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Taking to the Air in Your GaragePrintable version
Degree of DifficultyModerate
Estimated Time120 minutes
120 minutes
Anyone who has spent time in the waiting room of an auto repair shop knows that the zing-zinging and chukka-chukka-chukka of air tools is the soundtrack of auto professionals at work. When NASCAR® pit crews leap over the wall to change tires, they don’t zip off the lug nuts with electric wrenches or a rusty tire iron. It’s an air gun that gets the job done.

It’s easy to be convinced that air tools are only for trained pros and sponsored race teams. But a pneumatic garage is a relatively affordable option for any home car hobbyist or do-it-yourselfer. Because they rely on compressed air for power – pressures vary, maxing out at 150 pounds per square inch (psi) in garage applications – air tools are typically far less expensive than electric tools that do the same job. Air tools also tend to weigh less, they can usually develop more torque and speed, are less bulky so they often fit into tighter spaces, and come in greater varieties than electric tools. (To illustrate, see in the photo at right that the electric impact wrench (right) dwarfs its pneumatic counterpart.)  Best of all, air tools give your garage that pro-at-work soundtrack.
An electric impact wrench (right) dwarfs its pneumatic counterpart.
If those aren’t reasons enough to convince your better half to buy you air tools for Christmas, consider this: once you invest in the compressor, air lines, and necessary fittings, you can use them to do a multitude of home improvement projects. Most tool rental shops, including those in home improvement stores such as Home Depot, offer a smorgasbord of pneumatic tools for hourly and daily rental, from roofing nail guns to orbital sanders to sand blasters. The photo at right shows a sampling of the tools available:  grinders, sanders, cutters, wrenches, saws; once you go pneumatic, the tool options are virtually endless.
Grinders, sanders, cutters, wrenches, saws; once you go pneumatic, the tool options are virtually endless.”
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