Experiments With An Air Compressor After An Unplanned Break

Regular readers may have noticed there was no post last week. With a small child, life sometimes gets in the way and I simply ran out of steam! Thankfully, I’ve recuperated and recharged so will be back to regular weekly updates whenever possible.

This week, I bought a second-hand air compressor with the intent of getting started on prepping Erica’s fairings.

The seller mentioned that he didn’t know the brand, thought it might have been home-made, and didn’t know any of its specifications.As it was only $50, I decided to take a chance on it anyway.

It came with an accessory kit the previous owner had bought.

I stopped by my local Bunnings hardware store on the way home to get a couple more tools and a cleaning kit to go with it. I also had the customary sausage on bread with onions on my way in.

Closer inspection once I got it home revealed that at the very least, the pump used was a Clisby brand one made in South Australia, with a delivery rate of 3 cu ft/min (around 85 L/min in modern SI measurements).

CIisby Engineering are still going strong but I couldn’t find any info about my compressor on their website.I tested it by pumping up some car tyres and discovered a leak at the bottom where the recoil hose was attached under the pressure gauge.

I found an online “click and collect” deal at Supercheap Auto that offered a sandblasting gun and 10 kg of garnet sand blasting media for less than the normal price of the sandblasting gun alone, so of course I took the deal!

Rather than trying to troubleshoot the leak, I opted to replace the hose entirely, so it was off to the hardware store again! I decided to get a connector and accessory pack that included a hose, and picked up some safety goggles and dust masks while I was at it.

To sort the leak out, I started by removing  the old recoil hose and adaptors from the compressor.

The new hose had male connectors on both ends while the old one had a female connector on one end, so  I was glad to have the extra connectors!

 

I decided to put a quick connect plug on the tank in case the recoil hose ever needs replacing again.

I opted for quick connect sockets on both ends of the recoil hose.

I fitted a quick connect plug to the tyre inflator.

I had a few options when assembling the air gun. As I already had a tyre inflator with a built-in pressure gauge, I opted for a classic configuration.

While I knew the compressor was probably a little underpowered for the garnet sand in the sandblaster gun, I decided to test it out anyway. As it didn’t come with a quick connect plug, I fitted one to it too.

Before the assembly, I set up a small work area with some cardboard and scrap pieces of an old flat-pack shelf.

I decided to test on and old spare rear seat cowl originally from Scarlet. One side was taped to mask it before blasting.

 

The garnet sand medium was quite coarse, so the results were rather unimpressive.
I had expected as much, as the operating pressure for the sandblaster gun with its normal sand medium is 90 PSI. I discovered while using it that the safety cut-out switch on the compressor kicks in at about 95-100 PSI, so it was hard to build up enough pressure for effective sandblasting. I had to release the tank pressure a few times in order to reset the safety switch, so it was very slow going.

Done for the day, I packed away the remaining spare parts in a drawer of my “fiddly bits” storage box and gathered the leftover used garnet sand together for quick clean-up the next day.

The next day I decided to test further with bicarb soda, as the lighter medium wouldn’t need as much pressure. I masked the opposite side of the panel for the test run.

It just so happened that Aldi had 1 kg boxes of cleaning bicarb this week, so I bought a couple.

After filling the sandblaster with soda, I gave it a test run. Due to the sandblaster being gravity-fed, I had to stop and refill the sandblaster at least twice and ended up going through the whole box of soda, but didn’t trip the safety cut-out at all. I even folded up the cardboard floor and re-used the bicarb for another round. Although it was less effective at removing the decals, the result on the paint was noticeably better for less effort.

The left side was sand blasted, and the right was soda blasted.

I put the leftover bicarb back in the box and wrote USED on it in big letters

I have some side panels on order for Sylvie, so next week’s update will probably be short and sweet.

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