Jac Pac C02 Power System

CO2 Nail Gun: Authentic JacPac CO2 Nailers

Ever heard of CO2 nailers? Below we cover the history of CO2 nail guns and what made them so popular when they hit the market.


CO2 nails first became popular in 2008 but really took off in 2010. They became so popular because many businesses began producing and marketing compressed gas systems for powering pneumatic tools without the need to transport a compressor around - most used CO2 canisters (like those used in paintball guns to power their system).


This allowed people to use air-powered tools like 18GA brad nailers, 23GA pinners, 16GA finish nailers and even framing nailers.... all without having to lug around a huge air compressor everywhere they went. This presented both Pros and Cons for the system, which we will dive deeper into below.

JacPac CO2 Nailer: Framing With a Gas Tank

I was recently given the opportunity to try out a an old Jacpac CO2 nailer system for framing. I had never used one of these before, so I did some research on the benefits and drawbacks of using a gas tank for compressed air tools. Overall, I found that there are both pros and cons to this method of powering your tools.


One benefit is that you don't have to carry a heavy air compressor around. This can be a real plus if you're working in an area with limited space or walking long distances with your equipment. It makes the setup for a roof or siding job much simpler.


Another pro is that liquid CO2 bottles last longer than compressed air tanks, so you can get more use out of them before needing to refill. Additionally, the pressure in liquid CO2 tanks can be adjusted from 5-250 psi, which gives you more control over how much power your tool has.


While this may seem like a convenient way to frame without having to lug around a heavy air compressor, there are some drawbacks. First, you will have to carry the CO2 tank on your belt, which can add considerable weight and bulk. Second, the high flow rate of CO2 can cause problems with tool lubrication if you're not using a synthetic-based product.


Finally, because trim nailers utilize far less volume than framing nailers do, you won't get much use out of one liquid CO2 bottle.

How Do CO2 (Gas) Powered Nail Guns Work?

I'm often asked how my nail guns work since they're powered by CO2 rather than a compressor. Here's the deal: CO2 is held in a liquid state under pressure in the tank. When the trigger is pulled, the compressed CO2 expands and drives the air piston forward, pushing the nail out of the gun.


The pressure created by the expanding CO2 also forces any water vapor in front of it out through tiny check valves to prevent rusting or freezing inside. The downside is that you have to keep track of your tank level because when it runs out, you're done until you can exchange it for a full one.


On average, my 15-pound tank will fire about 4500 finish nails from my finish nailer before needing refill; commercial systems may offer bigger tanks but at higher prices per pound or gallon. You also need to be careful not to use too high of pressure for certain jobs - always consult your nailer's manual!

Cordless Nail Guns - Gas vs. Electric

There's no question that cordless nail guns have come a long way since the Paslode cordless framing gun was first introduced in the late 1980s. Thanks to advances in technology across practically all sectors, compressed gas fuel combined with battery power or battery-only power remain the two main options for cordless nailer today.


While these are similar concepts, they operate via different means. It's important to be aware of the variations before making a purchase. 


Gas nailers like the models DEWALT offers use compressed gas fuel and a battery in a manner meant to resemble pneumatic nail guns, while electric battery nailers rely on battery power alone.


Pressing the tool nose against the work surface causes fuel to enter the combustion chamber where it combines with air from the tool's fan to shoot a fastener in a gas-powered nailer. A spark plug located close to the battery ignites the gas-air combination when you pull the trigger on this kind of gun.


Electric battery nailers are a type of tool that uses battery power to drive nails into various surfaces. These tools are typically lighter and more maneuverable than their gas-powered counterparts, and they don't require fuel or lubricating oils, which can save users money on operating costs.


Battery-powered guns come in a variety of sizes and styles to suit different needs, and they're ideal for use in high-volume production environments where speed and precision are essential. Ryobi is a popular manufacturer that has a large focus on their electric tool product line.

CO2 Cartridges & Tanks

CO2 cartridges and tanks are often used for nail guns, as they can provide a high level of pressure. However, there are some pros and cons to using this type of setup and the storage of the tanks.


