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Thread: Thomas Air Compressor

  1. #31
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Thomas Air Compressor

    China makes lots of very good stuff

    We are going to miss the good old days

    My latest bench just went up 40% in 2 weeks

    I am buying stuff as fast a I can....... on purpose

    You snooze you lose

    We can sleep when we are dead

  2. #32
    (Shrek)
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    Re: Thomas Air Compressor

    The cheapo pancake (or other style) compressors have their purpose. If you regularly go to jobsites with a small compressor for finishing woodwork, you really don't want to haul around a cast iron oil-bath compressor with a 50 gal tank that will outlive you. You need something small, light, that won't spill oil all over your van if it falls over, and that will last a couple of years of daily non-continuous use. You can find such an animal at any big box hardware store, often on sale for around $100. But even these are overkill for a home darkroom, and they're noisy and have terrible vibration. But they will work on a standard power outlet and should last +10 years of occasional darkroom use. My contractor compressor is now 20 years old.

    Unfortunately for darkroom needs, anything smaller than those pancake compressors tends to be utter garbage. I've had a succession of cheapo (new CAD$60 or so) small compressors in my office, none has lasted 2 years of very occasional use. These have tiny 1/10 - 1/5 hp motors spinning as fast as they can make them. They have compressor heads with plastic sleeves guaranteed to overheat and wear out prematurely, and that's if the motor doesn't self-destruct first. I tried getting a name brand airbrush compressor (Gast?), which is a wonderful machine for airbrush work but won't blow out dust and grime with enough force. I finally broke down the vacuum/power unit from a scrapped scanning electron microscope for a tiny Japanese pancake compressor (1/6hp - 1/2gal) that is whisper quiet and built to above military grade spec. I can have it running beside my desk and barely notice. I would like to switch the tank on it or at least add an auxiliary tank, as I frequently have to wait for it to catch up when I'm cleaning something nasty, and of course telling anyone all of this is useless unless you also have parts of a SEM lying about in your garage. So I can't really recommend a decent small darkroom compressor to anyone, I don't know of any.

  3. #33
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Thomas Air Compressor

    Well so be it

    Mine are good

    When members keep hammering that nothing works and all is garbage, we fail each other

    Some eat fast food, some cook all their own meals, others eat at expensive restaurants

    I have been all 3 of those

    I really dislike canned air

    I have hand pumps for my bicycles, even a 50 year old Silca, I bought new

  4. #34
    (Shrek)
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    Re: Thomas Air Compressor

    My point, I guess, was that there are excellent quality small air compressors out there for a variety of scientific and industrial purposes. They just aren't sold in big box stores. I have no idea where one might find such an animal at darkroom prices other than specialty surplus outlets.

    Sent from my LM-G900 using Tapatalk

  5. #35
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Thomas Air Compressor

    Yeah, the decline in good ones, at least in portable sizes, has been disappointing. Some corporations like DeWalt are great at marketing but offer relatively poor products; others, like the Thomas portable division, had a good product line but terrible marketing habits. They were a real pain to do business with, or even to reach, just a neglected step-daughter of Thomas Industrial. The better construction units were once made by Emglo, all oiled. But they were stuck in their own ways and wouldn't help with the problem very common in urban areas back then of undersized main residential circuits. Gas compressors were a noise no-no. We initially had our own branded compressors built locally using Curtis V-pumps, but simply couldn't get enough, so started working with Rol-Air and built the prototypes of those in our own shop, volt-meter in-line and all. These had to run nail guns reliably (not just a paint gun or tire filler, which don't require that kind of sustained higher pressures).

    That formula worked out for quite awhile, about 35 yrs. But all the junk brands of nail guns started flooding the market at the home center level. A twenty year lifespan gun with intermittent repairs now had to compete with an unrepairable six-month lifespan gun at half the price, along with package deals with equally cheap compressors. Fine for building a doghouse. But idiot construction crews would use those to punch a nail into the wood, and then come back with a ordinary hammer to get it all the way in whenever the pressure dropped. Penny-wise, pound foolish, or PSI foolish in this case.

