How to use air tools and an air compressor in your workshop dengarden electricity distribution companies


• An Air Compressor. This compresses the air and stores it in a tank. Various types / sizes / capacities are available. The important things to consider when buying are the horse power of the compressor (HP), the delivery rate in cubic feet per minute (cufm) or liters per minute, the gas tank capacity in gallons or liters and whether the compressor is electric or gas powered. The delivery rate of the compressor should match the flow rate demand of the tool. If it doesn’t, you will have to wait every so often for the tank to fill and pressure to build before using your tool again. For tools with a low duty cycle (only used for a few seconds with long pauses in between) e.g. nailers, this isn’t an issue. However if you’re using a blower, angle grinder etc, the tank can rapidly drain.

• A Filter / Regulator / Lubricator. A filter removes dust and water from air. Dust can scour and damage the working parts of tools, eventually clogging everything up, but more importantly it will cause wear and badly sealing surfaces. When air is compressed, water can condense out (depending on the humidity). This water may cause corrosion inside tools if it isn’t removed by the filter.

A regulator is like a faucet, controlling the pressure of the air, allowing it to be turned up and down, depending on the maximum requirements of the tool and also the application. A good quality regulator should keep the pressure constant, independent of the air demand of the tool.

A lubricator creates a mist of tiny oil droplets in the air flow, which lubricate moving surfaces in contact inside the tool. When spray painting, obviously lubrication is not necessary and would spoil a finish. For infrequent, short and occasional use, a lubricator is not necessary and a tool can be lubricated with a few drops of oil dropped into the intake port.

You can dispense with all this stuff and just use air straight from the compressor. However water and dust will shorten the life of your tools if you are using them regularly. Tools also have a max pressure rating which can be less than the typical 8 bar / 120 PSI output pressure rating of a compressor. Overpressure could cause damage to a tool, or worse still, rupture. A regulator will drop the pressure to a safe value.

• An Air Hose. One hose is required to connect the compressor to the filter/regulator/lubricator. You then need a work hose to connect to your tool. Various options are available. You can buy a coiled hose (like the coiled cord on a telephone handset), or a non coiled hose. Hoses are usually made from rubber or plastic. Plastic is quite rigid and can crack over time. Rubber is more flexible. Air hoses have various internal diameters. This becomes an issue if you are using a tool which uses a lot of air. A hose with a small internal diameter will cause a pressure drop and less power will be available to the tool. A very long hose will also have the same effect, dropping pressure. This is analogous to an electrical extension cord dropping voltage if it is of inadequate gage or too long when powering a high powered tool which requires high current

Internationally, air fittings follow the BSP (British Standard Pipe) standard. In the U.S., the NPT (National Pipe Thread) standard is used. Both standards are based on inch measurements rather than metric. NPT and BSP threads differ in profile, diameter for a specific size thread, and pitch. So they are incompatible. It may be possible to mate threads of both types but they may not seal very well, however adapters are available. A pipe thread size refers not to the external diameter of the threads, but originally referred to the internal diameter of a steel pipe for which the thread was intended. Low power tools generally have a 1/4 inch BSP or NPT female port into which a quick release adaptor can be screwed. High power tools such as impact wrenches used to remove bolts from truck wheels usually have larger 3/8 or 1/2 inch ports. Fittings may have tapered threads which become wedged as they tighten, forming a good seal. Air fittings can be sealed using teflon (PTFE) tape. The tape should be wound clockwise looking from the entry point of the fitting. Apply a few layers to form a tight seal.