Pressure Fit

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My bike shop takes up a small amount of room in the corner of my garage. This is to facilitate all the other things I do there. Whether it’s making beer, entertaining guests, or wrenching on bikes, I need space to get that stuff done.

I have wanted to add an air compressor to the shop tool set for a long time. It would greatly ease the installation of tubeless tires, it is far more effective (and easy) than a floor pump, and the pressurized air is very handy for a variety of applications like cleaning off the workbench.

I purchased a 6-gallon Craftsman “pancake” compressor. It runs up to 150 PSI and it runs on 120 volts, so it plugs into any wall outlet. Along with it, I purchased a basic hose reel that retracts the hose automatically. Very handy.

The plan was to mount both of these items in the area above my shop. They would be stowed out of the way, and I could pull the hose down to use it whenever needed. Then I just let go, and it pulls back up and out of sight.

I cleaned out the area in the rafters above my workshop and installed some 3/4″ plywood to place the items on. There was more than enough room. I already had a 120v outlet in the ceiling of my garage, so running power was easy.

Mounting the reel was tricky. Since the joists in my garage’s roof are not level, I needed to devise a way to hold the reel mechanism solidly while allowing it to scroll up and down without binding or catching on anything. The solution ended up being fairly simple, but took time to figure out. 

Once the proper location of the reel was found, I removed the roller assembly from the reel and mounted it directly to the rafters of the garage. This placed it directly above my work area and within easy reach for use in the shop. The hose retracted nicely into the reel and made the entire process simple and efficient.

Placement of the compressor, while easy to figure out, needed some problem solving. Compressors, by nature, vibrate when their internal pumps fill the tank. This might prompt the compressor to slowly move towards the edge of the shelf where it could fall on top of a bar patron, possibly seriously injuring them. To prevent this, I used scrap wood to build a trough around the compressor’s feet, keeping it from moving. 

Overall, the project was completed easily and with little effort.

This new addition to the shop is going to come in very handy. For the amount of benefit it will bring, it cost relatively little and was completed in less than a day. 

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