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I'm sure a ton of people have asked, but I can't seem to find any threads about it here. Anyway, I want to take the plunge into pneumatics. I found an air compressor on eBay. It is a 12V 300 PSI portable air compressor. Also referred to as a tire inflator. I'm sure it has some use in pnuematics, but I'm also sure it has its limitations. Since I'm new to haunting with air (in the process of reading the tutorial on Phantasmechanics) I don't plan on doing much more than simple pop-ups. Also, I can't afford expensive relays and controllers and that sort of stuff. I plan on using scrap material for armatures and frames. Anybody use these comressors before? Should I save my $6? Thanks.
 

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Keeper of Spider Hill
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Do you have a picture of the compressor ? I do not believe that those "tire inflators" have any sort of storage tank or air reserve. I do not believe they are going to provide enough on demand air to do you much good otherwise. Your pop-up will be more of a "creep-up" Personally, I'd save my money and buy something with a tank on it. Even a smaller tank (5 gal) will give you enough reserve air to run basic props with ease. The larger the tank, the less it should have to run as well. This will also depend on what type of props you are running, and how much air each requires. You can never have too much air availible IMO. :)
 

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Hauntless
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Plus, when you have a tank you'll be able to branch out, which I guarantee you'll want to after you see how effective pneumatic props are for your haunt.

I was concerned though for the noise of it running. Well, my problem was easily solved. I found a way to run an airline from the basement to the haunt (in the garage). After making sure I had an outlet that could handle the amps, it was effortless. I could care less how much the compressor ran 'cause I couldn't hear it anyway. :)

This is what I bought and am very happy with it. $200 at Sears:

 

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Keeper of Spider Hill
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From here on in to Christmas is a great time to buy. A lot of the big box stores will start putting specials out there with compressors and other big items. Sometimes you can make a good deal on a package that will include some air tools with the compressor which would be great for building more props. :D
 

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Going bump in the night..
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Personally, I'd recommend purchasing a compressor with a tank - you'll find more reasons than I'd care to try to list to use it around your house, let alone for Halloween props.

However, if you do go with the tire inflator, you'll want a storage tank for that air.
Here's an example of something you could use:
10 gallon air tank

I've seen threads in the past discussing used propane tanks for compressed air tanks as well.
 

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Buy the biggest compressor you can manage. Tire inflators will not work for pneumatic stuff, you need the storage capacity of a tank. The small units with a built in tank are cheap and useable, but loud and will run almost constantly to keep up with even small props. Larger compressors are not all that much more expensive yet have enough capacity to run less frequently and tend to be quieter as well. If you are considering taking the pneumatic plunge do yourself a favor and buy big. As mentioned you will find numerous uses for one all year round and will have the ability to expand your display without having to run out and buy yet another unit.



Don
 

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I've seen threads in the past discussing used propane tanks for compressed air tanks as well.
I would discourage anyone from using propane tanks or old refrigerant tanks, they lack a drain valve and have a tendency to rust out on the inside. This may not seem like a bad reason, however a rusted tank is a tank waiting to explode and send shards of metal everywhere and into everyone.
 

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The Hobo Spider Assassin
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I have a Porter-Cable Compressor set-up from Home Depot with a single nail gun package. One other area that is overlooked when looking for low-cost compressors....Pawn Shops! Most will let you plug them in and test them out before buying, save some $$$ and get a decent compressor cheap!
 

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CFM & Duty cylce

Make sure you get one with HIGH CFM's or it won't matter how big your tank is!!! Also, watch for the duty cycle on those things...the duty cycle determines how LONG it can run before shutting down due to overheating...the CFM rating is cubic feet/minute and will determine whether or not your props "starve" for air...remember, it's not the PSI, it's the CFM's!!!! You want that air getting to your props FAST....most of these compressors will fill the tank until 140 PSI, then kick back on when they reach 125 PSI to maintain the CFM's they're regulated for, regardless of the amount of air in the tank. If you don't have enough CFM's, you'll starve your props...If your duty cycle is too low, then your motor will run, and run, and run, and run to keep the pressure at 140 PSI (which is when the pressure switch will kick the motor off). Go oil compressor!! They're quieter, and have a higher CFM rating, and more horse power / higher duty cycle!!! Even if you use reservoir tanks at your props, you're still filling those tanks with the reserve air from your main compressor which will make it work MORE to keep ALL of the tanks filled!!!:)
 

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I read somewhere about a year or so ago, of someone that rented a Co2 tank to run his props. If you cant afford a compressor, perhaps that could be your solution. It seems like they just got a small tank and it lasted them all weekend. Look in the yellow pages for welding suppliers, they usually have Co2, or perhaps talk to a local Mom and Pop store that sells foutain drinks, the could help in locating a vender.
 
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