Question: I am in the process of researching air compressors and would like to buy one for operating two air tools, a 3 inch pistol grip dual action sander and a 3 inch pistol grip polisher (recommended CFM is 22-24 @ 90 psi).
I would like start doing plastic restoration and small automotive body work. I am trying to find an air compressor, possilby portable, that will allow me to operate these air tools without delay. Total operating time is approximately 30 minutes between both tools, 6-8 times a day.
The air compressors I've seen are huge and expensive for the recommended CFM range. I really don't need a compressor that big for the work I'm doing. However, my concern is the proper air consumption required to operate these air tools.
What is the difference between actual and average air consumption? Can I get by with an air compressor with a lesser CFM rating, say a 10 or 15 CFM @ 90 psi? If a lesser CFM rating is used, what is expected? Will this be an undesirable result? Would it be possible to purchase a portable or wheel borrow type compressor for these air tools?
I'm trying to understand how much compressor I really need. Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
If that doesn't bother you, then buy a smaller portable compressor than the size you actually need.
If that will bother you, then you must purchase an air compressor that has the flow to supply the largest demand air tool.
Both of the tools you mention are high demand. You will need a high flow compressor to supply them adequately.
You say... "I really don't need a compressor that big for the work I'm doing." but I would suggest based on what you have written is, yes, you do!
Regarding "What is the difference between actual and average air consumption? Can I get by with an air compressor with a lesser CFM rating, say a 10 or 15 CFM @ 90 psi? " compressor output is higher at low pressures and lower at higher pressures.
You need to see the specs for the compressor that show the flow of air at the pressure your air tools need to judge that compressors performance.
"Will this be an undesirable result?" Yes, I expect, based on what you have written that it will be.
"Would it be possible to purchase a portable or wheel borrow type compressor for these air tools?" No doubt, if you have a compressor rental agency nearby. I suspect though, for the volume of air you are desiring, that your compressor choice will fall into the 240 volt power range, and those are more difficult to rent and install.
Good luck, and read ALL the sizing pages on this site for more info.