Aquarium Pump or Air Brush Compressor for Air Blast?

Hey all,

I am thinking of getting into some aluminum cutting but I definitely want to set up an air blast at least prior to doing that. I saw this thread which discussing it a little bit but it is now a few years old and as far as a good combo of quiet and quality air blast is an aquarium pump or air brush compressor a better bet? Some people I know with jtech lasers said they use the aquarium pumps and setup recommended on jtechs site here but wanted to see if anyone else had further insight. Money is not a HUGE concern but of course it is always a concern and I do not want to break the bank on this. I am mainly a hobbyist so I am not mass producing to sell or anything.


If you get an airbrush pump/compressor you can use it for airbrushing your projects.

My experience with using aquarium pumps was a disaster, I could never get any usable airflow.
The best solution seems to be to get one of the quiet California Air Tools compressors.
The compromise of using an airbrush compressor (which I went for) provides a decent airflow that is enough for all but the most aggressive cuts. The heating of the airbrush compressor running continuously for two hours (which it’s not designed to do) is a bit scary, but so far mine has not died yet. It’s also vastly more compact than a regular compressor.


After seeing @Julien response he might be right. My airbrush compressor gets hot just air brushing which has about a 25% duty cycle. Airbrushing uses very little air so the compressor cycles on and off but does not run continuously. Almost all airbrush compressors are the oilless type which will wear out much faster than an oil filled compressor. Even the pancake compressors are oilless these days. The oilless is cheaper to make and therefore cheaper to sell than oiled compressors.

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Thank you both for your insights! I think for now I’ll probably go with the airbrush compressor set up and upgrade in the future if I need to. @Julien have you pretty much run the same setup as described in that post? Do you still use the actual airbrush to direct the air blast? Anything you would have done differently?

I have not changed the setup from what is in the post, as I never felt the need to. Admittedly I don’t cut a lot of aluminium these days.


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