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Trusco Trueline Model 250EC 350EC Electric Compressor Paint Striper Review

The Trueline Model 250EC Electric Compressor Striper is a 5 gallon parking lot striping machine similar to the other model 250 machines but powered by a electric compressor and pump. The 350EC is the 10 gallon model. This is Trusco’s newest addition to their growing line of quality line stripers. The model 250/350 electric compressor powered machine sprays using Trusco’s simple but effective airless system that takes compressed air  and presses down on the paint in the main tank forcing it into a spray tip which is in an enclosed spray box. The spray tip puts out a flat fan pattern spray that hits both bottom edges of the box and is directed downward creating a perfect line. This process seems to be  simple but Trusco has spent years getting the process just perfect.

I have used the 250N and 250BP  and like both of them. The EC or electric compressor model is relatively new and is designed for people who do not want to carry high pressure gas cylinders around and who have access to an electrical outlet.

Here is how the machine works. When you get to a job site you would thin and mix your paint, fill the machine, and then plug in the machine and pressurize the main red tank as well as the paint tank.  Once the tanks are pressurized you can unplug the machine and start striping.  The red tank will continue to provide pressure and will easily pump the paint out of the paint tank.  When you refill the paint tank you would plug in the compressor again and start the process over.  The compressor unit is removable so it can be used for other jobs that require air pressure.  It is like getting two machines in one.

The machines center of gravity is fairly low making it easy to handle and transport. Also, once you have run the compressor and pressurized the red tank it is just as quiet as the other Trueline Striping machines.  Unlike the nitrogen model, there is a pump so there are moving parts, however, replacement or repair is simple and inexpensive if ever necessary.

All of the Trusco Trueline model 250 and 350 stripers lay down beautiful stripes and the electric compressor powered 250EC and 350EC striping machines are no exception. If you are using a new or good tip, the correct amount of air pressure, and have mixed your paint to the proper viscosity you can expect a consistent perfect line every time. In high winds this will not change because the spray box protects your spray tip so your lines stay nice even in those conditions.

The model 250EC or 350EC paint striping machines are able to spray acrylic water based and oil/solvent based paints. I personally spray only water based acrylic paint in mine. Water based paints perform just as well as oil and clean up much easier. Oil or solvent paints require mineral spirits or solvents for cleanup which can be a problem. Also, oil based paints do perform well in damp conditions. For example, if you are striping with oil based paint and a mist or dew sets in it can create a real problem.  Water based paints are much more forgiving in this situation.  Also,  oil based paints do not do well with sealcoat. If you stripe over fresh sealcoat with an oil based paint the black from the sealer will often come up through the stripe and ruin your job.  This is less likely to happen with water based acrylic paints.

TIP – When buying paint, keep in mind that the creamier and smoother the paint is the easier it will spray. Chalky paint does not perform well in any machine.

You can get parts from Trusco or in many cases locally depending on the part. If all you need is a hose or a brass fitting there is normally a company in every city that makes them. The tips are T-Jet agricultural tips and are available across the company and also from Trusco. The machines are welded high grade steel and are difficult to damage.

The 250EC and 350EC are recommended for companies or stripers that will always be near an electrical outlet.  The machines are especially good for companies or factories who do a lot of indoor striping in that there are no gas fumes from an engine.  Plus they are quiet. If you do striping jobs where you are far away from power then you would want to consider the nitrogen powered model, the battery powered model or the T2000 Honda engine striper.

Here is a video of the machine in use.


Trusco Trueline Model 250N 350N Nitrogen Powered Parking Lot Striper Review

The Trueline Model 250N is Trusco Manufacturing’s nitrogen powered 5 gallon parking lot striping machine. The 350N is the 10 gallon model.  It sprays using a very simple airless system that takes compressed nitrogen and presses down on the paint in the main tank forcing it out the spray tip and into a spray box.  The fan pattern spray hits the edge of the box and is directed downward creating a perfect line.  This seems like a simple concept but Trusco has spent years getting it just perfect.

I have used the 250N Trueline striping machine and am very satisfied with it.  Using nitrogen has certain advantages and disadvantages.  First, the machine is the next to the least expensive striping machine that Trusco makes.  (the model 20 is the least expensive)  This makes the model 250N the choice for many stripers who are on a budget.  If you already have a tank than all you have to do is have it filled with nitrogen and hook it up.  If you do not have a tank you can lease or buy one.  The nitrogen tanks run about $100 plus to buy and about $15 to refill.  Second, the machines pressurize almost instantly.  There is very little waiting for the main tank to build up sufficient pressure to stripe.  Third,  they are very quiet.  There is no motor and virtually no noise.  All you hear is the sound of the paint being sprayed.   This allows you to hear traffic and stay safe. Fourth, because the machine gets pressure from a cylinder there are no moving parts.  You can work on it yourself so there is never a shop needed and almost no downtime. Lastly, nitrogen is a neutral gas and does not react with any paints.  (note-co2 will react with certain traffic paints so you need to be careful if you use co2 for pressure)

The downside to nitrogen is that you have to keep refilling the tank.  Also, if you run out at midnight you have to stop striping.  I keep an extra tank to eliminate this problem.  Lastly, if you get a tall nitrogen tank the machine will be a little top heavy so you need to make sure it is strapped down when you transport it.

All Trusco Trueline stripers lay down beautiful stripes and the 250n is no exception.  If you are using a good tip, the correct pressure, and have mixed your paint properly you can expect a consistent perfect line.  Also, in high winds the spray box protects your spray head so lines stay nice even in those conditions.

