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SmartJet Air Compressor

Iwata SmartJet Air Compressor First Look

By Kelly Jamison

Date of First Look July 2006 Manufacturer Iwata
Subject Airbrush Compressor Model #94 IS-850 Pros Ready to go including hoses for Badger, Paasche, etc.
Cons MSRP (USD) $350.00

First Look

SmartJet Air Compressor

My trusty old Badger air brush compressor finally gave up the ghost. The piston push rod broke and drove the piston to the top of the valve. It cracked both the piston and the valve. It was loud, clunky, pulsed the air through my airbrush, but we built many good models over the years. I remember all my pets running for the hills every time I pulled my airbrush off the workbench. Time for a new compressor!

After getting home from a long trip, I found a box from Iwata sitting on the floor of my hobby room (Thank you Mike!). I cut the box top open and found one of the latest state of the art conventional compressors out on the market. The Iwata Studio Series IS-850 Smart Jet Technology Compressor. Even though it is a conventional compressor, it does have a few tricks up its sleeve.

Iwata cast this new compressor in a smart semi-gloss black and chrome. It is very light with nice anti-vibration foot pads if you wish to run it on your desk. It is so well balanced straight out of the box that there is not much of a need to isolate the vibration anyway. The handle which hinges out of the way when not in use, is placed in the center of mass of the compressor so it is very easy to move around when not in use.

Assembly for use is very easy. All you need to do is attach the curly hose from the compressor output to the drain/pressure controller and the air hose to your favorite airbrush. Teflon tape helps sealing and keeps the threads from getting messed up. The Airbrush holder is already installed as is the carrying handle and the holding bracket for the moisture trap. The moisture trap does double duty as the pressure regulator too. Just crack the valve stem open on the bottom and set up your flow pressure by looking at the supplied pressure gage.

Iwata even gives you extra air filters and adaptors for most of the major airbrush manufacturers. The On/Off switch on the top is handy but with the Smart Jet Technology, which is basically a pressure cutoff switch set at 35PSI, it is just left in the ON position. You get full capacity air on demand and it is smooth, dry and constant pressure. Because of the Smart Jet Technology, your compressor does not sit there and run while you re-tape or change out paint cups. This translates into less wear and tear on your compressor over the years.

When I first turned it on, I thought something was wrong. It was so quiet that I couldn’t comprehend that it was producing 35PSI so quickly. It shut-off after hitting the proper pressure. I though I had seized something by not following the directions. No, it was just ready to go. I just couldn’t get over how quiet it is. Even my wife noticed it by NOT hearing the usual clamor coming out of my room when I was airbrushing. She said she heard the actual airbrush for the first time!

The powerful 1/8 hp motor is air cooled and the maintenance free oil-less piston compressor are a great combination for light duty and perfect for airbrushing what ever you want to throw paint onto. Iwata hit another home run with me with this compressor. For those whose modeling space does double duty as a study, kitchen table, corner of the living room or part of your office, this is the compressor for you.

Iwata has become a leader in airbrushes and compressors at a price that will not break the bank. I highly recommend this to all level of modelers and especially for those beginning with the art of airbrushing. Look into their line of airbrushes to make a great modeling combo.