Hydrovane compressor.


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Hi,

A few years ago I saw an Hydrovane compressor for sale on Gumtree; Bron and I had a trip out to collect it; the seller ran it for me and all appeared well?

Back home in the workshop I ran this compressor for a longer period of time and was somewhat annoyed to see the pressure gauge go into the red so it was unsafe relying on a safety cut out to prevent it exploding.

I spent hours browsing the web and YouTube looking for information but couldn't find any so once again I was on my own to sort the problem out; fortunately the compressor was supplied with its service manual listing how to resolve problems. The "unloader valve" looked the problem so out with the tools.

I completely stripped the compressor allowing everything to be checked including vane end float which is critical and special shims are available to get this just right but first the unloader valve needed sorting out. I could have spent a fortune on correct gaskets and seals and a new unloader valve wouldn't be cheap but I was taught by highly skilled engineers to make machine parts so I turned the new part from Meehanite to very fine tolerances in my engineering lathe; a new "O" ring was added.

Upon reassembly I needed new shims so looking around for suitable material I ended up using kitchen foil.

All this work took a lot of time because of the accuracy needed otherwise the compressor would have been rendered scrap.

Once reassembled and correct compressor vane oil added at last after running it for over an hour the pressure remained in the safe area of the gauge so job well done.

I was and still am a member of the biggest machine forum in the world and on this forum I wasn't happy to be downright insulted by a forum member more of less telling me to get off the forum because I only had a home workshop and I shouldn't be seeking information as to how this Hydrovane needed repairing; the machine forum now has comprehensive repair information covering this Hydrovane. When I joined the machine forum I hadn't realized every member had to be an expert on everything; I thought forums were there to help everyone; I've also come across this attitude on two more forums where members are very quick to criticize whilst not sticking their own head above the parapet to show how expert they are by posting their own work.

Anyway home workshop top score biggest machine forum in the world zero score; I don't have all the modern electronic machinery but I do have the skills to run a lathe at home to a tenth of a thou which is near enough for my needs; I could get sizes bang on by "lapping" if required.

With the Hydrovane running I used it in anger whilst chiselling out old mortar then repointing with a lime mortar. One problem I didn't expect was the large amount of moisture this Hydrovane put out rendering it useless for paint spraying unless it was fitted with a big filter; it was a brilliant compressor though and vented to the atmosphere would maintain 75 psi.

Because of the moisture problem I sold the Hydrovane breaking even on cost and I had gained a lot of experience whilst owning it.

I thought I'd add this because so many machines get scrapped when all they need is a bit of TLC but as I say I was taught to make things being an old fashioned engineer and not a fitter. I hope this is of interest.

Kind regards, Colin.

Hydrovane._001.JPG
Hydrovane._002.JPG

The unloader valve removed.

Hydrovane._003.JPG

The original gasket (shim) these being critical as to thickness; kitchen foil proved perfect and to make the gasket I used the old fashioned way of placing the material against the face and tapping around with a small spanner; the material must not be allowed to move and this method always ensures a perfectly fitting gasket.

Hydrovane._004.JPG

The van blades kept in their correct slot with a length of string.

Hydrovane._005.JPG

The unloader valve body.

Hydrovane._006.JPG

The unloader valve with its new home turned valve guide and new "O" ring installed.

Hydrovane._007.JPG
Hydrovane._008.JPG

The new unloader valve guide on the right being modified to give more bearing surface; this was turned to very fine tolerances.

Hydrovane._009.JPG

The new valve guide bore being machine reamed; a smaller diameter hole was drilled then the reamer was run through removing a small amount of metal to clean the bore and bring the bore to perfect diameter. This work can be cxarried oit with a boring bar if a reamer is not available.

Hydrovane._010.JPG


The unloader valve guide being turned.
 
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Brilliant post as usual! I would think that machine would havehmade an excellent sandblaster for someone. I remember a post where you rewound some electrical motor windings, and used the length of wire to establish the power of the motor. I carry that knowledge with me to this day. How many electric motors do we homeowners toss, when such a simple thing could save use money?

And tinfoil as a shim? I have several machines such as chippers and tillers that use end play shimming. I am sure I have others I have not yet had to repair. It is these small and seemingly insignificant bits of experience that you share that come back to me when I am in the middle of breaking down equipment for repair. I enjoy your detailed posts very much, and find the few electrons used as a space to store them to be some of the most valuable electrons of all.
 
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Hi,

How kind of you DM I feel truly humbled by your comments; thank you. :)

Yes the Hydrovane would indeed been perfect for sand blasting; I tend to buy machines I needed rather than machines I need? Bron kindly bought me a brand new soda blaster one Christmas and to power it I sold my 2hp compressor and bought a new twin cylinder 3hp compressor; I only used the blaster once because the compressor drove me mad it could be heard running for miles around and it was useless unable to supply sufficient air volume; the Hydrovane bought after this would indeed have been perfect. I used the blaster to remove old paint from the scrap Lorch Lathe. Its worth mentioning the Hydrovane was incredibly quiet and could be run in the workshop without ear defenders being worn.

