Pneumatic tools (or air tools) are one of the best tools you can use in a workshop to handle specific tasks.
However, it is essential to know how to use these tools correctly and therefore get the most out of them. Which is why we’ve listed ten tips you should know about air tools here below:
10 Most Useful Air Tools Tips
Difference between a DIY and a workshop compressor
You may think you lucked out after finding a cheap compressor (well, less expensive than the rest on the market anyway), but the truth of the matter is if you picked up a compressor designed for personal use, chances are you’re going to have to look for a replacement very soon. If you use it for a workshop instead; smaller compressors can’t keep up with the increased workload.
Not installing a filter for moving tools is a bad idea
Shopping around for air tools, you might probably have come across an airline filter at least once — these filter trap humidity from the air before its fed into the tools. Since they were optional parts, you probably skipped buying them on your way to the checkout.
And although you won’t see the problem at the beginning, you’re going to wish you hadn’t skipped out on these filters when your tools inevitably start rusting from the inside in a couple of months.
You need a bigger compressor than you think
Every compressor has a duty cycle (usually around 60 to 80 percent) which in layman’s terms that for every ten minutes that you use the compressor at max capacity, it’ll need an extra four minutes to recharge.
This recharge time might end up slowing you down if you have a heavy workload, so as a rule of thumb it’s better to invest in a compressor that’s larger than the bare minimum you’d need; a 20% increase in CFM should do the trick.
Keep an eye on your air pressure
Feeding air at a higher pressure than what is required by the tool is just asking for trouble; you may not notice it immediately. But if you continue to abuse your tools by feeding them a higher than the ones recommended, you will effectively reduce their lifespan by quite a significant margin, which would end up costing you in the long run.
Even the smallest of leaks can end up costing you a lot
Thread-taping your air connectors may feel like an exercise in futility (after all, you can barely even feel the air escaping from the connections, let alone measure it one the gauge), but it is the most natural thing you can do to save yourself A LOT of money if you work with air tools.
EVERY AIR LEAK WILL COST YOU, if not in air lost, then in power wasted in regaining that lost air. You’ll only regret not taking the time to thread-tape your connections.
Lengthen your air hose, not your power connections
While your compressor power cords NEED to be kept short because of the high currents they carry, the same is not required for your air hose.
Which is why if you have a large workhouse and a not-so-mobile compressor, you should make up the distance by lengthening your air hose instead of your power cords. The retractable air hose reel not only gives you durability but also excellent functionality as well.
Don’t be fooled by the small size of tools
Some air tools may be a lot smaller than you may have expected when you set out to buy them. However, that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily any less powerful than their larger counterparts.
Which is why the only measure of power and requirements you should give any importance to is the requirement specifications given on the packaging of the tool.
Opt for High Volume Low Pressure (HVLP) guns
Opting for HVLP guns (a paint spray gun is a simplified example) over the alternative is simply a no-brainer. There’s no denying the higher quality output and less wastage of material that one can achieve with an HVLP gun.
Why pneumatic tools are better than power tools
Put; air tools are much lighter and safer (significantly reduced risk of electrocution) to use than power tools.
And since they’re way lighter than power tools, you have a higher power to weight ratio, meaning air tools are more comfortable to use for more delicate jobs.
Air tools aren’t as expensive as you think
On the DIY level at least, air tools cost significantly less than their electric power counterparts, not just in their initial costs, but in the long run too since they have longer lifespans.