Awards & Engraving

August '17

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38 a-e-mag.com • A&E AUGUST 2017 ETCH MASTERS ETCH MASTERS by Ruth Dobbins Choosing the right compressor is the most important choice you will make in order to work efficiently. If you do not solve this problem adequately, it will come back to haunt you in more ways than you may think. The general question is: what kind of compressor should I get? This usually implies that the questioner wants to hear a name brand, when they should be asking: what type of compressor should I get and how much air does it need to be able to produce? What's the difference? Well, a big one. Let's take a look at what's important. In order to give you a complete overview of the topic, I need to give you a good amount of technical information. Bear with me, I will try to keep things as uncomplicated as possible, and hopefully it will help you choose wisely if you are just starting out, or it may help you change your current situation to a more efficient one. Here we go, and yes, this will be a two-part article. TYPES OF COMPRESSORS Most people think that a compressor is a compressor, but that's far from true. There are at least five different types of compres- sors available, and knowing about these is important. The types are diaphragm, piston, rotary vane, rotary screw and coil. Diaphragm, more commonly known as oil-less compressors, are to be avoided for our type of work. For the most part, they are small and do not put out enough air. The larger ones are considered light duty compressors and are noisy. Many of the known hardware stores carry these types of compressors as their low-end "handyman" compressors. We have used an oil-less com- pressor a few times only to find that the motors do not hold up for our application. A fter the last project interlude, it is time to get back to the essentials of our business. One of them (something we are receiving a whole bunch of questions about lately) is the seemingly never-ending topic of the air compressor. And it is an im- portant consideration; after all, the compressor is the "heart" of our blasting system and the one item that seems to stump most beginners. BETTER HAVE PLENTY OF AIR Compressors for Blasting on Glass: Part One ALL IMAGES COURTESY RUTH DOBBINS This a common model of an electrical upright compressor with a belt-driven motor and an 80-gallon air storage tank. The uprights take up less space than the horizontal models.

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