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Author: Subject: Air v electric tools
ravingfool

posted on 18/11/20 at 12:08 PM Reply With Quote
Air v electric tools

Hi all,

I've been maintaining and improving a striker for the last few years which I bought built but in need of work.

I've done that and all other car maintenance previously with hand tools.

I'm now getting underway with a stylus build from scratch (after I dismantle the previous abortive bits and pieces at least) and need to get some more tools like a grinder for cutting and rust removal as this is an old project and needs tidying and alteration and there's far too much to do by hand.

I'm wondering what the advice is from those who have experience of both, whether air tools are worth the cost of entry?

Looks like a direct drive compressor could be a good investment as whilst my initial needs are modest I could then add an array of other tools for later stages of the build as well as more general maintenance tools which are all a lot cheaper than their electric equivalents.

So what are your thoughts? Which is better to use, corded or wireless electric or air tools?

Is the initial cost (and maintenance requirements) of air tools acceptable/worthwhile?

Perhaps foolish for a single build to even consider air tools but I honestly don't know!

Looking forward to your advice.

Phill

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indykid

posted on 18/11/20 at 12:36 PM Reply With Quote
A bit like having a welder or a lathe, until you have it, you won't know how you lived without it.

That said, an air drill and an air hydraulic riveter are the only air tools I used regularly during my build, but in general, air tools consume massive amounts of air and always need a fairly cumbersome hose attached to the back of them.

The air drill is handy because it's so compact, but apart from needing to move a few drilled holes half an inch or so further out of a corner, you'd manage with a battery drill and a right angle extension.

The thing I can fairly well guarantee you'll use most often is a blow gun. Maybe an impact wrench if you're knocking stuff apart from the existing build.

If I was planning to use a die grinder for porting a head, I'd definitely be looking at a corded electric version, again air is more compact, but it's akin to running an open hose.

If you get a decent size compressor and tank, you'll be able to spray with it (most efficiently with an LVLP gun) but for most car based stuff, if that's the only reason you want it, aerosols would be far easier and requires far less cleanup.





me? ambivalent? well, yes and no

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David Jenkins

posted on 18/11/20 at 01:15 PM Reply With Quote
I use my finger belt sander* quite a lot - it's really small, far smaller than the electric equivalent. It does gulp the air down though.

* that's a belt sander that's shaped like a finger!





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russbost

posted on 18/11/20 at 01:33 PM Reply With Quote
I would say that for anything other than a professional garage business or similar, air tools are simply not worth the investment, plus you will need a compressor of at least 15cfm (3Hp) & even that won't keep up with some stuff.

There are odd air tools like die grinder or mini belt sander (tho' I use an electric belt sander without any probs)that might be worth investing in, but for general run of the mill tools I would go electric & nowadays the Li battery stuff is so cheap, it's rarely worth going for mains powered stuff.


If you're buying from scratch then you have the luxury of getting tools from one manufacturer which you can share batteries across, Ryobi offer a decent range at sensible prices





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v8kid

posted on 18/11/20 at 02:01 PM Reply With Quote
Air tools are yesterdays tech.

Blowing up tyres and air riveters are the only thing they do better than Li-ion tools.

Get a cheap low cfm pump and couple to a DIY reservoir from a propane tank and you have a locost solution - see videos on this site somewhere





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nick205

posted on 18/11/20 at 02:01 PM Reply With Quote
This has been asked on here before. I have to agree with "russbost" on this and say professional workplaces will benefit from the investment, but IMHO home garages not.

I worked in a machine shop many years ago that had spent a lot on an outdoor compressor in a shed. Pipe work all around the building and air tools as well. As every day tools for getting work done at work it was worth it. They'd spent a fair whack of money, but benefited from being able to get work done faster and therefore keep profit higher.

At home I have electric power tools, some cordless where it makes sense. A decent cordless drill definitely makes a difference IMHO.

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pmc_3

posted on 18/11/20 at 02:35 PM Reply With Quote
I've got a compressor and some air tools but find I hardly use it. I've just bought a battery impact gun which is much less hassle, thinking about getting a battery grinder too.
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ravingfool

posted on 18/11/20 at 03:29 PM Reply With Quote
Thanks very much for your thoughts all.

