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  1. #1
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    Air compressor for HVLP

    I am planning to purchase a new air compressor that would have enough cfm to run the majority of HVLP conversion guns. I've narrowed it down to two units but would welcome thoughts:
    Northstar 5 hp 60 gal single stage oil lubed:
    http://www.northerntool.com/shop/too...1298_200641298
    Northstar 3 hp 60 gal single stage oil lubed:
    http://www.northerntool.com/shop/too...1297_200641297

    Max budget is 900 (I suppose). As always, lower price is better given gun purchases. I've read prior NCWW forum posts about air compressors and realize this is a frequent topic over the years. My impression after a deep dive into various brands is that "things have changed". I am not sure that an experience with a company's compressor from 10 years ago is relevant today. Like most of the other equipment we talk about, there is more outsourcing and less quality consistency. Warranties are very short and described problems frequent on recently purchased yet historically solid brands. Often times the warranty service entails shipping or driving as opposed to onsite. The Northstar is a Northern Tool brand that looks to be a clone of the Puma brand. They carry a 4 year warranty and the warranty service appears to be on site service. Reviews are generally positive. The other point I noted with historically solid brands is that their smaller compressors appear to be poorly executed with short duty life, short warranty and plenty of complaints whereas their $1200+ compressors appear to be more in line with the brand's reputation for quality compressors.
    I've looked at the present day Borg versions and the companies that actually make them are suspect. Usually the warranty document expresses the actual manufacturers and the warranty details essentially make the warranty useless.
    Eaton makes a beast of an air compressor but starts at around 1600 shipped for their entry 5 hp two stage.

    The goal is a compressor that will run virtually any HVLP gun that I would care to use for woodworking. I know that a smaller compressor is an option with a number of quality guns using less CFM. Since I'm upgrading, I'd like to keep my gun options open. I have the Fuji 4 stage HVLP, so I'm looking to go beyond the turbine for options. Largest spray project would be cabinets. Most smaller furniture projects. No plans for air sanding.
    After researching one-stage vs two-stage, I think that for budget I'm going to stick with one-stage. Two stage offers higher pressure and I believe quicker refill. I have no high pressure (i.e. 150psi etc) needs like auto work.
    Advice- thoughts on the two compressors mentioned, others or corrections to thought process?

    Thanks

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    Re: Air compressor for HVLP

    Chris
    I can't answer your question.
    I do wonder what the new setup will do for you that a Fuji 4 stage HVLP won't do?
    Henry W
    Prolific creator of sawdust, and sometimes shavings - with the occasional completed project.

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    Re: Air compressor for HVLP

    Quote Originally Posted by Henry W View Post
    Chris
    I can't answer your question.
    I do wonder what the new setup will do for you that a Fuji 4 stage HVLP won't do?
    Thanks, Henry. I hope I don't stir a hornet's nest with my comments, but here are my thoughts:
    My understanding is that a compressed air setup capable of around 15 cfm at 40 psi will allow use of a wide variety of guns- hvlp, lvlp, rp, each with their pros and cons for a given application. Conversion guns for compressors are available in a range from the $10 HF to super high end $$$. In theory, I would have more options to fine tune atomization and finesse the finish compared to the turbine setup. Rather than one gun that does it all, you'd have specialists.
    Additionally, some conversion guns are simply better all around guns than the stock turbine gun albeit with a cost attached. I communicated with Jeff Jewitt and he confirmed that the right gun with an appropriate compressor would allow easier application of color and toner compared to the Fuji. I don't think there would be a marked difference for many routine topcoat applications, again depending on the specifics. A good argument could be made to simply find the finishes that work well with the Fuji, use those, and not move to a compressed air system. The air compressor setup does work out to be a more expensive option factoring all elements, particularly assuming you're aiming for better than the Fuji. A smaller less expensive compressor setup is feasible with limits placed on which guns can be used. As you know there are also additional considerations to fuss with in a compressed air setup that are plug and play with a turbine. I should also recognize that there are plenty of Fuji, Apollo, and Earlex users that get great results.
    Given a desire to have the flexibility over the "one gun" limitations, and perhaps use a better routine gun, I plan to move to the compressed air system.

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    Re: Air compressor for HVLP

    I currently have a 60 gallon 3 hp single stage Energair that has served me well for 8 years and I bought it used. I am thinking of replacing it as we use it daily. I am seriously looking at the Quincy 3 1/2 hp 60 gal single stage, Quincy has excellent customer service and has been in the business for a long time. I think Northern sells it for about $800

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    Re: Air compressor for HVLP

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil S View Post
    I currently have a 60 gallon 3 hp single stage Energair that has served me well for 8 years and I bought it used. I am thinking of replacing it as we use it daily. I am seriously looking at the Quincy 3 1/2 hp 60 gal single stage, Quincy has excellent customer service and has been in the business for a long time. I think Northern sells it for about $800
    Been looking at that one too, thanks for the thoughts.

