Air compressors - air tools - Welding shop accessories part7
If plasma cutting is in your future, then having an adequate air compressor is a must. You cannot operate a plasma cutter without sufficient pressure and a good reserve capacity. Small pancake type compressors are not sufficient. They do not have enough reserve capacity or cfm to maintain anything but the smallest plasma cutter. On average, you will find that most plasma cutters consume about 5-6 cfm at a minimum. A compressor this size will usually be around 20 gallons or more. Even if you can find a compressor with the cfm, at a lower gallon reserve, skip it. It will not be able to keep up, and your compressor will likely suffer an early death from running constantly. Running constantly also adds extra noise to an already noisy environment. Most of these smaller compressors are also oiless, which are considerably louder than ones with an oil sump. There are a few decent compressors out on the market that will work on 110V and still have a good reserve while maintaining appropriate cfm. Also consider purchasing at least a starter kit of air tools.
Most equipment repairs have bolts nuts involved. Being able to “zip” rusted nuts loose in a mere second rather than a 5 minute struggle, pays dividends in the long run, if nothing else maintains a cool and level head needed for making a good weld. Also a needles scaler is a good idea in lieu of a chipping hammer. In some circles it is not only preferred, but mandatory, to prevent damage to the weld that may give rise to a defective or weak weld. Air compressors should also have a separate dryer to reduce moisture, particularly if you have a plasma cutter attached. The final stage of filtering provided in many plasma systems are not meant to be a stand alone filter/dryer. As a rule a compressor is required, as a staple part of any welding shop, even if it sits idle most of the time. But when it is needed, there is no substitute for having one.