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Lathe Talk #53: Air Compressor Install - Part 3
December 10, 2013
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Back from Maui: My wife and I returned recently from Maui where we celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary and the Valley Isle was as spectacular as ever… This was our eighth trip to Maui and every time we visit it’s better than the last. Unfortunately, I injured my left knee a few days before we departed, but that did not put too much of a damper on our vacation. Unfortunately, we were unable to visit Mt. Haleakala National Park (one of our favorite places on Maui) due to the government shutdown, which was a real bummer. It sure was nice to get back to Maui; the hard part is always leaving. As we got seated in First Class for the return flight home, we began planning our ninth trip to Maui. If you’ve never been to Hawaii, be sure to put it on your bucket list. All of the Hawaiian Islands are spectacular but for us, Maui No Ka Oi (Maui is the best).
Ole Red, V-2.1 and V-2.2: The best laid plans of mice and men… As you remember from our last issue, I had a problem with my new air compressor and the manufacturer agreed to ship out a replacement unit. Great right? Well, the replacement unit (V-2.1) arrived with shipping damage and it was refused. Bugger! Another unit was put on order and once again, I was pacing about like a caged Tiger waiting for Ole Red, V-2.2 to arrive. I’m happy to report that the third compressor unit arrived in good nick. Woo Hoo! Check out the article below for all the details on the hard graft that was required to get Ole Red V-2.2 off the pallet and the original Ole Red V-2.0 back onto the pallet to return it to the manufacturer.
2014 Article Plans: Since the end of the year is rapidly approaching, I thought it would be good to think about my plans for articles in 2014. Overall, my goal is to return Lathe Talk to a monthly distribution schedule. It’s going to be tough with my withering schedule, but I’m going to get stuck in and crack on. Next year will see a new article series on finishing (a bugger for many turners), as well as articles on using your lathe tools more effectively. In addition, you will learn how you can use high-tech gadgets to improve your turning experience, as well as new techniques for embellishment and inlay, plus tricks and tips for vacuum chucking.
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Woo Hoo!!! ‘Ole Red, V-2.2 (compressor unit #3) arrived undamaged and in good nick and it’s sitting pretty in its new location. This saga has been quite a faff for sure, but it’s finally over and I now have a big, bad, monster custom-built V-4, hot-rod compressor installed in the studio. The original Ole Red V-2.0 was returned to the manufacturer because there were numerous air leaks in the piping, around the regulator and on the main bung plug on the front of the tank. In addition, it was running louder than the manufacturer indicated in their specs, so they agreed to replace it with another unit.
Unfortunately, the replacement unit (V-2.1) arrived with shipping damage and I had to refuse it. It looked like something heavy landed across the top of the pump, since the air filters were somewhat crushed. The first two compressors shipped from the manufacturer with cross braces around the outside of the pallet for protection, but this did not stop something from falling on the second unit and damaging it.
As I could not run the second unit on the side of the street to properly assess it, I refused it and requested a third unit be shipped ASAP. The manufacturer agreed to this and another unit was custom-built for me. This time, I requested that the pallet be fitted with chipboard on all four sides to help prevent any shipping damage. This extra precaution worked a treat and the third unit, Ole Red V-2.2 arrived in proper nick with no damage.
If you plan to buy a large industrial air compressor, I recommend you ask the manufacturer to surround it with plywood for extra protection. Shipping these days can be dodgy with some freight carriers and it’s not uncommon for large items to occasionally arrive damaged. A bit of plywood can go a long way towards ensuring your compressor arrives in good nick.
An Undamaged Compressor Finally Arrives…
Ole Red V-2.2 was shipped with lift gate service, so it was simple getting this massive 476kg (1,050lb) beast onto the ground. The lorry driver brought the compressor up to the front of the studio, so all I needed to do was remove the outer chipboard panels and support braces to get it into the studio. Once inside the studio, I began to ponder my options for getting the new compressor (V-2.2) off its pallet and the old compressor (V-2.0) onto the pallet for the return trip back to the manufacturer.
I was not looking forward to manhandling another 1,000lb compressor off the pallet, but moaning about it was not going to get the job done. A bit of hard graft was needed, so I decided to crack on… Luckily, I still had my original lifting brace on hand and I quickly got it mounted onto the new compressor. Since I had already figured out how to place the brace and lifting straps when I took the original compressor off its pallet, it was significantly easier this time around.
