Stay from those old compressor---
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Soda springs,Id
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    Stay from those old compressor---

    if you don't know their history. The pics will tell more than I can type since I only (fortunately) have the use of my dominant right hand. Our son was given an old craftsman 3 hp 220 v. we got him a brad nailer for christmas, so he bought an air hose to try it out. i was hunkered down beside it watching the gauges. when it hit 130 psi i pulled out on the pressure relief to make sure it worked and it did. when it hit 150 psi i was about to lose my nerve and shut it down. then the tank blew, luckily for me, out the bottom. i feel quite fortunate to have survived this.the injuries were: bad laceration on the back of the left hand,all four bones broken where the fingers attach to the hand. left knee took a severe impact from tank spliitting and broke the tibia and femur.amazingly i never lost consciousness and felt a bad pain in the front of my neck. ran my right hand over that area after seeing my left hand and was actually relieved to see no blood in that area. apparently it blew my left hand into my throat.
    the docs pinned the four bones together in my hand, put a plate about 8" long on my tibia and ran 4 screws into my femur.the ol timex took a liiken and is still tickin, just broke the band pin when it hit my neck.
    the truly amazing part is my wife,son and his girlfriend and an older friend were in the garage when this happened, nothing happened to them outside of some ringing ears, not a scratch.
    the fridge next to the compressor was a liitle worse for wear as evidenced in the pics. the little tv behind the compressor had the cabinet half torn off, but the picture tube was still intact.the 16' garage door got one roller knocked out of the track and about 12 sheetrock screws got the mud knocked off them.
    all in all, i feel lucky i survived it. i guess we all have angels watching over us. i'll let the pics tell the rest.
    mike
    Last edited by mla2ofus; 01-03-2011 at 08:06 PM.
    Ol' Stonebreaker
    "Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes"

    Miller 175 mig
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    US Virgin Islands
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    375

    Re: Stay from those old compressor---

    wow...never would have thought it would do that.Glad you are somewhat ok

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Lansing, MI
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    6,144

    Re: Stay from those old compressor---

    Holy CRAP!

    Man, glad it wasn't worse.

    Good thing your son wasn't face in front of it by himself on a night his girlfriend wasn't around. Could have been a one way trip to the morgue.

    Wow....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    Northern CA
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    396

    Re: Stay from those old compressor---

    What a nightmare!

    Screw the fridge, tank, and the mess - you and your son survived. Don't imagine if you were standing where that fridge was during the crisis. I could have been much worse.

    At least you were able to be patched up and will be back in time. Hit those pain pills heavily.

  5. #5
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    Sep 2008
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    SF bay area, CA
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    Re: Stay from those old compressor---

    HOLLY ****! And people think im over reacting when i get paranoid about pressure vessels.
    Vantage 500's LN-25's, VI-400's, cobramatics, Miller migs, synch 350 LX, Powcon inverters, XMT's, 250 Ton Acurrpress 12' brake, 1/4" 10' Atlantic shear,Koikie plasma table W/ esab plasmas. marvel & hyd-mech saws, pirrana & metal muncher punches.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    6,097

    Re: Stay from those old compressor---

    What do we think? Stuck pressure switch and inaccurate gauge?
    I wonder why the relief didn't blow off?

    Doesn't look like a rust-weakened reservoir failure, just looks like overpressure.

    Good Luck

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Soda springs,Id
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    4,754

    Re: Stay from those old compressor---

    i think was rusted out enough to create the stuation. wasn't a sign of oil in the tank. i have strict policy now if i don't see it run up to the kickout, i wont even turn it on. it'll be on a oneway trip to the scrap yard!!!
    gwd, i'm hitting the percosets every 4 hrs just like prescription says
    mike
    ps: you noticed no caps and very little punctuation. just try hitting the shift key and the key you want w/ one hand. i've got the equivalent of a boxing glove on the left
    Ol' Stonebreaker
    "Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes"

    Miller 175 mig
    Miller thunderbolt ac/dc stick
    Victor O/A setup
    Makita chop saw

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    North of Philly
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    20,241

    Re: Stay from those old compressor---

    Wow, Glad to hear you weren't hurt more seriously. I think I'll save this for those times when guys think there's no problems messing with compressor cylinders.

    Hope you get well soon. Pm sent.
    .



