Bad Practices for Pneumatic Tools

Bad Practices for Pneumatic Tools thumbnail
Failure to maintain tools can overdrive and damage compressors.

Poor care and usage is the reason for most tool failure. This is especially true for pneumatic, or air driven, tools. They typically last longer than electric tools, since they have fewer moving parts, and stay cooler, due to the compressed air passing through during operation. Learning a few simple rules will help your tools last for generations.

  1. Poor Safety

    • Forgetting to wear vision and hearing protection is kid stuff in this category. Many professionals are in the habit of disabling safety features and over driving tools to eek a little more efficiency out of the tool. Many pneumatic tools use projectile fasteners and sharp blades in general operations, which can be dangerous, and in some cases debilitating or deadly. Inform yourself of the standard safety procedures by reading tool manuals, and follow them whenever possible to prevent injury

    Forgetting to Oil

    • Most air tools require lubrication for proper operation. Running a tool for long periods without oiling can lead to failure of moving parts and bearings. It can also cause O rings and seals to dry up, allowing air to leak around joints in the tool. With fastener guns, such as nailers and staplers, lack of oil can cause dangerous misfires and jams. Keeping tool oil in the box where you store your tools can help you remember to oil the tool regularly for safe operation and a longer lasting tool.

    General Mishandling

    • Storing tools in cold or damp conditions will contribute to their breaking down. Seals and O rings need constant temperatures and humidity to maintain their flexibility. Dangling tools from air hoses, dropping them and other rough handling can cause internal parts to fall out of alignment, leading to leaks and malfunctions. Provide specific storage space for each tool and get in the habit of storing it there.

    Improper pressure

    • Running compressors too "hot," or setting the pressure high may drive the nails just a little faster, but it will also wear your tools out faster and can lead to dangerous ruptures and misfires. The moisture that builds up in poorly maintained compressor lines can also be an issue. Set your compressor to the operating manual's recommended pressure and use line dryers to filter out excess moisture for best results.

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