The Big Red Compressor

This one was a bit of a “franken-project.” Our customer brought us a craigslist find that consisted of a 300-gallon tank, compressor and motor. The pieces were bolted together, but none of them matched or really went together, and it didn’t run (which probably goes without saying if it was there in the shop). It was missing some key components, like a check valve and air lines. The mounting platform had been cut, welded and painted over. The challenge: to turn this collection of mismatched parts into a viable compressor.

RedCompressor1It took a while. One of the first things we did was swap out the motor, exchanging the 1 horsepower that was on there with a rebuilt 4 horse we had at the shop, and drilling holes in the mounting platform to align it. We modified a check valve and brazed it in place. Probably the biggest challenge was the air lines. We couldn’t use rubber or plastic hose, and the teflon hose that could take the heat of the compressor wouldn’t bend enough to make the connections. So we wound up custom-bending some copper tubing.

Hmmm. Writing it up like that makes it sound a lot easier than it was. But after seven or eight failed attempts that all led to other adjustments, we finally got it running. Pumped it up and let it sit under pressure for 24 hours to make sure it would hold air. Success! Nothing like hearing a collection of mismatched parts purr to useful life. And our customer got a 300-gallon working compressor for less than 1/3 the price of a new one!

Pretty sweet deal all around.

RedCompressor2Motor Haiku 41

big red compressor
we build up like Frankenstein
air flows—it’s alive!