View Full Version : Compressor size

11-20-2011, 08:46 PM
I going be doing an out door haunt what size compressor do i need ill be running any where between 4-15 props???

11-21-2011, 03:37 AM
Need a lot more info than that in order to give a professional estimate.

Size of cylinders, number of actuations per 15 minute period, line size, reservoir size, etc.

It is ALWAYS better to go BIGGER than go SMALLER.

Bigger = Less compressor runs per duty cycle ( typically 15 minutes )

Smaller = More compressor runs per duty cycle

I have four animatronics that utilize multiple bimba cylinders for my home haunt, and my 17 gallon is perfect.

My guess? You should consider something above a 30 gallon oil-less compressor if you are talking about 15 props.

Jim Warfield
11-21-2011, 07:13 AM
"Oil less Compressors any more.
But then my house is open almost 365 nights a year in Northern illinois.
Oil less compressors fly apart. I kept buying this $18 plastic air wheel for one about every year after it was a few years old, finally the rod and piston got pissed=total junk.
My main compressor is working from inside a small building away from dampness and I drain the tank regularly.
I recently built a large moving "Thing" and I bought a small oil lubed compressor just for this device. I made a big balanced arm to move the display with so a very small compressor is all I needed to make it "fly".(Tip the teeter-totter) I installed this small compressor under the hood of a wrecked car so the noise becomes the old wreck running again! I don't even waste compressor noise here.!)
You can buy small compressors lubed via oil through Farm & Fleet, yes the unit is made in China, I pay the $19 extra for the guarantee. They seem to run quieter that the oil=less ones.

The way my house tour is guided and the time between the locations where I need air also makes it possible for me to use a smaller compressor. My Dad and I installed many air conditioners for small local churches who needed AC but didn't have enough $ to do it, we put in the units they could pay for , then the janitor would turn on the AC the night before or eary Sunday morning, by the time the church was heating up, the service was over. Everybody was Happy.

11-21-2011, 11:47 AM
Jim, that all depends.

I have had my oil-less for going on 6 years now, without a single problem. If you properly drain the tank after every use, use water filters and air filters, and ensure the compressor is in a dry environment, provided you buy from a LEGITIMATE company (i.e. Craftsman, Ingersoll Rand, etc) you should not have a problem.

Depending on how much FREQUENT use this compressor will get, an oil-less is usually the way to go. I use mine day in and day out on all of my car maintenance tools, air ratchets, etc. and have yet to have any issues.

Now, if you ever plan on going bigger and better, you might want to just shell out the cash now for a LARGER OIL COMPRESSOR. They are more quiet, have a hell of a duty cycle rating, and will last through even the most industrial uses.

11-21-2011, 11:51 AM
For instance, if you have the money, buying something like this:


Would give you so much more than you would ever need, and it really is only 200-300 more than an oil-less compressor that is 1/3 of the size.

11-21-2011, 01:44 PM

Is the compressor you posted the same size as the standard 80gallon compressor?


11-21-2011, 01:56 PM

That's a 60 gallon. Couldn't find an 80 in that model...

11-24-2011, 06:34 AM
Thanks Keegan.


11-24-2011, 07:10 AM
80 gallon compressor is perfect.

However, the 3 hp wont cut it.

I would go at least 5 to 7 hp.

The 3 hp will run constant and will behind in suppling air.

this also depends how often your props are running and how many are running at 1 time.

Like Jim said...do not get an oiless compressor.

This is what I have :

XtremeCreators LLC

11-24-2011, 08:30 AM
This is what we use...


Jim Warfield
11-24-2011, 08:41 AM
So Jim won't be lifting or handling any air compressers that weigh 500 to 1,000 pounds! Especially when I have gotten by for many years with much smaller, cheaper ones.
If someone can afford them,(and lift them) these recommendations are very valid though.
Open every night , taking people through this house myself, I only need "Air" once every 5 to 20 minutes, plenty of time to re-pump inbetween uses.
My compressor shed does have a few compressors on stand-by, that if one fails I can quickly swap hoes, plug them in and be back in "business".

Jim Warfield
11-24-2011, 08:43 AM
But why have a "Hoe" if you never swap her? Supposed to be" Hose"......

Marr Branch
11-25-2011, 07:49 PM
Well said Jim.

11-26-2011, 08:47 AM

Just curious what makes the $7k 80 gallon compressor that much better than an 80 gallon craftsman compressor?
Do you run a lot of animatronics at your place off of this one compressor?


Jim Warfield
11-26-2011, 09:47 AM
The screw compressor runs smother, quieter, pistons aren't jumping up and down trying to pull themselves apart.
Seems to me that any oil lubed compressor will usually run somewhat quieter than the oil-less ones simply because it's crankcase and piston are enclosed behind usually cast iron or steel, holding those noises internally, the opposite of most oil-less designs I have ever seen.(and heard)
Of course I don't like to waste anything so the last tiny compressor I bought I installed it close to the item it makes work and the best weather-proof location was in the engine bay of my old wrecked car, so potentually the sound of the compressor kicking on would sometimes fool customers into thinking the old wreck just came back to life!

Karl Fields
11-26-2011, 05:31 PM
Besides what Jim alludes to, that rotary compressor outputs almost 5 times the amount of air as the earlier link (55 cfm compared to 10 cfm). Big deal in my book!


Just curious what makes the $7k 80 gallon compressor that much better than an 80 gallon craftsman compressor?
Do you run a lot of animatronics at your place off of this one compressor?


Jim Warfield
11-26-2011, 05:56 PM
Guys running a jackhammer usually are using rotary compressors.

11-26-2011, 06:57 PM
I run a 120cfm diesel screw compressor the type that is pulled behind a pickup, keeps everything running well.

11-26-2011, 07:55 PM
I run a 120cfm diesel screw compressor the type that is pulled behind a pickup, keeps everything running well.

But now you have to fill it with diesel fuel, I would think an electric one would be easier?


11-26-2011, 08:05 PM
But now you have to fill it with diesel fuel, I would think an electric one would be easier?


Yes 5 gal a night, But I have fought elect ones kicking out and power problems for 20 years and I'm done with that, also this compressor gives me instant air with out having to wait for all the tanks to fill. This was our first year running it and LOVE it, before with the elect ones I would have to wait for half hour to get all tanks full enough to run now I start the diesel and by the time I get back to the control room I have full pressure.

11-26-2011, 08:48 PM
So you keep it outside then?


11-26-2011, 09:04 PM
Yes with a 3/4 hose running to the old compressor room that is plumbed into the haunt, we are on a several hundred acre ranch and it an indoor out door haunt so the noise isn't to bad and the comp. never gets off idle.

Mad Wax Sculptor
11-26-2011, 11:07 PM
This may sound odd but I have seen this happen .My advice is first see what size compressor your electrical service can handle . It will do no good to have a huge compressor that pops the breakers compared to a smaller 20gal that may run just fine with out an overload. no one wants to be in the middle of the show to find the compressor trips the breakers

Jim Warfield
11-28-2011, 09:25 AM
And it seems to me a breaker constantly tripping can become weaker too, finally requiring replacement.
I had a breaker go so bad it melted the bar the breaker attached into the 200 amp box, which of course meant replacing the entire 200 amp box! (Which took more than just a few "minutes" to accomplish!)
The good thing was my local electricion is close by and I have 2- 200 amp boxes fed from rhe 400 amp main box so I was not without power in the entire house. Oh, yes, the second "Good Thing", it did NOT happen on a Saturday night during October!