Determine How Much Compressed Air is Needed for a 60-Gallon Sandcarver

Take a peek at some key features to look for in an air compressor. 

Note: This information is based on operating a 3/32-inch nozzle machine at normal pressures for sandcarving. 

  • Tank Capacity: 60-gallon capacity
  • Pressure: With a standard tank that has a maximum pressure of 135 psi, you always want your sandcarving machine controls operating with a minimum of 90 psi – so 135 psi allows you a 45-psi cushion. Some models go to 150 psi, but they normally have a duty cycle of less than 100 percent.
  • CFM (cubic feet per minute): Never be confused by simple displacement with 0-pressure in the tank – it is hard to pump up a tire with no pressure inside the tank. A compressor of this size uses less than 6 CFM during sandcarving with 6 CFM leaving the tank and the ability to place 14 CFM back inside the tank. This means that the air compressor gets to cycle on and off, allowing it to cool, which always makes them last longer.
  • Nozzle size: Over double the CFM required to operate a 3/32-inch standard nozzle size allows you to wear the nozzle and continue to operate. The larger the nozzle, the more volume it requires to maintain sandcarving pressure because a 1/8-inch nozzle uses 10 CFM at sandcarving pressure, which means you can occasionally use the larger size. (Note: If you always use the 1/8-inch nozzle, then I advise a larger capacity air compressor and possibly a more powerful dust collector or semi-automatic cleaning cycle.)

-Robert Robinson, MediaBlast & Abrasive

Robert Robinson

Robert Robinson draws from four decades of experience in the sandcarving industry. In 1977, Robinson founded Media Blast & Abrasive, Inc., manufacturer of the CrystalBlast line of sandcarving and etching machinery and manufacturer of abrasive blasting cabinets. As a consultant to Media Blast, Robinson continues to design new machinery in response to the needs of the sandcarving manufacturing industry.

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Charlie Fox

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