Just like the first time though, it was still a bit of a faff moving back and forth between the two lifting cranes to get it raised properly. Having a helper would have significantly reduced the overall time needed to lift the compressor high enough to clear the pallet, but this redheaded bloke was the only one around.
A wee bit of time was used to ensure the compressor was lifted straight up into the air, since an off-axis lift would have increased the likelihood of damaging this top-heavy unit. Having 1,000 lbs dangling up in the air gives you a healthy respect for lifting heavy items. My lathe cranes performed a treat once again and have saved my bacon many times since I installed them a few months ago.
V-2.2 on the Ground
Ugh… After a bit of hard graft, Ole Red V-2.2 was safely on the ground! My jubilation was short lived though, as I now had to move it out of the way enough to get Ole Red V-2.0 (the first compressor) onto the pallet to return it to the manufacturer. That meant I had to move the new compressor ten feet away from the pallet and move the original compressor ten feet over towards the pallet. Then, I had to move the new compressor ten feet more into its new mounting location. Ugh!!!
Since these compressors are so top heavy, I decided to crab-walk them across the floor. It was not fun for sure and I when I had moved the two compressors around, I was well ready for a bit of rest and a cup of tea. As I sipped my tea, I remembered my job was not yet over, as I still had to lift the original compressor up and install it back on the pallet for shipping back to the manufacturer. What a bugger! After a bit more hard graft, the compressor was bolted onto the pallet and secured for transport. If I never see another air compressor it will be too soon…
I still needed to install the chipboard around the sides of the pallet, but I decided to let that wait until the next day. Unfortunately, I injured my left knee whilst working on some remodeling in the attic, so I was in no shape to lift anything heavy. Luckily, a good friend of mine agreed to come over and button up the sideboards on the pallet, to prepare it for pick up the next morning.
‘Ole Red V-2.2 Major Specs
Eaton 10 HP 100% Cast-Iron Construction Compressor Pump with 4-Cylinder, 2-Stage Pump – Displacement 28 SCFM @ 100 PSI; 26 SCFM @ 175 PSI
Over and Done
What an ordeal! This saga took several months but it’s finally sorted and my new compressor is ready to go. I still need to decide on a compressed air piping system and how to run my new lines, but that’s going to be easy compared to getting a working unit delivered and in place. I plan to use a temporary connection to the compressor until I get some more time after the holidays to get the compressed air piping sorted.
Total cost of the compressor plus shipping was approximately £1,585 or $2,600.00. For those who are wondering, I did not receive any discounts or other inducements from the manufacturer on the purchase of this air compressor… Zero, zip, NADA, nothing. I paid the full price listed on the Internet, plus shipping with lift gate delivery service to my front door.
This compressor should give me all of the air I could ever need in a one-man studio… Yes, some of you are thinking it’s overkill, but it works for me. I have always felt that having more power than you need on a tool is a good thing, as sometimes the extra “oomph” comes in handy. With compressed air, even more so… Whilst running a sander or a few tools is easy for most compressors, running a sandblaster is another kettle of fish. This compressor has a true “continuous-run” feature to protect the pump during continuous use (when switched into continuous use, the pump does not cycle on and off, but runs non-stop) like when you are sandblasting, or shooting binary spray foams.
It also delivers more than enough air (28 SCFM at 100 PSI) for multiple tools to be running at once. If you are looking for a new air compressor, take a good look at your current needs and try to anticipate your future needs as well. Buying a compressor with more capacity than you need now, may be a good choice for the future. Well made compressors can last many years (even my old 5HP Coleman compressor lasted almost 16 years with brutal usage), so you want to make sure you have some extra capacity or “headroom” to use, if your needs increase in the future.
All that’s left to do now is to install the mounting feet and a safety brace and run all of the air piping drops. I’m waiting to do that until my knackered knee heals. This will give me a bit of time to decide on what type of industrial piping to use for the air supply runs and to figure out if I want/need a supplemental drying system for spray painting and airbrush work. I’m using compressed Nitrogen now for the airbrush and since that works so well, I may not push the envelope any further. My desiccant drier has been working flawlessly for regular HVLP spraying, but I may need to step it up a bit and go to a refrigerated drier, or a dedicated dying system. Just like remodeling, the work is never really done…
From all of us at Lathe Talk, best wishes to you and yours for a Safe and Healthy Holiday Season and a Happy New Year in 2014!
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