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Technical Air vs. Electric.... And old age

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by lostone, Aug 22, 2021.

  1. lostone
    Joined: Oct 13, 2013
    Posts: 1,794

    lostone
    Member
    from kansas

    When I was a younger man I loved my air tools... Now not so much....

    The advantage to air tools is they can make them pretty small and lite, downside is the noise of the compressor, the fact it runs even when not in use at the exact moment using electric. Pulling the big air hose around, draining water, checking and changing oil and other maintenance and upkeep, air blowing out of the tools blowing dust/metal all over.

    Now I'm to the point of preferring electric tools. Disadvantages, tools are usually big, somewhat heavy, hard to munipulate in tight spots and usually the tools are more expensive... Advantages, no back ground noise, no big hose to pull around, no air blowing dirt around, just a small extension cord is usually needed, instant on/instant off with no waiting on compressor to build pressure and no electricity used until actual use of tool...

    Now I just wish it was possible and feasible to replace all my air tools with electric tools.. Maybe even battery powered.....

    How about you? You happy with the air? And if possible would you replace your air tools with electric tools should technology get to that point as far as size etc.?
     
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  2. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 49,853

    squirrel
    Member

    I've been moving to electric tools more for some things. Got a good battery powered 1/2" impact, hardly ever use the air one any more. I've been using electric angle grinders more often, too. I still like the control of a small air cutoff wheel, though. And the air powered die grinder, still seems to work fine.
     
  3. In spite of them being noisy and the hose being a PITA sometimes, I'll stick with air tools for certain things. One thing that's better IMO is you can vary speed/power without worrying about overheating or overloading them.
     
  4. mgtstumpy
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 8,933

    mgtstumpy
    Member

    I use both; my grinders, drill, polisher and orbital sander are electric. I also use my pneumatic drills, die-grinder, cut-off saw, air-sander and impact wrenches and am able to choose the right tool based on the task at hand. I find that I've more control using air-tools in certain situations, e.g. restricted / awkward spaces etc as mentioned, you can control the airflow (Slow, fast or intermittent) whereas with electricity it's either on or off with in-between. I've seen grinders, drills etc run-away due to unsafe and improper use and people get injured. I shake my head in disbelieve when I see others using power tools with little regard for safety, they expect the tool to do something it's not designed for and have no idea themselves how to actually use it safely despite all the bravado and over confidence.

    P.S. Don't forget to periodically oil your air tools with light machine oil to ensure longevity and operation. I used battery powered HD rattle gun to loosen the crankshaft to flywheel bolts on my FE. Amazing! I couldn't even budge them with a manual socket and my compressor wasn't working for the air powered gun. Just make sure that you hold on tight!
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2021
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  5. 2OLD2FAST
    Joined: Feb 3, 2010
    Posts: 3,526

    2OLD2FAST
    Member
    from illinois

    Working on vehicles is a very dusty environment , there are also liquids involved , electric motors hate both .
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2021
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  6. I still have all of my air tools at home and at work. That being said, at work I live with my DeWalt 20 volt 3/8” impact in my right hand. The 4.0ah battery lasts for a very long time, and it has I’m guessing 2/3 of the power on my IR 3/8 Titanium. It’s a super time saver. My wife and son also bought me a Kobalt 3/8 cordless ratchet for Christmas, I love it as well. I wished DeWalt made a 20 volt ratchet, I’ll end up with a Mac or SnapOn eventually. My advice, buy name brand cordless tools. My DeWalts have been fantastic.
     
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  7. RJP
    Joined: Oct 5, 2005
    Posts: 2,012

    RJP
    Member
    from PNW

    Twin 200 gallon tanks, Ingersoll Rand diesel compressor set up in outbuilding. Shop fully plumbed. Retractable hose reels. There isn't a place in the shop that can't be reached by an air tool. They're lighter and pretty well idiot proof (I should know) as long you keep the air dry and the oiler close by. The big plus for me through the years were tanks, hoses, air tools, dryers. gauges, were almost give away items at industrial auctions. Even the Ingersoll compressor went cheap because the trailer needed work. The kid that works in the shop has the full battery tool assortment, but for some strange reason he's always reaching for an air hose. Go figure.
     
    lostone likes this.
  8. Unless you have a setup like RJP mentioned cordless electric is the way to go in my opinion. Except you can't air up your tires or paint, you will still need some shop air.
     
    mario711 and lostone like this.
  9. Rickybop
    Joined: May 23, 2008
    Posts: 7,319

    Rickybop
    Member
    from Michigan

    I think...

    Instead of air OR electric, how about air AND electric. They both have their place. Good to have both. If you can.

    Same answer for rust removal. Chemical or mechanical? Yes. Both. All of it. If you can.