The model 250N will spray acrylic water based and oil based paints.  I spray only water based acrylic in mine and have never been asked to use anything else. Water based paints perform just as well as oil and clean up much easier.   Also, when buying paint, remember the creamier and smoother your paint is the easier it will be to spray.  Chalky paint does not perform well in any machine.

You can get parts from the manufacturer or in many cases locally.  If you need a hose there is normally a company in every city that make them. The tips are T-Jets and available across the company and also from Trusco.

Overall, I give the Trusco Trueline Model 250N a high rating.  It is especially recommended for companies on a tight budget.  If you have a little extra check out the battery powered 250 model.

Here is a video of the machine in use.


Zen Toolworks CNC Router / Carving Machine (Do It Yourself) Review

Zen toolworks has a very interesting product that allows you to convert a basic router to a CNC computer controlled router.  This is a DIY kit for creating CNC carving machine. This kit creates a CNC carving machine to do relief carving, letter cutting, inlay and other woodworking projects. Instructions for putting this kit together are online and there are plenty of pictures and a few videos showing the machine being assembled.  The kit also comes with a CD that has videos.

This Zen CNC DIY kit comes with all of the mechanical parts that you need and 3 stepper motors.  You need to remember that the machine does not come with any cutting (carving) tool or driver (controller) boards for the stepper motors.  If you need a carving tool (router) to go with the kit, Zen Toolworks sells a spindle motor and bracket kit separately for around $70.00. This kit is a perfect fit for this machine.  Stepper motor driver boards are available from several places on the internet.  There is plenty of support for this kit via google and discussion boards.   As far as the driver boards, you can build your own from instructions that are available online.  Your level of expertise and knowledge about electronics will determine how you assemble the kit.

I general, people are very satisfied with this kit and its capabilities.  It rarely gets a bad review.  The kit comes in two sizes.  A 7″ x 7″ and a 12″ x 12″.  The kits run $330 and $600 respectively.  As stated before, a motor kit adds about $70.

The body of the machine is constructed with high density PVC material. Steel guide rods, linear bearings and stainless steel hardware are utilized to assemble all the moving parts.  New Nema 17 motors are included for all three axis. The installation easy and all you need is a bench vise and a power screw driver. There are online videos available and an install instruction CD is included in the package. Assembling the CNC router takes around 3-4 hours. It is amazing what you can create with this little machine.   It is sturdy, precise and within any budget. The video below shows the machine in use.

Zing 16 24 CO2 Laser Engraver Engraving System Review

The Zing 16 and 24 CO2 laser engravers are American made machines designed for shops that want quality production on a budget.  The Zing machines are loaded with features normally only found on more expensive machines.

Epilog’s CO2 and Fiber laser systems can engrave, cut, or mark a multitude of materials. The examples below will give you an idea of just how versatile this machine really is.  The Zing machines will engrave :

Wood – Wood engraving is one of the most popular uses for the Zing  laser. Wood comes in a variety of types, sizes and colors and is easy to work with.  It reacts well to the lazer and can be shaded by the machine which gives you the ability to actually laser a photo into wood. The Epilog Zing 16 and 24 laser engraving machines are used in almost every woodworking category you can imagine.

Glass – You would think that the laser will simple go right through glass with no effect but that is not true.  A CO2 laser actually frosts glass very well.  You can even product designs on curved surfaces like bottles or glasses.  For a deeper etch you can apply sandblast resist to the glass, burn through it with the laser, and then sandblast.

Fabric – You can’t etch fabric but you can certainly cut through it.  Fabric cutting with lasers has become very popular.  You can do intricate designs and the nice thing is that the laser sears the edges of the fabric as you cut it.  Heat transfer material can be cut the same way and then transfered to tshirts or hats.

Metal –  Etching metal can create a variety of valuable products.  Many companies want barcodes etched into machinery and a laser is just about the only way to accomplish this.

Plastic – Engraving plastic is popular because so many electronic gadgets are made from this substance.  Plastic is very easy to etch or to cut right through.  The possibilities for design work and profit are endless.  Name tags are also plastic and you can create basic ones or very intricate tags.

Leather – Leather can be shaded, etched and engraved much like wood.  Imagine laser etching a family portrait onto a leather purse.  With a Zing laser by Epilog this is one of a thousand choices that you would have.

The Zing will also laser engrave Acrylic, Coated Metal, Ceramic,, Rubber, Tile, Stainless Steel, Fiberglass and more.  The resolution is equivalent to about 100 dpi. Here are some more specs:

Maximum Engraving Area: 16 inches x 12 inches

Laser  Wattage: 25 Watt, air-cooled metal waveguide laser tube

Operating Modes: Optimized raster, vector, and combined mode.

Motion Control System: High  Speed  Micro Stepper Motors

Resolution: Can be user controlled ; 100 to 1000 Dots Per Inch

Printing Interface: 10 Base T ethernet cable or USB

Size: 28.75″ W x 11.75″ H x 22.125 D

Weight: 70 pounds

Max Material Thickness: 4″ (101 mm)

Ventilation System: External exhaust to the outside is required. This is done via a 4 inch output port.

Epilog Zing 16 24 Pricing – An Epilog Zing 16 machine will run you about $8,000 and a Zing 24 laser engraver will start at aound $11,000.

The video below shows the Epilog Zing 16/24 Laser Engaver in use.