    I'm not against less expensive stuff, Tin Can. But what is less expensive - buying one compressor that lasts 20 years for $400, or buying 20 for $150 apiece that last only 6 months each, apples to apples usage-wise? Same reason I wear thousand dollar custom hiking boots - they're the real bargain if you factor in their usable, repairable lifespan. Last pair of those lasted me 30 years and at least six resoles. Store bought at $200 per pr would last about 2 yrs at most under the same conditions. Multiply $200 times 15 and that's three times the price, not even factoring inflation over that period of time.

  6. #36

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    Re: Thomas Air Compressor

    Ok I know nothing about hiking, but I have to ask why one would want to keep any kind of footwear for more than a few years, let alone 30 years. Isn’t that, you know, really gross?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Yeah, the decline in good ones, at least in portable sizes, has been disappointing. Some corporations like DeWalt are great at marketing but offer relatively poor products; others, like the Thomas portable division, had a good product line but terrible marketing habits. They were a real pain to do business with, or even to reach, just a neglected step-daughter of Thomas Industrial. The better construction units were once made by Emglo, all oiled. But they were stuck in their own ways and wouldn't help with the problem very common in urban areas back then of undersized main residential circuits. Gas compressors were a noise no-no. We initially had our own branded compressors built locally using Curtis V-pumps, but simply couldn't get enough, so started working with Rol-Air and built the prototypes of those in our own shop, volt-meter in-line and all. These had to run nail guns reliably (not just a paint gun or tire filler, which don't require that kind of sustained higher pressures).

    That formula worked out for quite awhile, about 35 yrs. But all the junk brands of nail guns started flooding the market at the home center level. A twenty year lifespan gun with intermittent repairs now had to compete with an unrepairable six-month lifespan gun at half the price, along with package deals with equally cheap compressors. Fine for building a doghouse. But idiot construction crews would use those to punch a nail into the wood, and then come back with a ordinary hammer to get it all the way in whenever the pressure dropped. Penny-wise, pound foolish, or PSI foolish in this case.

    I'm not against less expensive stuff, Tin Can. But what is less expensive - buying one compressor that lasts 20 years for $400, or buying 20 for $150 apiece that last only 6 months each, apples to apples usage-wise? Same reason I wear thousand dollar custom hiking boots - they're the real bargain if you factor in their usable, repairable lifespan. Last pair of those lasted me 30 years and at least six resoles. Store bought at $200 per pr would last about 2 yrs at most under the same conditions. Multiply $200 times 15 and that's three times the price, not even factoring inflation over that period of time.

  7. #37
    Pieter's Avatar
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    Re: Thomas Air Compressor

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael R View Post
    Ok I know nothing about hiking, but I have to ask why one would want to keep any kind of footwear for more than a few years, let alone 30 years. Isn’t that, you know, really gross?
    No, it's not. It is how things used to be.

  8. #38

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    Re: Thomas Air Compressor

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael R View Post
    Ok I know nothing about hiking, but I have to ask why one would want to keep any kind of footwear for more than a few years, let alone 30 years. Isn’t that, you know, really gross?
    because it takes at least a year to break in good leather hiking boots.

  9. #39
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Thomas Air Compressor

    I am a shoe nut

    I keep almost all shoes

    JIC

    I recently got really nice boots, wrong size, unreturnable, they will be donated in the box, locally, anonymously

  10. #40

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    Re: Thomas Air Compressor

    Ha! Just yesterday I noticed the array of shoes placed in front of my chair...a pair of Solomon light hikers (got'm for half price!) which I wear into town and for walks, my old chewed up Moabs which are now work shoes, a new(ish) pair of Tevas for when it gets hot and/or after hours deck lounging (also great for the darkroom), a pair of older, cracked "work Teva's" which I just cannot seem to get rid of, a pair of slippers, and a pair of Peter Limmer's custom hiking boots (pricy, yes...but will last forever).

    Thing is...there are days that, depending on the number and nature of activities - I will wear every single pair of those shoes, and thus they end up surrounding my chair!

    Click image for larger version. 

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    (jeeesh...how did we get from air compressors to shoes?)
    Last edited by John Layton; 10-Sep-2021 at 07:22.

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