    There's one other method of driving power tools which kind of interests me. I've never tried it. Flexible cable driven with a remote heavy duty electric motor. The tool is relatively light, but you have good power. Anybody try it?
     
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  10. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 5,109

    BamaMav
    Member
    from Berry, AL

    That's me. Have a battery impact and drill as well as air tools and electric drills and saws. Each has it's own use. Battery tools are great out away from the shop and are also handy in the shop. Still prefer my air impact for the hard jobs.
     
  11. Guy Patterson
    Joined: Nov 27, 2020
    Posts: 264

    Guy Patterson

    My buddy has been using some cable driven tools and loves them. I still look at them with a bit of a wary eye but see an advantage
     
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  12. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 7,154

    BJR
    Member

    I use a Dewalt impact for removing wheels at work. It works well and very rarely do I need to use an air impact to get a stubborn lug nut loose.
     
  13. I've learned that you've gotta have an open mind. Things are getting better all the time as far as cordless goes. I seldom use a corded or air drill these days, and the cordless impact driver is always close by in the shop. I also work in the emergency services field, and a few years ago we demo'd battery powered jaws of life. Horrible! Heavy, weak, bulky, etc... but after so many years using gasoline over hydraulic tools, there was also that fear of change. But with the gasoline powered hydraulic pump, hoses, fluid reservoir etc, setup time on an accident scene where extrication time means the difference in life or death, the battery powered tools make a lot more sense. Now we have the new generation cordless tools, and they are amazing. Makes my job much easier. Grab the tool, push a power button, and go to work. Now we use battery powered chain saws. They always start, cut like a beast, and they still run inside of an oxygen deprived, smoke filled atmosphere. So my opinion is electric power. Wish my DA was battery powered lol
     
  14. deathrowdave
    Joined: May 27, 2014
    Posts: 2,699

    deathrowdave
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from NKy

    I worked in the pipeline industry . Everything was air or hydraulic . I just could not see an electric tool , having the power to loosen or tighten a 2 3/4 in hex nut . Most of the time it took a slugging wrench and sledge hammer to free it up , then complete with huge air or hydraulic impacts . This is why my body is at the point of no return damaged . 30 plus years of hammering on rusted , back breaking stuff .

    I can see where all my air tools are dinosaurs as I am and all my toys are . Electric is the answer in the new world .
     
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  15. Use - own both air and battery the 20V Dewalt and other brands too are great in a salvage yard trip but air in the shop 75 % have a big 7.5 HP Champion with air drier a must in Seattle using the small flex air spiral wound and 1/4 hoses for most tools keeps it easy in the shop
     
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  16. Have the air and electric stuff - just pulled an engine out this weekend - for the trucks first time - just went back to my ratchets and break overs after a bothersome try with the electric - just like the feel of what I'm doing.
     
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  17. Everything has its place .
    I use both,,,,,but battery power still lacks a little something I think .
    Like sometime ago I was rebuilding a 4/71 and had read from some mechanic that when spinning the rotors,,,the housing would float .
    Hummmm,,,,,well I tried with my battery drill,,,,no go .
    I figured it was just me .
    Anyway,,,later I was using my corded electric drill for something nearby and thought ,,,what the heck .
    I guess it was the extra rpm ,,,,,,because that dude did indeed move around on the table and float .
    Batteries are great,,,,,but until they get the extra capacity,,,,corded will out do them .
    And I like the air impact for torque to remove heavy stuff .

    Tommy
     
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  18. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 5,192

    Boneyard51
    Member

    I’m in the both or the three really, air, battery and corded devices! I have all three and use them accordingly!






    Bones
     
  19. lostone
    Joined: Oct 13, 2013
    Posts: 1,794

    lostone
    Member
    from kansas

    I am surprised that they don't make a electric DA sander equivalent yet or at least not that I'm aware of.

    They do make electric paint guns but I'd hate to see what that paint job would look like!! Imagine shooting some base and clear across say a big ole Lincoln ! Lots of sanding and buffing I'd bet !!
     
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  20. CME1
    Joined: Aug 10, 2010
    Posts: 204

    CME1
    Member

    I am using more battery operated tools. they are real handy as long as you have a battery charger and at least one extra battery. But there are times when the air tools work better.
     
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  21. finn
    Joined: Jan 25, 2006
    Posts: 885

    finn
    Member

    I’ve been working on floors, sills, quarter and cowl patches on a 36 Ford five window for the past few weeks. Tools on or near the lift ramps as we speak include three corded grinders (Bosch, Milwaukee, and Makita)with various discs, a Dewalt cordless 20v grinder, Dewalt 1/4” 20v impact driver, Dewalt 20v drill, Milwaukee 18v 3/8” impact, Aircat extended cutoff, unknown 90 degree air cutoff, HF air needle scaler, Builders Square (remember them?) air grinder with a flap disc, Lancaster shrinker, HF bead roller, HF benchtop brake, Craftsman Vice, HTP mig welder, Barco led corded light, body hammer, ball pine hammer, snips, HF throatless shear, Eastwood Metal conditioner, and a couple of screwdrivers, tape measure, a scribe, magnets, Vice grips. and a Sharpie.

