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Compressor Reed Valve Material?

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  • Compressor Reed Valve Material?

    My little air compressor decided to break a reed valve this morning. Yes, it is a "throw away" machine, but the rest of it looks a feels fine, the cylinder wall isn't scored badly and, well, I want to try to fix it. I got nothing to lose. So...

    I need some sort of spring steel material to fabricate a new valve (I haven't measured thickness yet). I have access to industrial shim packs at work, and the shims are spring steel. What I am not sure of is if there are different "grades" or specs of spring steel.

    Has anyone tried shim pack material to make a small reed valve (est. 1/2"x 1 1/4")? Is there a better material to look for?

    As with most things these days, there are no rebuild kits or parts for my model (Campbell Hausfeld HJ 300400).

    Thanks,
    Mark

  • #2
    Originally posted by garagemark View Post
    My little air compressor decided to break a reed valve this morning. Yes, it is a "throw away" machine, but the rest of it looks a feels fine, the cylinder wall isn't scored badly and, well, I want to try to fix it. I got nothing to lose. So...

    I need some sort of spring steel material to fabricate a new valve (I haven't measured thickness yet). I have access to industrial shim packs at work, and the shims are spring steel. What I am not sure of is if there are different "grades" or specs of spring steel.

    Has anyone tried shim pack material to make a small reed valve (est. 1/2"x 1 1/4")? Is there a better material to look for?

    As with most things these days, there are no rebuild kits or parts for my model (Campbell Hausfeld HJ 300400).

    Thanks,
    Mark
    Believe it or not, I made a pair out of steel banding - like the steel used to strap things to pallets, etc. I also put a thin layer of RTV on the valve. I used wax paper and a granite flat to get a thin, even layer on the blank. It worked until I bought a new one...

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    • #3
      If the reed is small, you could use a suitable thickness blade from a set of feeler gauges, shim pack steel would be ideal as a couple of spares could be made at the same time.
      I replaced the steel reeds in my Yamaha and Suzuki dirt bikes in the 70's with fibreglass ones, just like unclad printed circuit boards, but only 1/16" thick, made in the USA, I forget the brand.
      As for any drilling required, I would sandwich the shim/s between two steel plates and drill with a split point hss cobalt or carbide drill.

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      • #4
        Blue tempered spring steel shim is hardened and tempered 1095 steel, probably better for the purpose than cold rolled 1010, which is likely what ordinary shim stock will be. Probably too expensive for repairing a throw away compressor though, if you have to buy an assorted pack of 6" X 12", or a 50" length of 3" wide stock.
        Last edited by cameron; 06-12-2017, 08:47 PM.

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        • #5
          If you have an old 3/4" or wider tape measure to scrap, you might find a suitable strip of blued spring steel inside.

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          • #6
            Would the metal body fillers work? They are supposed to be spring steel but perhaps too thick.
            Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

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            • #7
              Wide wood band saw blades work,the size used to make lumber from trees

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              • #8
                I too used banding. I had a flat that I super glued the banding down to. Ground it and then Milled to size. I believe it's still going. Probably 15 years now. Lol

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                • #9
                  I used shim stock last time I fixed my compressor.

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                  • #10
                    Old style rasor blade, the ones with double cutting edge should do the trick.
                    Helder Ferreira
                    Setubal, Portugal

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                    • #11
                      I used stainless steel shim stock. The old steel reed broke from corrosion. This was a "throwaway" unit from Costco. Since it was oil lubricated, I thought it would be worth a try. I THINK I used .010" shim stock, (anyway it was the same thickness as the broken reed.) I cut it out with shears and hammered the wrinkles out.
                      Duffy, Gatineau, Quebec

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                      • #12
                        Update on Repairs

                        Well, it turns out that not all Campbell Hausfeld compressors are complete throw aways. Even though I never could find parts for my unit, I decided to attempt parts from another model.

                        Cruising one of the e-parts sites, I found a model that had a picture of the head that looked sorta kinda similar to my pump, and then ordered a valve kit. The numbers weren't even close, so it was a crapshoot. Turns out that the valve kit for their more fancy model fit my machine perfectly. Even better, the kit was only 13 bucks. Came with both plates, a couple of reeds and all the O rings. 45 minutes in labor and she's making air again.

                        Moral of the story is- sometimes you just need to roll the dice. For only a few dollars, what's really to lose? Had this not worked out I would have attempted to make a valve out of materials you guys suggested. But it wasn't necessary this time.

                        Thanks to all who gave me multiple options, or just food for thought. That's why I come here.

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