I lose track of threads I've added over the years but can say I only state what I know works for me; I've often said I'm no one special and I hope I don't come across as a know it all because boy have I made many mistakes and am still making mistakes but learning all the time. I enjoy passing on my experiences both good and bad; I add bad experiences too in order to show novices no one knows it all. Regarding electrical projects I post about I'm definitely no electrician so I have to be careful not wanting anyone to follow what I do and end up being electrocuted; I've done some very unusual projects just for the fun of doing them.

I've been around machinery for over 55 years so it's only normal that I've picked up lots of tips and tricks during this amount of time and as you say DM many of the tips I'm happy to pass on are tips that are sadly dying as the older generations pass away; I'm pleased you appreciate the information though and find it of use. I'll keep posting my stories because I've got thousands of images I've taken of projects during work in progress.

Kind regards, Colin.

Lorch_001.JPG

Using the soda blaster on our driveway but not with soda I used hard blasting medium. It proved to be an horrible noisy job and done in freezing conditions with a biting wind.

Lorch_002.JPG


This though made it all worthwhile; my scrap Lorch Schmidt engineering lathe which is incredibly rare and possibly worth quite a bit of money. I've rambled on enough so now time to settle down to some quality time with Bron before bedtime.
 
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The other forum may not appreciate your input Colin but I can say you are appreciated here for sure. Your attention to detail has made me stop on more than one occasion and wonder if my project would pass your muster. That usually prevents me from taking short cuts.

Now, on to moisture - the plague of spray painting. When I lived in Florida the humidity was unbearable so of course it found its way to the intake of my compressor. Since most of my painting was on antique cars and some of the paint was upward of $400 US per gallon, there was no room for error. I used a 6 hp Craftsman oilless compressor with a 60 gallon tank and one in-line dryer. After two botched paint jobs I went totally overboard with my system. I came out of the 60 gallon tank and went through a glass type moisture collector. I then went into a 40 gallon air pig and out to another moisture collector. After that I ran the line to a filter that used a roll of toilet paper for the final cleaner. I then used a quality regulator but can’t remember the name. I had very good results after this. I guess I could have bought a commercial dryer, but where is the fun in that’s? :)
 
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Hi,

Many thanks Doug for your appreciation; it's kind of you. :)

I think sometimes I'm my own worst enemy because if things don't go as planned I'll start over again from scratch and this applies to everything I do; if I'm sweeping the workshop floor I have to remove the debris from all the corners or it bugs me; when I use my Lorch lathe the first thing I do is give it a drink of lubricating oil; I'm tidy because being tidy was beaten into me as an apprentice in the pit of all places; in the pit workshops there was a place for everything and even down the deep coal mine amongst all the dust I had to be clean and tidy because of exposed machine parts like gears and bearings. I remember one day in the workshops having been cheeky to one of the engineers the engineer sure let me know about it then he handed me a grease gun and asked me to pump grease into a conveyor drive roller bearings the bearings being new and I had to fill the bearings or I'd be in more trouble; I was only 15 years old at the time and I squeezed as hard as I possibly could pumping the grease into the two bearings thinking I'd done a good job; when the engineer (Geoff) tried to turn the roller the roller was seized solid because of the pressure of grease locking the bearings; after being roughed up once again I had to remove each grease nipple and I was told in no uncertain terms not to stand in front of the nipples; as I used a spanner to unscrew the first nipple it must have been about half out when suddenly in a blink it disappeared followed by a trail of grease; the nipple and grease hit the workshop door some distance away; I wasn't hurt but the engineer was laughing his head off; many times if I had been answering back I would be suddenly grabbed and thrust head first into the 45 gallon water butt by the side of the blacksmiths forge; in spite of this rough treatment the engineers were all top class guys who when not roughing me up looked after me and I knew they held my life in their hands; I wonder what the health and safety lot would think of such practices these days but because of these engineers and the way they taught me I've never felt unsafe around huge machines.

You sure went over the top Doug with your compressor filtration but eventually got dry air you needed for your spraying; I'm surprised the air found its way to the spray gun; what type of spray gun did you use; was it low pressure high volume? I've used lots of spray guns over the years the high pressure low volume being the worst blowing overspray everywhere losing lots of the paint; I've mostly sprayed cellulose thinned 50/50 with anti bloom thinners. The air coming directly out of my Hydrovane was more like a water cannon and I sold the compressor because I didn't want to go through as you describe to dry the air.

Would you believe for home workshop use a "Sprayit" spray outfit made by Burgess is just brilliant but unfortunately hasn't been available for many years; the last time I used one of these very cheap spray outfits was to spray my VW split screen camper in cellulose; it did a lovely job and the sprayer wasn't mine it belonged to my cousins husband.

