Sometimes the right tool can make all the difference when working on an arcade game restoration project. For me it was a good air compressor to run my shop tools. I have a sand blasting cabinet and painting equipment that both require a stable air supply and while I’ve been getting by with a little 13 gallon portable tank, it was really time for an upgrade. I wanted something with plenty of capacity, and good PSI, which meant an upright compressor. Those big compressors can be pricey, $1k or more, which was more than I could afford to spend. I needed to find a good balance between price and performance. I sold off some projects to generate cash, did my research and then patiently waited for a sale. Thanks to a tip from Troy (takeman), this is what I ended up with.
An 80 gallon, single stage air compressor by Industrial Air, from Farm and Fleet. Industrial Air is just a store brand made by a well known major manufacturer, so I was happy. I opened up a store account and got an additional 10% off the sale price and several months interest free. Out the door this was just under $700, a good price. For another $20 I rented a uhaul trailer and took the 450lb monster home.
The guys at Farm and Fleet used a fork lift to put the compressor in the trailer, how exactly would I get it out? Well, I removed the annoying chains that keep the trailer gate from opening all the way and then I used my trusty plywood ramp. I made this specifically for uhaul trailers and it has made moving games in and out a lot easier. It works for compressors too. Surprisingly I was able to simply slide the whole skid down the ramp to the driveway without too much effort. I then slowly dragged the whole skid into the back room of my garage where it would be permanently mounted.
With the compressor parked in the garage, it was time to sketch out a rough layout and buy pipe and fittings. People tend to forget that besides the compressor you’ll need lots of black pipe, fittings, filters, regulators, flexible hose, shut off valves, etc. You will easily add a couple hundred bucks of cost on top of the price of the unit itself. Next time I’ll discuss the layout and installation.