We bought an air compressor this year for house painting, and I'm
wondering if there are uses for this in my small production jewelry
There are a number of uses for compressed air in almost any shop.
One of the uses you’ve already mentioned, air hammers/engravers.
Check out the GRS line of tools in most jewelers tool catalogs (Rio
Grande has a very good description). The air hammers can be used for
engraving, stone setting & texturing with the appropriate tips
Another use is to power a sand/bead blaster. There are a number of
these devices listed in the same tool catalog. You can probably get a
better price on sand blasting cabinets from places like Harbor
Air powered turbine handpieces are another possibility.
A couple of other applications you might not think of aRe: powered
paste solder application (again see the tool catalog) & use as a high
pressure cleaner in place of a steamer. I rigged up an input tube
from a liquid cleaner to a blow gun. (Works real well.)
One caution about the cleaner: use adequate ventilation as the
cleaner is atomized in this process. The paste solder application is
really only viable if you have lots of joints to solder (like in
Some of these applications work better with dry air, you may have to
put a drier between the air supply & the tools. Depending on the
humidity where you live, you should drain the water that collects in
the air tank on at least a weekly basis. Whether the tools being used
require an in line lubricator will be spelled out by the users
manual for the tools. Some tools require a special dry lubricant
instead of oil.
There are almost as many air powered tools as electrically powered.
What you do with air power is only limited by your imagination & tool