In short, Harbor Freight quick couplers look like a cheap way to go. The problem is that they are really soft. I can’t even guess how many female fittings I have thrown away as they deformed and started to leak air.
The same goes for the soft male fittings. You will find they abrade easily and leak air plus they bend and break easily. The latest example is this male plug on my IR 117 air hammer where the smaller nipple is tearing away from the relatively thicker base:
My solution is simple – I only use Milton air fittings now and you can get them from Amazon at an affordable price. Every time one of my many Harbor Freight units fails, I replace it. By the way, I’m to the point that I don’t recommend any of the cheap import fittings regardless of maker. Milton isn’t much more and they will last.
By the way, when you look purely at the purchase cost that doesn’t tell the whole story. This fitting failed right at the start of the job and set me back about 10-15 minutes while I was rummaging around for my Milton spares, my teflon tape, the wrench, setting the tool in the vise to do the work, etc. All of a sudden the supposed purchase savings doesn’t seem like a big deal. By the way, I was swearing the whole time too 🙂
Here are the 1/4″ Milton M-type fittings that I use and recommend:
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Milton (S-210) M-Style Coupler and Plug Kit, (12-Piece) This pneumatic 12-pc. Milton (S-210) M-Style KWIK-CHANGE coupler/plug air accessory kit includes a variety of couplers, plugs and fittings with a 1/4″ basic flow size (air handling capacity). Milton M-Style Kwik Change couplers are made of brass, while M-Style Kwik Change plugs are made of case-hardened steel and are plated to resist rust. This collection of couplers and plugs:
– Will interchange with all manufacturers who comply with the dimensional requirements of military specification MIL-C-4109. – Offer a maximum airflow of 40 standard cubic feet per minute. – Offer a maximum of 300 pounds per square inch. – Can withstand a max temperature of 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
Well folks, I bought three Jet small dual action sanders from a closeout tool shop 4-6 years ago and have to replace the little valve on them several times each. This year when two failed, there were no little valves to be found so I decided to go with a name brand. I did this for two reasons – solid quality and replacement parts. These get a ton of use in my shop. I did some digging around and ran across the CP7200 that has a nice grip, variable throttle, integral regulator to adjust the speed and both a 2″ and 3″ hook and loop pad.
For me, the backer is really important. I need to sand curved shapes, constantly switch grits of sandpaper and those backing pads do wear out. I can’t tell you how many I replaced on my Jet sanders and not all of them are good quality. I made sure this unit used a standard thread (1/4×20) so I could readily find replacement backers. Note the little tool in the next photo, it slides into a key hole so you can lock the head and screw the backer in securely. Many of these little sanders are this way. I have a tool glued into a length of fuel hose to find it easier, I’ve used little philips head screw drivers, etc. Bottom line is that you need to lock the head in place so you can thread on the backer and tighten it down.
Any air sander uses a lot of air – let’s just be up front about that. The manual recommends 16.6 CFM @ 90PSI. That means you’ll want to have a decent compressor and need to figure out how much you want it to run vs. you waiting. In other words, using this with an air compressor intended for an air nailer is going to suck. The little compressor will not be able to keep up and it’s tank is way too small. I have a Ingersoll Rand 2340 with a 60 gallon tank and the pump can deliver 14.3CFM at 90PSI and fills the tank to 175PSI. This that if I am running the tool wide open non-stop, I will use air faster than the compressor can refill the tank. However, it is a big tank at an even higher pressure plus I sand and stop, sand and stop over and over. It really does not tax my compressor at all.
Oh – one last comment about the air supply – use a 3/8″ internal diameter (ID) hose so you can get enough air to the tool. With a 1/4″ hose you may well starve it because the air will be very restricted until it gets to the tool. It’s like having too small of a gauge extension cord going to a power tool – you can just get so much air down that small 1/4″ diameter hose. Quarter inch fittings are fine but do use the 3/8″ hose. With that said, as usual, the unit did not have a 1/4″ quick connect installed so I took one out of my parts bin, installed some PTFE tape and snugged it down. As you can see, the tools weighs in at 1 pound 9.7oz. Not too bad and the grip is nice.
Before you put it into production, squeeze in 2-4 drops of air tool oil. I’ve had good luck with all the oils I have bought and just stick with a name brand such as ATS, Porter-Cable, CH, and even Husky. Your air tool needs this to run. If you have an in-line oiler in your air lines then you may be able to skip this step. I filter the heck out of my air and have to manually oil my tools. My rule of thumb is to oil them before each day of use.
So I bought the unit on May 14th, 2017, and already have probably 20 hours on it with no hitch. Not surprisingly the head was a little stiff but everything wore in nicely. It appears to be working like a champ so I am recommending it to others.
Note, CP backers are a fortune. I’ve had very good luck with this brand of Chinese backing pad with my other sanders so I’m providing the eBay link. Be very sure the thread is right (I’ve found three so far – 1/4, 5/16 and M6 so be careful) and look for the particular graphic label. I’ve had other Chinese backers that just disintegrated with very little use. You figure the tool can spin up to 15,000 RPM so your pad needs to be rated for that as well. If you can find them elsewhere, great. I scrounge around on eBay until I find them.
Update 7/7/2017: The sander is still working great – no problems at all. I’d estimate the unit has somewhere between 30-40 hours of use on it at least – it gets used a lot.
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Also, I swear by Milton air line fittings. Harbor Freight and Husky female fittings just do not hold up. I do have a ton of HF and Husky male fittings that I am slowly using up but only buy Milton female quick connects now and will switch to all Milton as soon as I run out of the old plugs. I’ve been using Milton Type M female couplers for over a year and they are solid.
Chicago Pneumatic offers a complete range of sanders to suit your finishing surface applications from heavy material removal to fine finishing. This features random orbital sanders, rotary sanders, pistol sander & polishers, and belt sanders. This CP7200 Mini random orbital sander is designed with an adjustable power regulator to match the speed with the job. Lightweight sander is compact in size to perform well in inaccessible areas. Random-orbit sander features muffled handle exhaust to lower unwanted sound during repair activities. This palm tool provided with a two-finger progressive throttle for easy control. Pneumatic sander has a rubber molded pistol grip that offers comfortable handling.
Compact Sander: Ideal for small area repairs, this air sander features an adjustable power regulator to optimize sanding speed. Compactly designed, the orbital sander is easy to handle and weighs only 1.5 lbs.
Easy-to-Use Air Sander: Palm tool features a two-finger progressive throttle for effective control. Pneumatic sander is also provided with a rubber molded pistol grip that delivers comfortable handling.
Versatile Applications: Lightweight sander is compactly designed for easy access in unreachable areas. Random-orbit sander includes muffled handle exhaust to minimize unwanted sound during use.
Vibration-Resistant Grip: Rubber grip of powerful sander absorbs and reduces vibration while working for smooth operation.
Specifications: Pneumatic sander work with a variable speed up to 15,000 RPM. Mini random Orbital Sander comes with 2 in. (50mm) and 3 in. (75mm) backing pads and a spindle key.