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I'm thinking of getting a compressor

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Andy C27/10/2017 16:19:27
163 forum posts

As a kid I had a small model airbrush which ran of small air canisters. With my interest spanning RC car restoration, RC plane building and static model building I'm thinking now might be a good time to at least investigate getting a compressor mainly for paint spraying, but also would be nice just to have a jet of air for clearing sanding dust etc and maybe start a small range of tools eventually if I see a benefit. However, I have no idea what I need so looking for some advice would be great please.


Andy C29/10/2017 11:28:16
163 forum posts

Hmmmm, disappointingly I have had no responses to this. I thought there would be a myriad of responses! Come on, someone must have experiences with compressors and airbrushes / spray guns.

Dane Crosby29/10/2017 11:37:19
245 forum posts
23 photos


I had my own workshop on my farm. For my models I use a tiny HVLP gravity spray gun with this big compressor.

It is a 50 litre reservoir and a 2Hp compressor. I guess I'm not much help as I think most other modelling types tend to use little desk top compressors for their airbrush kits. Have a look on-line at the airbrush company. You'll get a feel for what is available (and affordable)

Good luck with your project(s).

john stones 129/10/2017 11:43:21
11437 forum posts
1516 photos

Places like screwfix sell decent stuff, big tanks on and reasonable prices, same with guns, airbrushes I used a Badger one, only had a small compressor with no tank so didn't get a constant flow, some good stuff comes on ebay second hand.

Denis Watkins29/10/2017 11:52:03
4318 forum posts
104 photos


If you are going to spray 80inch span warbirds, then get a compressor

If you are going to touch up foamies, you don't need one

If you want a little more versatility than a brush, then get a desktop outfit.

There is so much more to come with choice of paint and gun

Tim C29/10/2017 12:00:46
507 forum posts
266 photos

If you only want an airbrush compressor, I have an AS196 Twin with tank and its excellent, I got mine off Ebay for £69. It is quiet and more than enough puff for airbrushing and air blasting on models. A great modelling tool

If yoiu want something bigger a 1.5hp or 2HP compressor with tank will be needed if you want to run air tools or even a touch up gun, but these are noisy beasts, my 1.5hp compressor will run the airbrush as well BUT it is extremely noisy, and heavy

Andy C29/10/2017 12:35:51
163 forum posts

Thanks Tim. Just been looking at the AS186 and AS196. How large a job can you do with the 196? Will it take a gun capable of spraying a 60" warbird for example?


onetenor29/10/2017 12:44:45
1901 forum posts

I bought what I call a proper compressor from Aldi about 5yrs ago. Good size tank and good pressure for airtools and controllable with the filtration/pressure control unit down for airbrushing. Comp, with control valve about a hundred and ten quid Lidl did a similar one. Two weeks later down to fifty quid for last two. They have had them a few times since. Look on their site from time to time. Ask them if they have one available. anywhere .They'll check and let you know. Or ask the local store manager. He can look on the computer. in store. If there is one anywhere they can arrange for it to be brought to the store. Maybe to your home. ASK it's always worth it.

Andy C29/10/2017 12:49:11
163 forum posts

Thanks O. I did consider those, but I thought they were a lot larger and noisier than the AS models Tim referred to. If that is the case, I am happy to amend my requirements to not worry about tools, and simply use it for painting.

Tim C29/10/2017 12:52:16
507 forum posts
266 photos

The AS 196 has a good output and will run an airbrush with a .5 needle just fine, however for my largr jobs I use a touch up gun

but not enough output from the AS196 to run these, they need a larger air tank and more pressure

john stones 129/10/2017 13:11:55
11437 forum posts
1516 photos


Dai Fledermaus29/10/2017 15:33:07
1057 forum posts
52 photos

Andy, I've used an Apollo HVLP 1500 system for years and found it really versatile in that you could spray a car with it, but the gun can also be adjusted to deliver a very fine spray. Having said that they are a bit expensive to buy new around £350, but they do turn up on EBAY often second hand and if you take the cost of a conventional compressor plus a quality spray gun into consideration, you could make a good case for buying one. Have a look at the video from about 2.00 mins on to see how the gun can be adjusted.

Sorry, the video link didn't work as I expected it to, but take my word for it, you can write your name with it when the pressure and volume is turned down.


Edited By Dai Fledermaus on 29/10/2017 15:37:32

Edited By Dai Fledermaus on 29/10/2017 15:40:32

Martin McIntosh29/10/2017 15:42:10
3301 forum posts
1169 photos

I bought a proper one from Screwfix some years ago for £60 to replace the old tankless one to which I attached a gas cylinder. It is still kicking about. Got a touch up gun on ebay for £10 and a HK dual action airbrush which I believe is as good as an Iwata. The compressor is ideal for both and you can pump up your car tyres too.

The ones sold for airbrushes are a silly price in comparison and not much use for anything else.

eflightray29/10/2017 15:42:41
618 forum posts
132 photos

Last time I was in Aldi, (about a week ago), they had an air compressor on sale, 2.5HP, £80, it's on their web site.



bert baker29/10/2017 17:16:00
1571 forum posts
323 photos

Don't no one make them from fridge freezer compressors any more

Ideal for small airbrush jobs

Geoff Jackson29/10/2017 17:37:34
160 forum posts
3 photos

Machine Mart do a range of Tiger compressors. Had one for several years, does bike and car tyres and several sizesof airbrush and spray guns.

bert baker29/10/2017 17:45:52
1571 forum posts
323 photos

Be aware that some compressors pass a small amount of oil through the system, you may need. To fit a dryer or filter

Engine Doctor29/10/2017 18:19:40
2461 forum posts
39 photos

Hi . Get the biggest capacity compressor CFM free air delivery you can store and afford. There's nothing worse than running out of air when finishing a panel / wing etc. The compressors that Aldi and Lidl sell are I think about 7cfm with a 50 liter tank and are fine for small jobs and running air tools for small applications like modelling or small repairs on cars ; they also have auto switch to switch off when tank is full and are portable. I have a large 14 CFM compressor left over from my car repair days and that occassionally ran out of air or couldn't keep up with the tools I was using so capacity does matter. For modelling I use a small gravity fed touch in gun and air brushes. You will as posted earlier need a decent regulator water /oil separator ,these don't cost a vast amount. Check the air requirements of any tools you buy are within the capacity of the compressor you decide on. Beware that a lot of compressor manufacturers claim higher CFM than the compressor can actually achieve.There are many variants about so do your research and buy once. 

Edited By Engine Doctor on 29/10/2017 18:22:01

Rob Tothill29/10/2017 23:16:13
111 forum posts
8 photos
Hi Andy,
I've been thinking about getting a compressor too. I have no experience of spraying, so don't know if this is up to the job, but at the page below there is a deal for a compressor with a 24l tank, and some tools for just over ?80 which I was considering. I'd be interested to know if those with some more knowledge think it would be good enough for spraying 60 size models
Ernie30/10/2017 08:08:19
2525 forum posts
21 photos

Hi Andy and Rob, You can very (quite) easily make one, I can send you loads of details if you are really interested. The essential component is a fridge compressor, which is easily found on a rubbish tip. It is possible to connect it directly to your airbrush, but it pulses a wee bit, which is not too good.

So, you need an air container, such as an old fire extinguisher, or suchlike. You can add a pressure regulator/gauge for a few pounds et voila.

I made and wore away one as described before I could afford a pukka job


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