Air tools are great work savers. However, for years most people thought you had to be either rich or a large full time auto repair shop to have an air system.
Fortunately for today’s consumer, setting up an air system is fairly inexpensive and quick.
You can get started with just the basics and gradually add tools as you need them.
What You Need: The Basics
An air compressor
Regultor & Guages
Next Step: Choosing The Right Compressor
When choosing the compressor, you should have in mind the type of tools you’ll be using. There should be a tag on the compressor that rates the “Air Delivery”. It may say something like “5.9 AVG. SCFM @ 90 psi.”
Now, on your air tool there is another number, this number is called the “Air Requirement” number. This number will look like “5.5 AVG. SCFM @ 90 psi.”
All you have to do is make sure the “Air Delivery” number on the compressor is larger than the “Air Requirement” number on the tool or tools that you’ll be using.
Next Step: Choosing the Right Fittings
There are two types of fitting for air tools. Industrial and Automotive. These two types of fittings CAN NOT be interchanged. You’ll have to decide before buying components which style you want.
You’ll also have to determine which size of fitting you want. Fittings are measured by the inside diameter (commonly called the ID). I personally prefer the 3/8ths over the 1/4 inch, but either will work well for the occasional user.
Be sure to choose the same NPT number on the air inlet of your tool as the fitting NPT number.
Next Step: Choosing the Hose System
You could just get by with air hoses laying all over the place, but that is dangerous and it makes your Garage or Shop look cluttered.
You should invest in either a reel storage system or coil hose if you you won’t be far from the compressor.
Next Step: The Tools
As stated above. Decide early on which tools you’ll be using and make sure your compressors “Air Delivery” rating is higher than the tools “Air Requirement” rating. One of the best practices to use it to determine what the largest tool that you will ever use is. For most of us that may be a Air Impact Wrench.