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converting a 12V tire inflator air compressor to a vacuum pump

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converting a 12V tire inflator air compressor to a vacuum pump

Old 06-03-2007, 02:07 PM
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Default converting a 12V tire inflator air compressor to a vacuum pump

I posted an "instructable" over on instructables.com, showing how to convert an inexpensive 12 volt tire inflator into a vacuum pump. Thought it might be useful for vac bagging small composites.

I got my inflator for $2 at the Goodwill Blue Hanger store, and the parts and glue to convert it cost a very few dollars.

http://www.instructables.com/id/E791HNXF23Z39P6/

The basic trick is just to open up the case, find the air intake on top of the the pump cylinder, and glue a hose barb over it with J.B. Weld.

For my pump, that's the four little holes in the top of the pump cylinder here:

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And here's the "after" picture:

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Then you put a hose over the barb, cut a hole in the case to route it out, and put it all back together:

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Comments & questions very welcome. (Here, or over at instructables.)



Old 06-03-2007, 03:56 PM
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Default RE: converting a 12V tire inflator air compressor to a vacuum pump

Have you used this for any amount of time? 20 years ago I had a leaky tire that I pumped up once a day, the pump gave out after about 2 months.
Old 06-03-2007, 07:12 PM
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Default RE: converting a 12V tire inflator air compressor to a vacuum pump

ORIGINAL: soarrich

Have you used this for any amount of time?
Not really. I've evacuated my 1-cubic foot (7 gallon) vacuum forming tank a number of times, but that's all so far. (I do know that some other people have used tire inflators this way and felt like they got their money's worth, but I don't have details on life expectancy.)

20 years ago I had a leaky tire that I pumped up once a day, the pump gave out after about 2 months.
That doesn't really surprise me. These are cheap little pumps, and getting 60 uses out of a $20 pump doesn't actually seem that bad. My expectation would be that they'd be good for a comparable number of vac-baggings of RC wings or fuses, and not a bad deal at the price. (Especially if you find one for a few dollars as I did, and assuming you use a reservoir and don't run the pump continuously.)

Somebody expecting to vacuum bag a project now and then at the hobbyist level might do well to convert one, especially if they're leery of investing in Real Gear until they've tried it, but somebody expecting to do hundreds of baggings should look for a "real" vacuum pump. (Or at least a heavier-duty compressor to convert.)

Another option is a nebulizer pump. They only pull about 17 inches of mercury (or 8 PSI), but they are heavier-duty and better-made, quieter pumps, and you can find them in thrift stores sometimes for a small fraction of their original price. (I suspect you can also run them continuously without them simply burning up, but I haven't tried it yet and wouldn't want to wear them out uselessly.)

Still another option is a Food Saver, either used roughly like it was designed to be, bagging and sealing a wing in a FoodSaver bag (like Jim Young does), or just using it as a cheap vacuum pump (as I do). (The good ones pull 23 inches of mercury, and they're not very loud.)






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