[Vwdiesel] Propane Tanks and Shop Air

Val Christian val at swamps.roc.ny.us
Sun Apr 17 07:51:19 EDT 2005

Mentioning a propane tank last night reminded me of a discussion
a couple of weeks ago, with one of my friends who races cars.
I was telling him about an accident at the airport where someone
filled a freon tank (with air chuck/gauge adapter) to 175#. 
The tank was rusty, and thin, and blew, taking part of his 
fingers.  After that accident, I started buying Blitz air tanks
(5 gal for $12, 7 gal for $14 here), and retired all of my Freon

We then talked about plasma cutters, and I was asking him how he
handled the air load.  He has a large 50's vintage compressor, with
a 65 gallon tank, so I expected a no-sweat answer.  What I got was 
a little different.

He bought a 100 #  propane tank ($80), and plumbed it with a quick
disconnect.  He then attaches it to his air system, out in the shop.
(His compressor, like mine, sits in a warm dry basement.)  The extra
tank acts as a big capacitor close to the load.  

There's some risk with all of this.  Once or twice a year, he inverts
the 100 # tank, and blasts the moisture out.  Also, his compressor 
will run to 180#, so he tweaked things down, and put a relief valve 
for 150# on the tank.

We also compared dryer strategy.  Similar approaches.  A dryer 
coming out of the tank at the compressor, after entering the shop,
and a final one near the air usage.

Now here's the gem...when he goes to the track, he just disconnects
the 100 pound tank, throws it into the truck, and takes selected 
air tools.  Said that he can change about 5 tires with one tank.

The final beauty is that once they had an overnight, and couldn't 
find someone with a full sized compressor who would let them mooch
a tank of air.  So they connected a little 12volt compressor and 
let it run for a long time.


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