Friday, January 17, 2014

Q&A: I just got my compressor, how do I know if it works?

This Q&A comes from a WGC member over at our facebook group where he asks how he knows if his air compressor works. He just got his set up and is pretty excited to jump into it all. So for those that are about to get their set up, it's an honest question. How do I know if it works?

These Q&A's are just questions taken from my daily line of questions I get from people. I figured I'd start to blog about them so it can help other people. I'm a smart ass sometimes but I try and make it fun for people. So sometimes it's helpful or sometimes, it's just me being me.

So today's Q&A comes from a WGC member over at our facebook group (plug: It's an honest question but as always, I'm being a smart ass about it but Matthew should know me enough to know I'm already a prick.

He asks:
Just got my first airbrush setup delivered! Now, two questions:

-How can I check the air compressor works? Can I just flick it on and off for a few seconds? If not, how do I test it?

-I have the compressor, hose and brushes, and paint thinner. are there any other ESSENTIALS that I need for safe and happy operation of my airbrush 

My response:
First, plug in the air compressor and then flick it on. If you just flick it on, nothing will happen. If something DOES happen when you flick it and it's not plugged in, call a priest.

It sounds like you don't have an airbrush yet so to test to see if the compressor works, once plugged in, turn it on. This is assuming you don't have the hose hooked up. In this case, you should hear a building up of a sound close a small snake turning into a big snake. If you don't know what a snake sounds like, it goes something like this...


If you DO have the hose hooked in, and you flick it on while plugged in then you will hear a hissing noise accompanied by tons of other crashing and thwapping noise as the hose smashes everyting on your desk and takes out your cat. Sounds something like this....


If any of the above sounds familiar, your compressor probably works.
As to your second question, paint and an actual airbrush is needed. Or you can watch this video about what to start with. Happy airbrushing bud!

I'll embed the video at the bottom of the page here but it's something I liked before and it's about stuff you may or may not want once you get your set up.

Of course, being me, I was being an smart ass.  It's pretty much what's expected of me but to get down to brass balls, plug it in and WITHOUT the hose connected, flip the switch. Air should be coming out of the open end. Usually this is where the regulator sits.

There should be A LOT of air spiting out of it. If you have a tank, then it should build in the tank and spit out tons of air after a few seconds.

Adding anti-vibration pads can help
from keeping your desk from turning
into a magic fingers bed.
It will vibrate as you notice when the motor kicks in.  If you have it sitting on your desk, it can be annoying so what I do is put the compressor on top of some anti-vibration pads and it should minimize the effect of turning your desk into a magic fingers vibrating bed.  And when I say "anti-vibration pads", I really mean the pluck out foam I had left from one of my KR multicases.

The important thing to know is that the compressor we get for our hobby today have auto-shut off.   When the compressor detects that it's build up to a certain amount of PSI it will turn off the compressor.  When it detects a drop in PSI, it'll turn it back on again. Each compressor is different in it's max and min settings so you'll have to RTFM if you really want to know the numbers.

This is almost instant on a compressor without a tank. Press the trigger down on your airbrush, the compressor turns on. Release the trigger cutting out the air and it turns off. On a compress with a tank, it will take a little longer as the PSI is constantly fluctuating in your tank as you spray. So testing to see if your compressor works include testing out the Auto Shut-Off feature.

In this case, you  want to hook up it all up. The hose to the compressor and the airbrush to the hose and go ahead and crank up the PSIs on the regulator. Probably around 35 or more depending on the compressors max PSI level.

For a compressor with a tank, you will have to let the tank fill up before you'll hear and see the auto shut off kick in.  For my compressor upstairs, it takes about a minute or two.  For the one downstairs, it takes twice as long (it has twice the size of the tank upstairs). Then to test if the auto shit-off kicks back in, just spray air out of your brush. It should kick in after 10 or more seconds.  Again, it depends on how big your tank is.

Finally, the most important tip I can give you if you just gotten your air compressor. Plumbers tape is your best friend. Use it to hook up between the compressor, hose and airbrush and if your compressor requires you to hook up the regulator then wrap it there too.

For those who are just getting their set up, I hope you have tons of fun with your airbrush! You're definitely getting into some fun stuff!


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  2. Hey, Hi really informative post about working of Compressor.