Air-Compressor Remote Control
The motivation for this project is simple. A 15-gallon oil-free air compressor runs the misting system that cools the mill, among other uses. It's up in the loft I built above my shop to keep it out of the way and to damp the extreme noise it makes. (I should do the same thing with the mill vacuum.) The problem is that there's no way to turn it on or off without dropping the stairs and going up there, which is a nuisance. It's also really easy to forget to turn it off and have the thing start up automatically to recharge in the middle of the night and scare everyone (ok, me, at least) — the loft is on the other side of the bedroom walls.
This project is a simple remote-control that puts the enable switch right next to the other pneumatic controls for the mill. It also includes a really bright light to indicate that the thing is enabled.
The parts. Everything except the gray junction box was left over from AquaDog project or from my stash.
The outlet holes are defined by an arc that no sane person would machine by hand. So, even though it appears overkill to create a CAD model for this, it's definitely worthwhile. And I extended the pattern again to create a four-plug extension cord from a longer remnant of the AquaDog cabling. A short one is in the picture above. It's not actually necessary to cut out the entire hole, as opposed to just the outline, but it was an easier setup.
A test cut of the outlet holes. You can't beat one-inch foam insulation for this: cheaper than dirt and easier to cut than butter. The blue stuff is even better because it's firmer and doesn't have the peel-off plastic covering.
Cutting the real thing. The pen outline wasn't intended to align with the mill exactly, but I eyeballed it quite well.
Putting it together. Yes, I'm working on the floor. All bench space is occupied because I was reorganizing my shop. (I'm not fond of this word because at the same time, my defunct former ISU College of Engineering was being reorganized for the fourth or fifth time in five years, but it's appropriate here.) This opportunity was part of the motivation to install this device that I'd been wanting for a couple years.
All wired up on this end.
And all closed up.
Now the wiring on this end. The "octopus" plays several roles: indicate the tank pressure (white gauge); adjust the pressure to a general-purpose outlet (silver knob), which is usually connected to my air gun; adjust the pressure to the siphon-based cooling mister on the mill (black knob and gauge); and activate the spray (red handle), which has its own regulator here on the far left and a flow adjustment at the other end. The yellow button enables the compressor, which has its own pressure regulator that decides when it needs to run; e.g., in the middle of the night.
The LED is the brightest, most obnoxious one I could find. When I turn out the lights at night, it's obvious if I've left the compressor enabled.
The mister on the mill headstock. It has its own flow adjustment, too. The one-gallon supply tank with Kool Mist is the white thing two pictures above.
The supply hose coming from the compressor and the new control line going to it.
And here's the noisy guy.
Some of the leftovers were later repurposed into the cord project.