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post #3 of (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 04:57 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: out wandering around
Posts: 78
First Project - Co2 Regulator Build

Time for my first project, the co2 regulator. A little background about myself may better reveal where some of my parts and experience come from. I used to build co2 onboard air systems for my jeep club buddies a couple years ago. We used them for airing up tires out on the trail and running air tools in remote locations. During this time I built a lot of 10 pound tank setups and even tried making smaller systems made out of 2.5 pound and paintball tanks which I still have lying around.

What I am building here is a simple pressurized system utilizing a paintball tank and some used parts I already own.

On to the parts:

This is my paintball tank ASA valve I had lying around. It has an 1/8"fpt output and a knob on top I can turn on and off the tank with.

I will use an 1/8"mpt - 1/4"mpt hex nipple to connect the ASA valve to the co2 regulator. I could also use a cga-320 nipple connection if I wanted to run a bigger co2 tank.

Next is my fixed pressure co2 regulator(previously used by myself). The place I bought it from has been out of business for a couple years (William's Balloon out of CA) so I doubt you will be able to find one similar. This regulator takes the high pressure co2 gas (800psi^) and lowers the pressure on the output side to a set pressure of 100psi I believe (but not more than 150psi as I didn't order those). In order to adjust this down low enough for my purposes I will use a Husky Mini Regulator from Home Depot after the co2 reg.

The Husky Mini Pressure Regulator (sku#401-931) was the next piece to the puzzle. It has a 300psi input limit and an adjustable output of 0-125psi.
This will allow me to run very low pressures into the needle valve so I can get a precise flow.

Next is my cheap needle valve with 1/4 mpt input and 1/4 compression output. I will use a ss 1/4 insert to keep the co2 line from being crushed in the compression fitting when I attach it. I know this is not a good needle valve but it was $4 and I wanted to try and make this rig run while I do the research on which quality parts to use.

The first step in making this all flow was to clean up all the threads on the used parts. I removed the hex nipple from the regulator and cleaned all the threads very well taking care not to get any down in the regulator. I actually replaced the 1/4" hex nipple that I show in the picture with a new one because I had one on hand.

Then I prepared the thread connections with teflon tape. I made sure I did not get any tape down past the end of the threads as it could come loose and clog the regulator.

After the prep work was finished I just started twisting parts together to make sure all the connections were nice and snug and where I wanted them. The order in which the parts go together is paintball tank > ASA valve > 1/8"-1/4" nipple > co2 regulator > 1/4" hex nipple > mini regulator > needle valve.

The next picture is the after final assembly.

I wish I could have tested this out tonight but my old paintball tank needs to be hydro-tested. I was quoted $40 for getting the tank re-certified or I could get a new, full tank for $30. I am now stuck with a fancy black paperweight that I can't get filled. The paintball store will be open tomorrow and I plan on stopping in to get what I need.

I plan on injecting the co2 from this system into the filter/reactor I will be building for the next project (stay tuned). I only need tubing to go from the tank into the filter/reactor to finish this.

I have not seen anyone using a regulator setup like this on these boards and I am aware it is experimental at this point. I am worried about the phenomenon known as "end of tank dump" as it is something I had never experienced when using co2 previously. If it doesn't work for my tank I will just take the needle valve off and install an air tool coupling on it and use it to run air tools and air up tires in my jeep. Thanks for browsing my journal and feel free to comment, criticize or point out anything you think I may have left out.

Total cost for the project: $58
Used co2 regulator from the garage - Free
Two hex nipples from the garage - Free
Husky Mini Regulator - $22
Needle Valve $4
Co2 line $2
Full paintball tank - Est. $30

Last edited by discgo; 01-30-2013 at 05:24 AM. Reason: edited
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