Air Compressor Upgrade

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mooreken
Posts: 279
Joined: Sat May 09, 2015 12:25 pm

Air Compressor Upgrade

Post by mooreken »

While doing a lot of sandblasting on the Triumph my air compressor did a good job of keeping up but it paid the price of passing lots of oil laden water thru my water traps and into my air hoses with all the humidity. This caused a problem when I went to paint the frame with fish eyes and caused a lot of extra work to get the paint to do what I wanted it to.

While cruising the old interweb I found a video of a pre-cooler to lower the heated compressed air going into the tank.
I've taken a few photos of the project...I don't have a picture if the radiator/heat exchanger before I had installed it but if anyone is interested I can provide a link.

This is the finished product.
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I disconnected the pump output line keeping it intact incase all goes poorly and I need to put things back like they were.
I took the output line and ran it to the top of the heat exchanger, from the bottom of the exchanger I ran a line to an automatic water separator then into the tank using the original line that I had disconnected. If cooling the air going into the tank makes it drop as much water as I think it will I'll attach a hose from the bottom of the separator to a container to keep from making a mess all around the compressor.

This is the exchanger (I think it is an oil cooler) attached in front of the pulley/fan of the compressor. I dropped it as low as I could so it does not affect the air moving over the cylinder heads.
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I disconnected the pump output line keeping it intact incase all goes poorly and I need to put things back like they were.
I ran the output line to the top of the heat exchanger, then from the bottom of the exchanger I ran a line to an automatic emptying water separator.
Which then ran into the tank using the original line that I had split from the cylinder heads.
If cooling the air going into the tank makes it drop as much water as I think it will into the separator and not into the tank, then I will attach a hose from the exit at the bottom of the separator into a container to keep from making a mess all around the compressor.

I took a temp reading while the compressor was filling back up. This is off the cylinder side.
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And this is taken at the tank side after the water separator.

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Quite a difference.

It was quite a manly-man project. I made many trips to the manly-man store (Lowes) and stood in front of the Great wall of plumbing stuff along with several of our fellows in shame. Waiting for inspiration. I ended up using Flared fittings, compression fittings, Plastic fittings to repair an oops, and copper tube.

I think it is going to work.
Ken

Tom Wells
Posts: 546
Joined: Fri May 08, 2015 7:34 pm
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Re: Air Compressor Upgrade

Post by Tom Wells »

Ken,

Nice work! And a nice writeup!

I do have one worry: if the air going into the tank is 77F, you may end up with ice crystals coming out of the sprayer :-ss If I recall some of my fluid dynamics, as you expand the air from the tank pressure down to one atmosphere, it cools off.

Might be time for an experiment %-(

LOL

Tom

PS: If that's plastic pipe for the compressed air, well, in my book that's a real no-no...

BlackSnake
Posts: 162
Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2015 4:09 am

Re: Air Compressor Upgrade

Post by BlackSnake »

That's true Tom, that's why single engine aircraft have carb heaters to prevent icing...and its the same air-cycle principle that jet aircraft use for cabin AC.

Ken, ditto on the "nice write-up". Moisture buildup is problematic when doing fair amounts of bead blasting also, so that system would be a nice add on. Btw, what did all of that stuff cost?

Harbor Fright sells a device that attaches to the release valve and is supposed to automagically release pressure and water to atmosphere as water collects at the bottom of the tank, but as with much of HF stuff, it didn't, ahem, live up to expectations... :-? :- 8-| :-q

mooreken
Posts: 279
Joined: Sat May 09, 2015 12:25 pm

Re: Air Compressor Upgrade

Post by mooreken »

I also have one of the tank bottom water release valve. But I haven't found the fitting I need to tap into the head pressure relief system. It comes with tubing and hard ware but my system used a larger hard line and this is for 1/4" plastic line. I'll update the post when I get it working.

I probably have about $150. I'll look up the parts and post the links. About $45.00 for the cooler, about the same for the water separator. And the all the fittings and copper tube (along with the extra copper fittings and unions left over that I could return but never do. I throw them in the "fittings" drawer and hope someday I will be able to do a repair/project without having to go to the Manly-man store).

BlackSnake
Posts: 162
Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2015 4:09 am

Re: Air Compressor Upgrade

Post by BlackSnake »

Funny how the ever expanding fitting container never has what you need for the next project... :-?

mooreken
Posts: 279
Joined: Sat May 09, 2015 12:25 pm

Re: Air Compressor Upgrade

Post by mooreken »

Yep...I did have once where I didn't have to go to the store...but it was only once.

Here are the links to the parts I got them on Amazon:

Cooler
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004X ... UTF8&psc=1

Separator with auto drain
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B017G ... UTF8&psc=1

Tank auto drain kit (it was within a couple dollars of H/Freight)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07JC ... UTF8&psc=1

All the rest of the stuff I got a Lowes and could change depending on how your compressor is plumbed.

The only other trick I did was with the flared tube fittings on the cooler. I couldn't find any 90 degree flared fittings so I did a short flare on the 1/2 outside copper tube (3/8 inside) and used a 90 degree copper fitting then soldered the copper tube that I used to connect to the other outlets. This was after I messed up trying to make a bend with the tubing. Of course it folded and made the turn much larger and it was hitting the accessories that I had on the wall and next to the compressor.

mooreken
Posts: 279
Joined: Sat May 09, 2015 12:25 pm

Re: Air Compressor Upgrade

Post by mooreken »

All finished. The pre-cooler water separator is working and the auto tank drain is doing its job too.
Sorry for the photo. The web site flipped it and I can’t get it vertical.
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mooreken
Posts: 279
Joined: Sat May 09, 2015 12:25 pm

Re: Air Compressor Upgrade

Post by mooreken »

Just an update on my heat exchanger/water separator project. It works awesome...
I have been doing a lot of sand blasting and paint sanding and the auto drain at the bottom is not spitting out any amount of water other than a trace.
The catch can on the auto drain off the exchanger is filling up nicely. A side benefit is the tank doesn't get hot and radiate heat into the shop area. It stays nice and cool.

Ken

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