Tuesday, March 8, 2011

New mini compressor! and some rant about material and tools

Midztoy'z new mini compressor set
Sorry, no sculpting related post this time.
Just want to share my new mini compressor kit, pictured above. I got it from perkakasku.com. It cost me around US$80 but in the long run it'll double my work efficiency. Here's why.

You might have heard that most professional people tell you that if it comes to tools, get the best. Which mean almost always getting the most expensive ones. I on the other hand always have the notion that the wielder is the most important factor and not the tool. This leads me to purchase the so-so quality tools and materials. Most of the time I found that an alternative material is just as good as the branded ones. For example, I could pay through my nose if I were to purchase Mori-mori. Instead a trip to the local builder store net me SanPolac, a polyester putty with the same qualities to Mori-Mori at a fraction of the price. I'm content. This also works with other materials in the hobby modeling, sculpting world. Take paint for example. I could just buy a bottle of 10ml Mr.Hobby paint or buy some 250ml good quality automotive paint at half the price. Again I opted for the later option. The only hassle is I need to mix and prep the paint before using it, but I always thought of it as honing my skill on paint mixing alchemy. Lately, I've been experimenting on making my own paints. I even formulated a base primer as an alternative for Mr. Surfacer. Really interesting stuff, maybe I'll share it sometimes.

But sometimes that though of spending less get the best of me. A prime example was with acrylic paints. Again I don't want to buy four 10ml bottle of acrylic model paint when I could buy a set of 12 colors artist acrylic for the same price. That logic is sound, but the mistake I did was buying a cheap set of acrylic paints. I was struggling more with thinning and have coverage problem and it was stressing me out. At the end, the paint job suffers. The paints was also notoriously quick to set, which means at the end of that project I got several dried up, rock hard tubes of paint. Some of them were more than half full. Later I learn that most cheap acrylic paints have more filler and solvents than pigments and these are the culprit for my earlier woes. I now buy the more expensive brand of acrylic paints (Reeves, I love that brand). Still can't get myself to buy those high end brand though. So here's a tip for buying an acrylic paint set for modeling and hobby, If the lid of the tubes have those pointy things that you need to puncture the tube with, DON'T BUY THEM!

My first big and noisy compressorAnd we arrive at my new mini compressor kit. This is another case that my thriftiness gets the best of me. My first compressor was a 1/4 hp with a 6 gallon reservoir tank. And it was LOUD. I opted out in getting a quieter compressor because of the price and at that time I only do a couple of jobs and commission that can be finished at the day time. My workshop are in a residential neighborhood. I don't have a problem when making noise in the day time but doing painting and other compressor related stuff at night is a no-no.  Lately with more commission and projects coming in, I find myself overwhelmed. But since I can't use my compressor at night, most of the job must be postponed until daybreak.
That's when my new compressor comes in. This mini compressor is way quieter than my regular compressor so I can get my paint on at night, doubling my efficiency. Plus I always feels more relax at night, so it helps when painting (and getting those deadlines). So in conclusion, If you want to invest in a tool do think about in the long run. You can skimp out when you're short on cash but make sure to upgrade when the time comes, and don't be stingy!

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