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Can anyone give me any advice on what type of an air compressor to buy? I would like to purchase one for basic pneumatic tools and well.....to power any future pneumatic props, (but don't tell the wife that part!) Any suggestions on tank size, PSI, brand, etc, etc...? Thanks!
 

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Going bump in the night..
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The bigger the tank, the less often the compressor will have to engage to fill it (for noise purposes) - that may be a selling point on size to convince your wife ("but honey...I don't want the noise to overpower the TV all the time!")

I have an oil-less, that's about 27 gallons, and it's fairly noisy. But thankfully, 27 gallons goes a long way running an air-brush, and other tools, so it doesn't have to kick in all that often.
Also, I have an upright model, so it takes up less floor space - that may be something to take into consideration if you are space conscious.
 

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I have a 30 gallon sears and it works great. No problems over the last 6-7 years. Like ugly joe mines oil-less. It makes it louder when it does run but you have less maintenence. Mine lays down and is portable, good for me cause I use it a lot out of the house. Runs about 350.00. For halloween night I take it out and put it on the side of the house, that way you can't hear it in the garage.
 

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I have a cheap CH brand I plan on using and its only around 10 gallons. I plan to place the compressor away from the haunt and run an air line to an additional storage tank near the props. I think you can find those compressors in the $100 range.
 

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If you can afford it go with an oil filled air compressor over the ones that are oil less. An oil filled air compressor, although still on the noisy side chugs along where the ones that are oil-less are just plain noisy! I have a 30G that ran me about $397.00. As far as brands, I think that are all about the same.
 

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Bought a craftsman 30 gal a couple years ago. If you can afford it i would definately go with a bigger one. As said before, it wont run so much and you can power alot of props....ps.. I wont tell your wife.
 

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Air compressor

Really, any 3-5HP, 20 gallon compressor will do you just fine for several props. I ran 15 air props (5 of those were cannons, which are air hogs) off of a 30 gallon tank for a whole season in our haunt the past few years. If you don't want to spend a lot, check the pawn shops for a decent one for $100.
 

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+1 on oil filled! The oil less ones are really loud. Get the biggest tank you possibly can especially if you want to run tools. It takes a lot of compressed air to do anything and you don't want to be waiting around all the time for the thing to fill.
 

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No problem, I currently have an air compressor I am 'eyeing' at the pawn shop and they want $150 for it. Funny thing is, it doesn't have a quick-connect on it, just the male end like what you would see on a tool. So, if I were to ask them to plug it in, air would continuously run out of the tank, and to the untrained eye, would look like the compressor is broken and is leaking profusely, so I am hoping to cash in on that and turn an OK deal into a GREAT deal. Wish me luck...
 

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Really, any 3-5HP, 20 gallon compressor will do you just fine for several props. I ran 15 air props (5 of those were cannons, which are air hogs) off of a 30 gallon tank for a whole season in our haunt the past few years. If you don't want to spend a lot, check the pawn shops for a decent one for $100.
I've been following this as well as I've been wanting to get into the pneumatic prop deal. I've been trying to decide how big to go (obviously the bigger the better), but I don't plan on having that many props or that many that are elaborate so I don't want to go overboard (like I usually do :)). Maybe a couple poppers or whatever.

So what did you mean that you ran a few props off of a 30 gallon for a whole season? Did you mean that you ran them off of one tank fill-up? I can't imagine that you could trip all those props and not have the compressor kick on and have to supplement the tank (but, I have no real knowledge of how much air is actually "used" to work the various types of props yet)

Thanks!
Jared
 

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Compressors

The compressor will kick on all night long to refill the tank, it really comes down to how quickly can the compressor replace the air in the tank. We ran about 15 props all season long (21 nights, about 100 hours total of operating) and I would say we popped each prop around 4,000-5,000 times in the season. Most air compressors of the 3-5HP, 20 gallon variety, will have an SCFM (square cubic feet/minute) around 5 at 90psi. Our compressor puts out about 8 at 90 psi. An SCFM of 5 (typical 20g compressor) will easily run 5-8 props with little problem in my experience. We ran 15 props using a 30 gallon tank and an SCFM rating of about 8 with room to spare.
 

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The compressor will kick on all night long to refill the tank, it really comes down to how quickly can the compressor replace the air in the tank. We ran about 15 props all season long (21 nights, about 100 hours total of operating) and I would say we popped each prop around 4,000-5,000 times in the season. Most air compressors of the 3-5HP, 20 gallon variety, will have an SCFM (square cubic feet/minute) around 5 at 90psi. Our compressor puts out about 8 at 90 psi. An SCFM of 5 (typical 20g compressor) will easily run 5-8 props with little problem in my experience. We ran 15 props using a 30 gallon tank and an SCFM rating of about 8 with room to spare.
So is there a rough estimate of how many times a prop can be activated (let's say a basic grave popper) on a single full tank (let's say 30 gallon) without the compressor having power (so it won't recharge)? Obviously it depends on how much each actuation for the prop consumes, but that's sort of what I'm trying to gauge. I know my tiny 1.5 gallon (I think - maybe 3 gallon) pancake air compressor that I use with my brad nailer can shoot about 20 nails on a full tank (with the compressor turned off) before it no longer has enough force to drive the nails into the wood.

All this may sound silly, but I'm just trying to wrap my head around how much pressure is lost when the air escapes from the tank each time a prop is activated.
 

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How much air do props use

I guess the best way to see how long a tank will last will be to just try it out! Run a test and see how long it takes before the prop no longer actuates the way you want. I guess there might be some fancy formula for finding this info in theory. When you take into account all the pinhole leaks, the diameter of the tubing, the volume of the cylinders, etc, it will be a nightmare to determine!

I say just test it and see!
 
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