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Thread: Source for Aluminum Compressor Tank

  1. #1
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    Source for Aluminum Compressor Tank

    My 19 year-old air compressor looks like a mess. The tank paint is almost completely peeled. And when I drain it, the water that comes out contains a lot of rust.

    I would like to replace it with a 30 gallon aluminum tank. Does anyone know of a good source that wouldn't break the bank?

    Gary Curtis

  2. #2
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    i don't think aluminum would make too good a pressure vessel. 30 years welding for the military, never saw a one. google air compressor service and see what you find.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dale Johnson View Post
    i don't think aluminum would make too good a pressure vessel. 30 years welding for the military, never saw a one. google air compressor service and see what you find.
    Dale, I was thinking about the same thing, then I realized there are plenty of aluminum scuba tanks, and they're made to carry 3000 psi. So it seems it could be done. Can't say I've ever heard of them being used for a shop air compressor. Wonder why they're not more common?
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    ..............Wonder why they're not more common?
    Simple cost, the steel ones, if drained regular, last a LONG time, and the cost of making an aluminum one is just not worth it. Scuba tanks are a different breed of tank, and I think that a good steel tank is actually lighter than an aluminum tank. The steel tank is also more expensive, but has a significantly longer usable life (15 for aluminum, 40 for steel?).
    Seems to me, a steel compressor tank can be welded up and checked by fairly simple tools, while welding the aluminum tank and checking it would be more specialized and thus cost more. If they were cheaper and lasted longer, then we would see them around commonly, but as Dale has said, I've never seen one either.

    Cheers!
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  5. #5
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    I brought this up after seeing the little 'Hot Dog' compressors for sale with aluminum tanks. The selling point is the light weight and portability.

    It is possible that vibration and metal fatigue over time would threaten the strength of aluminum tanks in larger sizes. It is just that I have a newly bit shop and my old pig of a compressor looks so trashy.

    Gary Curtis

  6. #6
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    have you looked at an internal chemical cleaning and coating like they do to gas tanks? the outside could be glass bead blasted and painted. the glass bead will get rid of the rust but won't erode the good steel like grit or steel shot.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by gary curtis View Post
    ...............It is just that I have a newly bit shop and my old pig of a compressor looks so trashy.

    Gary Curtis
    Build an enclosure around it, keep the new shop pretty and much quieter.
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  8. #8

    Hey, why not use a Scuba tank??

    I also don't think there are any aluminum compressor tanks out there, but why not use one, or five for that matter Scuba tanks piped together in series? Seems like a straightforward plumbing project.

    I'm also tired of the rust in my tank. I know of several finish carpenters on jobs in the past who used Scuba tanks to power nail guns. Worked fine and held a LOT of air.

    JH

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joel Herzel View Post
    I also don't think there are any aluminum compressor tanks out there, but why not use one, or five for that matter Scuba tanks piped together in series? Seems like a straightforward plumbing project.

    I'm also tired of the rust in my tank. I know of several finish carpenters on jobs in the past who used Scuba tanks to power nail guns. Worked fine and held a LOT of air.

    JH
    Get yourself an Automatic Drain Valve. My last compressor was a rusty mess and then it died... I installed an ADV on its replacement and two years later the water is still clear.
    "I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a
    friend...if you have one."
    --George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill

    "Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second..if there is
    one."
    --Winston Churchill, in response




  10. #10
    You can build a air compressor tank out of aluminum, but I would buy one and not try to make one yourself.

    I make tanks all the time for boats...out of steel, aluminum and even plastic, but I never test them to more than 5 psi. That is a huge amount of pressure once you do the math. These tanks expand more than you can imagine, often busting the plastic tanks and getting pin hole leaks in the aluminum ones. Now can you imagine building something to withstand 120 si. Please let the experts do it on account of safety.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

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