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Old 12-27-2004, 08:36 AM
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Alternate compressed air sources?

I'm hoping to build a cheap air compressor for my garage. I want to run a tank or several tanks in my loft with the compressor/motor in a box below my work bench. I don't want to buy a new compressor and split it two. The fact that I'm on a tight budget also comes into play. I have an air tank off of a big rig that I use as an air pig. I was thinking of hooking a few of these up in series so the air supply lines also act as a drain (so I have only one drain line.) What about a compressor off of a big rig hooked up to an electric motor??? There's a few big rig scrap yards around here i could scour....

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Old 12-27-2004, 10:29 AM
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How big is the tank you have?
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Old 12-27-2004, 10:56 AM
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About 15-20gal. I can get a couple more to add to the capacity. I can't get a big tank through the opening in my roof truss joists anyway.....
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Old 12-27-2004, 11:41 AM
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I don't know how much a compressor off a big rig pushes for air... but assuming it's enough for what you need....try this for an idea.


Try connecting 2 or 3 tanks with a common supply line from the pump. Since your pump is below your tank, make sure you have a drip leg to hold any condensation from that line that will get it below the pump, it wouldn't like moisture draining back into it.

Plumb fairly large connections to equalize air between the tanks so that you only need one take-off from one tank to your regulator. Pipe is cheaper than hardware.

Plumb your shop air connection from the top of your tank down to your regulator, where you can get to it, and again make sure you have a drip leg below it in that part of the system. Your air take-offs should come up from your supply.

Put a drain line from the bottom of each tank to one common drain valve down where you can reach it. If you keep the plumbing compact enough in geography you may be able to get the drip legs and the tank drain plumbed together to one common drain valve.

Becuase your regulator and compressor pump are below the tank you would have to be religious about draining, and even then I am a little nervous about that layout.

I recall a good shop air thread a little while ago, that may give you some more ideas.

Check this out, very comprehensive

http://www.oldsmobility.com/air-compressor-piping.htm

It's referenced in earlier threads.

Last edited by pmeisel; 12-27-2004 at 11:41 AM.
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Old 12-27-2004, 06:05 PM
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I had to use the rig's compressor several times to pump up tires. I doubt that their compressors will be large enough to accomplish anything.
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Old 12-28-2004, 03:39 AM
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Typical air brake compressor will be in the 5 to 10 cfm range. The bigger ones are in newer trucks and ones used to pull doubles and triples.
If you have some time, watch eBay and the local want ads for a used unit (or 2, if they are cheap). There is still the occasional good deal out there. I've got under $500 in by 7.5 HP 2-stage but it took a while to find.
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Old 12-28-2004, 09:31 AM
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Hmmmm....I guess going with a used 5+ hp compressor is the way to go. Then I can stil split it in half. I'd build a cabinet on the outside of the garage, but I don't want to detract from the curb appeal of our house. (Corner lot) Thanks guys...
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