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    Re: Air compressor for HVLP

    Chris the 3hp looks identical to my Husky as far as Compressor and motor. Probably made in the same factory. Only diff is mine is 110V and a 30 gal tank.......and 100$ less. Mine works great with HVLP guns

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    Re: Air compressor for HVLP

    13-15 CFM for a gun means spraying wide open, 18", full capacity, non stop.
    I don't even get close to that doing a table top.
    For most furniture applications your 3hp 60gal will be running at less than 1/3rd of its capacity.
    I purchased a Husky from Lowes more than 10 years ago, never had an oil change as it is still clean.

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    Re: Air compressor for HVLP

    I completely agree with Willem. 13-15 cfm is not needed for woodworking where you are probably spraying a 6" pattern and in rather short burst. I only use that much air as we do a fair amount of auto body work and painting. If my compressor was only for woodworking I would be looking at one of the California Air Tool compressors. They run at half the rpm of standard compressors which means they are much quieter and will last longer

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    Re: Air compressor for HVLP

    I was going by the gun specs recommended cfm for high end guns (11-15 cfm). The CAT 10 gal is rated at 6.4 cfm @ 40 psi so I guess it may work given the short bursts but I wonder. Yes, there are lower cfm guns. Would you run a 15 cfm gun on a 6.4 cfm compressor (honest question, not meant to be contrary)?

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    Re: Air compressor for HVLP

    Quote Originally Posted by redknife View Post
    I was going by the gun specs recommended cfm for high end guns (11-15 cfm). The CAT 10 gal is rated at 6.4 cfm @ 40 psi so I guess it may work given the short bursts but I wonder. Yes, there are lower cfm guns. Would you run a 15 cfm gun on a 6.4 cfm compressor (honest question, not meant to be contrary)?
    I would be concerned about the 10 gal tank. That is pretty small.

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    Re: Air compressor for HVLP

    California Air Tools has a 4 hp, 10 cfm stationary model available for $990 from Walmart:

    https://www.walmart.com/ip/49224843?...sem#about-item

    On my farm I currently have Campbell Hausfeld, Porter Cable (multiple models), and California Air Tools compressors. Previously I have owned IR, Dayton, Craftsman, and Quincy units.

    For a non-industrial application and in a situation where I had to install the compressor where I could hear it, a CAT would be at the top of my list. If I needed to extend it's capacity I would add a second 60 - 80 gallon tank plumbed inline. These can frequently be found used for a couple of hundred bucks (from a dead industrial compressor or water tank).

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  17. #12
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    Re: Air compressor for HVLP

    Quote Originally Posted by scsmith42 View Post
    California Air Tools has a 4 hp, 10 cfm stationary model available for $990 from Walmart:

    https://www.walmart.com/ip/49224843?...sem#about-item

    On my farm I currently have Campbell Hausfeld, Porter Cable (multiple models), and California Air Tools compressors. Previously I have owned IR, Dayton, Craftsman, and Quincy units.

    For a non-industrial application and in a situation where I had to install the compressor where I could hear it, a CAT would be at the top of my list. If I needed to extend it's capacity I would add a second 60 - 80 gallon tank plumbed inline. These can frequently be found used for a couple of hundred bucks (from a dead industrial compressor or water tank).
    Thanks Scott. I missed that one looking at the CAT line. Might be the best way to go.

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    Re: Air compressor for HVLP

    I know the suspense is killing you folks . I ordered the California Air Tools 4 hp 20 gal 12.8 cfm @40 psi model 20040C that Scott Smith suggested above. The low noise, small footprint, adequate cfm, ability to use existing wiring all factored. I hesitated because teflon coated oil less pistons have a shorter life cycle than oiled, but a reality check revealed I won't approach the life cycle anytime soon.
    I have a Qualspray 5008 LVLP spray gun on the way from Jeff at Homestead Finishing. Plan to add a C.A. Technologies Jaguar HVLP gun.
    Thanks for all of the advice.

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    Re: Air compressor for HVLP

    Quote Originally Posted by redknife View Post
    I know the suspense is killing you folks . I ordered the California Air Tools 4 hp 20 gal 12.8 cfm @40 psi model 20040C that Scott Smith suggested above. The low noise, small footprint, adequate cfm, ability to use existing wiring all factored. I hesitated because teflon coated oil less pistons have a shorter life cycle than oiled, but a reality check revealed I won't approach the life cycle anytime soon.
    I have a Qualspray 5008 LVLP spray gun on the way from Jeff at Homestead Finishing. Plan to add a C.A. Technologies Jaguar HVLP gun.
    Thanks for all of the advice.
    Let us know how you like it.

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    Re: Air compressor for HVLP

    Yes, I would definitely like to know also how you end up liking it. If I move shop , I will probably get rid of my 80 gallon and go with the Cali air.

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