bucks for it and it's brand new (4 HP, 18 Gallon).

I do my best to buy stuff made in the good old U.S.A. I believe in keeping our people working first!
 
  #6  
Old 03-01-03, 07:19 AM
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It certainly does get confusing! I know Porter Cable does not make thier own compressors, but I think I figured out who does. I think it's DeVilbiss.

The tools are where it gets realy confusing. Just look at some, you can tell they're made by the same manufacturer, but sold under a different name.
 
  #7  
Old 03-01-03, 09:13 AM
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Choosing brands???

Glenn J:

Your right, it is confusing.
I think that other than Joe_F's displeasure with his oilless compressor everyone is happy with their own choices.

What this may tell you is that branding is not that important in these types of tools.

I too am happy with my air tool purchases.
Other than an Ingersol Rand 3/4" drive impact, the no-name taiwan tools I use, allow me to amass a fairly large collection of air tools. These tool are often less than half the price of Sears.

I do not use these tools every day as a professional, but rather more like an advanced hobbiest.
In all the years I've been using them I have only one dead one.
A 1/2" impact that I dropped and broke the socket retainer.
A new one was the same price as the part.

As with any air tool keeping it clean will be your ticket to happiness.
I find that mine will gum up after extended use as in autobody work.
What works well for me is to flush the gun through the air fitting with WD-40, run it for a minute to get the WD out and then lub it.
You'd be amazed how much crud comes out. (Becarefull if doing this when in the final stages of a sanding project, you have to make sure the gun is blown out good. I will even tie a rag on the air discharge in case a drop of oil comes out and you don't see it.)

I've recently managed to aquire a like new refrigerated air drier in the same price bracket as some of Joe_F's finds. My water problems may soon be over.

In spite of all this talk of tools, I would give the most thought to your compressor.
The most important thing is to stay away from oilless types as Joe_F says and get one that is bigger than you need today.
I'm quite sure once you get started using air you won't know what you did without it.
 
  #8  
Old 03-01-03, 01:54 PM
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Thanks for the tips Greg!

I'm looking into the Porter-Cable 6 HP, 25-Gallon Oil Lube Compressor Model #CPL6025. It's dropped in price since I've been keeping an eye on it. It's now down to about $270 at the local Lowe's store.

I already have a ton of projects lined up for it! Automotive projects will be what it's mostly used for. I plan on repainting our shed, sanding some rough spots on our siding of the house, hanging some crown moulding...the list goes on and on...
 
  #9  
Old 03-02-03, 04:02 PM
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I just bought the same Porter Cable air compressor at my local Lowes, looked at one on a Saturday at Lowes it was $297, clearance price, they had 6 in stock at that price I did not buy at this time I wanted to do some checking. Went back the next Saturday they were down to the last one for $270. It went home with me, I am very happy with it. The nice thing about an oiled type compressor is that is quiet while running.
 
  #10  
Old 03-02-03, 05:05 PM
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Wow! Thanks for the update! I better get looking, I wonder if they no longer carry that model.
 
  #11  
Old 03-02-03, 05:35 PM
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I don't know for sure, I have not seen anymore of that model at the store since I bought mine. This has been three weeks now.
 
  #12  
Old 03-03-03, 04:14 AM
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I just check the lowes.com site and logged in two different zip codes to get two different stores in my area. Both stores do not have the unit listed. I may have to take a ride to the store this weekend and check. Was the compressor marked as a "closeout" when you bought it?
 
  #13  
Old 03-03-03, 05:55 AM
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Glenn:

A tool chain in my area has a mail order/web site that keeps it's inventory in a separate warehouse from the retail store.
The merchandise that is on display in the stores does not usually get sent over to mail order.
Phone the individual stores in case this is how they do it.
 
  #14  
Old 03-03-03, 08:20 AM
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If I remember correctly, yes it was. Original price on this unit was $317. then $297. I got it at $269.

Edit-- Just checked Porter-Cable website, I don't see this model listed in the air compressors.
 
  #15  
Old 03-03-03, 01:07 PM
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Greg:

I should clarify. I paid 60 bucks for the thing, brand new with an air hose, a blowgun and the manual for it . Not likely to find that kind of deal again, so I just went with it . If something better comes along, this will be a backup.

If I didn't have this one to go for, I would buy an oil lubed model. They are much quieter and last alot longer than their oilfree counterparts---this is a known fact.

Also, most compressors that operate on 120V are not putting out the real HP as rated on the machine. They spin at such a high rate to put out that kind of air---but it comes as a detriment down the road, while the oil lubed one is still going .

