My experience with a DA

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Joined: Tue Aug 13, 2019 5:48 pm
Location: Kansas
PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 7:55 pm
I borrowed a friend's DA sander tonight to try it out and see if I would like it better than the DeWalt orbital sander I've been using. I don't remember what brand it is but he said he bought it at HF. My air compressor is a Craftsman 25 gallon but I've read that DA's need at least a 29 gallon. I can tell you that even though I was impressed with how smooth it handled and didn't make my hands numb like the DeWalt, my AC could't handle it. I spent more time waiting for the air to build up than sanding.
Is there a DA that is small enough for a 25 gallon AC? If it has to be at least a 29 gallon tank, I can always go over to my Dad's shop and borrow his. (He's 91 and never uses it anyway :)))
Thanks for any advice.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 10:26 pm
The size of the tank is largely irrelevant. What matters is the size/capacity of the motor and compressor.

Regardless of the size of the tank, once you've used up the buffer between the point at which the motor turns on and when the tank is full you're relying on the capacity of the compressor to maintain at least that minimum pressure and volume.

In an extreme example if you had a big compressor and small tank then the compressor would turn on often but only for short periods easily bringing the tank back up to pressure, even while you're using the tool. A very big tank with a small compressor would not turn on for a while but then run constantly trying, but failing, to maintain the pressure in the tank.

You don't give much detail on the sander you used but most do have an air control. Turn that down a bit. You'll still get effective sanding but air consumption will be very much reduced.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 11:15 pm
It is hard to defeat the rules of physics when it comes to the use of air as a propulsive force. Even the newest and most efficient of the HF dual action sanders has an "average" consumption of 4 CFM and I'd be willing to bet that wide open that is more like 8 to 10 CFM. I've got an older HF out on my shelves that has 15 CFM printed right on the label. I think most of us agree on a bare minimum of a 60 gallon tank/5 hp/ and two stage set-up for most of these "air hogs." And NFT5 is right....cut your speed back and let the compressor somewhat catch up with what you are doing. When we have done wood restoration on site and used smaller compressors we will run a sander for awhile, then switch over to doing something else for awhile to let it catch up or cool down.
Metal, wood, fiberglass, we work it all... We can restore the irreplaceable!

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 2:13 pm
I have a good DA and compressor and I don't use the DA anymore.
I find my electric buffer strips paint much faster and easier than a DA.
The Dual Action is not as aggressive as a buffer that only rotates.
I have pads 3" to 6" and that's all I need.

For finish sanding I use a electric Porter Cable 6" sander (random orbital)
I've been using this tool for over 20 yrs. now ... pad/7346sp

It sands much faster than my woodworking palm random orbital sanders.
(The "right angle" random orbital sanders are more aggressive than palm ones.)
This tool also is what I use to sand clear coat before buffing.
Run it at a slow speed and it works wonderful. it really flattens it
getting rid of any urethane wave.
It also polishes really well, but for initial buffing, the buffer is king.
I don't use air tools at all anymore and my compressor is better off.

(It's not custom painting-it's custom sanding)

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