Reverse Airflow Nozzle for an Air Compressor





Introduction: Reverse Airflow Nozzle for an Air Compressor

So after watching a video on how to clean your dryer air vent I went in search of an attachment for the end of my air compressor. A reverse airflow attachment that connects to the end of your air compressor hose. You push it into your dryer vent from the outside, turn on the air, and as you pull the hose out it breaks loose the lint and dust that has accumulated.

The only places that seem to have them are professional duct cleaning suppliers. They of course want to sell you a complete duct cleaning system for several thousand dollars, but I figured I could do it for much less. I found an aluminum version for a much bigger compressor than I have, but used that to give me an idea of how to make my version.

Step 1: Drill a 1/2" Hole

I bought a pack of 6 foosballs from a sporting goods store, and using a drill press and a clamp I put a 1/2 inch hole down the center of one of them, making sure not to come out the bottom. Then I cleaned out the hole and smoothed the edges a bit.

Step 2: Drill Reverse Air Holes

Then using the smallest drill bit I had on hand, I couldn't read it but it was probably about 1/16th of an inch (roughly the thickness of a paperclip), I drilled 4 holes at about a 45 degree angle from the main hole. I may make it 5 or 6 holes if I make more of these.

Step 3: Attach Air Compressor Hardware

Once you attach a threaded barrel, which is lighter, or a quick release as I have in the first picture, you are ready to go. It's a good idea to have a valve between the hose and the air compressor so you can control the flow if your compressor doesn't come with one. Stick it into the vent as far as it will go, turn on the air and slowly pull it back out. Repeat as needed.



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    16 Discussions

    Awesome video. Just wanted to know the capacity of the air compressor you used. What would you recommend.


    2 years ago

    I take the top off my vent tube and blow it out with an electric leaf blower. Clean as a whistle!

    This sort of project begs for someone to post a 3D-printed version! I love seeing DIY replacements of crazy expensive stuff. Kudos to your brother and to you.

    2 replies

    You know, if someone could design it to be 3D printable as 2 pieces locked together, with the air cushioning between them and causing the outer ring to spin you'd have a pretty decent little device.

    It's possible if you can picture the internals or have a drawing, you can grab one of the free 3D design programs. There are several that are pretty good, as well as some decent semi-crippled (but very useable) commercial packages. It's been awhile, but I trying a few of the commercial free versions and they were able to generate image code that could be printed.

    Google+ has very active 3D printing communities. I'm sure a bit of lurking would give you more current info than I can on software.

    But once you have a working design, there are plenty of people who would print it for you. I think there's a couple on-line services that combine an online model creation tool with their printing service, too.

    I need to know how you use this thing as I'm quite confused about how it works…

    (Although I'm stupid I do know how an air dryer works and the need to clean the lint off…)

    Anyway it clearly is a nice work, so congrats anyway !… ;))

    2 replies

    Well, you are in luck, because I just used it for the first time and took video. So I went to the outside of the house and took the covers off of the dryer outlet. pushed the ball nozzle to the pipe as far as I could, placed a vacuum hose at the opening and turned the air on. As I pulled it out it would push the lint ahead of it and the vacuum would suck most of it up before it blew out onto the ground. Here is the link.

    Perfect video shot, clean as a whistle too. Another use might be for fixed dust collector systems in woodshops, sometimes poorly designed systems get jams in elbows, this'd really clean them out.

    I used to do duct cleaning my self we had a similar tool called a reverse skipper ball and they were pricey. Awesome job!!! We also used a forward skipper ball that had a fiberglass shaft that ran down the tube to push forward.

    I want to try this with my pellet stove vent in the spring....


    3 years ago

    Very cool! When I get my indexing angled vise for the end mill at work, I will be making this. Showed a couple of coworkers this and they want it too. Thanks for showing!

    Thanks, I'm glad people like it. I was really surprised that Lowes and Home Depot didn't have an attachment like this. The ones I did find like this aluminum one:

    and this nylon one:

    are made for professional compressors and the holes in them are made for a much larger tank (mine is only 6 gallons) that can handle the increased airflow. My cousin helped point me to using a foosball. There are also some foam balls, but the foosball seems to be light enough to wobble and get the job done.

    This is a great idea, combustible lint in dryer vents is a real problem, especially if using a gas dryer system, plus it ups dryer efficiency no matter what heat source is used.


    3 years ago

    Great idea.