Homemade Shop compressor questions

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Jun 3, 2003
Fernley, NV
A friend is giving me a compressor that we have to build. He has a tank, and a compressor, and we have to mesh it all together. He's experienced so it shouldn't be a big deal. I am just going to need a pressure switch. That part is taken care of :)

My air tools require 90psi so does that mean I need a 90psi pressure switch? Or do I want a higher psi switch, with a pressure regulator on the line to the tools? I am not sure how big the tank is that he's giving me, or the cfm rating of the compressor but I will find out when I see the stuff (its at his shop).

Regardless, what do you guys consider a big enough tank? I also intend to mount a tank in my FJ55. How big of a tank will I need, at what psi, to air up 4 35" tires from 15lbs to 35lbs, or so?

Also, how do I take care of oiling the tools? There's an inline oiler that came with the tool kit but I have no idea how to use it. The kit was on clearance for $25 and had no instructions. But hey I got an impact wrench, air rachet, and an air hammer, along with various and sundry fittings, for $25. Not bad even if they are cheapies from wal-mart :D

Any and all advice is appreciated. If the answer is "go read here" then that's fine too. I haven't done much searching, as I don't know where to start!

Thanks again!
Everything is relative to how much you expect to demand from it. I have a 5hp, 60 gallon compressor from IR that puts out 175 psi and is rated for continuous usage. Way overkill for what I need, but will hopefully be around for a very long time.

You'll need a regulator for the output to get down to 90psi. You'll need a pressure switch that corresponds to what level the compressor is made for, allowing it to fill the tank, cool off, then continue to top off the tank when needed. Last compressor was a 3hp 22 gal portable vertical tank model from Sears. Worked well enough for what I needed at the time. Now doing more grinding and more work = excuse for bigger one.

You'll need to learn more about the compressor he is hooking you up with before you can make too many decisions. I have mine hard wired (220V), then plumbed with numerous options allowing for quick dirty unregulated air (for blowing crap off the floor etc), then clean ungegulated, then regulated clean and dirty, then clean regulated and oiled both to a quick release and to a reel. Make sure whatever plumbing you do is top notch with no leaks. Also make sure you have it on an appropriately sized wire and breaker. If you hook up any hard lines, make sure to always have some flexible on there to reduce vibration issues etc.

Hope that helps some.
Thanks Junk. That helps alot with knowing what to expect. I suppose when I learn more about it I'll have some more decisions to make. Unfortunately fundage is limited, but I should be able to pull this off. And, I refuse to half-ass anything. If that means less options, then so be it. But I won't screw it up :)
150 psi pressure switch, add a regulator....switch is like $25, regulator another $10 or so. My 30 gallon tank is too small, next one will be 100.

The in-rig tank can be 2 gallons, but plan on an underhood compressor. You can never have enuf air on the trail :D
Do a web search and find out what can happen when a shop air compressor tank fails :eek: (hint: shop walls and roof can end up on ground). Then give some consideration to the engineering expertise required to minimize the likelyhood of that kind of occurrence.

A safe air compressor incorporates a pressure switch, a blow off valve, and a certified tank that has been visually inspected and hydraulically pressure tested.

An unsafe air compressor, home made or otherwise, is in essence a mechanical bomb with much greater destructive power then you may likely suspect.

Thanks guys for the input. I know what I need to do now. I found out that the compressor is likely going to be MUCH smaller than expected, but larger than most "little" compressors. So I may end up with two 5 gal tanks from Wal-Mart, and just disconnect one of them and take it on the road with me when I go off-roading.

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