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  #1  
Old 09-17-2008, 06:25 PM
Harper Harper is offline
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Default Palm Control Air Usage

I have been running my PC off of a 24 oz CO2 cylinder, but it isn't lasting as long as I would like, and I am finding it difficult to get refills when I need them. Because of this, I am thinking of buying a HPA paintball cylinder, but havn't been able to figure out how long such a cylinder would last. I have found a couple of guesses in the forum, but nothing solid.

I found the thread where Steve talks about how how much air the PC and the Classic use.
http://www.engravingforum.com/showth...?t=1052&page=2
Unfortunately I have been unable to decipher what that means in terms of how long a paintgun HPA cylinder of say 68 ci and 3000 psi would last. Has anyone actually timed this out? Or could someone explain to me how to calculate the run time given Steve's information given in the above referenced thread?

Thanks for any help you all can lend.

Lee
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  #2  
Old 09-17-2008, 08:02 PM
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Dave London Dave London is offline
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Default Re: Palm Control Air Usage

Harper
I think Steve has said the large paintball cyl lasts about 8 hrs constant use
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  #3  
Old 09-17-2008, 08:30 PM
Tim C Tim C is offline
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Default Re: Palm Control Air Usage

As for the actual time you can get out of a Paintball Compressed Air Tank, it depends on the tank size, psi rating of the tank, and whether you are using a PC handle or the foot pedal controller.

There is a post on using a Carbon Fiber Air tank with the AirGraver that I posted some time ago.

I put a message in the post to move it up.

The real positive side of this is, you can use Steve's CO2 regulator directly on the paintball air tank most of the time.

I purchased a Carbon Fiber Air tank that came with a built-in reducing regulator, it reduces the 4,500 psi pressure in the tank down to about 800-900 psi discharge pressure.

I don't know for sure that ALL the Compressed Air tanks for paintball guns have this regulator built-in to the tank, but every one that I saw in the case had it.

But this makes using a paintball tank much easier to set up than a scuba tank, because this reducing regulator is already in place for the secondary regulator to bring the pressure down to working pressure for the AirGraver.

And if you already have a scuba tank, you can get a fitting for $35 that allows you to refill the paintball tank several times from the scuba tank.

The regulator that Steve sold me for my CO2 tanks is rated to 1000 psi, or about that.

I hate to quote actual psiís with this post because things can change, a maker could change a part in one of the regulators mentioned and all of this is wrong.

Please check the ratings on anything that you purchase.

That regulator screws directly onto the carbon fiber tank, and that is all you need.

The post explains the rest of what you need to know.

I have estimated that I should get about 50-60 hours out of my tank, but that is a guess.
And that assumes you remember to turn it off for the night or weekend so you don't waste a lot of air.

If you need any help, just ask.

Tim C
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  #4  
Old 09-18-2008, 08:05 AM
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Default Re: Palm Control Air Usage

I'm getting the 7-10 hours suggested on a 20oz tank. I did have a tank give me shorter times and it turned out to have a loose safety valve - that little bit sticking out of the front. Once I tightened that up it was fine.

I went by a paintball shop and got the (apparently) standard refill kit for about $40. Had to go to the local welding supply shop for a 20lb tank. Initial cost was, IIRC $236. Refills on it are only about $20. By my math it'll have paid for itself in about 150 refills. Make sure you get a tank that has the dip tube to feed from the bottom (liquid rather than gas). Just tell them what you're doing and they'll make sure you get the right stuff. You also need a scale, btw.

Refills are pretty easy. Put on gloves and goggles. The gloves because venting CO2 can freeze your skin and the goggles so nothing gets blown into your eyes.

Hook your tank up to the refiller gadget, open the 'destination tank' valve on the refiller, hold the tank upside down and open the vent valve on the refiller. If this is the first time with this tank stop, unhook it, and weight it to get the empty weight (the 'tare'), then hook it back up.

Close the vent valve, lay the tank on the scale and either zero out to the weight of the tank + hose or just note the current weight and your 'destination' weight. Gov't recommendations are to underfill by 10% which means no more than 18oz in a 20oz tank or 21oz in your 24oz tank.

Open the valve on the source tank - if your forgot to close the vent valve you'll notice that right away. Watch the weight on your tank as it fills. I only seem to get about 16oz to go in with the way I've got stuff set up but since it's no big deal to refill it's not worth fighting it. When the tank is full / at weight you turn off the source tank valve, the destination tank valve, and then open the vent valve (to vent the pressure in the line). Once the line is clear you can unhook your newly refilled tank and weight it to confirm the fill (that's why you need the empty weight recorded). Whole process takes me less than 10 minutes and I'm still new at it. Keep track of how many fills you've done so you know when your big tank is getting low.

