2010 - Volume #34, Issue #3, Page #39[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
He Built His Own Air Compressor
"It's built mostly from salvaged parts but looks like it's new. I spent less than $500 to build it," says Schwanbeck. "Comparable commercial models sell for $3,000 or more."
He started with an 80-gal. tank that he fished out of a dumpster. "It was a certified air tank so it still had many years of useful life left in it," says Schwanbeck. He cleaned up the tank and repainted it. A 2-stage pump, which he got from his father-in-law, is driven by a 5 hp single phase, 220-volt electric motor that he bought new for $300. The air compressor is complete with a magnetic starter, automatic electronic drain valve, and low oil cut-off switch. All components mount on a rectangular frame made from 2-in. sq. tubing, with an expanded mesh safety guard.
"I'm happy with the way it turned out," says Schwanbeck. "I painted the air compressor Dewalt yellow and black and just for fun stenciled the Dewalt name on the tank because Dewalt is one of my favorite tool companies.
"I use it to operate tools in my home shop. My old compressor couldn't keep up with my plasma cutter, but my home-built model can and now I can use it to operate a decent sized sandblaster, too. The pump and motor combination are rated for 17 cfm at 175 psi, which is a lot more capacity than I need.
"My biggest expense was for the motor and paint. The power cord and locking plug that I used came from a gas-powered generator, the conduit is from an outdoor patio project, and the expanded metal and steel tubing frame are left over from a shelving project for my garage."
Schwanbeck says the compressor has state-of-the-art features. "The low oil cutoff switch ensures that if there's not enough oil in the pump a circuit will open to prevent the unit from operating. And the automatic electronic drain valve prevents condensate from building up inside the tank and rusting it out. It's a feature usually found only on industrial compressor models."
Safety wasn't spared either, says Schwanbeck. The air compressor is equipped with 3 separate high pressure relief valves that protect the pump, the plumbing, and the tank. "If the pressure gets to a certain point the valves relieve the pressure to prevent any components from exceeding their ratings," notes Schwanbeck.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Eugene Schwanbeck, 420 Jessamine Way, League City, Texas 77573 (ph 281 483-0722 or 832 385-3322; Eugene.firstname.lastname@example.org).
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