I often wanted one of these small Sprayit spray outfits and one day found one on eBay; it didn't have any bids on it but had a starting price of 99p and lots of interest was being shown; I wanted it so offered £100 cash if I could "buy it now" the seller declined the offer saying because of the interest being shown and my bid of £100 he would let the auction run; I had offered around five times its value so I pulled away; about a couple of weeks later out of curiosity I found the sprayer hadn't sold even at the 99p which cheered me up thinking it served the seller right for being greedy; it was now relisted on eBay at 99p with a couple of low bids on it so I waited until the last few seconds of auction end and put a £25 bid on it; I got it for £20.:D Not having sold the sprayer the first time the seller had the cheek to email me saying he would accept my £100 offer but now it was me who politely declined. What a result though in the end to get it for £20 which after all is about it's correct value.

It was a glorious summers day as Bron and I drove over the Cheshire to collect the sprayer and I'll never forget the look of gloom on the sellers face as I handed him the £20. I've still got this spray outfit and I'll try to remember to take a picture next time I'm in the workshop then post it.

Keep up the good work DM & Doug and thanks again for your kind encouragement.

I've rambled on enough and dinner's almost ready. :)

Kind regards, Colin.

I've now popped into the workshop and taken a few pictures.

Workshop_001.JPG

How I like my workshop; everything in its place and bench tops clear ready for my next project.

Workshop_002.JPG

My Sprayit in its original box.

Workshop_003.JPG


These are incredible spray outfits; I've not run it for ages but having just plugged it in and switched it on it's amazing to put my hand near the hose end in the air flow and not detect moisture. It's a diaphragm compressor and must now be well over 40 years old still in excellent condition. With a bit of practice a lovely spray job can be done using one of these; it's highly portable; uses little power and is reasonably quiet.

upload_2019-2-19_14-7-20.png


Over 40 years ago I owned one of the VW split screen camper vans shown above; I used a Sprayit to completely spray mine in red cellulose; spraying it was surprisingly quick and enjoyable.
 
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Lui

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Hi, very impressive work. I have the same compressor which is having issues with oil being pushed out the front when switched off. I've researched and seems the underloader valve can cause this but there's not much information out there that I can find online. I really don't want to throw it away and more than capable of repairing if I could determine what's causing the problem. Did you mention you had the workshop manual for this compressor? I would really appreciate it if you wouldn't mind sharing it. Many thanks in advance.
 
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Admittedly, when I see original posts of this length, I tend to shy away from reading them. But something had drawn to me this one, and so I read it.

With a machining history, I am SO happy you were able to repair the compressor that needed 1) a desire to fix and 2) simple machines to do so. Naturally, a home shop can only sustain smaller machines due to electrical supply/voltage and weight/size of commercial lathes, mills, etc...Avoid letting those commercial machinist websites depress you.

Good for you! I was REALLY happy to hear a machinist (or someone with machining skills) is repairing something. Here in North America, CNC's have pretty much put most machinists out of work.
 
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Hi,

Thanks for your compliment and for asking Lui; unfortunately I can't let you have a copy of the Hydrovane manual because when I sold the Hydrovane I let the manual go with it; however the good news is I can help with a link to where you can buy the manual cheaply and I hope this helps; good luck but please be aware these Hydrovanes are not easy to work on and perhaps is the reason my Hydrovane repair is most likely the only one to be found?.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/123732669318?hash=item1ccf0ab386:g:8ycAAOSwLSZb5uIn

Many thanks for your kind words AC Power; long posts can indeed be hard work but I'm forever adding long posts whilst doing my best to fully describe my endeavours trying not to leave any small detail out because it's so easy to forget I was a complete novice in the dark ages and I mean dark; up to the age of five my parents cottage didn't have electricty.

So many home workshops these days have embraced electronics but my old fashioned machines without electronics still do the same work if only slower but demand skill. I did fully rebuild my Graduate woodturning lathe and Lorch Schmidt engineering lathes converting them to 3 phase via a VFD; the Lorch was difficult to use because of the flat leather belts which kept slipping now the Lorch is Poly V Drive and both lathes much modified having a 1.5hp motor each. I do metal spinning on my Graduate.

Watching YouTube videos of American workshops isn't the way to knock a nail in is to fire up a huge compressor and use equally huge nail gun? Here in the UK land is very expensive indeed hence home workshops tend to be small often like mine a converted garage; I've also noticed over the years the decline in new machinery quality; it now costs a fortune to buy cast iron machinery and the new smaller tinny machines are covered in safety labels. I've rebuilt many old cast iron machines over the years just for the cost of drive belts and bearings plus a lick of paint but I think I've done enough of these restorations; now I'm happy to play with my violins for a change. CNC machines are obviolusly the way to go for production runs; when these machines came in the night shift at work just fed the machines but if anything needed adjusting the setter could do this from his home address; I don't knock CNC at all but it's nice to be a dinosaur at times using old skills I learned the hard way through a proper apprenticeship. These days my eysight isn't as good so it's now difficult to work to tight tolerances.

Kind regards, Colin.
 

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