Here in KC it's $4 and a drive to get a tank refilled by someone else. Doing it myself is about $3 so the savings on the CO2 will - eventually - pay for the tank and refill kit. Not having to go anywhere on someone else's schedule - priceless. (OK, I do have to use my lunch hour from the day job to get the big tank refilled but that's actually less bother than taking the small tank to either place near me.)
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  #5  
Old 09-18-2008, 01:42 PM
Harper Harper is offline
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Default Re: Palm Control Air Usage

Tim C,

How did you come to the 50-60 hours for your tank? What is puzzling me so much I guess is that the paintball sites all say that the number of shots for a 20oz CO2 cylinder is the same as you would get from a 3000 psi 68 cubic inch HPA tank. I am sure that there are equations out there that can take Steve's numbers from the thread I referenced to determine how long a 3000psi 68 ci HPA tank would last with a PC, but I can't find them (I might not understand them even if I did find them, but that is another issue ). If the 50-60 hours is even close, then it would definitely make sense to buy the HPA tank.

SteveK,

How do you keep the knob on the regulator from moving while transporting your Box 'o Happiness back and forth? The knob on mine has no detent so I have been disconnecting my regulator so I don't lose all the CO2.

Thanks guys.

Lee
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  #6  
Old 09-19-2008, 06:43 AM
Tim C Tim C is offline
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Default Re: Palm Control Air Usage

Lee,
If it were true that you only got the same number of shots from the HPA as you did with the CO2-20oz. tank, then why would you buy a HPA tank?

I don't know where you got that info, but from what I have seen with my tanks, it isn't even close.

My HPA tank is a 4,500psi tank, so it is different then what you are looking at.
I have both CO2 and the HPA.

That info doesn't make sense either, both tanks are about the same size, the CO2 has a 500-600 psi rating when filled, the HPA has 4,500 psi when filled.
Just with the numbers, you can see that the HPA should get at least 4 times the time as the CO2.

The CO2 tank gets 8 hours, and I've filled my HPA once in 2 months, and that was because I left it on over the weekend, even then the tank was down to 1000psi, which is still higher then the CO2 tank when full.

Now 50-60 hours may be a little high, but 40 hours is very possible with the PC handle.

I don't know what else to tell you.
Good luck with whatever you do.

Tim C
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  #7  
Old 09-19-2008, 08:11 AM
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SVD SVD is offline
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Default Re: Palm Control Air Usage

Lee - I added a little bit of aluminum strip to the bottom of the box so the tank + regulator can't slide around. The strip runs under the 'low spot' of the assembly and keeps the knob of the regulator rasied off of the bottom. I keep an apron in the box and it lays (folded up) over the regulator to help protect it. Even if the knob did manage to get turned I also have the switch valve in the 'off' position so both things would have to get moved to cause a leak. I do my best not to let The Box take any jolts strong enough I'd have to worry about that happening.

Tim
The CO2 is a liquid / gas mix (primarily liquid) while the HPA is just gas so that's the big part of the pressure difference. In the end it's all about the total volume of gas at 'standard' (feeding the regulator) pressure each tank has. Someone who's a lot better at the math than I am should be able to figure out approximately how many cubic inches of gas each tank can produce at, say, 150psi so we can tell which one really holds more.

:thinking:

To me it's just an interesting question. Since both methods work well I see it as more a question of which set up is best for the particular user. I was able to find CO2 stuff easiest so I went that way. From what I've read anyone who's into scuba (or has easy access to scuba stuff) is probably better off with HPA. From your experience it sounds like someone who really needs to get more than one full day out of a tank is also better off with HPA.

It's good to have choices, isn't it?

Just noticed: you're getting 40+ hours with a Palm Control. That may be the difference - it uses significantly less air than the Classic's foot pedal. Anyone with a Classic use HPA? What are the run times you're getting. Same question for anyone using CO2 with a Palm Control.
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  #8  
Old 09-19-2008, 04:33 PM
Tim C Tim C is offline
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Default Re: Palm Control Air Usage

I have both systems, a Chasing (small piston=less air too) with the PC handle and the Classic with the foot pedal control.
I have the Classic hooked up to my compressor, the Chasing was being run on the HPA tank just so I could answer this question for myself long ago.