One advantage is that the gun will not need to be tethered to an air compressor - making it much more mobile. Additionally, because CO2 is stored under pressure, it can provide a consistent flow of power.


However, one downside is that the tank must be regularly inspected (every five years), as there is a potential for leaks. Additionally, in cold weather conditions (-15 degrees C or 5 degrees F), the pressure inside the tank drops significantly - meaning that you may have to wait for it to warm up before using it on site.

Where To Refill CO2 Tanks & Canisters

When I was rockin' a CO2 nailer, I was always on the lookout for places to refill your CO2 tanks and canisters. Here are some tips on where I went to get my tanks refilled.


One option is to take your tank(s) to a local paintball supply store. Most stores that sell paintball supplies also offer Co2 tank refills. Be sure to call ahead and verify that they do indeed offer this service. Another place you could try is a welding supply shop – many of these shops have high-pressure air compressors available for use, which makes them ideal for filling up Co2 tanks (just be sure to check the compressor's PSI rating first).


Finally, if you have access to a large home improvement store or construction site, there's likely an industrial-grade air compressor on site that you could use (again, just check the PSI rating before using it).


Refilling your own Co2 tanks at home is also an option – albeit one that should only be attempted by experienced users due to the danger of extra pressure build-up. There are various kits available online specifically designed for at-home Co2 tank fills; these typically come with everything you need (e.g., hoses, gauges, etc.).


Simply follow the instructions carefully and make sure not to exceed the safety limit when filling your tank(s), as doing so could result in serious damage or even injuries

CO2 Nail Gun Kits

A co2 nail gun kit usually includes a canister of compressed carbon dioxide (co2), a high-quality hose, and an adapter that allows the user to connect the hose to their paintball marker. The kits vary in price depending on the size of the canister and the quality of the components, but they typically range from $30-$60. 


Most people who purchase a co2 nail gun kit do so because they want to avoid having to constantly buy refills for their markers at their local Paintball shop. While this is certainly a valid reason, it's important to remember that you will still need to purchase additional tanks or canisters of co2 to keep using your gun.


Meaning that over time, you may actually end up spending more money than if you had just purchased refills from your local store. In addition, it's worth noting that most compressor systems are designed for use with HPA (High-Pressure Air) tanked markers. This means that if you're using a CO2 marker, you may not be able to get as much life out of each fill as someone using an HPA system. 

Still, for those looking for convenience and portability, buying A CO2 Nail Gun Kit is oftentimes the way to go!

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

Many nail gun options are available today, from an electric battery framing nailer to a gas-powered brad nailer. CO2 tanks and cartridges were a popular choice for powering tools because they generate a lot of pressure and offer extreme portability. However, this kind of system has certain benefits and drawbacks.


One drawback is that because there is a chance of leaks, the tank needs to be inspected frequently (every five years). Another downside is that the portable nail guns are heavy and unreliable, especially when shooting nails into hardwood.


As a result, CO2 nailers have become a far less common sight on modern construction sites.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is a Gas Powered Nail Gun?

Gas-powered nailers also referred to as fuel-powered or gas-cartridge nail guns, are construction tools that rely on combustion. These nailers use compressed gas fuel and a battery in order to resemble pneumatic nail guns.


Construction professionals and do-it-yourself enthusiasts utilize gas nailers because they are more powerful than traditional pneumatic models. A gas cartridge provides all of the power for these cordless nailers / tools, making them entirely portable.


Although they require regular cleaning due to their continual sparking action, their portability is by far their greatest benefit to users since large air compressors and hoses limit the maneuverability of pneumatic models

Does a Nail Gun Need an Air Compressor?

Air compressors are not required for all types of guns. For example, electric, battery-powered, gas-powered and CO2-powered nailers do not need an air compressor. However, pneumatic nail guns require an air compressor in order to operate. In addition to the power source provided by the air compressor, a pneumatic nail gun also need an airline to connect the gun to the compressor.


Although cordless versions of these guns provide users with greater mobility while working on projects that require a lot of nails such as framing houses or building decks, it should be noted that these power-intensive jobs will result in increased battery usage compared to if you were using a pneumatically powered nailer connected to an external air source via a hose.


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