Refillable Air Can Life Hack

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Introduction: Refillable Air Can Life Hack

In this life hack video, I am going to show you how you can refill your air duster can with a bicycle pump.

Step 1: Items Needed

All you need is an empty air can, some liquid metal epoxy and a tank valve similar to what is used on a bicycle tire. You will also need a drill and 3/8" bit.

Step 2: Make Sure Can Is 100% Empty

Start off by making sure there is no air left in the can. We really don’t want to start drilling the can while its pressurized.

Step 3: Use 3/8

Next, choose a drill bit that matches the width of the air valve. Mine happened to need a 3/8” drill bit.

Step 4: Thread Valve Into Hole

I decided to install the valve further down the can to keep it out of the way. Once the hole is made, you should be able to thread the valve right into the hole.

Step 5: Mix Liquid Metal Epoxy

Now its time to seal it up with the liquid metal epoxy. I cut the end from a cue tip to mix the 2-part solution together.

The cue tip also made it real easy to apply the epoxy directly to he valve. The instructions say it cures in 8 minuets I let it cure for a few hours. This stuff is rated for 3500 PSI so its complete overkill but its better to be safe than sorry.

Step 6: Connect Air Pump

Go ahead and attach a bicycle pump to the valve and let’s add some air!

The recommended pressure rating on this can was 70-90 PSI so lets keep this extra safe and only fill it up to 60.

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  • When i first saw thi...-Tom De prins

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72 Comments

good idea, but i would drill the hole in the bottom, where the material is the thickest, and solder it and no glue it

I do not like this idea....looks potentially dangerous to me...

Very clever!

Have you used the refillable can for a substantial amount of time? I'm curious if you have done enough refills to speak to its long term durability. (I'd be slightly concerned about it rupturing and causing harm, but this looks like a potentially very useful idea!)

Thanks!

I just finished the build so I don't have many miles on it yet.

The epoxy is VERY strong so I don't expect it will fail.

With that said, only time will tell. :)

see my comment about epoxy and what you call strong.. in what sense ?

I myself would use a sealant designed to seal a threaded pipe, such as natural gas lines or such. and try to solder the valve into place.

I hope that everybody understands that 'canned air' is not air, but a liquid hydrocarbon under pressure that becomes gaseous when released to normal atmospheric pressure. A popular material used in 'duster cans' is 1,1-Difluoroethane, with the chemical formula C2H4F2. , Also known as Refrigerant R-152a. R-152a has a vapor pressure of 63 psi at 70F. So the pressure in those duster cans is normally around 63 psi. A can of R-152a will last eons longer than a can of true compressed air because a can full of liquid R152a expands a vast amount when it changes to a gas.

I would be very hesitant to compromise the integrity of the wall of a pressure vessel, which is what you are doing by adding a tire valve to the side of a can.

I would not think that this approach would work well for trying to make spray cans, since they also use hydrocarbons under pressure which expand with the paint (or other liquid) as they exit the can -- Air just does not perform the same.

I haven't seen and difloroethane duster cans (i am sure they exist as i have seen that as a propellant for air horns or possibly trifluroethane I can't remember) but I have seen butane duster cans

as can be seen in the images attached these air cans contain the Diflouroethane spoken of. I've never seen one using butane. although butane and propane are both used as propellants, but the cans are always marked Flammable.

Air Can.jpg

You sure about a butane duster can? If any little spark it would blow up!