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Ways to Repurpose an Air Compressor Tank

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It is very common for compressed air users to upgrade their reciprocating air compressors to rotary screw air compressors due to the benefits of not needing a massive air tank and being able to operate at 100% duty cycle.

Not only this but there comes a time when any compressed air user must upgrade their system for various reasons. The only problem when upgrading is that you may be left with an old air receiver tank which becomes an unnecessary hunk of metal lying around your property. And so, here is a collection of uses for an old air compressor tank.

Table of Contents

Why Should You Reuse an Old Air Compressor?

First, let’s answer this question because I’m sure it’s one of the first things that comes to mind. Repurposing an old air compressor tank can have a positive impact on the environment. It’s possible to help decrease waste while creating something that might be useful to you if you are able to find a nice do-it-yourself project out of your old air compressor tank.

Of course, this saving is only small compared to the bigger picture of saving the environment, but you must remember that every little helps. If every person on the planet made a small choice, then it would make a massive difference on the planet.

With some creativity and a little bit of effort, there are plenty of ways to use your air compressor tank. Your tank could soon become a beautiful piece of art or something very useful to you.

Ways to Repurpose an Air Compressor Tank

Create a Planter

An air receiver tank can rather simply become a gardening container, whether that is for your flowers or to grow vegetables. You may not picture a planter when you look at your compressor but with a few alterations, you can bring the compressor tank to life. All you really need to do is cut a hole in the side of the tank and voila – fill it with beautiful flowers and greenery and it becomes a planter, just like that.

You can grow almost any type of plant if it doesn’t require deep soil. Mint, rosemary, basil, and other herbs would be ideal to grow in an air compressor tank planter. Most flowers would also do well.

Design a Fire Pit

Air compressor tanks are fireproof and built to last, and so, why not create a decorative fireplace? This is a very common repurpose found across many countries, from simple designs to quite complex pieces of art. Fire pits need to be strong and durable, and so, an old air compressor tank is the perfect starting material.

Tanks are the perfect basis for an incredible do-it-yourself fire pit. This will take some metal work but other than that, the only thing holding you back is your imagination when it comes to designing a fire pit out of your old air receiver tank.

Create Sculptures

Now we’re on the topic of art, why not go that one step further and create your own unique sculpture? An air receiver tank can be a perfect starting point to create a sculpture due to it being an elongated cylinder.

You don’t have to be a skilled welder or metal worker to create an awesome piece of art. There’s a longstanding form of art called “propane tank art” where people paint propane tanks in various ways, google it! So, why not do something similar with your air compressor tank?

Below is a YouTube demonstration of a rusty old air compressor that is turned into a Minion sculpture and a BBQ – which leads me to my next suggestion!

Convert into a BBQ

You enjoy having a BBQ on a hot sunny day, right? Who doesn’t! If you’re capable of carrying out the metalwork, why not give your old air compressor tank new life by turning it into a functional BBQ or even a smoker.

This is a far more hands-on project but if you enjoy this type of do-it-yourself task and don’t mind putting in the time and effort, this is a great option for you. How rewarding would it be to complete this repurposing of your tank and be able to cook dinner in it!

There are a significant amount of YouTube tutorials available on turning an old air compressor into a BBQ or smoker. I’ve picked out the following 2 part demonstration that might inspire you!

Make a Portable Air Tank

With just a standard toolbox at hand, it’s simple to turn your old air compressor and turn it into a portable air tank. From here, you can use it for many applications like filling the tires of your car or bicycle and inflating balls or pool toys.

The YouTube video below demonstrates how to make a portable air tank from a broken compressor!

Sell it to a Scrap Metal Yard

If you lack the creativity or don’t have the time on your hands, you can repurpose your air receiver tank by taking it to a scrap metal yard and receiving cash. Most scrap yards pay a fair price for the metal in air compressor tanks, and once you’ve received your payment you can get anything you desire in exchange (within budget)!

If this is your path of choice, you must ensure you contact the scrapyard in advance because it is very common for scrapyards to have strict acceptance rules like valves being removed or the tank being cut in half! If you’re going to get rid of your air receiver tank, taking it to a scrap yard is the right way.

Now, these are all but a few of the possibilities you have for repurposing your air compressor tank, your boundary is only your imagination. These are the most popular DIY projects on air compressor tanks, but you may think of a repurpose solution never done before, and so, I wish you the best of luck!

If you’re interested in Cleaning the Inside of Air Compressor Tank, visit our guide!

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Do air compressor tanks expire?

Air compressors do expire in a way that they wear to a point that they’re unsafe to use. However, they do not have specified expiration dates as that is typically down to how well you maintain them. If you drain the tank regularly then tanks can last a very long time, but if you don’t, they will have a far shorter life span.

Why should you empty your air compressor tanks?

Emptying your air compressor tanks is very important to ensure that you prolong the lifespan of your tank. If you were to leave air in the tank, the moisture content inside the air will turn to water which will eventually lead to the rusting of the inside walls. Now, water itself is a problem as you do not want it in your airstreams, but, rust is another greater problem that can not only contaminate your airstream but potentially even weaken your tank walls to the point that pinholes form, or a catastrophic explosion.

Is it safe to weld an air compressor tank?

It is only safe to weld an air compressor tank if you’re welding over an existing weld or repurposing the tank. If you’re fixing pinholes in places other than the seam or existing welds, then it can become dangerous to do so and it may lead to a possible tank explosion.

What is the advantage of using a compressor tank?

Compressed air tanks offer you the benefit of being able to store compressed air for use. If your air compressor has a 50% duty cycle for instance, and for every 10 minutes of working the compressor must rest for 10 minutes, a compressor tank will enable you to continue operating your pneumatic tools until the tank’s volume of air is used up.

If you have any questions or suggestions regarding repurposing an air compressor tank, please leave a comment below, with a photo if applicable, so that someone can help you or you can help someone!

By Aidan Weeks

A passionate Mechanical Engineer with endless enthusiasm for fluid power - building off the back of over 18 years of high quality contribution and discussion stimulated by Bill Wade here at About Air Compressors. With both practical and theoretical experience in pneumatics and hydraulics, I'm putting my knowledge to work - and working my grey-matter through my research, assistance and publishing work here at About Air Compressors. Feel free to reach out any time! P.S. A HUGE shout out to Doug who really offers such great value to all visitors to About Air Compressors - once again, feeling like I'm standing on the shoulders of GIANTS by getting to work alongside such a great community

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