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View Full Version : what type of air compressor to paint a car



markaproda
02-18-2010, 01:42 AM
what type of air compressor is needed to paint a car. i want to buy a basic compressor that will do an alright job to prime a car.

Da Torquester.
02-18-2010, 08:02 AM
I'm not an expert but you want something about 60 -80 gallon capacity and that would flow a constant pressure without cycling all the time. I'm sure someone else here knows more. John. :)

BlackGold
02-18-2010, 11:47 AM
It depends entirely on the paint gun. Most guns today do not want much pressure, but they need the compressor to provide a lot of volume of air. Note that it's not enough to just have a large tank; the compressor has to really be able to keep up.

You also want to make sure the compressor isn't putting any oil into the air. And you need a filter to remove water from the line before it hits the gun.

cstanley-gs
02-18-2010, 12:17 PM
Ive painted multiple cars, with a different compressors.
The smallest one I used was a 20 gallon craftsman 4 HP
It performed fine and the paint turned out great.

I have a 25 gallon 6 HP now and it performs better.

Now if I were doing this full time, Id want something bigger as the compressor does run pretty much the full time you're spraying. Occasionally you may have to wait for more pressure to continue spraying.
But for a back yard job... any of the mid sizes you could buy at sears would do the trick.

I tend to prefer a belt drive vs direct drive.

rack-attack
02-19-2010, 08:34 PM
Now if I were doing this full time, Id want something bigger as the compressor does run pretty much the full time you're spraying. Occasionally you may have to wait for more pressure to continue spraying.
But for a back yard job... any of the mid sizes you could buy at sears would do the trick.


I couldn't imagine using less than a 60gal compressor that does less than 14 cfm at 90lb with todays HVLP guns. Maybe the old siphon fed guns can get away with a smaller compressor. But IMO to get a quality job with good clean cold air - it takes a big compressor with some decent length of piping and good a filtration system.

There is nothing worse than spending all that time preping a car to have the paint job fail.

mysky76
02-24-2010, 12:49 AM
i have used a 15 gallon craftsman 3hp.. unit... it sucked but it was all i had... fortunately we disassembled everything and did it in piece work. jambed and edged it all first and then assembled the car. then painted it all.. worked out decent...helped me not be over anxious cuz the compressor ran outta steam and i had to wait between coats to let the compressor catch up...lol i use the develbiss starting line series guns... super nice units. when i get some cash i will be buying a sata its what the car manufacturers use in the ford plants in detroit. dont be afraid of it priming is super easy just jump in and do it. if need be buy a couple junk hoods or like me practice on a couple junk-ish cars before you get really serious...painting is easy but the paint job will only be as good as the body work
brandon

but not to de-value their advice... i started out slow. i now have a porter cable 60 gal upright... and i really wish i would have spent a few hundred extra and purchased a 2 stage 80 gal... cuz now i am better and its easy to out run the compressor when you get more efficient. i use a filter and dual water seperators... and i use dual gun filters run in series to filter the air.

skygoat
02-24-2010, 02:42 AM
Hi Mark,

I've got everything from a pancake compressor to a type 30 in my garage and I agree with just about everything that's already been said.

It's possible to make do with surprisingly little - and do a good job - especially if you're really planning on just doing the priming and leaving the paint to someone else.

But if I was in the market for a compressor, then I'd ask myself if there were any other things I might want to use it for down the road. Are you thinking about getting a DA sander? Cut-off tool? Rotary sander? Other autobody tools? 'Cause if you are.....then you'd best know those things use air like an arobics class full of overweight smokers. And using them with too small a compressor? Hell....that's more agony than watching an arobics class full of overweight smokers. In tights.

'Course if those kinds of things don't interest you....then you really could get by with a 25 gallon or so compressor with a couple of hp from Sears. Might be a bit agravatin', but LVLP guns - would probably take most of the wait out of it. And some guns - like eastwood's councours gun - would work just fine. I think they even have one with a 1.8 mm tip. Just about right for most primers.

If you went that route, then you might even look into an oiless compressor. Noisy though.

tom_gonzalez@ve
02-24-2010, 07:51 PM
The name of the game is SCFM, Standard Cubic Feet Minute. The higher the number the better. Go with the highest you can afford and check the gun manufacturers specs for what the gun you will use requires, then figure 10% higher. If you go with a lower SCFM compressor it will probably drop pressure often enough for you to get disgusted waiting for it to catch up. It also won't help the overall process much.
Ruoe of thumb, 2 stage better than single stage, filter and dry the air from the compressor and filter some more at the gun.