Having compressed air available in a workshop can be extremely useful. Having a compressor isn’t such a pleasure though, because unless it’s a very expensive model, it will be one of the noisier devices you own. Other than putting your compressor outside, is there a solution to the noisy side of having an air line? [Dominik Meffert] may have found one for his CNC plasma cutter in the shape of a rack of much quieter fridge compressors arranged in parallel with an air tank.
Of course, there’s nothing new about using a fridge compressor in the workshop. Indeed, such units are even commercially available as compressors for low-capacity tasks such as airbrushing. But we’ve never seen so many at once. It’s not entirely apparent how he’s handling the replacement of any lubricating oil that’s being caught in his filters, and we hope the refrigerant was disposed of safely, but we can see he’s on to something.
Golf is a sport that has always enjoyed a good gadget or eight. Whether it’s something to measure the wind, or the latest putter guaranteed to save your game, golf enthusiasts have always flocked to such toys. [Nick O’Hara] has something that might just be a little too exciting for the golf set, though, in the form of his golf club launcher.
The golf club launcher essentially takes the role of a normal golf bag, with a rotating magazine containing all the necessary clubs for a day out on the green. The magazine is rotated into position on request, and the required club is launched out towards the player thanks to a pneumatic cylinder fired at 120 psi. A compressor in the base keeps the system charged with air for repeated launches.
The launcher even has a voice assistant built in. Telling the caddy the distance to the hole, and variables like wind and elevation, allows the device to select the right club for the conditions before blasting it towards the player.
When you’ve gone to the trouble of building your own backyard railway, chances are pretty good that at some point, you’re going to want to add a locomotive of some sort. After all, nobody wants to be stuck using muscle power to move carts around. But what exactly are you going to power your locomotive with? And will it be up to the tasks you envision it handling?
Answering such questions calls for rigorous calculations using established engineering principles — or, if you’re [Tim] from the Way Out West channel on YouTube, just throwing a pneumatic engine on wheels and seeing what happens. The railway that [Tim] built is for his farm in County Cork, where he plans to use it to haul wood that he’ll make charcoal from. We’ve seen a little about his rails and rolling stock before, which has been a low-budget and delightfully homebrewed undertaking. So too with his pneumatic engine, seen in the video below, which uses cam-operated valves to control a pair of repurposed hydraulic cylinders to turn a big flywheel.
Using scuba tanks, [Tim] was able to power the engine for a full fourteen minutes — very encouraging. But would the engine have the oomph needed for real farm work? To answer that, [Tim] plunked the engine on a spare bogie, connected the engine shaft to one of the axles with a length of rope, and let it go. Even with no optimization and zero mechanical advantage, the engine was easily able to move a heavy load of sleepers. The makeshift pneumatic railway even managed to carry its first passenger, [Tim]’s very trusting wife [Sandra].
There’s clearly more work to do here, and many problems to overcome. But we really appreciate the “just try it” approach [Tim] employed here, and with a lot of what he does.
[Ian Charnas] has taken a short break from building things that might injure himself, by building something that could injure somebody else instead. (Video, embedded below) Well, hopefully not anyway. After working with YouTuber [Tyler Csatari] on a few ideas, [Tyler] was insistent on getting some power-assisted jumping shoes, so [Ian] set to work mounting some compressed-air powered pistons to a pair of walking shoes. With a large backpack housing the 200 PSI air cylinder, control valves and timers. The whole affair looks solidly constructed, if a little ungainly, but does seem to work surprisingly well.
After some initial calculations of how much force each piston could exert before risking leg injury, he found that whilst it did work, to an extent, the pressure required was beyond the capability of the compressor they had on hand. After a shopping trip, a bigger compressor was located, but that still needed a modification to get anywhere near its maximum 200 psi rating. The thing is, that modification was to bypass the regulator and the safety valve, and this is definitely something you don’t want to be making a habit of. Compressed air systems like this can hold quite a bit of an explosion potential if pushed beyond reasonable limits, and care needs to be taken to keep things within safe bounds.
Cost-wise, [Ian] does mention a figure of around $3,000 USD making it a bit of a pricey project, but hey a YouTuber’s paying the bill, so it must just be a drop in the ocean for them?
We have certainly all had our moments with solder paste. Some of us hate it; it’s sticky and gooey, and it gets everywhere. That is, unless you have a solder paste dispenser. The trouble with these is that they typically require the use of an air compressor, which can be cumbersome to haul around in certain situations. If you need a solder paste dispenser that fits conveniently where air compressors won’t, take a look at this small one from [Nuri Engineer] called the solderocket.
This design foregoes the traditional compressor in favor of pressurized carbon dioxide canisters. These are common enough and used for things like rapidly inflating bicycle tires, but for this more delicate procedure the pressurized gas needs to be handled more daintily. A rotary knob is attached to the canister to regulate pressure, and a second knob attached to a microcontroller adjusts the amount of time the air pressure is applied to the solder paste. With this small compact setup, any type of paste can be delivered to a PCB without needing to use messy stencils or needing larger hardware like a compressor.
This could be just the tool that you need if you regularly work with surface-mount components. Of course there are other methods of dispensing solder paste that don’t require any compressed gas of any kind, but as long as something is around that gets the job done, we can’t really argue with either method.
The rig is built around an earlier build from [Engineering After Hours], a skid-steer RC chassis that is nice and tough to handle rough and tumble driving. It’s paired with a trailer attached to the center of rotation of the chassis that makes the pair highly maneuverable.
In order to launch rockets, an air tank on the trailer is hooked up to some piping to launch four Nerf rockets. Charged up to just 40 psi, it’s capable of launching the rounds with plenty of power for play purposes. Paired with a elevation control and a servo to trigger the firing valve, it’s a complete system that can shoot on the go.
It’s a fun build that packs a punch, even if it doesn’t quite have the accuracy or range you might desire in an all-conquering Nerf combat platform. We’d love to see a similar build hooked up to some AI smarts to stalk targets independently of human control. Video after the break.
One of the tricky parts of engineering in the physical world is making machines work with the available resources and manufacturing technologies. [Tom Stanton] has designed and made a couple of air-powered 3D printed engines but always struggled with the problem of air leaking past the 3D-printed pistons. Instead of trying to make an air-tight piston, he added a rubber membrane and a clever valve system to create a diaphragm air engine.
A round rubber diaphragm with a hole in the center creates a seal with the piston at the top of its stroke. A brass sleeve and pin protrude through the diaphragm, and the sleeve seals create a plug with an o-ring, while the pin pushes open a ball which acts as the inlet valve to pressurize an intermediate chamber. As the piston retracts, the ball closes the inlet valve, the outlet valve of the intermediate chamber is opened, forcing the diaphragm to push against the piston. The seal between the piston and diaphragm holds until the piston reaches its bottom position, where the pressurized air is vented past the piston and out through the gearbox. For full details see the video after the break.
It took a few iterations to get the engine to run. The volume of the intermediate chamber had to increase and [Tom] had to try a few different combinations of the sleeve and pin lengths to get the inlet timing right. Since he wanted to use the motor on a plane, he compared the thrust of the latest design with that of the previous version. The latest design improved efficiency by 366%. We look forward to seeing it fly! Continue reading “Diaphragm Air Engine”→