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  1. 2.5 litre Air Tank Sparmax via Air-craft.net Words by Dads203, pictures by Mike. Air pressure is an important factor when it comes to airbrushing, having control and fine tuning the air pressure from your compressor is as important as the airbrush itself, as is a steady even supply. The more expensive compressors come with an air-tank or receiver of varying sizes, as do some of the noisier (and larger) industrial compressors. A great many compressors still come without any form of air storage, relying instead on the pulsing inherent in compressing air to minimise over the length of the hose. Back in 2009 I bought a Sparmax oil-less compressor (TC-501) that did not come with a built in receiver tank, which was a slight oversight on my behalf that I've regretted ever since. The compressor runs all the time when I'm using the airbrush, and whilst not being obtrusively noisy I know that having a tank of some sort will prolong the life of my compressor, as its doesn't have to run constantly during my airbrushing sessions. It will also remove any stuttering effects in my paint finish that can be caused by the pressure pulse of the tankless compressor. So here we are, Sparmax have thankfully thought about us tankless compressor owners/users and brought out a range of airtanks or receivers that plug in-line to a compressor, adding the automatic cut-off feature in the process. This takes away the financial heart-ache of offloading your old compressor, which is then compounded by purchasing a new, more expensive compressor with a receiver, plus all the hassle of familiarising yourself with a new device's nuances. These new tanks come in various sizes but all do the same thing and have the same fittings, so one review can be used to cover the whole range. This particular model is the smaller 2.5 litre version, which is painted a lustrous black colour and comes with a regulator with dial plus a dual airbrush outlet that takes a 1/8th fitting. One of the outlets is capped off in case you don't need it now, but is easily unscrewed when required. Strangely no moisture trap on the output regulator is included, but that's not a big problem as most compressors will already have one fitted, and being a cautious type, I also use the Iwata pistol grip filters at the airbrush for added protection. Size wise it's about 28cm long stands 15cm high on sound-isolating rubber feet, and is about 12cm in diameter, with a fit and finish that belays the relatively low price-point. To the rear of the unit is a pressure sensor that cuts out the compressor once the tank is up to 60psi, and as it drops down due to use, the compressor will kick back in once the pressure drops below 40psi, all courtesy of the in-line socket on the power feed. Above it is the input fitting that your existing air-line on your compressor should screw right into, and don't forget to pick up another air-line if you don't already have a spare. On the underside of the unit is drain valve, which is used to release the pressure once you finished the airbrushing session so that your tank isn't constantly pressurised. It also acts as moisture drain for any water that might find its way into the tank under unusual circumstances. The 3-pin power lead attaches to the sensor with a 3-pin socket in the middle for the compressor to plug into, so that it can control the electricity supply to the compressor. Airtank sensor controls the compressor in operation and doesn't permit the tank to be filled above a safety conscious 60psi. For the test and using the Sparmax TC-501 compressor, it took 50 seconds to fill the tank to 60psi, at which point I set the regulator to 18PSI and depressed the trigger of my airbrush. The tank gave me approximately 40 seconds of constant use before the pressure switch did its work and topped up the pressure in the tank, which took 16 seconds from the 40PSI level. The other Important aspect of adding a receiver to a tankless compressor is that I now don't have to worry about pulsing of the airbrush due to the rise and fall of the pressure in the compressor manifold. Instead, the tank keeps the pressure steady and that results in a nice steady flow of paint and air from my airbrush. Another welcome side effect is that the good lady is happier as the compressor is not constantly running with its attendant noise. Conclusion This tank is very well made, well presented, and will last for many years, although I might fit another moisture trap to the front end as a belt and braces approach in due course, although it probably doesn't really need it. For those who have a larger compressor that is perhaps dual piston, and want a bit more volume, the tanks go up to 5.3 litres with the smallest capacity starting at 650 ml, which while that one won't much affect the running of your existing compressor, it will remove pulsing from the equation. Remember also that your compressor has to be able to get up to around 60psi, or it could cause compressor stall or constant running, which won't do anyone any good! If in doubt, just get in touch with Martin, who has to be one of the most helpful and knowledgeable folks in the airbrush world. Extremely highly recommended for anyone without an air tank on their existing compressor. AirTanks Additional hoses Review sample courtesy of Martin at
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