Jan 15, 2011

Tool Geek

Like most guys (and some gals), I have a deep-seated fascination with all things mechanical. Particularly things that require electricity and/or some type of combustible to run, can be held in my hands, and have the potential for serious injury or death. Chainsaws are a perennial favorite for obvious reasons, but all power tools are good.

We sided our garage in the summer of '09 (Has it been that long already? Time flies!) and I managed to use that as an excuse to buy a few tools, but couldn't quite convince the CFO that I needed a compressor. Since then, I've been keeping half an eye on classifieds and adverts.

Last week, Amazon put up a gold-box deal for a Dewalt compressor kit. (It was about $60 less than the current price.) I sent the link to MrsZ, who hemmed and hawed and decided that it didn't really fit in our budget right now, since a compressor wasn't really critical to our needs.

We got home from work Wednesday afternoon and it was sitting on the front porch. Sneaky minx!

I didn't get a chance to play with it until Thursday evening, and my initial impression is that it'll be just fine for the vast majority of my needs. The 2-gallon on-board tank is small, though: five or ten seconds of using a blower nozzle drops the pressure below the cut-in (120psi) and the compressor kicks on. So, the easy and obvious answer? Expand the storage!

I'll be looking for a five- or ten-gallon portable tank, replacing the single outlet with a T, and putting a female quick-connect on each side. One side will be regulated, the other will not. I can fill from the unregulated side, and then either take the tank with me (to fill tires or whatnot), or leave it connected to have an instant 500% increase in stored capacity.

I know the compressor isn't designed to run things like impact wrenches or air drills. That's fine, I don't need those tools on anything resembling a regular basis. What this will do is allow the compressor to have fewer on-off cycles for the number of nails driven, etc - and hopefully make running a tool like a framing nailer no problem at all. If I do need to run an impact wrench, it should at least make it possible if not a best-case scenario. (An impact wrench needs about 4.5cfm; this compressor makes 2.0cfm. 12gal of storage is about 1.8cf. If nothing else, it'll loosen a lugnut so I can finish it with hand tools.)

I am most pleased. Hooray for wifes. :-)

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