Sounds like the sensible advice for me is to stick with electric items.


I'll have a look at what's available corded/battery; I've tended to stick with corded where I can as DIY and cars are just hobbies and prefer the tools to be ready whenever I have time to do the work whether or not I've remembered to charge them up in advance!

I can see battery operated items are useful sometimes but where it's marginal I worry the batteries will be scrap before I get my monies worth out of the tool!

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nick205

posted on 18/11/20 at 04:10 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ravingfool
Thanks very much for your thoughts all.

Sounds like the sensible advice for me is to stick with electric items.


I'll have a look at what's available corded/battery; I've tended to stick with corded where I can as DIY and cars are just hobbies and prefer the tools to be ready whenever I have time to do the work whether or not I've remembered to charge them up in advance!

I can see battery operated items are useful sometimes but where it's marginal I worry the batteries will be scrap before I get my monies worth out of the tool!



Used to have the same view, particularly on drills. Then I got a cordless drill, which came with 2 batteries. There's always enough juice there when I need it and I know I'm going to be doing a lot I'll stick the 2nd battery on charge. I've still got my old corded drill as well so there's always that to fall back on.

I've found it handy having 2 drills as I can have a Ø5mm drill bit in one and a countersink bit in the other. Makes the job quicker, becasue you don't have to stop and change bits.

If you look around many brands sell power tools that share common battery designs. That way you can have several different tools and several batteries and swap the batteries between the tools.



[Edited on 18/11/20 by nick205]

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theconrodkid

posted on 18/11/20 at 04:30 PM Reply With Quote
e when i were a lad, all we had was air tools, time has moved on and the cordless ones are equal and in some cases better than air.
for DIY i would deffo say battery, have a look at Lidl,s, tools, they all use the same battery, 3 year waranty and mucho cheapo.
i just use air for pumping tyres and spraying these daze.





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steve m

posted on 18/11/20 at 04:36 PM Reply With Quote
I also only use the compressor for tyres, and a blow gun, i do have some air tools, but never use them,

its all electrical stuff now, and some cordless





Thats was probably spelt wrong, or had some grammer, that the "grammer police have to have a moan at




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rusty nuts

posted on 18/11/20 at 05:36 PM Reply With Quote
I use my 1/2” air wrench far more than my Dewalt equivalent even though the Dewalt is a decent tool it doesn’t have the torque of the air tool . I do however use a 3/8” drive battery tool for anything up to about 12mm nuts/bolts etc . You can’t beat an air operated spray gun
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russbost

posted on 18/11/20 at 06:56 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ravingfool
Thanks very much for your thoughts all.

Sounds like the sensible advice for me is to stick with electric items.


I'll have a look at what's available corded/battery; I've tended to stick with corded where I can as DIY and cars are just hobbies and prefer the tools to be ready whenever I have time to do the work whether or not I've remembered to charge them up in advance!

I can see battery operated items are useful sometimes but where it's marginal I worry the batteries will be scrap before I get my monies worth out of the tool!


That's the huge advantage of buying tools that use the same battery, like the Ryobi ones do, you can have smaller batteries for making the tool lighter & larger batteries where you need the endurance, as long as you have at least 2 batteries you'll never run out of juice as the one that's charging will charge quicker than the one you're using, particularly when you take tea or lunch breaks into a/c - the old NiCd stuff was rubbish, batteries were always flat when you left them for a few weeks, you simply don't get that with the li ion stuff

[Edited on 18/11/20 by russbost]





Furore Formula Car - the only two seater modern Formula Car lookalike. I no longer run Furore Products or Furore Cars Ltd, but would still highly recommend them for Acewell dashes, projector headlights, dominator headlights, indicators, mirrors etc, best prices in the UK! Take a look at http://www.furoreproducts.co.uk/ or find more parts on Ebay, user names furoreltd & furoreproducts, discounts available for LCB users.
Don't forget Stainless Steel Braided brake hoses, made to your exact requirements in any of around 16 colours. http://shop.ebay.co.uk/furoreproducts/m.html?_dmd=1&_ipg=50&_sop=12&_rdc=1

