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Air source for model steam engines

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Hello all, I am new to engine models and have a PMR #3 just about ready to test. What would be an air source that you would recommend for this engine? I have a large shop compressor but want something that I can run in the house. Thanks for your comments/suggestions.  Ted

Over the years I have had a few different compressors. Best I have had is  California Air Tools one, they make a line that is a lot quieter than the typical construction site portable ones, which lets me run it without ear plugs. Runs ally engines no problem. Its the two gallon one.

More recently I lucked into a used JunAir unit, 10 gallon, super quiet but new ones are super pricey too. Very heavy, but no louder than a refrigerator.

 I use a small airbrush compressor to run my small model steam engines. It has worked well though it struggles to deliver enough volume of compressed air to my largest models (the pressure drops).


I do have a small air brush compressor, a portable one for nail art and tattoo, (no I don't do that in my garage)  to run small models inside, the noise is pretty low, and allows conversation about engine while running...
the volume of air is sufficient for a small double acting twin cylinder engine (13 mm bore & stroke) running at 500-1000rpm, ie, something about 7 l of air/min, at most.

I also have the California Air Tools model that Chris recommends and can recommend it highly.  It's possible to stand next to it while it's running and have a conversation in a normal tone of voice.

Somewhat easier to carry around is my airbrush compressor.  I use it for exhibitions and when I make engine presentations at the local grade schools.  Mine is an inexpensive Harbor Freight model but it's been running fine for years and is very quiet.

My first engine was run on one of those plastic 12 volt tire inflators.  Avoid these; the noise is offputting.

For an immediate "OMG, it works!" moment, a length of silicone aquarium tubing and an inflated inner tube or old style tire pump will do the job, but you won't want to make that a permanent installation. 


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