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Air Compressor questions

Discussion in 'The Grumble' started by HustinJam, Jul 5, 2019.

  1. HustinJam

    HustinJam Grumbler in Training

    Going to pull the trigger and buy a Cassese CS200 underpinner from Active Sales next week. Coming from a manual underpinner I know very little about air compressors and what is optimal. The thread that everyone points everyone to about air compressors on this forum has seemed to die or at least I can't access it so I thought I would just start a new thread and ask my questions here.

    I am a one man operation and plan on joining 4 to 6 frames a day on average. Currently considering a Silentaire Val-Air 50-24-AL or the Val-Air-50-T-Aire they are both 6 gallon compressor's the only difference being one has an electric fan and "pneumatic wheels" whatever that means. Obviously one of my main concerns is about tank size and if 6 gallons enough to run my underpinner and an blow gun. I'm assuming you just buy a line splitter valve to run both. Also. with the risk of sounding stupid I don't want oil vapor blown onto any art, is that a realistic concern? If so what can I do to avoid this?
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  2. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Greetings, HustinJam.

    There are some good used underpinners available at prices I would consider irresistible, but you'll probably be very pleased with your new pneumatic underpinner, and the Cassesse is a good choice.

    To your question, 6-gallon capacity is generally enough for one underpinner and a few smaller devices, such as fitting tools and a blow gun. Silentair is a good brand and you'll never miss the noise that a typical industrial compressor would make in your shop.

    In any case, remember that the life of every pneumatic device is determined by the quality of air that drives it; the input air should be as clean and dry as possible, and lubricated to minimize wear of pneumatic cylinders. Framers often complain about air leaks in the cylinders of their underpinners, and that usually is a direct result of using wet, dirty input air, as well as a lack of lubrication.

    You would be wise to add air filter/lubricator/moisture traps to your list of pneumatic equipment. Place them in-line as close as possible to the tools. That is, place one at the input of air to your underpinner. The other one could be at your splitter to drive the smaller tools, but if you have a long run of pipe or hose, place it near the output end, nearest the tools. The reason for output-end placement of these devices is that compressed air condenses moisture in the air lines. Also, the inside of pipes and hoses can shed debris. Also, don't forget to maintain these devices - drain the compressor regularly, clean the air filters and moisture traps, and add lubricant as needed.

    For the blow gun, clean, dry air is essential, but omit lubricant from that tool's input.
    Joe B likes this.
  3. Joe B

    Joe B SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Sil-Air 50-24 is an excellent machine and is more than enough to run your underpinner and blow gun. I have Jun-Air compressors and they are basically the same as the Silentaire (Sil-Air) and only have a 5 gallon take on mine and I run my underpinner and the full shop air lines with absolutely no problems. I would definitely get the oil one, not the oil-less compressor. You have to purchase special oil for it so you can change the oil at least annually but I know of some Sil-Air compressors that are 20 years old and people haven't had a problem with them, and that is also true of the JunAir. The Oil-less machines are a different story.

    Yes, I do have two separate lines, 1 for the underpinner and 1 for the air lines. I also have separate air/water/lubricator filters with air pressure adjustments to each individual line. I use the the air to blow off dust and to operate a pneumatic air guns and need to adjust the pressure way down depending upon what I using the line for. The air stapler is way to powerful when stapling canvas to the the stretcher bars if you go full with the pressure to operate a underpinner. The stapler at that pressure will drive the staples through the canvas.

    Lot of luck with your choices - did you research the underpinners? It would be a good idea to spend a little time choosing the right underpinner for your business. I'm a 1 person small frame shop and use the ITW Amp VN4-L underpinner. I have had a Cassesse and didn't care for how it joined and the quality but that is just personal - many shops have the Cassesse and are happy with it.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2019
    monkey and Jim Miller like this.
  4. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Yes, this is absolutely right - sorry I forgot to mention it above. Pressure regulators are cheap and very effective.

    In my salad days, three staplers were ruined in a year or two, because I was using too much air pressure to drive them. And yes, regulating the pressure is the best way to avoid driving staples through a canvas during stretching.
  5. Mike Labbe

    Mike Labbe Member, Former moderator team volunteer

    We have the 50-24 older model that has the cooling fan, as a rebadged AMS. (Painted blue) It has served us VERY well for 2 CMCs, Vnailer/underpinner, and at the fitting table for pneumatic tools. We're basically a one person shop, too. (I just do paperwork part time, Andy is the full time framer) We're only using one tool at a time, and it has always kept up just fine. We have had it more than a dozen years, I think.

    As long as you change the oil at least once per year, it will probably outlive you! :) Super reliable compressors and theyre so silent, it could literally be right under your design counter and the customer probably wouldn't hear it. (about the same volume as a refrigerator or water cooler)
    Joe B likes this.
  6. echavez123

    echavez123 MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    We have been using the Sil-Air w 6 gallon tank for 12 years and it still runs good and quiet. We split the line three ways (Wizard, underpinner and hand tools) by connect a 4 way manifold such as this.
  7. snafu

    snafu MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    I've been using one similar to this since September 2001
    Cost ~$575.00 they've gone up a little since then.
  8. HustinJam

    HustinJam Grumbler in Training

    Thanks for all the replies!

    Joe, I have researched underpinners a bit, it seems what Jim says is pretty much gospel in that everyone likes the brand they use. It came between the Amp u400/Inmes IM-5P/Cassese CS200. The Cassese model's horizontal clamping mechanism seemed the most intriguing to me, all of them have horizontal clamping but Cassese seemed the most thought out. That being said I'm talking from no experience with any of those machines at all, hopefully any of them would get the job done. I wish either the cassese or the amp u400 had double clamping like the Inmes but neither do, each one have their pro's and con's. Inmes if I remember correctly has the proper filters/regulators/lubricators already installed on the machine where the air comes in at. I still may change my mind but at the moment I'm going with the Cassese. Thanks for all the info and I'll make sure to install all the proper filters.
    Joe B likes this.
  9. Rick Granick

    Rick Granick SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I have a Silentaire DR500 for my Wizard 8000. It is great and has been very reliable.
    For my AMP VN2+1 I use an oil-free California Air quiet (but not silent) compressor. I could run this off the Silentaire too, but I didn't want to do a long run of pneumatic pipe.
    Under my workbench I have a wonderful and inexpensive little Senco quiet compressor that I use for my pneumatic fastener guns. Again, this spot is not near the other two pneumatic tools.
    HERE is a link to the newer version of the Senco.

    :cool: Rick
  10. tedh

    tedh PFG, Picture Framing God

    This is really close to the Colman I've been using since 2003 for the Wizard. It runs for maybe 5 minutes a week.
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