1984 - Volume #8, Issue #5, Page #11[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Home-Built Air CompressorLonnie Wallace, who runs a tractor and combine repair shop in Jerico Springs, Mo., needed an air compressor to run an impact wrench and other air tools, but couldn't justify the cost of a big compressor.
"The cheapest I could find was $350 so I decided to build my own. I took an old pressure tank and mounted a GM air conditioning compressor on it, together with a 1-hp. electric motor. I mounted the motor so the compressor turns the same direction it turned on a car engine. That's important because there's a small oil pump in the compressor that lubricates the compressor and, if you run it in reverse it'll burn out. I welded fittings and brackets onto the tank.
"I bought a commercial air compressor switch with a release valve, hose outlet, and air gauge. I filled the compressor with SAE 30 oil and dropped some oil down the suction hose. Whenever the compressor gets noisy, I just add more oil.
"The compressor pumps to 400 psi, but I set it to come on at 100 psi and go off at 150 psi. I also use it to vacuum air conditioning systems. To keep the compressor from free-wheeling, I had to spot weld the clutch shut.
"The total cost was $130 for the motor and $32 for the pressure switches. The compressor came from a junk yard and I used the original compressor manifold with hoses.
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