Mar 292018

Coming into some extra spare cash, I decided to upgrade my air compressor.

Was there something wrong with my old compressor? Nope. It is still running. I only had one repair issue done about 10 years ago when the auto shutoff fuse blew. After that issue, I picked up a 10 gallon tank and configured my system to run air from the compressor to fill that tank and then from there, a set of manifolds to run air to the airbrushes. This configuration changed how often the compressor ran and extended the life of the shutoff. The old compressor is an Iwata Smart Jet; 1/8 HP, pushing 35 psi, cost me about $200 before shipping and still works after 18 years in constant service. I think I’ve definitely gotten my money’s worth for the thing.

The old setup had an Iwata moisture trap/regulator assembly that I did not like. The moisture trap was fine, but I did not like the regulator. This assembly was then connected to a manifold that then connected first to the tank, followed by an aftermarket kobalt regulator, followed by two more manifolds with female quick connects for airbrush hoses. Sure, I can run dual airbrushes, but I wouldn’t get equal airflow if both airbrushes were running since the compressor only pushes out 35 psi. Which means the tank, even though it has 10 gallons, is only 10 gallons at 35 psi. But this was the setup and it has worked beautifully for over 15 years of gunpla and resin figure kits. Now when I say it still works, this is mostly true. Flipping the switch, it doesn’t immediately kick on all the time. But it hasn’t completely died, so this new compressor upgrade was a bit of a preemptive strike on the inevitability looming on the horizon.

The new setup required a trip to the local hardware store to get some fittings to connect up the new Iwata Power Jet Plus tubular compressor. The new compressor is 1/4 HP, pushes 60 psi, and has a .5 liter tank attached (it’s the handle that frames the compressor (tubular bit). I have no use for the tank since I already have a tank in my setup. I was originally looking to pick up an Iwata Pro Jet Lite which is a 1/6 HP/60 psi (although the website specs say 70 psi) that runs $89 cheaper than the $455 PJPT I picked up. The shop didn’t have any in stock so I was easily swayed by the bigger motor and gimmicky tube tank that supposedly helps cool the air a bit reducing possible condensation issues. The new compressor’s fittings are standard 1/4 inch NPT thread. So the old assembly coming right out of the Smart Jet to the moisture trap/regulator assembly would not work. I just unscrewed the moisture trap assembly from the manifold and attached a male quick connect bit there. Then a hose with a female quick connect end goes to the compressor which now has a female quick connect screwed into the end of the Iwata PJPT’s moisture trap/regulator assembly. This end of the hose as a male quick connect. The rest of the assembly stays the same.

A flip of the switch and the tank is very quickly filled to 60 psi. Now I have almost double the amount of air running the manifold with potentially 2 airbrushes. According to the manual, I can add an additional 2 more airbrush manifolds and run 4 airbrush simultaneously. I’m sure I can realistically run 3 simultaneously without a drop in performance. But since I never sprayed 2 brushes at the same time, I doubt I’ll do 3 or 4. But it’s nice to have the option.

Now that this is done, I can get back to finishing the Grim Reaper project.