Fridge Parts Make Air Compressor That’s Easy on the Ears

Compressed air is great to have around the shop. The trouble is, most affordable compressors are somewhere between “wake the dead” and “the reason Pete Townshend is deaf” on the decibel scale. But with a little ingenuity and a willingness to compromise on performance, you might find this ultra-quiet, ultra-cheap air compressor a welcome way to keep the peace in your shop.

Yes, this compressor under-performs even a Harbor Freight pancake compressor which can be had for $60 and is ready to work right out of the box. In fact, [Eric Strebel]’s design sort of requires you to buy an air tank, and the easiest way to do that might be just to buy the compressor in the first place. But the off the shelf unit won’t run as quietly as this one does, what with a refrigerator compressor swapped in for the original motor and pump. There’s also a silencer on the input side, fashioned from a shaving cream can and some metal wool. The video below shows the build, and the results are impressive, at least from a noise perspective. Whether it suits your shop depends on your application – it certainly won’t run an impact wrench, but it’ll blow chips off your mill or dust out of your computer.

Fridge compressors are a natural starting point for air compressor builds, like this fire extinguisher based design, or this high-pressure tandem compressor. But if you need high flow and don’t care about the racket, try ganging four HF compressors in parallel.

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Paintball gun silencer


In paintball, the element of surprise can make the difference between victory and defeat. While we can’t help you with the sounds of labored breathing and shuffling feet as you waddle across the field, we did find this guide on how to make a silencer for your paintball gun.

To build this you will need two lengths of PVC pipe, one slightly larger in diameter than the barrel of the gun, the other about 1″ beyond that. You will also need PVC reducers that fit the pipes, cotton balls, and various cutting and finishing tools. Cut the stopper tab from the smaller pipe and put into a reducer, hammering the reducer into place. Cut the pipe about 1″ away from the reducer, being careful to make the cut as even (perpendicular to the length of the pipe) as possible. Now drill six straight lines of ten holes along the pipe with the smallest drill bit possible. Sand down the inside of the pipe by wrapping sandpaper around a cylindrical stick and move the stick in and out of the pipe. Cut the larger pipe so that it is slightly shorter than the smaller pipe. Fit the two pipes together and fill the area between the two with about 20 cotton balls. After that, fit the second reducer to the other end. At this point the silencer is functional, but guide author [MrAngryPants] suggests painting it black.

As the paintball and CO2 are expelled from the gun, the cotton baffles dampen the resulting sound wave.