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Old 08-10-2020, 12:02 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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How small of a compressor can I use with my air rivet gun

I have a 3x air rivet gun from ATS which requires 3 CFM @ 90 psi.
I've read that the compressor should be 1.5 x the CFM of the equipment you want to use.
So 1.5 x 3 = 4.5 CFM @ 90 psi.
But the compressors in this range start around $165 or so.
So I was wondering if I could get away with a 1 to 3 gallon compressor, where the CFM is much lower, but so are the prices.
My work situation is just me, not a team of folks.
driving 1/8" dia, 3/8" length aluminum solid rivets.
Thanks.
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Old 08-10-2020, 12:16 PM   #2
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you can use any size compressor you want. The commendation is so you can use the tool continuously. If you are ok with shooting a couple rivets, taking a 5 min break, shooting some more rivets, etc. Then you can certainly use a smaller compressor. Expect the job to take longer and for the compressor to work harder.
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Old 08-10-2020, 12:32 PM   #3
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thanks jsneeb.
5 minutes?
maybe 30 seconds?
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Old 08-10-2020, 12:38 PM   #4
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It may replenish the air within 30 seconds. But the actual pump may not be designed for 100% continuous operation. Check the user manual, or the electrical information tag on the compressor. If it says something like "Duty Cycle 20%" you should let it cool for a while.
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Old 08-10-2020, 12:47 PM   #5
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I really appreciate your feedback.
Thank you very much!
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Old 08-15-2020, 08:59 PM   #6
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We were using an air chisel to remove rivets today and our little 5 gallon air compressor was running almost continuously, for about 7 hours. I was a little surprised, but it seems to be fine. Campbell Hausfeld, Extreme Duty, oilless compressor. I suppose if you buy a really nice compressor, smaller is okay. But if youre looking at Harbor Freight, I would get at least 20 gallon.
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Old 08-15-2020, 09:06 PM   #7
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Air chisel uses massive amounts more air than a riviter. Using the riviter every 5-10 seconds I would guess even the smallest compressor will keep up as long as the pressure required is there.
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Old 08-15-2020, 09:06 PM   #8
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I have a little pancake compressor, its main doqwnfall is the 5 gallon tank.. it does get warm when it runs for long periods of time.. however its pumped up bus tires, run for an hour or more continuous while we searched for air leaks opn an old bus suspension.. a rivet gun doesnt use a ton of air.. its not lioke wire wheeling, grinding or impact gun.. you have some breaks.. you pop a rivet, load and pop another.. I think youd be fine with a small pancake compressor..
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Old 08-15-2020, 09:08 PM   #9
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Having used an air riveter to build a couple road cases - 200 or so rivets in each one. A small compressor will do the job just fine, you're not doing production line work. I've seen the guys at the road case shop using a pancake compressor to do the same thing and they are doing it professionally (if not production line).
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