Given the choice, go oil lubed .
 
  #16  
Old 03-03-03, 04:58 PM
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Joe_F :

Any purchase is a compromise and when you pay a fraction of replacement you can put up with some inadequacies.
I too have many compromise purchases.

My lubed compressor is on all the time and connected to a 1/2" copper line in my small shop.
The best thing I ever did was move it outside and put it in a small enclosure at the back. With a 50 watt magnet heater on the pump it works great.
 
  #17  
Old 03-04-03, 05:48 AM
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Not all the time are they compromises . I have gotten some better deals than buying new.

I bought a Husky rollaway toolbox for 120 bucks simply because it was a floor display at the Home Depot. I called Husky for the missing pieces (Stanleyworks) and they sent me all the needed parts, installed them in five minutes and I have a 300 dollar toolbox for 120 bucks .

My '65 Craftsman snowblower was just what I sought. Old, charming, reliable, and in nice shape for being 40 years old. To buy that one today, you'd spend 700 bucks on sale for a comparable 7 HP one now. My total cost on the entire machine is just under 225 bucks including $7.00 in tolls to go to New Jersey to pick it up .

The prices/deals depend on the situation. I have bought things from people in need of the cash or in a rush to get rid of it and they will just dump it to be rid of it. I've also sought out and bought what I wanted, rather than compromised as well.

I don't think you'll find ANY compressore like that, new for $60.00. (It was really $75, but I returned the hose that came with it to Sears for another one, and got 15 bucks back). Had I had to go out and buy one, or had I not found this one, I wouldn't pay more than say 100 bucks. My neighbor initially wanted 125-150, but I simply offered him less and he said, "Yea, just take it. I don't want this thing hanging around the garage".
 
  #18  
Old 03-05-03, 12:05 PM
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An update: I'm still "investigating" this. I tried many Lowe's sites, (by using different zips) and non have the compressor listed. However, I did find it listed on porter-cable's site:

http://www.porter-cable.com/index.asp?e=547&p=4699

I sent an e-mail to Lowe's yesterday and I'm still waiting to hear back from them. I basically asked them if they still carry this model, and if not, if I could still order one. If I don't hear back from them by tomorrow, I think I'll give the 800# a call or try the store manager at the Lowe's in our area.
 
  #19  
Old 03-06-03, 12:18 PM
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I heard back from Lowe's today via e-mail. They are holding one for me at the local store! I thought that was nice of them. I'm pretty happy about it.
 
  #20  
Old 03-06-03, 07:19 PM
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I went out and picked the compressor up tonight. Beleive it or not, I was able to fit it in the back seat of my VW Jetta!

I can't wait to try it out! It looks like a really solid compressor. It was indeed on closeout and it didn't look like they had many (if any) left.

I've yet to see this model anywhere for under $300. Even other branded oiled units sell for a higher price. Thanks for the heads up! I'm glad this one didn't get away.
 
  #21  
Old 03-06-03, 07:52 PM
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Smile I'm glad it worked out.

I know what it feels like when you miss out on the deal of a lifetime.
 
  #22  
Old 03-06-03, 09:49 PM
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Thumbs up

Glad to hear you got one, what did the price end up to be? Still at the $269 price or did it get lower ?
 
  #23  
Old 03-07-03, 12:53 AM
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I really like Campbell Hausfeld Compressors. I also prefer IR or Snap-On air tools for work. But, I think for home use Craftsmen or CP should be fine.
 
  #24  
Old 03-07-03, 06:04 AM
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Thumbs up

Tell me about it...I would have been disapointed if I missed out on this deal!

Yep! I got it for $269. I probably could have haggled, but I was more concerned with getting it in my car at that point!

I'm really happy I had the "heads up" on the unit. It really seems like they may no longer carry it. The guy who helped me wasn't 100% sure, but he said: "It is on close out, so that may be the case."
 
  #25  
Old 03-13-03, 06:15 AM
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Another update! I was out of town for a few days, so I didn't get a change to assemble and hook the unit up until yesterday.

I'm very pleased with how it opperates! It's really really quiet...no louder than a clothes dryer. I was worried about it tripping the 15amp breaker that's hooked up to our garage, but no problem there.

Now, it's time to look at tools. I just picked up some fittings, a 50' hose and a blow gun the night I picked it up.

Any one have any experience with "Ex-cell" air tools? From what I've read on the net, it looks like Ex-cell tools are made by DeVilbiss.
 