    The corded tools are a problem, as I am always standing and tripping on the cord. Air tools, surprisingly, are most favored, followed by the battery tools
     
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  22. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 30,056

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I've got my air tools that I had when I worked in shops 40 + years ago that still work but until I get the big compressor going don't have enough air to run them.
    I don't have any battery powered automotive tools like impact or ratchet as they didn't come about until long after I changed careers. I haven't bought any for hobby use but sure have looked at them. I've got a name brand set with drill, small skill saw and some other pieces and I've used that drill for everything and sure don't have enough air hose to reach 400 ft to the mail box but what would have been a pain in the butt job was an easy fix.
    Truth be known now, If I was young and starting out fresh as a mechanic I'd most likely be buying the cordless electric impacts and ratchet rather than air. Just not having to deal with the air hoses would be a plus in many cases. I worked in new car dealerships a lot of my years in shops and you were constantly making sure that the air hose didn't rub on the car and leave a mark or having to position it so you could do work until I got hose that was about 3 ft long with a swivel on the end that was permanently attached to the impact. I think my boss's nonsense about there not being time to drain the compressor tanks every day killed my impact the one time I used it with air on that job though. The man was spending 300 bucks a week replacing air cylinders but argued that there wasn't time between milking sessions (we milked 1500 cows three times a day) to shut the air off and drain the tanks and build the air back up.
     
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  23. 2OLD2FAST
    Joined: Feb 3, 2010
    Posts: 3,526

    2OLD2FAST
    Member
    from illinois

    I'm guessing bat operated spray guns are on their way !
     

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    Last edited: Aug 23, 2021
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  24. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 7,262

    Budget36
    Member

    Only cordless tools I have is a HF bought impact wrench and circular saw I needed to lay a new floor in my kids horse trailer. That said I need to pick up a cordless drill to do a few thing out back that 650 feet of air hose or extension cords are not an option;).
    We have all cordless at work, started off with Dewalt and now Milwaukee.
    But thing is even though I’d like to have the convienence of quality cordless tools at home, I’m to much of a tight ass to spend the money for them.
    But as @Mr48chev said, if quality cordless was available 35/40 years ago when I started buying IR and CP airtools I probably would have went that route.
     
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  25. Elcohaulic
    Joined: Dec 27, 2017
    Posts: 2,470

    Elcohaulic
    Member

    I like the instantness of electric. Just make sure you install GFCI Breakers and plugs! Holding all that power with sweaty hands standing on concrete is almost asking for it.. I have GFCI plugs all the through my home. For a couple bucks your free from electrocution. Those old time aluminum tools were killers! They finally put grounding circuits on them but that still didn't protect 100% like the GFCI.. The owner would come along and clip off the grounding prong the first time they had a two prong outlet..
     
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  26. lostone
    Joined: Oct 13, 2013
    Posts: 1,794

    lostone
    Member
    from kansas

    I must admit, I own no battery powered tools. My electric tools are corded.

    I used to keep a battery drill around but got tired of the batteries going bad about every year. It seemed like some of the batteries were almost as much as the whole tool! So I just stopped buying them.

    I know battery technology is alot better today though...
     
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  27. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,608

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    How about bottled nitrogen? Up to 2000PSI, quiet, clean, free of moisture and not too expensive. Friend who runs a stock car replaced the gas powered compressor on his truck with a nitrogen cylinder, he uses it every weekend and tells me a cylinder lasts all season. Could be the answer for the hobbyist who does not use compressed air all day every day. You get it from your welding gas supplier.
     
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  28. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 49,853

    squirrel
    Member

    yeah, now the batteries cost twice as much as the tool!
     
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  29. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 5,192

    Boneyard51
    Member

    Guys, this may be a little off the subject of mechanics tools, but I recently acquired a battery operated blower , chain saw and weed eater! I selected the Ego brand at fifty volts. Best thing I ever did! Gave away my gas power stuff!






    Bones
     
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  30. Johnny Gee
    Joined: Dec 3, 2009
    Posts: 9,477

    Johnny Gee
    Member
    from Downey, Ca

    Blame it on...
    [​IMG]
    1961

    Black & Decker introduces the world’s first cordless electric drill powered by nickel-cadmium cells.

    Note: tried finding the actual first cordless drill because this photo with caption that I copied and pasted clearly show's corded drills. All I could find was the later model developed for NASA that does not look anything like the civilian version.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2021
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