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  1. #1

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    Air compressor questions

    I searched the forums but couldn't find the info I needed. I'm thinking about buying a small airbrush compressor for blowing dust off negatives. I know these are more expensive than the ones you can buy at hardware stores but I want something smaller and less noisy, possibly tankless since I don't care if the stream is steady or pulsed for my purposes.

    A few questions here:

    1. How much pressure do I need? As a reference point, approx how much pressure comes out of typical "canned air" cans?

    2. My understanding is I need both a filter and a water/moisture trap. Most of these compressors seem to come with a water trap but the filter thing is less clear. Some of them come with an inlet filter. I'm assuming what I need is actually something that goes in the outlet hose? Most of these machines include a regulator - does the regulator include a filter? Do I even need a filter if all I'm doing is running room air through the thing? I've never really understood that. Also, how often do these filters typically need to be replaced?

    Any other advice or experiences appreciated.

    Thanks
    Michael
    Last edited by Michael R 1974; 06-10-2012 at 07:40 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #2

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    Canned air is somewhere between 65-75 psi, at room temp, but it all depends on room temperature. Yes you need a filter, you can use a high pressure fuel filter from a fuel injected car. I use one designed for a 98 Crown vic, a WIX 33595, it filters out the dust. 30-50 psi is about want you want for working pressure.

    You do want an oil-less compressor.
    Bob

  3. #3

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    Thanks Bob. I'm hoping whatever brand I end up with has some sort of filter accessory rather than me having to figure out how to splice an automotive fuel filter into this thing.

    If the machine has an inlet filter, does it still need an additional filter in the outlet hose? Is this only to filter dust? Or is it also supposed to catch oil (even if the machine has sealed oil-less bearings)?

  4. #4

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    Michael,

    Rather than buying a specialized compressor and using it in your darkroom, a cheaper option may be to buy a regular compressor and a storage tank. There is a tank that is round and look more less like a small gas can. An idea is that you charge this can with your compressor, take this can and use it until it's empty, then charge it again.

    You can buy all sort of attachment at home improvement stores.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  5. #5
    Laurent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tkamiya View Post
    Michael,

    Rather than buying a specialized compressor and using it in your darkroom, a cheaper option may be to buy a regular compressor and a storage tank. There is a tank that is round and look more less like a small gas can. An idea is that you charge this can with your compressor, take this can and use it until it's empty, then charge it again.

    You can buy all sort of attachment at home improvement stores.
    I'd be very cautious with any compressor, and much more with regular ones. Humidity tends to build up in the tank, and therefore you's spray you negs with water (at bad days, my compressor may blow more water than air, if I forgot to empty the tank).

    Also, said compressors may blow some oil, unless they are equipped with a special filter.

    I'd also feel concerned about the cleanliness of the compressed air in these compressors.
    Laurent

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  6. #6
    Rick A's Avatar
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    No matter which type of compressor you end up with, add an in line water seperator as well as a particulate filter. I personally would get a compressor with tank jst for the convenience of having reserve air. One thing you must do with this type is drain the air tank at least once a week or more depending on use.
    Rick A
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    BTW: the big kid in my avatar is my hero, my son, who proudly serves us in the Navy. "SALUTE"

  7. #7
    kerne's Avatar
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    Why spend boku bucks on all that hardware when these little bulb blowers are cheap and effective? I've used one for years.

    Spend the money you'll save on film or a new camera.
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  8. #8
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    I use canned air, my darkroom is humidity controlled, I see no use for a air pump. If you go to costco the cans are pretty cheap.

  9. #9

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    Kerne: I have one of those (actually several different kinds I've collected over the years) but sometimes I need a little more force than I can squeeze out of this little thing. In fact as I write this I'm thinking perhaps some kind of simple bellows with a coffee filter in it would do the trick. Or perhaps a foot pump or whatever. The compressor gives a nice continuous stream, but all this worrying about filters, moisture, oil, other crap from the tank etc might be more trouble than it is worth.

    Sometimes I feel like every photography problem to solve ends up becoming a complex mess. I mean, what the hell to I know about compressors? But to do this right I feel like I need to learn all about them and become a compressor expert just so I avoid buying the wrong thing, or running into some unforseen problem. So it entails (for me) all sorts of research into things that ultimately have nothing to do with photography.

  10. #10
    Jim Noel's Avatar
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    I use a very small low pressure compressor for several darkroom tasks. Pressure is only about 8-10 psi but it is very efficient.I have a moisture filter and use a cigarette filter to eliminate particles. It is an amazingly fine filter but I have no way to measure the remaining particles in microns.
    [FONT=Comic Sans MS]Films NOT Dead - Just getting fixed![/FONT]

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