What kind of Air Compressor do I need?
Air compressors come in many varying types, but two requirements must be satisfied to power the Vortex F5. Foremost, the pressure required is at a minimum of 40 PSI (pounds per square inch). The volume of air must be rated at least 2 times the carver’s need. Using a value for the carver of 1½ CFM (cubic feet per minute) at 40 PSI, we get 3 CFM for the air compressor. The reason we need a larger CFM value for the air compressor is due to the demand. While the carver is running, the tank also needs filling up at the same time. If the CFM is too low, the compressor will keep running. This can cause the air compressor to overheat because it can’t fill the tank while carving.
What about Tank Size? Is Larger Better? Best Size is 1.5 to 2 Gallons.
The air compressor tank has a dual purpose. It stores compressed air and collects moisture in the bottom of the tank as the air is compressed. This compression removes 80% or more of the moisture extracted leaving the now dry air to power the Vortex F5. A 1 horsepower air compressor is capable of supplying 3 CFM at 40 psi (2 CFM at 90 psi) of compressed air to power the carver and refill the tank. People ask, “What’s the optimal tank size for a 1 horsepower air compressor? To find the answer, look at what happens if the tank is too small. The air compressor will refill and drain the tank fast resulting in the compressor cycling too rapidly causing it to overheat. If the tank is too large, it will take longer to refill itself causing the compressor motor to run longer. This could also cause it to overheat and could lead to failure of the motor. The optimal tank size for a 1 horsepower air compressor is 1.5 to 2 gallons. Common tank sizes to avoid are 1 gallon or smaller tanks, and 3 gallons or larger tanks.
Will a small horsepower air compressor and small tank work like an airbrush compressor? Let’s just cut to the chase and say, “No, it will not work.” Air compressors with lower horsepower and smaller tanks cannot supply enough air to run high speed carvers like the Vortex F5. Popular 1/2 and 3/4 horsepower air compressors with 1 gallon tanks are not strong enough to supply adequate air to power ultra high speed carvers.
Frequency Asked Questions
How Much Horsepower?
1 Horsepower is the Minimum needed (More is better)
How Much Air?
3 sCFM @ 40 PSI (2 sCFM @ 90 PSI)
Size of Tank and Type of Tank?
1½–2 Gallon tank is the optimal size. The tank should be made of Aluminum. Avoid Steel tanks because they can rust. The drain valve should be used to drain the water before starting a new carving session.
Duty Cycle Optimized (DCO) or Not?
DCO is a must. If the duty cycle is not optimized, the air compressor will needlessly run too much causing over heating. The DCO-2120A is optimized with a pressure hysteresis of 50-90 PSI.
Air Compressor Gallery, Click thumbnail below to enlarge:
We are frequently asked if an air brush compressor will work with our Vortex F5 carvers. The answer is no because they do not satisfy the CFM requirement. There are cheaply build air compressors available at Lowes and Home Depot, but they are extremely loud requiring ear protection. We’ve seen air compressors pushing 130db!
The Fortress DCO-2120A air compressor shown above is quiet 60 dBA oil-free pump. Coupled with a direct drive powerful 1.2 HP induction motor operating at Low RPM producing 3.10 CFM at 40 PSI with less wear. The Motor and Pump have been designed with a prolonged life compared cheap air compressors rated for 300 hours or less. This oil-free air compressor is exceptionally quiet at 60 dBA. It uses a dual-piston pump for superior performance and durability. The DCO air compressor is Duty Cycle Optimized (DCO) for carving. The 2 gallon aluminum tank provides smooth and consistent airflow to your Vortex F5. It also removes moisture to a level where it is considered “dry” before it enters the air hose going to your Vortex F5 carver. Order the DCO air compressor with your Vortex F5 and we will setup it up for you.
Warning: Do not use a tankless air compressor without a water trap. If water droplets entering your carver, it could cause bearing damage.
Important: Only use Duty Cycle Optimized air compressors for carving, otherwise your air compressor can overheat and fail.
Please Note, this Ultra Quiet DCO-2120A air compressor is included with the Vortex F5 Turnkey package
Country of Origin: CHN