Introduction: DIY Air Hose Reel

I like a lot of other home woodworkers and hobbyists bought an air compressor. I have a Porter-Cable pancake compressor and it came with 3 nail guns and a hose.

While learning to use my new nail guns, I decided I REALLY hate the hose it came with it's the long non coiling kind. I needed to find a solution to stop the cord from getting tangled up every single time I used it. I saw quite a few DIY projects that were very amazing but all of them seemed a little too labor intensive or the material was too expensive for me.

It got me thinking, I have a lot of scrap wood, what can I make with the wood that I have. My first attempt at making a hose reel didn't have any moving parts, but I was having problems unwinding the hose because of the twists in the hose as it unwound. So I went back to the drawing board and here is my hose reel that is made out of 4 feet of 1"x2" board and 14" of 2"x4" and a 6" 5/8ths inch bolt and 4 washers.

I hope you like it.

Step 1: Tools & Parts Required:

To make this I used:

  • 1 table saw (any saw would work even a hand saw)
  • 1 nail gun (screws or nails would work too)
  • 1 drill and 5/8ths" bit
  • 1 tape measure
  • 4 1/2 feet of 1"x2"
  • 14 inches of 2"x4"
  • 1 6" x 5/8s" bolt and nut
  • 4 5/8ths" washers
  • 1 bottle of superglue

Step 2: Making the Base:

Sadly I built this part before I remembered to take pictures but it's fairly simple.

Cut the 1x2 into:

  • 4" piece (Top)
  • 6" piece (Bottom)
  • 2 2" pieces (Sides)

I had a spare piece of pine plywood so I used that for the base. Mine was 2 1/2" x 6 1/4".
You can use almost anything but it needs shorter than 6 1/2" long or it will hit the arms and not spin

Using a nailgun attach the 2 smaller pieces to the top piece, in the picture you can see it already has a hole in it and a ring from the washer. I reused it from my first attempt so that's what all the holes in it are from =]

I used 2 nails on each piece from my 18g nail gun. When you have the 1x2 pieces nailed together you need to find the center of the board and drill a hole for the bolt that will be holding the whole reel together.

BEFORE you nail the bottom and the top sections together, you have the option of having the bolt head facing in from the outside of the reel, or the bolt head inside sticking out. Functionally it doesn't matter, it's more aesthetics than anything, I preferred the bolt pointing in, so there was less sticking out of the top. If you wanted it the other way this is the only time you have to put the bolt through the hole before you nail the top and bottom together. Once you nail it together, the bolt won't fit the other way.

Take whichever steps you need for the bolt, and nail the to halves together. It will look like the pictures above.

Step 3: 2x4 Cross

Cut 2 pieces of 2x4 to 7" long.

Measure the width of your 2x4s, what you need are the with of the 2x4 and the height. You will be cutting the 2x4 lengthwise so that you create a cutout so you can turn one 2x4 upside down and make a X with both 2x4s being flush top to bottom.

NOTE: My cuts were made to the width of the 2x4s I had (Real vs Relative size) MEASURE BEFORE YOU CUT! WE ALL KNOW THAT 2x4s AREN'T REALLY 2"x4" RIGHT? =]

With the 2x4s that I had I cut a groove 1 and 3/8th inches wide and 1 and 1/2 inches deep centered on the board.

I didn't have anything fancy for this, no dado blades or router, I just marked the cuts, and slowly went back and forth on the saw until the measured spot had been cut. I purposely went shallow on my first passes because I didn't want to cut too much, I did this on both boards, frequently checking to see if I needed to cut more. Once I had both boards cut to the right size, I moved on to the next step.

Having cut both boards so that they complete a +, you will need to drill a hole through both of them.
I used a 5/8th flat boring bit and my hand drill (sorry no drill press yet! heh) though both boards at the same time so the hole would match up perfectly. Remember to back the bit out frequently to allow the sawdust and chips to come out of the hole. I've heard stories of people breaking bits, burning wood, and 1 tale of someone lighting the wood on fire. I've never done the last 2, but early on in my shop days as a teenager, I broke a bit or two before I figured out what I was doing wrong. Once you have the hole completely through both boards this step is done, move on to the next.

Step 4: Preparing to Put Together the Reel

Gather all the parts you will need to assemble the reel, this includes:

  • The completed bottom piece
  • The + block assembly
  • 6 5/8ths" bolt and nut
  • 4 5/8ths" washers
  • 2 wrenches to turn the bolts
  • superglue or locktite

Test fit your bolt, washers, and nut together to make sure they all work together. If you are like me, you might already have half or all the parts you need already but had to get the other parts from the store. At any rate, make sure they all work together before you try and assemble anything with them. (and yes I've attempted to assemble something before to find I had the wrong size washers, had to stop and goto to the store to get the right sized ones.)

Step 5: Insert Tab a Into Slot B

Sorry I couldn't resist =]

Take the bolt, put the washer on and thread it through the + assembly. It should cleanly go in and all the way through the assembly, if it doesn't make sure the hole is completely drilled through and try again.

Turn over the assembly so that the bolt is sticking out and take 2 of the washers and thread them onto the bolt. I used 2 washers because I didn't want the bolts to spin against the wood, I wanted it to spin washer to washer.

Step 6: Attach Base

In this step you take both the +assembly and the bottom assembly and attach them together with the bolt.

Put your last washer on the bolt head and attach the nut, using your wrenches tighten the bolt until its snug and test to see how hard it is to turn the assembly, if it doesn't spin easily, loosen the nut a little and try again. When your satisfied with the turning and it isn't too loose or wobbly apply a little bit of locktite or superglue on the end of the bolt head and let it sit for 5-10 minute so the glue can dry. After the glue has dried test to make sure it still spins freely, if not repeat the steps above until you get the assembly turning easily.

Step 7: Make the Arms

In this step you will be making the arms that hold the hose on the reel.

Using the 1"x2" board you will need to make a series of cuts, start off by:

Cutting 2 8" long pieces.
Cutting 8 2" long pieces.

Once you have the pieces cut, take 1 of the 8" long pieces and 2 of the 2" long pieces and position the 2" piece on the ends of the 8" long section and nail them together.

You should have 4 complete arm assembly pieces finished and ready for the next step. I used a little sandpaper on the ends so that there weren't any splinters sticking out that would stab me in the future when I used it =]

Step 8: Attach the Arms

In this step you will need to find the center of the arm and attach it to the + assembly. As long as you are consistent with every arm, It won't matter too much as long as you dont go put the arms below the depth of the mounting board on the base assembly. If you did everything correctly it should have almost 1/8th to 1/4th of an inch gap between the finished arms and the bottom of the base. If there isn't enough room and your arms stick out too far, you can fix this by adding another washer between the + assembly and the base.

However this will only work until you run out of thread on the bolt. If you go too far and still don't have enough thread space, your options are move to an 8" bolt and trim the excess so that it fits in the base or remove the arms and try re-centering them again.

Step 9: Using the Reel

Before using the reel I added a screw to one of the arms, this is just a little bit wider than the hose, so that the male connector gets trapped and allows you to hand turn the assembly winding up the hose. When you have it fully wound, unhook the hose and plug it into your compressor. I have my reel sitting right next to the compressor so it makes it very easy to use. Just remember to unplug both ends before your wind or unwind the hose. =]

I mounted the base to the inside leg of my workbench with 2 1 and 1/2 inch screws.

This was my first instructable, I know it's very rough but I hope you find it useful!



Wood Contest 2016

Participated in the
Wood Contest 2016