Is my compressor beefy enough?

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Forum topic by Wintersedge posted 07-16-2011 10:14 AM 4024 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Wintersedge's profile


83 posts in 3481 days

07-16-2011 10:14 AM

I am looking at buying an inexpensive hvlp gravity feed gun from the big box. It is rated at 5.6cfm @40psi. My compressor does 5.8cfm @40psi with a 15gal tank. The compressor is a Dewalt D55168. Before I purchase the sprayer do you think I have enough headroom to paint with much satisfaction?

Points to note:
I am still very much a beginner woodworker.
I have never used a sprayer before(unless spray cans count)
I am computer literate but mechanically challenged.

I am most concerned with will the compressor run most of time, this is an oil less compressor and not rated for 100% duty.

Even though the compressor says 5.8, is that rating like horsepower and there is a lot of wiggle in calculating real world performance?

Is 70 bucks for an hvlp sprayer a good investment or am I throwing good money at something I will regret later?

Thanks for all your advice.

-- Motivation alone is not enough. If you have an idiot and you motivate him, now you have a motivated idiot.

7 replies so far

View j_olsen's profile


155 posts in 3679 days

#1 posted 07-16-2011 12:48 PM

with the HVLP you should be good to go with the compressor

the gun itself may be a bit much as far as cost—i just picked up the woodriver gun from woodcraft and the larger needle and paid 40 for the both (they were on sale) and i love the gun

just a suggestion but you might want to take a look at woodcraft and to save on shipping a trip to Alpharetta may be in order
here’s the link for the gun and Charles Neil does a video on it – Woodriver HVLP spray gun

good luck

-- Jeff - Bell Buckle, TN

View ScottN's profile


261 posts in 3187 days

#2 posted 07-16-2011 01:31 PM

I suggest putting a water trap filter on your compressor. Small compressors generates a lot of moisture. And always drain the tank on the compressor.

-- New Auburn,WI

View JimDaddyO's profile


618 posts in 3586 days

#3 posted 07-16-2011 01:44 PM

You will burn out the compressor unless the rating on it is for 100% duty cycle (meaning that it can deliver it’s rate, and keep it up, constantly), or take lots of breaks to let the compressor cool down.

-- my blog: my You Tube channel:

View Earlextech's profile


1162 posts in 3198 days

#4 posted 07-16-2011 02:46 PM

Your storage tank is not big enough. You’ll spend even more getting the moisture and contamination out of the line.
Double the price of the gun, buy a stand alone HVLP at the blue big box. You’ll be much happier.

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

View CharlieM1958's profile


16284 posts in 4726 days

#5 posted 07-16-2011 03:58 PM

The point no one has touched on here is that it all depends on what you are going to be spraying.

For small projects like boxes, small furniture pieces, etc., you are absolutely fine with the compressor you’ve got. If you plan on building an entire set of kitchen cabinets and spraying them all at one time, that;s another story.

The biggest issue with running a marginal CFM compressor is running out of air. The sprayer will work fine, but you may have to stop occasionally to let the it “catch up”. And, as was mentioned, running your compressor constantly to spray a big project could be detrimental to its health. :-)

But again, I don’t think any of this will be an issue if you are working on relatively small projects.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2172 posts in 3358 days

#6 posted 07-16-2011 05:22 PM

All these comments are very helpful. Building on Earl’s comment, it is quite easy to add storage to a compressor. You just need a tank. I have a 35 gallon water heater tank downstream two feet from my compressor. That cushion allows the compressor fewer on/off cycles which I think will contribute to its long life. And would help with the quality of your work given the small amount of headroom you will have.

Scott’s comment about draining the tank is spot on. Most compressors require you to break your arm in two places in order to get at the petcock to drain them. A trip or two to the plumbing section of your local Ace Hardware and you can extend that petcock to where it’s real easy to do the job. It’s a very small investment that will extend the life of all the tools that are downstream (perhaps a poor choice of words) from the Pufferbelly.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View Wintersedge's profile


83 posts in 3481 days

#7 posted 07-18-2011 05:17 AM

Thanks everyone for the advice.

I plan on only painting small furniture pieces. I think I am going to get a spare tank and daisy chain it to my compressor and also check out the woodcraft gun. I also saw one by Grizzley for 29 bucks that has great reviews.

-- Motivation alone is not enough. If you have an idiot and you motivate him, now you have a motivated idiot.

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