A Quick Guide To Air Compressor Accessories & Attachments
Compressed air isn't a new concept. As a matter of fact, even the early romans knew how useful it could be, and created it by running water down a pipe, which forced air out of the bottom and into a furnace to increase the temperature while smelting metal.
The upgrade to an air pump happened in 1650 in Germany, then became motorized just before the year 1800 for the use of mining.
Since then air compressors have continued to change and has expanded into more uses, and the auto industry wasn't immune to the power of compressed air.
Why are air compressors so valuable to an auto shop?
Air compressors work by drawing in air, compressing it with a piston, and forcing it back out through a very narrow valve.
The force that is produced can be used to inflate a tire, for use with spray paint guns, or with a wide array of power tools.
There are many auto projects that require more power, more torque, more speed, and a body shop air compressor creates that possibility. You just need to have the right attachments.
What accessories do you need for an air compressor
To get the most out of your air compressor you'll want to consider investing in a series of attachments and accessories. The most common, and the ones you should keep on hand in your body shop, include:
- Air hoses
- Air couplers
- Blow guns
- Pressure regulators
- Paint guns
While having all of these attachments on hand is a good idea for any auto shop, you may find yourself using one more than another, depending on the type of work you're doing.
Know which air compressor attachments are compatible with your equipment, and the types of projects you do most frequently.
There are several different types of air hoses- different lengths, diameters, adaptors, and materials it's made from.
These differences are important, since they determine whether or not they can be used with your particular air compressor, and whether it will work for your project.
For instance, a 10' braided air hose will fit mini air compressors with fittings that are 1/8” or 1/4” and has a working pressure of 145PSI.
This might be great for a smaller shop operating sanders or other power tools, but generally isn't sufficient for a larger body shop.
Or say you're using a spray paint gun. In general, most sprayers require a hose of either 1/4” or 3/8”, depending on what the air cap requires.
Preference also plays a role in the hose you choose, since there are many different types of hoses- short, extra long, and retractable, such as the Ingersoll Rand 50' Hose Reel, to name a few.
In order to connect your air compressor hose to your tools, you need a coupler.
Couplers act like joints, twisting and moving with the user to prevent the hose from kinking. They connect your tools and create a seal between all the air compressor parts so there is no loss in pressure, and each part remains in place.
Purchasing the wrong coupler could leave you with pieces that won't fit together, or won't connect properly, which could be dangerous. If the wrong coupler is in place, you could risk the pieces shooting off into your shop, posing a safety risk for anything or anyone in the way.
Before you buy, examine the mating connector and the internal configuration of the coupler you intend to buy, and make sure that they are compatible.
Blow guns are most commonly used in body shops and detailing shops for use after sanding, drilling, painting, or for use in detailing.
This is because these air blow guns use intense and pin pointed air to blow away dust, shavings, and other debris from hard to reach areas such as an engine or in the seams of a seat.
Having this air tool is great for use in any shop, but there are several different types- some with flexible and rubber tips, others that can be used for air or fluids.
The style, reach, and air flow of these guns should be taken into consideration depending on the work you are doing.
Auto spray paint guns are useless without an air compressor, which means you should ensure that you have a spray gun that can withstand the pressure, and an air compressor that can deliver the kind of power you need.
If your air compressor is too small, it likely won't deliver the right amount of pressure. Before you purchase a spray gun, always ensure that your air compressor can provide what you need.
For more information on matching spray guns and air compressors, read our article "How to Find the Best Air Compressor for Painting Cars".
Air filters remove scale, condensation, rust, and other damaging particles from your hose and attachments- keeping your equipment clean for longer, leading to a longer life.
But that's not all they're used for. In fact, there are dozens of different filters, and each is suited for different levels of filtrations. Some, such as the Devilbiss Cam Air, offer five stage filtration that removes air and particles up to 40 microns.
On the other hand, the 3M Compressed Air Filter is meant to be mounted to a wall, and filters the air being delivered to the compressor from the very beginning.
Before you buy, always ensure that you are getting the correct filter for your project, and that it will fit with your compressor.
Filters are a great option for most auto body shops, but there are other shops that would benefit from also incorporating an air dryer into their setup.
Air dryers are most commonly used in environments with a lot of air contamination (such as gas or paint fumes).
These air dryers filter through either refrigeration or desiccant absorption to create pure oxygen and can be used as a way to filter the gasses from your shop for health and benefit of yourself and your employees.
Because the size, style, and attachment ability vary, always make sure that you are getting the right filter for your needs.
To prevent dangerous fluctuations in pressure output, use a pressure regulator.
Having a regulator keeps the pressure of the air flow at your desired or necessary level, no matter what the pressure is inside the tank of the compressor.
If you want your auto air compressor to continue running efficiently for years, then make sure you have the right lubricant.
A great lubricant will help to keep your compressor from overheating and that the seals don't leaks- both of which would cause the compressor to use more energy.
Keeping your compressor in good working condition will keep you working longer, more efficiently, and at reduced costs.
Air compressor troubleshooting
You should be concerned with keeping your air compressor and air compressor attachments in working order, but should you ever face issues, know that Auto Body Toolmart has the resources to help.
Find your attachments or build your air compressor accessory kit at Auto Body Toolmart!