Wheeled compressed air tote bottle

Submitted to Community Café

Air is pretty common unless you are somewhere like outer space, which is actually “micro atmosphere” not a vacuum, the top of Himalayas, or under water. However, when you need air in a tire it can be pretty rare too – due to the compression factor.

We have a nice sized air compressor in the workshop and a 10-gallon tote bottle that tours the neighborhood for low tires and such. The other day one of the neighbors was throwing out his little ½ horsepower, 10-gallon Craftsman air compressor as it did not work anymore. The data plate says manufactured in 1994, so it is not that old. Mine says manufactured in 1985 and it runs like a champ, and I take care of it. This little compressor had sat outside since 2000, the air filter was broken off, the pressure sensing valve assembly was full of bugs, and the tank had about two quarts of gunk in it. The plastic protective housing over the motor and compressor was broken, and the attached air hose was dry rotted.

Hoping to do something with it, I took it home and spent about four hours taking it apart, cleaning it up, and putting it back together again. It would pressurize to about 80 PSI vs. the target of 120, and just run. Both the intake and compression side of the reed valves were badly pitted and repair was out of the question. The cylinder walls were scored from unfiltered air and that dirt destroyed the piston ring. Parts check showed over $100 in parts for a compressor worth about $50 at this point.

So, Plan B. Took it all apart, wire brushed the tank, and the handle. Went through the Craftsman red with the Craftsman decals and found the original manufacturer’s orange and his decals. Sand blasted the badly rusted axle bolts which would hardly let the wheels turn. Then purchased about $30 in new plumbing and started reassembly as a wheeled tote bottle. The tank is Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch Burgundy spray paint. Why? Because I had the can in the shop. The handle is Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch Ultra Cover 2x Gloss Black spray paint. Why? Because I had the can in the shop. Both are now empty.

With the “platform” for the compressor and motor annoying me I turned it into a tool tray just to cover it up. All with leftover wood from other projects or items.

The end result is a 10-gallon wheeled tote bottle that will hold 120 PSI air from the big compressor that you can walk down the street with like a puppy. Our other tote bottle does not have wheels and it fits in the trunk just fine.

So, success, invested about $30 and about eight hours to create a tote bottle I could have bought brand new for $40. That is DIY logic and economics.

Hey Rust-Oleum, not a problem with this project, but have you ever thought of making "Non-athletic paint?" Stuff that does not run? You could call it Couch Potato Paint. (A bit brain fried and just thinking. September 28, 2016, and our high was only 93 degrees.)