Sizing a Compressor for Spraying in the Field

A cabinetmaker is bringing his shop spray gun out on site. What will he need for a portable compressor? July 8, 2005

I'm looking to take my Binks 2.8 pot and Mach1 gun into the field for a large media center project. Anyone have opinions on how much cfm my compressor would need for semi-continuous use? I have a large compressor in the shop and have not given it much thought.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor B:
An Airvantage outfit listed at says the gun will operate with a 2hp compressor at 6.6cfm output at 50psi. Another site says the gun requires 22cfm to operate it. I find this a little high, as other models operate at much lower cfms. I would think a compressor with 9-12 cfm could work fine, but haven't used one on site.

Here is the skinny: As you can see, it will depend on air cap and n/n size, if I read it right.

From contributor D:
I have a 5.1 at 90 psi that I tried to spray with (Mach 1) using 40 psi to spray and it will not keep up. Semi use will work (spray and wait, spray and wait, spray and wait), but not continuous.

From contributor M:
Contributor B had the right idea. I use a 92-92P air cap and fluid tip combination with my Mach1 on site. It works fine with a Porter Cable twin tank side stack compressor on small jobs, but I bring a 20 gallon, 120 volt compressor with wheels on it for bigger jobs. It's just a little bit slower than the setup I use in the shop (94/94P), but it puts down a good finish at a decent production rate with lacquers, with very little thinning.

From contributor J:
I could never figure that technical stuff out, I just go loaded for bear. I carry a Cambell Hausfield 35 gallon 6horse power cast iron series 'pressor. I don't have to worry even if toning a lot on the job - it keeps up. I wonder why my back is bad? Must be my posture (always getting bent over).

From contributor R:
For the Mach 1 gun, Binks makes an air cap 90P which will allow you, with the 94 Fluid nozzle (1.4mm), to use a 2 hp portable compressor. The compressor will run all day long. Make sure it is cast iron. Air regulator should be at 20 psi or less. I used to use this setup but switched to the Kremlin 10-14 pump. No comparison.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for all the input! I guess I was searching for the Holy Grail thinking I could get by on a portable compressor. I also have a turbine system which I use for small stuff, but it is too small for this project. A tech told me I could run the turbine for the cap pressure and use a smaller compressor for pot pressure. Anyone tried it?

My two other options are an airless with a fine finish tip or Wagner's new portable air assist, $$. I do not have a lot of experience with airless and I get a lot of different opinions on it for fine finishing. It is portable, which makes it interesting. Any ideas?

From contributor J:
Did I confuse the situation and not relay that my compressor is fully portable? Although airless is my choice for sprayer, you still can't tone with it!(Although I've seen some jobs where it looks like they did.)

From contributor M:
Same question: Did I confuse the issue? A side stack compressor can be carried in one hand. A 25 gallon compressor with wheels can be wheeled in and out of a van. Both are portable. I did a lot of houses with them. No problem. Just make sure you have a properly sized fluid tip and air cap. 90P is awfully small but will work with a real small compressor, 92/92P is quite a bit faster and works okay with a good side stack portable, and works all day with a roll-away.

From contributor H:
With 25' of air hose, I use a wheel barrow style compressor to run my Airmix when I need to be out in the field. A two hp will run it all day long, no sweat.

From contributor T:
I don't know much about paint sprayers, but about the compressor, I would try this: connect my hand carry tween stack to a 10 gallon tank so I have enough air to spray. Some Lowe's have good tanks that are made in US and are the same price as the Chinese.