Re: getting the blades off
George, you might want to look at <A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.irtools.com>http://www.irtools.com</A> sometime. Then click on "automotive tools", then (well . . ., you'll be able to navigate around the site). Is that IR261 new or used? Suggested retail price is $795.95 but you can usually find them at a considerable discount. At any rate, I'd say you probably got a good deal. That's a pretty popular model; good tool. And yes, lots of places sell them but don't work on them. If you got the original manual with it, there's an exploded view of the tool, parts list, and at least a partial list of factory authorized service centers in it. You can also find service centers on the site above.
<font color=blue>Does it cost much?</font color=blue>
I think most service centers charge a minimum of $25 labor to repair 1/2" and 3/4" and of course the cost depends on what parts, if any, need to be replaced. The customary thing is to repair/rebuild if it costs no more than half the cost of a new tool. And it's quite common to tear them down and give the customer an "estimate" before doing the job (in my case, at least, the final price would never be more than the "estimate").
<font color=blue>Could the average user do it himself?</font color=blue>
Hmmm, that's kind of like asking whether the average user can repair his tractor or not.[img]/w3tcompact/icons/wink.gif[/img] Depends on what the problem is, mechanical ability of the user, what tools you have, etc. I did get lots of them to repair after the owner tried to do it himself.[img]/w3tcompact/icons/laugh.gif[/img] You won't do much work on them unless you have an assortment of hex (Allen) wrenches, 4" or larger vise, air-compressor of course, parts washer, 3 ton arbor press, cylinder hones, pick set, etc., etc. You can order individual parts and/or "tune-up kits" direct from the manufacturer, one of the service centers, or from one of the tool trucks that calls on the garages (Snap-on, MAC, Matco, Cornwell, etc.). "Tune-up" kits vary considerably, with make and model, in what parts are included but always include new vanes (sometimes called "rotor blades") and gaskets.
<font color=blue>How well does a reasonable quality tool hold up to 150-175 psi?</font color=blue>
How often will you use it? How long at a time will you let it hammer on tough jobs? How much dirt and moisture will you let get into the air intake? How often and how much air tool oil do you put into the air intake (incidentally, you cannot hurt it with too much air tool oil; any excess is simply blow out the exhaust)? Do you grease it as you should (that little dimple in the middle of the back end with the tiny ball bearing in it is a grease fitting for a needle nose grease gun).
For personal use at home or on the farm, if it's kept clean and dry (internally), it'll probably last your lifetime without any repairs.