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pmc_3

posted on 18/11/20 at 09:57 PM Reply With Quote
The only thing I would say if going for battery ones is to go for a decent brand. When my Bosch drill failed last year I bought a Makita one and haven't looked back, so much more power and torque and the batteries last ages. I bought the just the body of a Makita impact wrench recently as it shares the batteries.
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coyoteboy

posted on 18/11/20 at 11:32 PM Reply With Quote
I use my compressor for die grinder, impact driver, sheet metal nibbler, grit blasting cabinet, rust treatment spraying, popping pistons out of calipers, inflating tyres, spray painting, rust descaling, drilling. My battery drill is awful and always needs charging. YMMV





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StrikerChris

posted on 19/11/20 at 01:22 AM Reply With Quote
These days i wouldn't spend my hard earned on air tools, if there's a Li-ion battery version available. 5 years ago I'd have given the opposite answer, but battery tech is so much better now. pluss not tripping over airlines is always a winner. My personal choice is milwaukee, but whatever make you buy, if you keep buying from the same manufacturer it doesn't have to be expensive and you'll soon have a life long selection of batteries you've forgotten to charge!

Chris

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coyoteboy

posted on 19/11/20 at 11:20 AM Reply With Quote
My additional dislike of batteries is the fact that the tools are unnecessarily bulky and you're trapped to one supplier where the battery style may make no sense for the tool shape/use. Lithium batteries for high current use, even top quality ones, are good for ~500 charges without significant degredation. They need left on charge. Too much faff. Crack open the cupboard, drag out the air tool and fire up the compressor.





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David Jenkins

posted on 19/11/20 at 11:30 AM Reply With Quote
I'm in a similar boat - I have a number of air tools that I don't use very often, but are invaluable when I do need to use them. These include the mini belt sander, a nailer/stapler, and a rotary cut-off grinder. If these were battery powered then the batteries wouldn't last very long as these things may stay on the shelf, forgotten, for months.

I know that you can get one-make tools that share batteries, but it's a big investment for stuff you don't use very often.





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ravingfool

posted on 19/11/20 at 12:04 PM Reply With Quote
Hmm.

More food for thought!

Whatever I do I'll have to spend some money which is a tough thing in itself as my wallet is obviously Northern and doesn't like to open if it can get away with it!

May go for corded items as they're significantly cheaper than battery powered items and although not individually cheaper than air powered tools there's no additional investment in a compressor.

They'll all be used in the garage (which has power and light) so very little need for battery powered items which although can be convenient are often much more bulky than corded items.

(I've got battery powered hedge trimmer and strimmer which share a battery and are excellent to be able to walk around the garden with but I'm not often going to need that flexibility for garage tools!)

If I did more car work I think I would be quite tempted by the air tools but my use case is probably not that good!

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russbost

posted on 19/11/20 at 01:20 PM Reply With Quote
"May go for corded items as they're significantly cheaper than battery powered items"

Not atv all sure you're right about that if you buy a range that all use the same type of batteries, you only need a couple of batteries, maybe 3 depending on just how many tools you feel you're likely to use at any one time, for the tools you can then simply buy bare bodies, which may well be cheaper than corded items & no faffing with plugs, extension leads, trailing leads to trip over etc etc





Furore Formula Car - the only two seater modern Formula Car lookalike. I no longer run Furore Products or Furore Cars Ltd, but would still highly recommend them for Acewell dashes, projector headlights, dominator headlights, indicators, mirrors etc, best prices in the UK! Take a look at http://www.furoreproducts.co.uk/ or find more parts on Ebay, user names furoreltd & furoreproducts, discounts available for LCB users.
Don't forget Stainless Steel Braided brake hoses, made to your exact requirements in any of around 16 colours. http://shop.ebay.co.uk/furoreproducts/m.html?_dmd=1&_ipg=50&_sop=12&_rdc=1

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hobbsy

posted on 21/11/20 at 11:27 PM Reply With Quote
I've got both but as I'm only using them occasionally I'm considering binning the compressor. The blow tool and finger sander are useful but I guess I can get and electric version of the sander and just keep a smaller 6 litre 1hp compressor for the blow tool. The 3hp v twin 50 litre compressor I've got isn't small...

I also like the Ryobi range for my level of use and they do have about 40/50 different tools in the range. Plus it's easy to get cheap 3rd part batteries etc.

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