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  1. #1
    eric's Avatar
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    Anyone know about Air Compressors?

    When I worked at a lab, instead of having canned air for everyone, the owner had a HUGE air compressor at the end of the hallways. He then ran a line to each printing room with a squeezing thing. This was for blowing air on the negs. Am thinking of doing something the same to my darkroom.

    Do you guys think a 2 HP air compressor is enough? The nozzle end was brass and a type of squeeze grip. I don't know much about air compressors and I do remember, that if everyone uses it all at once, you have to wait a couple of minutes to get the pressure back.

  2. #2
    Sean's Avatar
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    I have a small compressor in my darkroom and it lasts for a while, recharging it takes about 1 minute. Sorry not sure what HP, but I would advise making sure you have a good hose on it. The hose mine came with leaked badly at the joints..

  3. #3
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    When I first got out of college, I worked for a medical company that made pneumatic surgical tools. We had a huge compressor. Sometimes we would get too much water in the lines from the humid (near the beach) air. It wasn't something I'd blow on my negs. I suppose if you had some filters, it would be okay. You've got to take out the water and oil and dirt. Now I work in electronics and compressed air can have another problem and that is static electricity. I don't know how many cans of air other people use, but not that much. I use a brush quite a bit.
    Watch for Loose Gravel

  4. #4
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    Hi Eric

    I have used both canned air and air compressors.
    My definate choice would be canned air.
    Air compressors can have oil in them that will transfer to your film , as well moisture within the lines can cause problems. As well if you use copper piping to transfer the air lines, the compressed air will pick up flakes of metal and deposit them on your negatives or lenses.
    I could tell immediately at the numerous labs I worked at, when copper was part of the air system , all the lenses were pitted and oily.
    I print daily and I use the small cans of compressed air (Falcon Dust Off Professional XL) and I find them economical and do not have the above problems.
    I think you should not use a compressor system for your work. Hope this is helpful.

  5. #5
    Sean's Avatar
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    wow, I've never had any issues with the compressed air, now you guys are making me paranoid!

  6. #6
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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    I guess the major factor is if canned air is costing you too much. Canned air is in any case not totally innocuous, if you are not careful a slug of liquid butane can emerge before it has had time to vaporise - if this gets onto glass, it can crack it beautifully.
    Equally, I would not use a compressor without filters. Compressed air is used for all kinds of things, the crudest use would be blowing metal chips off workpieces after machining, etc. Air straight from the compressor would be fine for this, for blowing onto film, lenses, etc. filters are a must. They commonly come in mesh sizes of 40, 5, 1 and 0.01 Ám, which one you use depends on how dirty the supply air is (worn compressor + old reservoir means dirty) and how clean you want the filtered air). You could just fit a 1 Ám filter on its own, it would clog very fast. Two in line would be much better, even three if necessary, say a 5 Ám (40 if supply air very dirty) + 1 Ám (+ 0.01 Ám to give "clean room" conditions). Any place that sells compressors sells filters. As one of my clients is

    www.festo.com

    I recommend them!

    Regards,

    David

  7. #7

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    I've used an air compresser for years. While moisture can be a problem the problem is easily solved. At the end of the session I fill the tank reserve with air then open the release valve at the bottom and let the compressed air expell any moisture in the tant. Then I leave the valve open until the next session.
    I find the air compresser very handy in the darkroom for for cleaning equipment and corners.
    Stop trying to get into my mind, There is nothing there!

  8. #8
    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomassauerwein
    I've used an air compresser for years. While moisture can be a problem the problem is easily solved. At the end of the session I fill the tank reserve with air then open the release valve at the bottom and let the compressed air expell any moisture in the tant. Then I leave the valve open until the next session.
    I find the air compresser very handy in the darkroom for for cleaning equipment and corners.
    Thomas, you're doing it right. Blowing down and draining the air tank is the way to keep the moisture and oil entrainment minimized.

    Getting instrument quality air, that is, clean dry air, is an expensive proposition. Drying requires heated dessicant air dryers plus moisture traps. Not a viable setup for non-industrial use.
    Last edited by Alex Hawley; 12-20-2004 at 08:21 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: typoes, fumble fingers
    Semper Fi & God Bless America
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  9. #9
    noseoil's Avatar
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    Compressed air is fine, but as has been stated, the air is very dirty. You don't need a high volume of air, just enough pressure to move the dust. Check into a small portable, similar to the type sold in tool stores for finish nail guns (nailers, staplers, etc.) If you are going to use it in the darkroom, be aware that you will not only be moving the dust on the film (or off of the film), but also all of the dust in the room with high pressure blasts.

    There are small in-line regulators made to reduce pressure, get one. The suggestion for filters is correct. You can also add a drier, oil and water trap. All of this is a must. Draining the tank, as Thomas has suggested, will prevent water from collecting in the tank. Moist air is drawn in and heated by the force of compression. As it cools in the tank, water will form at the bottom. Don't buy a compressor without a drain.

    There are plenty of cheap compressors available to do the job, but don't buy one without getting a pressure regulator, filter and drier.

  10. #10
    eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noseoil

    There are plenty of cheap compressors available to do the job, but don't buy one without getting a pressure regulator, filter and drier.
    You guys gave me A LOT of advice. I didn't think it would be that complicated. Thanks so much. I'll have to look at my local pennysavers or mabye a small cheap one I guess would work as well as long as I have the above -- regulator, filter, drier.

    Thanks!!!

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