Air Compressor Cart




After completed the workbench, I started to focus on a couple of projects in my mind that could make my life easier. Now it’s time to put my thought together.

I have a Porter Cable pancake air compressor that works great for the trim work as well as framing work. The drawback was, it’s heavy, and I don’t like to carry it going up & down stairs or even around the room when I am doing trim work. I would also like to tackle the air hose issue at the same time, without a reel, the hose just end up tangled and laying all over the place, and it’s a mess to clean up as well.

If I work in a small room, it doesn’t make sense to set up the multi functional workbench, so I would like to have something small but serve the purpose of a workable.

This instructable will cover the compressor cart.

Just realized that my cart looked just like someone's published metal compressor cart, it's a great cart and the authur did a very nice job! Here is the link:

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Design Concept

In my case, the cart is fairly easy, and workbench is a challenge.

·I wanted to have thefuture work surfaces height at 38”, as it might become my table saw in-feed table someday. So my compressor cart height was very limited to be at least 1/2" shy of 38".

·I like to have a split top again to avoid using sacrificial wood strips underneath the table - one thing less to carry. In that regard, I would like to have two of these tables build, one with compressor, one with some kind of tool boxes so I can use them together.

·I also like to have a shelf under the table that I can put my tools on so that they don't taking up the work surface. In the future, I'd build a miter saw support or integrated router box to fit in between the two, so eventually this will be the portable miter saw station and router station.

Step 2: Materials

The project will be build from scrap I have, ¾” BC plywood, 1x6, and 2x4, and table top would be 1/2” plywood.

I bought 4 HF 10” tires that I will use 2 of them for one cart - $4.00 each with coupon.

2 of the 5/8” hex bolts with washers and nuts - $7.00 total at HD.

Hose reel from Harbor Freight at $14.00 with coupon.

Step 3: Hand Truck / Cart

Start with the base plate. Cut 2 pieces of 1x6 cut and 2 of 2x4 to the dimension, these dimension were based on the parts I had - PC compressor and HF reel, you might have to design yours differently based on your compressor and reel sizes. For me it was 16"x19".

Two notches on the base plate were cut to match 2x4, the trick here was to use an actual 2x4 cut off piece to mark the lay out line instead of using a ruler. Four pieces were then glued and screw together. I used a speed square as a guide to make sure they were square to each other - it’s a good process practice during the build, so the actual work piece usually came out as it’s on the paper.

The vertical pieces of 2x4 were cut to 36”, then glued and screw to the bottom plate. I added two pieces of ¾” plywood as corner brace, so it’s rock solid. The HF tires were 10” diameter with 5/8” arbor holes. I used 5/8”x5” hex bolts as axles. Two holes for the axles were drilled with 5/8" drill bit through plywood and 2x4, and two nuts were jammed together to lock the axle in place.

Trace the footing of the compressor on the bottom plate, and drilled holes to mount compressor onto it. The HF hose reel was then mounted on the cross brace between the 2 of 2x4 vertical pieces. I fit it in proper location, clamped it to the cross member, drilled the ¼” holes through for ¼ 20 bolts and tighten them down.

Step 4: Compressor Cart Completed

I used a piece of salvaged round-over oak stair spindle as the pulling handle, with just two 2 ½” cabinet mounting screws to the 2x4 vertical pieces. Make sure to pre-drill the holes, especially working with hard oak. Then, hooked up the lead hose to compressor, and it’s ready.

And next, making the table top, folding leg and shelving.

4 People Made This Project!


  • Furniture Contest

    Furniture Contest
  • Reuse Contest

    Reuse Contest
  • Hot Glue Speed Challenge

    Hot Glue Speed Challenge

20 Discussions


4 years ago

I am looking for this cart for my air compressor, thanks for sharing


6 years ago on Introduction

Very nice! I would suggest replacing the axle bolts with a length of All Thread to take the stress off the cart and keep the wheels from sagging. Over time that soft pine is going to give out.


6 years ago on Introduction

Here is one I made not too long ago using a hand truck. The only problem with it is that is still difficult to take up and down stairs due to the location of the center of gravity. You definitely want to keep the center of mass as close to the wheel axle as possible.

5 replies

Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

Wouldn't it be possible to put your air tank behind the compressor, thus moving much of the weight closer to the axle? With that design of tank, you may even be able to mount it about where you have the hose wheel mounted, and move the hose wheel mount up higher. At that point, the majority of your weight would be near-center of the hand cart.


Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

I think the motor side is the heavier side on that model (note the location of the original lift handle is towards the back). Also, the hose ports and pressure gauges are on the front and would be obscured or interferred with if flipped backwards. The main thing keeping it from be shifted back is that curved piece of black steel which is part of the original compressor frame. I was reluctant to cut that off, but I may end up doing so.


Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

Yeah, if don't need that curved piece, get rid of it. It looks like it's pushing the unit out further than where it needs to be.

If you move the hose reel/mount up, and keep the green air tank facing the same direction it is now, but mount it in the middle of the handcart, you should still be able to access the inputs and gauges w/o any issues. The only problem would be the connector hose between the compressor and the tank.


Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

Unless you seperate the tank from the compressor and runs some compressed line ( a lot of work) it's dodgy. Just flipping the pancake compressor on the side will cut the compressor's operational life by 75% or more.

Most pancake compressors are oilless and rely on tolerances to reduce friction. Operating them on the side will cause the piston and other parts to rub on the down side causing premature failure.


6 years ago on Introduction

Great idea. I love that the hose is reeled right into the truck.

You guys might want to put some rubber feet or at least felt pads on the bottom.
I could see a newly installed floor getting scratches from grit stuck tot he bottom of the edge of the flat.

1 reply

Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

Thanks for the great suggestion.
The rubber feet on the compressor were still there in my case. I had four extra holes on the compressor brackets that I used for 1/4" 20 bolts. I didn't torque it all the way to bottom out the rubber though.
I also had a piece of soft pine glued under the base to ensure the cart sits level and flat, as I had 3/4" ground clearance at the wheel.

Fantastic! I WILL be making one of these, as my pankcake compressor is in the basement and I HATE carrying it upstairs! Excellent idea!