I know that the CO2 releases gas as it gets lower and that gives it the long runtime.
When I plugged in the 4,500 psi HPA tank, the control that I had with the air from a tank over that from a compressor, seemed to be better.
I figured I would see how long it ran, except for the issue with leaving it on, I was getting a long, long time out of the HPA tank.

One day I will find out how long it goes, the ease of filling the HPA tank at home from a scuba tank makes it the right system for me. The CO2 is harder to find down here, about every mile, there is a scuba store down here.

Then I will hook up the Classic to both and see what length they get, the CO2 doesn't last long at all on the Classic foot pedal system, that I already know.

I also have a Spider VS3 and the CO2 doesn't last near as long on that either.

It is nice to have a choice, either way, the tanks give the AirGraver systems the ability to go anywhere that you might need them.
I just got some new wheels on my truck that I picked out just so I could engrave them, they have nice flat polished surfaces, oh boy....

Tim C
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  #9  
Old 09-20-2008, 08:39 AM
Harper Harper is offline
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Default Re: Palm Control Air Usage

Tim C and Steve K,

Thanks so much for your help on this. I think that I will retain my CO2 tank as my backup and get a decent HPA cylinder for my primary.

My problem here in Tampa Bay, is that the sporting goods stores all have the CO2 cylinders, but either can not or will not keep the CO2 in stock or the equipment functioning. There are enough paintball stores/fields around that I can get a HPA cylinder refilled pretty easily, and if I look, I bet there are a lot of dive shops around here too.

For anyone else that may be cogitating on this issue, I do recommend that you find out if the people you are planning on relying on for refills are in fact reliable for the purpose before deciding.

Thanks again.

Lee
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  #10  
Old 12-29-2008, 08:17 AM
KeithPedersen KeithPedersen is offline
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Default Re: Palm Control Air Usage

Why dont you just run the PC from a large co2 tank?
I bought a co2 regulator at a welding supply for $35 that fits the big 20 pound tank..
I have one in my shop at workits almost 3 feet high.
I was filling the 20 ounce bottles at sports authourty for 3.50 each.
The big bottle I had to give $80 "rental deposit and $22. to fill
Having fun with my PC......
Keith Pedersen

www.keithpedersen.com
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  #11  
Old 12-29-2008, 08:39 AM
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Default Re: Palm Control Air Usage

Look in the local phone book for 'Welding Supplies' - they should also be your local supplier for gasses of various sorts. I bought my 20lb tank for about
$225 (first 20lbs of CO2 included). If I recall correctly it's only about that same $22 / refill on that tank. Make sure if you do this you get the tank that draws from the bottom - tell them you're using it to refill paintball tanks and they'll get you the right one.

I picked up the refill kit for the small tanks at a paintball shop and just do my own refills. When I bought everything I worked out that after 125 refills I'd have paid for the big tank and the refill station in the savings over having the 20oz tanks filled - it costs $4 around here.
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  #12  
Old 12-29-2008, 10:48 AM
airamp airamp is offline
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Default Re: Palm Control Air Usage

Hi,

There is a trick to filling Paintball cylinders with a top draw tank. (you can use this as a air source)

If you turn the tank upside down you can fill paintball cylinders from a top draw tank. So your 20lb top draw can serve as a fill tank also. Did it many times when playing paintball.. Little awkward but it works fine.

Airamp
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  #13  
Old 12-31-2008, 03:25 PM
KeithPedersen KeithPedersen is offline
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Default Re: Palm Control Air Usage

KC STeve,
Why do you have to fill the paintball tanks?
I run right off my 20 pound tank.
Is it to go portable?
Thanks,
Keith
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  #14  
Old 12-31-2008, 05:37 PM
airamp airamp is offline
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Default Re: Palm Control Air Usage

Hi Keith,

Yes you can go portable with paintball tanks and a regulator (steve sells).

very nice small setup.

Happy New year,

AirAmp
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  #15  
Old 01-01-2009, 09:52 AM
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SVD SVD is offline
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Default Re: Palm Control Air Usage

Keith

AirAmp nailed it - it's a lot easier to lug around a 20oz vs a 20lb tank.
Plus I only have the regulator to connect to the small tank.
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  #16  
Old 01-01-2009, 10:24 AM
KeithPedersen KeithPedersen is offline
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Thumbs up Re: Palm Control Air Usage

Thanks for all the info in this post.
I got the big 20 lb tank to keep at work and I carve nickels during my lunch hour. I am now using a silent air compressor to power the PC at home as the paintball tanks lasted a little more than a days worth of carving for me. What a great tool. No electricity needed and its so portable.
I can't believe the difference in the quality of cut between my old system.
Thanks, Keith Pedersen
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