If your small air compressor isn't enough to power your impact driver or other compressor attachments, you don't have to spend a small fortune on a newer and bigger setup. With these simple instructions, I'll show you how to add a larger capacity air receiver tank onto your existing compressor without any welding or tooling.
Here's a video to provide a little education on how air receiver tanks work. It's a little promotional but it has a lot of great information regarding the purpose of these tanks and how they contain so much pressure. It's about a minute long so it won't take too much of your time!
Step 1: Purchase the Required Parts
You don't need much to complete this task. One trip to Home Depot, Harbor Freight, or other hardware shop will provide you with everything needed for the project. Here are the compressor fittings you'll need to purchase:
- Portable air receiver tank with a capacity higher than that of your air compressor (i.e. Air compressor @ 100 psi will require portable air compressor tank @ 125 psi)
- 1/2" to 3/8" female NPT brass coupler
- 3/8" to 1/4" female NPT brass coupler
- 1/4" NPT brass tee
- New air compressor hose (preferably coiled for neatness)
- RTV silicone adhesive
Step 2: Drain Your Compressor
First thing you'll need to do before starting to assemble your add-on tank is to release all the air and drain any condensation from your original air compressor. You should do this after each time you use your compressor anyway to avoid rot and air compressor explosions!
Step 3: Remove the Safety Valve & Install the Tee
So now we'll dive into the dirty work.
Using an adjustable wrench, remove the safety valve from your air compressor. The type we use in the example is a pancake air compressor. You'll find the location of the safety valve pictured in the image above.
Once the safety is removed, prepare your brass tee with RTV silicone adhesive around the threads of the male side (see picture). Then, using an adjustable wrench or crescent wrench, install the tee into the spot where you removed the safety valve.
Next, clean any residue from the threaded end of the safety valve and prepare with RTV silicone adhesive. Install the safety valve into the top, female end of the brass tee.
Finally, attach the new air compressor hose to the bottom, female side of the brass tee. (Adhesive not necessary)
Make sure all pieces you install are nice and tight but DON'T OVER-TIGHTEN.
Step 4: Prepping the New Air Tank
Once you've completed the conversion of your old air compressor, it's time to start tweaking the new one.
- Step one when working on the new air receiver tank will be to remove the entire assembly from the top of the tank. You can keep the hose as an extra but we won't be using any of these pieces in this install.
- Next, we'll attach the couplers to the point where you removed the top assembly.
- Apply RTV adhesive to the male threads of your 1/2" to 3/8" coupler. Using an impact driver or brute strength and a wrench of your choice, install the coupler into the top of the tank. You'll want about 80 ft/lbs of torque on that coupler because of the immense amount of pressure that tank will contain.
- Then, apply adhesive to the 3/8" to 1/4" reducer and screw into the couple you had just installed.
- Finally, take the other end of your new air compressor hose and attach it to the reducer you just added to the new receiver tank.
Step 5: Filling the New Tank With Air
As stated earlier, we're using a pancake air compressor with an open/close dial located on the front of the machine.
- Turn this dial to the "Closed" position. Your air compressor will now close off air to your hose but will allow air to pass through the brass tee you installed and into the new air receiver tank.
- Once the dial is closed, turn on your machine. You'll notice the gauges all still function normally and adding the new tank should not have affected their performance.
- Take notice of the air pressure gauge and fill your new tank up to 100 psi (given you followed our instructions word for word and worked with the same capacity equipment as we did).
- When the tank reaches your desired capacity, turn off the compressor and turn your dial back to the open position.
Step 6: Congratulations!
Voilà! You've just completed your air compressor add-on/conversion! I hope you'll find your new toy effective and impressive! In just a few simple steps and a minimal amount of air compressor parts, you've turned a weak, little air compressor into one worthy of impact tools and industrial paint sprayers!