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Lathe Talk #53: Air Compressor Install - Part 3
December 10, 2013

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Inside Issue #53

  • Website Update
  • Blog Reminder
  • Website Special
  • Hot Tip of the Month
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Welcome to all of our new U.S. and International subscribers and thank you for joining us! This is the Fifty-Third edition of Lathe Talk, a free newsletter (e-zine) for subscribers of Steve Russell’s "Woodturning Videos Plus" woodturning website. This newsletter will be delivered approximately once every six to eight weeks to the email address you indicated on your sign-up form. All back issues of this newsletter are available to subscribers here.

Lathe Talk will offer tips and tricks to make your woodturning easier and more productive. I’ll also show you ways to save money in your studio, so you can stretch your hard earned money. In addition, we will periodically offer subscribers only specials on our videos and e-books. If you like this e-zine, please do a friend and me a favor by forwarding it to them. If a friend DID forward this to you and you like what you read, please subscribe by visiting our subscription page.


Woodturning Videos Plus December Update

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.

Specialized articles will cover how to pressure cast your own resins, sharpening shortcuts, vacuum stabilization of timber, how carving embellishment can dramatically increase the price of your work, how to market your turned work in a tough economy and lots more. If you have any ideas or special requests for Lathe Talk, drop me an email. I’m always open to suggestions and ideas. Thanks to all or our readers for helping us to achieve a significant milestone, more than 20,000 readers worldwide!

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Issue #53 Special – For Lathe Talk Subscribers Only
10% Off Any Combo Pack!

Take 10% off any DVD and e-Book Combo Pack from our website until January 31, 2014. To access this special offer, enter the coupon code 122366 on the shopping cart page in the coupon box area. Click the "recalculate" button and your discount will show on the screen. Offer ends January 31, 2014 at 12:01 midnight, CST. Additional subscriber only discounts and specials will be offered in future editions of Lathe Talk.


Hot Tip of the Month:
Air Compressor Replacement – Part 3

Polar air compressor
'Ole Red V-2.2 has finally arrived.

Overview

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.

Polar air compressor
Side braces were used to support the chipboard panels.

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.

Polar air compressor
'Ole Red V-2.1 was damaged during shipment.

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.

Polar air compressor
'Ole Red V-2.2 was shipped with chipboard
on all 4 sides for protection.

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.

Air compressor lifting brace
Close-up view of the 2X4 lifting brace.

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.

Polar air compressor
Close-up view of the left lifting brace.

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.

Polar air compressor
1000 lbs dangling in the air.

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.

Polar air compressor
Close-up view of the right lifting brace.


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.

Polar air compressor
The black electronic automatic tank drain (center)
prevents water from accumulating in the compressor tank.


‘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

  • 175 PSI Max Pressure – Kick-in Pressure 115
  • Built-In Inter-Cooler & After-Cooler
  • Solid Cast Iron Crankcase with Cast Iron Cylinders and Steel Crankshaft
  • Industrial-Duty, 7.5HP 1750 RPM TEFC Motor with Hour Meter
  • Continuous Run & Automatic Start/Stop
  • Electronic 110V Automatic Tank Drain
  • Built-in Unloader which allows load less starting
  • Shipping Weight: 1050 lbs.
  • 80-gallon Vertical ASME Air Tank
  • Electronic Hour/Minute Meter
  • Model Number: PP07V080V1

Polar air compressor
An hour meter helps to determine
when service is necessary.

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.


Side Note

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.

Polar air compressor
This compressor uses a magnetic switch.

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…


Closing Thoughts and Thanks

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!

Our subscriber base has grown every single month! Thanks to all of our new and existing subscribers for our continued record setting subscription pace! Our subscriber base continues to see explosive growth every month. We’re proud of the fact Lathe Talk is read by more than 20,000 woodturners all over the world and it remains completely free of any outside advertising. If you have any suggestions or topics for Lathe Talk, or any other comments, please let me know.

Help Us Spread The Word: Please let your woodturning friends know about my Lathe Talk newsletter and encourage them to subscribe. Working together, we can make Lathe Talk a valuable educational resource for woodturners around the world. Take care and let me know if I can help you with any of your woodturning questions, or challenges.

Steve

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