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Making a rotary vane compressor

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  • Making a rotary vane compressor

    I have now started to make a lamellar air compressor.

    Click image for larger version

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    As someone will eventually ask: Why? The answer is simple: Because I want to MAKE it, not to BUY it. I am also oddly obsessed to rotating machinery.
    It will most probably become a semi failed unit but still there will be a lot to learn during making it.

    Although this also serves as an ad for my YT channel, the main reason for posting this here is to have a decent conversation over the materials and construction of the compressor. I hope the administration understands

    The first parrt of this project is a simple puck that covers the other end of the compressor,

    In this video I am using:
    - Weiler Matador SV (1972) Lathe
    - Schaublin SV-51 (1955) Milling machine
    - Solberga (1975) Drill press

    The video is here



  • #2
    What material are you intending to make the blades from? There are plastics used in some types. I would probably not be able to get the slots smooth enough if I tried making one.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by old mart View Post
      What material are you intending to make the blades from? .
      I will be using tool steel for those. For this reason there has to be lubrication present. If I intent to achieve a decent air pressure (10+ bar) the whole thing will get somewhat hot. I suspect that the plastic vanes might not survive the heat. Also, commercial vane compressors seem to use some metal like aluminium for the vanes. Making 3 millimetre thick tool steel blades with really accurate thickness and length will be a challenge by itself.

      Originally posted by old mart View Post
      I would probably not be able to get the slots smooth enough if I tried making one. .
      That will be easy enough with a slitting saw. Those produce a very smooth slot with somewhat jagged bottom. However, the bottom is not important here, the walls of the slots are.

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      • #4
        You might be lucky and find some 3mm ground stock, its a shame you don't have a surface grinder.
        With 10 bar plus, you should be looking into water cooling for the main body.

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        • #5
          I've got a small oilless rotary vane, it uses what appears to be some sort of carbon or graphite type material for the vanes.

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          • #6
            I have worked with the Gast rotary vacuum pumps that used the graphite vanes. They did not need any lubrication on the vanes but the tolerances were fairly close. And when a vane broke, it often jammed and the rotor deformed beyond use and also had to be replaced. I guess it was an effort to keep the size somewhat small so the slots were cut fairly close to the central hole for the motor's shaft. From your video it looks like your design will not have that problem.

            I guess they would also have served as compressors, but don't know what kind of pressure they could generate.



            Originally posted by eKretz View Post
            I've got a small oilless rotary vane, it uses what appears to be some sort of carbon or graphite type material for the vanes.
            Paul A.
            SE Texas

            And if you look REAL close at an analog signal,
            You will find that it has discrete steps.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Paul Alciatore View Post
              I have worked with the Gast rotary vacuum pumps that used the graphite vanes. They did not need any lubrication on the vanes but the tolerances were fairly close. And when a vane broke, it often jammed and the rotor deformed beyond use and also had to be replaced. I guess it was an effort to keep the size somewhat small so the slots were cut fairly close to the central hole for the motor's shaft. From your video it looks like your design will not have that problem.

              I guess they would also have served as compressors, but don't know what kind of pressure they could generate.




              I’ve had a Gast Air Motor that get used more than I thought,similar non metallic Vanes like mentioned. Click image for larger version

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              • #8
                Making another part for the rotating vane compressor.

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                This part includes a precision hole for the bearing bushing.
                I fail with shrink fitting the bearing bushing but succeed in rescuing it.
                Making a hole in a precise place with a precise diameter (24.00 +0.01 / -0.00 mm) was rather challenging.

                In this video I am using:
                - Weiler Matador SV (1972) Lathe
                - Schaublin SV-51 (1955) Milling machine
                - Solberga (1975) Drill press
                - Wohlhaupter UPA3 Boring/Facing head
                - Tapmatic 50X Tapping head

                The video is here
                Last edited by FinnoUgric; 01-26-2022, 05:21 PM.

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                • #9
                  That last link is no good, first one works though, I was able to follow that one, click through to "Videos" and find the Pt. 2 vid. I assume you are planning to grind or lap the inside face of that cover plate? I would think you'd want that as smooth and flat as you could get it. Fun project. I'm looking forward to the first power-up and results.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by eKretz View Post
                    That last link is no good,
                    Thanks. Fixed now.


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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by eKretz View Post
                      I assume you are planning to grind or lap the inside face of that cover plate? I would think you'd want that as smooth and flat as you could get it.
                      I ran it in the lathe and the finish is good enough. One can see the surface but there is nothing to feel. It is smooth and straight.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by FinnoUgric View Post
                        I have now started to make a lamellar air compressor.

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                        As someone will eventually ask: Why? The answer is simple: Because I want to MAKE it, not to BUY it. I am also oddly obsessed to rotating machinery.
                        It will most probably become a semi failed unit but still there will be a lot to learn during making it.
                        all I thought was, "oh cool", why never even crossed my mind.

                        I don't have any words of wisdom, but I'll be following along. If you're able to produced a working unit, I might give it a go. I've also wanted to make a small hydraulic motor, and thats in the same vane 😉.

                        best of luck!



                        "it is no measure of mental health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." -- krishnamurti
                        "look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better." -- albert einstien
                        "any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex...It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction."

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                        • #13
                          You have some very nice machinery. That lathe is georgeous.I found your videos very enjoyable. Well done.

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                          • #14
                            Making a fairly complex part for the rotary vane air compressor.

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                            This part has three precision recesses which will be done using the Wohlhaupter UPA3 boring/planing head.

                            In this video I am using:
                            - Weiler Matador SV (1972) Lathe
                            - Schaublin SV-51 (1955) Milling machine
                            - Solberga (1975) Drill press
                            - Wohlhaupter UPA3 Boring/plaining head
                            - Tapmatic 50X reversible tapping head

                            The video is here

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                            • #15
                              I think you will run into trouble with your surface finish on some of these parts. I really hope not but in some of the big rotary vane compressors I had in Texas when we would take them apart to repair all the important surfaces had nearly mirror finishes. You might not be able to feel any roughness with your finger but if the light is reflecting the way is does in some of your pictures then the surface isn't flat I think. I don't know that but my gut tells me it must be so. Maybe my gut is like your finger!
                              Location: The Black Forest in Germany

                              How to become a millionaire: Start out with 10 million and take up machining as a hobby!

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