Home arrow Forums

Go Back   XS11.com Forums > Miscellaneous > Miscellaneous Tips

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 06-21-2002, 02:59 PM
Jerry's Avatar
Jerry Jerry is offline
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Elma, IA.
Posts: 2,998
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.

Main Components
  • 1/2 hp electric motor
  • York piston-style auto air compressor
  • pressure switch and gauge
  • captive air tank
  • hoses
  • Twin hoses allow the tank to be used in-line for reserve air, or as a portable tank. All hoses have quick-connect ends.
  • Pressure switch (near gauge) is adjustable for cut-in and cut-out pressures.
  • Current settings are cut out at 110psi, cut in at about 85 psi.
  • A tin can with foam insert handles air cleaning chores.
  • Scrap aluminum channel piece handles mounting of the compressor to the board.
  • Electric motor (1/2 HP, 1750 rpm) was a 2nd-hand store purchase.
  • Compressor was removed from an old Chevy before it was hauled to the salvage yard.
  • Other fittings and hoses were purchased at a local hardware store that caters to farmers.
  • Captive air tank was free from a refigeration shop.
  • Output fitting was threaded for manifold.
  • Pressure switch at left.
  • Manual power switch mounted to board.
  • Electric clutch on compressor now solid with welds at 4 spots.
  • Captive tank manifold is standard pipe fittings with quick-connects for hose ends.
Jerry Fields
'82 XJ 'Sojourn'
'06 Concours
My Galleries Page.
My Blog Page.
"... life is just a honky-tonk show." Cherry Poppin' Daddy Strut

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Forum Jump

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:35 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Integrated by BBpixel ©2004-2022, jvbPlugin