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  • Portable air tank for home shop jobs

    Last week 3 tapping jobs. None planed not at the same time. One very small 5-40 Another metric 10 then a 27 thread light fixture. Fire up the big air compressor 3 times to clean out chips, shut down & drain the tank. . Wonder If one of the small portable emergency air tanks would hold air for couple weeks, enough to use for small jobs. Low pressure blowing.

    Boats

  • #2
    I would be looking at Horrible Freight's small Hot Dog or Pancake compressors.
    They are about $55, and by the time you add a coupon they'll be less than $50.
    My experience with portable air tanks is they will not hold air for an extended period of time, and a good portable air tank will not be much cheaper than one of these compressors.
    THANX RICH
    People say I'm getting crankier as I get older. That's not it. I just find I enjoy annoying people a lot more now. Especially younger people!!!

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    • #3
      The downfall of most portable air tanks are the poor quality valve/manifolds they come with. If you get one, replace the factory one with a quality ball valve and gauge. I did that to mine and also did away with the schrader valve in favor of a quick disconnect fitting for filling.
      I just need one more tool,just one!

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      • #4
        I'm curious why you're running down the tank and draining it each time. If it'll hold air without starting up for a few days you could just start it, let it fill and shut it off and use the air in the reservoir to do what you are doing now.

        And if it's like mine and leaks down by itself then fix it so it doesn't leak down and use it that way.

        Condensation is a big thing in a shop where the air is used heavily and the compressor runs for a good portion of the day. But in our single user home shops where it might only start up once every two or three days worth of light duty use like you're describing the condensation really only builds up to be enough to drain at most once a week provided it doesn't leak down by itself and run more often due to that..
        Chilliwack BC, Canada

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        • #5
          Originally posted by BCRider View Post
          I'm curious why you're running down the tank and draining it each time. If it'll hold air without starting up for a few days you could just start it, let it fill and shut it off and use the air in the reservoir to do what you are doing now.

          And if it's like mine and leaks down by itself then fix it so it doesn't leak down and use it that way.

          Condensation is a big thing in a shop where the air is used heavily and the compressor runs for a good portion of the day. But in our single user home shops where it might only start up once every two or three days worth of light duty use like you're describing the condensation really only builds up to be enough to drain at most once a week provided it doesn't leak down by itself and run more often due to that..
          Yeah for real. Add an auto-drain if condensation bothers you that much. That's an insane waste of energy to pump up an entire air tank and then let it go.

          For your purposes, it sounds like adding a schrader valve to a compressed air can or converting an old fire extinguisher or something would be the ticket.
          21" Royersford Excelsior CamelBack Drillpress Restoration
          1943 Sidney 16x54 Lathe Restoration

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          • #6
            I've used a couple of those, and even with replaced valves they were not quite air tight. When they work, they can be quite handy. I'm with v680rich... getting a good quality small compressor can work out well. I picked up one from Lowes on sale that is 2.5 cfm and 120+ lbs. It's VERY quiet. Makes for a nice occasional use system and pumps up quick.

            Dan
            At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and extra parts.

            Location: SF East Bay.

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            • #7
              I played with that a bit- it didn't have the value I thought it would. I just got rid of my small air tank a week ago- happy to see it go. I might be ok with the 20 lb tank size- which I think is about twice what my smaller tank can hold. And that will run out of air pretty quick anyway. My new compressor has what looks like a 30 lb tank- I'm just using these figures from propane tanks as a gauge to the physical size. How that converts to gallon sizing I don't know. But I know that pressure drops pretty fast, and a small tank without a pump will be useless in short order.

              I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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              • #8
                I have a small tank, one of the "emergency" tanks. Not only is it small, and not only does it get used up in a hurry, it also leaks, probably from the valve. Those do not appear to be safe at a pressure that is actually going to hold a useful amunt of air.

                Their volume is perilously close to one tire, so you need a minimum of 100 PSI to have any capability of filling a tire to full pressure. preferably more, and those things are thin and light.

                I need to put a good ball valve on it, but of course none fit any hole in it.... so that project has gone on the back burner.

                I might bring it in the shop as a buffer tank. The compressor is out in the shed, but I have a small lab type that I use in the shop, and it might be better if it had a tank instead of relying 100% on compressor throughput. The compressor has two heads, and they can be series or parallel, either pressure or volume oriented. I don't need high pressure in the shop..

                I'd need to put a shutoff and a safety valve on it.
                1601

                Keep eye on ball.
                Hashim Khan

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                • #9
                  I converted a couple of propane tanks (20# and 30#) to air tanks. Got them free. The tank is threaded 3/4 NPT and you can install what ever you want for valves and fittings.

                  Many years later, the air still comes out with a hint of rotten egg smell.

                  I found out quick that a flat pickup tire will take multiple 30# tanks to fill it.

                  With a full flow ball valve installed, you can use them as an air cannon.

                  Those small tanks are only good for bicycles and lawn tractors...

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Lowe.Buuck View Post
                    Those small tanks are only good for bicycles and lawn tractors...
                    Mine is, If I recall, a 10 gal tank. It's adequate for driving 20 or so nails to repair the fence with a nail gun. Adequate to top off a low tire. It can also connect it to my smaller compressor as a secondary storage tank to give me more buffer when doing jobs beyond the scope of the tanks that are built in.

                    Dan
                    At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and extra parts.

                    Location: SF East Bay.

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                    • #11
                      Dust blower cans that you can use for keyboards and stuff is handy for the small occasional uses in the shop. I had a couple given to me and they lasted pretty well. Brake cleaner is another go to and usually cheaper than the canned air.

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                      • #12
                        I have the Princess Auto 5gal tank and it will hold 100psi for weeks at a time. I only use it for small jobs like brad nailing, although i have used it to blow up birthday balloons for the kids. I couldnt find a small cheap compressor to use in the house so i didnt need to drag a hose from the workshop, so i went with the tank. If i could get a cheap compressor, i would have gone that way though.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by boats View Post
                          Last week 3 tapping jobs. None planed not at the same time. One very small 5-40 Another metric 10 then a 27 thread light fixture. Fire up the big air compressor 3 times to clean out chips, shut down & drain the tank. . Wonder If one of the small portable emergency air tanks would hold air for couple weeks, enough to use for small jobs. Low pressure blowing.

                          Boats
                          Does your big compressor hold pressure or do you have a bad checkvalve or leak somewhere? IMO, you should fix the compressor so it holds pressure and then "never" empty the tank. At the end of the day, crack the blow valve for a second to eject any condensate that has pooled in the bottom of the tank and call it good. That's how big compressors are designed to operate.

                          As Metal Butcher pointed out, you can also get automatic drains to take care of the condensate for you. If you buy a quality one new, they'll probably run about $150 but you can sometimes find them at https://www.surpluscenter.com/ for a decent price.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by boats View Post
                            .... Fire up the big air compressor 3 times to clean out chips, shut down & drain the tank. ...

                            Boats
                            Dude, not pills nor therapy is going to help you out.
                            Best to keep draining your tank, else YOU might kill somebody.

                            -Doozer
                            DZER

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                            • #15
                              Personally a setup I'd really like to have is a big 5 or 10 HP compressor, and then a little tiny compressor made out of a refrigerator pump. Then the little pump could run whenever, quietly, keeping the system topped up to account for any leaks, and doing so so slowly to avoid condensation. Then the big compressor would only need to run when there is a large air demand. I've seen a lot of fridge compressors, but I haven't seen any used for "trickle charging" a system.
                              21" Royersford Excelsior CamelBack Drillpress Restoration
                              1943 Sidney 16x54 Lathe Restoration

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