  #26  
Old 03-13-03, 09:45 AM
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Stay away from anything not Japanese or US/European made. They tend to be of very poor quality. Also, finding service parts down the road could be a problem.

I have Home Depot air tools (Husky). Lifetime warranty on them.
 
  #27  
Old 03-13-03, 11:03 AM
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Warranty...that's something I forgot about considering.
 
  #28  
Old 03-14-03, 12:09 AM
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At trade school they have several impact wrenches. There is about 5 1/2" impacts. There is two ingersoll-rand impacts that are worn out. On one of them when the air supply is turned on, it starts up, the trigger no longer works. There are also two cambell hausfeld impacts, they work perfectly. These tools are old and have been abused. They probably never saw oil. But still, the IR are junked and the CH are running perfect. At wal-mart these cambell hausfeld's sell at about $30-$50. The ingersoll-rand's are around $80-$100 at tool stores.
 
  #29  
Old 03-14-03, 03:01 AM
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I prefer Snap-On, IR or Mac tools. But I use my tools for 6-12hours everyday. If I was only going to use my tools on occasion I would go with Husky, CP, or Craftsman. With craftsman or husky, if something goes wrong sears or home depot is just down the street. One word of warring though, you will end up spending lots on air tools, they are addictive in nature. I can never seem to have enough.

If I could only have 5 air tools I would get:

Snap-On 3/8 Air Ratchet (319$) -For everything you would do with a normal ratchet but faster.

Snap-On Impact Wrench (209$) - For stubborn nuts and bolts.

Snap-On 4 Grinder (346$)- For Removing bad welds, cutting spring perches off, cutting off bolts.

Snap-On 3/8 drill (287$)- Drilling out bolts, cutting holes, wood projects, wire wheel.
 
  #30  
Old 03-14-03, 03:24 AM
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I'm starting to see this is going to get "expensive"... I suddenly see a lot of air tools I could use!
 
  #31  
Old 03-17-03, 09:51 AM
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Matt hit the nail on the head. It depends how you use them. Like any tool.

For the average DIY guy/gal, the HD and the Sears tools are fine. When you use them everyday, that separates the men from the boys. LOL.
 
  #32  
Old 03-17-03, 10:01 AM
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I've narrowed it down to two:

$80
Chicago Pneumatic
1/2" Air Impact Wrench
Order# CP 733

http://www.thetoolwarehouse.net/shop/CP-733.html

$102
Ingersoll-Rand
1/2" Super Duty Air Impact Wrench
Order# IR 231H

http://www.thetoolwarehouse.net/shop/IR-231H.html
 
  #33  
Old 03-31-03, 06:46 PM
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Just be sure whatever air tool you get will operate on the 6.8 cfm @90 psi the "6 horsepower" Porter Cable puts out since it actually has a 2 h.p. motor on it. This is not a knock on the Porter Cable you purchased. It's just that some air tools are really hogs when it comes to air consumption. Air sanders (both rotary and jitterbug types) and air drills require a lot of volume at 90-100 psi (typically 8.5-9 cfm @90 psi). They'll work but you'll have to stop regularly to let the compressor catch up. Impact wrenches and nailers operate in short bursts and you shouldn't have much of a problem with those tools. Air chisels are another air hog.
 
  #34  
Old 04-01-03, 04:14 AM
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Thanks for the input! I got the tools last week and used them this weekend. The impact gun and ratchet worked great. The compressor didn't cycle on that much. The DA sander on the other hand really uses some air. The compressor seemed to be on more than off when using that. Luckily, I was just sanding down some wood for painting, so it wasn't really a huge job. I could imagine if I was prepping a car for a respray I'd probably have to take a few breaks!
 
  #35  
Old 04-01-03, 05:37 AM
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Glenn J:

A little sanding tip:

When sanding wood and even automobiles you have to be very careful of oil and water spitting from the air discharge of the sander.
This is quite common, especially after extended compressor running time. The compressor has the ability to condense more water from the air as everything heats up.
I tend to stay away from air sanders when working with good woods.
 
  #36  
Old 04-01-03, 06:42 AM
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Greg...yep! I found that out the hard way! I was working when it was warm and damp out and some oil did creep out. Luckily, I was able to resand the area by hand and get rid of it. A good tip to remember though.
 
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Old 04-01-03, 05:03 PM
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Glenn J:

You would likely find a cleanable filter unit a worthwhile investment.

I have tied a rag over the air discharge of my sander when in the final stages of auto sanding and continuously if sanding wood.
 
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