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-   -   Do-It-Yourself Shop Air Compressor (http://www.xs11.com/forum/showthread.php?t=175)

Jerry 06-21-2002 01:59 PM

Do-It-Yourself Shop Air Compressor
Do-It-Yourself Shop Air Compressor
by Jerry Fields

I needed a source of compressed air for inflating tires, blowing the dust out of mechanical devices, and general shop use. Trouble was that I, as usual, didn't have much of a budget.

A neighbor was getting ready to scrap his old Chevy, which had a York compressor in the air conditioning system. I pulled the York out of the car, decided to try and build it into a useable shop compressor.

I stopped at a 2nd-hand shop and found a used 1/2 hp capacitor-start motor that looked to be in good shape. A stop at a hardware store provided the pressure switch, pulley for the motor, and output manifold used to mount the switch and gauge.

I took a die and threaded the output port of the compressor in a standard pipe thread, added an adapter to make the pipe fit the manifold, and added the pressure switch and gauge to the compressor.

I found a piece of aluminum channel at a metal shop, and mounted it to a 2x6
board. A couple holes were drilled to match the top mounts of the compressor, which are threaded. Bolted the compressor to the channel.

Added a 4 inch pulley to the motor. Located the motor on the board, and measured the approximate length of the belt needed to connect the motor to the compressor. A trip to the hardware store yielded a belt. With belt in place (under some tension) I marked the board for the motor mounting holes. Drilled the holes and bolted the motor, with belt installed, to the board.

Note: larger pulley will yield more air, but may hit the ground when the motor is bolted in place. A smaller pulley will help insure the compressor starts in cold weather.

I routed a power cord through a light switch and into the pressure switch. Output contacts of the pressure switch went to the motor windings. Plugged everything in, flipped the switch, and away it went!

I turned to the air tank, making a "T" manifold out of pipe fittings for it. This would allow me to use the tank either as portable tank or as a reserve tank, just as in a regular compressor, with one line coming in from the compressor and the other going out to the air-powered tools.

Last came the finishing touch, adding quick-connects to the hoses. Be advised that not all connects are interchangeable; buy a full set of the same brand!

It has been many years since I put this rig together, and it has served my general shop needs pretty well. It will not put out enough air for high-volume tools, such as an air sander. (I tried.) Total cost was between $50.00 - $75.00 for everything, including the hoses and quick-connects.

If you are short of money and happen to have a piston-style compressor around, you might want to try this same project.

A comment on compressors: Many newer (and smaller) compressors are lubricated by an additive in the cooling system. The older Yorks (and other piston-style compressors) are lubricated from their own crankcase, making them a better choice for this type of application. However, the piston units can pass oil into the air, and an air filter/dryer is recommended to remove these contaminants before they reach your air tools.
<table><tr><td valign="top" width="50%"><img src="http://facstaff.uww.edu/fieldsj/mcycle/Comp/comp1.jpg" width="270" height="253"></td><td valign="top" width="50%"><font size="+1"><b><center>Main Components</center></b></font><ul><li><font size="-1"><font size="-1">1/2 hp electric motor</li></font><li><font size="-1"><font size="-1">York piston-style auto air compressor</li></font><li><font size="-1"><font size="-1">pressure switch and gauge</li></font><li><font size="-1">captive air tank</li></font><li><font size="-1">hoses</li></font><li><font size="-1">Twin hoses allow the tank to be used in-line for reserve air, or as a portable tank. All hoses have quick-connect ends.</li></font></ul></td></tr>
<tr><td valign="top"><img src="http://facstaff.uww.edu/fieldsj/mcycle/Comp/comp2.jpg" width="270" height="170"></td><td valign="top"><ul><li><font size="-1">Pressure switch (near gauge) is adjustable for cut-in and cut-out pressures.</li></font><li><font size="-1">Current settings are cut out at 110psi, cut in at about 85 psi.</li></font><li><font size="-1">A tin can with foam insert handles air cleaning chores.</li></font><li><font size="-1">Scrap aluminum channel piece handles mounting of the compressor to the board.</li></font><li><font size="-1">Electric motor (1/2 HP, 1750 rpm) was a 2nd-hand store purchase.</li></font><li><font size="-1">Compressor was removed from an old Chevy before it was hauled to the salvage yard.</li></font><li><font size="-1">Other fittings and hoses were purchased at a local hardware store that caters to farmers.</li></font><li><font size="-1">Captive air tank was free from a refigeration shop.</li></font></ul></td></tr>
<tr><td valign="top"><img src="http://facstaff.uww.edu/fieldsj/mcycle/Comp/comp3.jpg" width="270" height="226"></td><td valign="top"><ul><li><font size="-1">Output fitting was threaded for manifold.</li></font><li><font size="-1">Pressure switch at left.</li></font><li><font size="-1">Manual power switch mounted to board.</li></font></ul></td></tr>
<tr><td valign="top"><img src="http://facstaff.uww.edu/fieldsj/mcycle/Comp/comp4.jpg" width="270" height="203"></td><td valign="top"><ul><li><font size="-1">Electric clutch on compressor now solid with welds at 4 spots.</li></font></ul></td></tr>
<tr><td valign="top"><img src="http://facstaff.uww.edu/fieldsj/mcycle/Comp/comp5.jpg" width="270" height="226"></td><td valign="top"><ul><li><font size="-1">Captive tank manifold is standard pipe fittings with quick-connects for hose ends.</ul</li></font></td></tr></table>

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