It was a sad day for us here at the shop. The compressor died. I don’t know exactly what happened, but it was rolling along famously when all of the sudden it started to sputter. Then it slowed down. Then it just stopped.
You know what it reminded me of? The one time that I decided to blow up a car engine. You hear about people blowing up motors, but it’s usually when they are racing or something – pushing the motor faster and harder than they ought to and suddenly pieces of rod or piston are trying to work their way out of the block.
But my motor was different. We started the car, put a brick on the accelerator and then went far far away. The damn thing must have run for 5 minutes before it sputtered and slowed down, and another three or four running like it was struggling against a heavy load before it died.
The poor compressor sounded like that, but only for a couple of minutes.
So we were left with a decision. What type of compressor to buy. We had the wherewithal to get one of the big upright compressors like a proper shop should have. And, truth be told, we have always kind of coveted one. But was that really the best choice for our current operation.
Probably not. We don’t plan on doing any painting in the near future, and we don’t run a DA sander or anything like that. Mostly what we do is fill up car tires and run our air nailers and staplers. And those things don’t take the kind of air that buying a thousand dollar compressor would be necessary for.
So we decided not to decide (kind of). In today’s world, it is possible to buy the kind of compressor that would do what we needed to do for about a hundred dollars. You can buy a perfectly acceptable Porter Cable 6 gallon air compressor for about that amount, depending on where you live, I suppose.
Not only will a little unit like this run a small air nailer or two if you don’t push them too hard, it is also really, really light. That means that if you have a use for a compressor somewhere away from the shop, you can just grab it and go. That will make us incredibly popular with friends and family. Maybe more than we would like…