How much air needed for air tool?

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  1. #1
    eternal tyro
    Join Date
    May 2009
    south australia

    Default How much air needed for air tool?

    I got an air tool to drive carbide burrs. It is rated at 90lb and 25,000 rpm.

    My little compressor can do 117 litres/minute and has a tank of only 24 litres.

    Should it drive this tool okay?

    What pressure should I run it at?

    p.s. because it seems to only drive it slowly and the compressor cuts in almost straight away. and (these) carbide bits seem crap at grinding away weld metal.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Murrumbateman, NSW, Australia


    My experience, air powered rotary tools need a ton of air. My biggest compressor, which isn't that big but makes the lights dim when it starts ( from memory about 12cfm) will not run my 1/4 inch shank di grinder for very long. It will keep the 1/8 inch one going sort of ok but pretty much runs all the the time.
    I found that maximizing air flow does help a lot. So run the air hose straight from the tank and keep the hose as short as you can.

    Good luck.

    For little stuff I just bought a Dremel.

    (sorry the boss is calling me to help with dinner

  3. #3
    Seasoned DIY droog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005


    Depends on how much work you want to do but with such a small compressor it will only do very short stints, as in seconds of run time.

    The die grinder should have specs from the manufacturer, they often state operating pressure at 90psi and they are volume hogs.
    See here, 90psi 140lpm

    and (these) carbide bits seem crap at grinding away weld metal.
    Running slow due to lack of pressure / volume they will under-perform.

    I run mine with a manufacturer quoted 343lpm compressor and if doing a significant amount of work will still need breaks due to falling pressure.
    Last edited by droog; 5th Mar 2023 at 05:42 PM. Reason: Additional info

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