    No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!

    Ronald Reagan

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Western PA
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    1,258

    Re: Stay from those old compressor---

    Damn! I'm glad you're still with us, Mike.

    Many of us know the potential danger, but seeing the aftermath really wakes you up.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Central California
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    Re: Stay from those old compressor---

    Quote Originally Posted by denrep View Post
    What do we think? Stuck pressure switch and inaccurate gauge?
    I wonder why the relief didn't blow off?

    Doesn't look like a rust-weakened reservoir failure, just looks like overpressure.

    Good Luck
    In the first picture, it looks like the tear followed one end-cap welding seam. I wonder if it might have started there, maybe at a rust pit on one side? Just curious mostly; not implying anything about the welds, or anything else.

    Did the tank have a plate giving date of manufacture, working pressure or any other data?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Cassville, Missouri
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    Re: Stay from those old compressor---

    I've seen several of the small tanks crack due to vibration. Usually they just leak. I'm glad I never seen one explode. Hope you heal up quickly.
    Tough as nails and damn near as smart

  12. #12
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    May 2010
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    ct.
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    1,220

    Re: Stay from those old compressor---

    I can't imagine being that close to something like that happening,
    While the outcome wasn't good,I'm glad it wasn't worse.(fatal).

    Quote Originally Posted by denrep View Post
    What do we think? Stuck pressure switch and inaccurate gauge?
    I wonder why the relief didn't blow off?
    Doesn't look like a rust-weakened reservoir failure, just looks like overpressure.
    Good Luck

    I could believe a bad gauge(common) or a press. switch set too high,but
    gauge,press.switch and relief valve all bad seems unlikely.
    Also,I've seen relief valves fail and blow off at too low a pressure(bad spring).
    I've never seen one fail "closed".
    How about tank damage(impact) or manufacturing defect?
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  13. #13
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    Jan 2004
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    Northern Cal., Shasta County
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    9,290

    Re: Stay from those old compressor---

    Glad you survived with no more injuries than what you received.

    Of course evil minded me, I'm thinking popped ballon and paper bag tricks right about now .. I'll bet you're gonna be gun shy for quite awhile after this ..
    "The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life." -Theodore Roosevelt

  14. #14
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    Sep 2008
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    Re: Stay from those old compressor---

    I would just say years of neglect let the bottom of the tank rust. Once it got a small fissure open the rest was history.
    Vantage 500's LN-25's, VI-400's, cobramatics, Miller migs, synch 350 LX, Powcon inverters, XMT's, 250 Ton Acurrpress 12' brake, 1/4" 10' Atlantic shear,Koikie plasma table W/ esab plasmas. marvel & hyd-mech saws, pirrana & metal muncher punches.

  15. #15
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    Jul 2005
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    Davenport, Iowa
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    Re: Stay from those old compressor---

    Quote Originally Posted by jpump5 View Post
    Also,I've seen relief valves fail and blow off at too low a pressure(bad spring).
    I've never seen one fail "closed".

    I have.....



    Mike, glad you're still with us....heal well...

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    11,095

    Re: Stay from those old compressor---

    I usually don't look in the "Safety Forum", glad I did today. Hope you mend. My sympathy goes out to you. Take care, and hope you're behind the wheel soon
    "Any day above ground is a good day"

    http://www.farmersamm.com/

  17. #17
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    Jun 2010
    Location
    Louisville, KY
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    Re: Stay from those old compressor---

    Mike, I am glad you made it through this one. I have seen incidents where people ended up in a box because of an air tank explosion.

    For anyone interested: This is exactly why you hydro test with water instead of a pneumatic test with air.

  18. #18
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    Mar 2007
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    Vero Beach, Fl.
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    732

    Re: Stay from those old compressor---

    Wow.....and what everyone else said.

    Glad you are still here to talk about it. Thanks for giving us all a wake up call to what most of us take for granted.

    This is a good reminder to those of you with the "it will never happen to me" attitudes that it can happen to you.
    I am what I am, Deal with it!

    If necessity is the Mother of Invention, I must be the Father of Desperation!

  19. #19
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    Re: Stay from those old compressor---

    Wow.

    Just wow.

    Your guardian angel was definitely working fast on that one.

    You got banged up a bit. Understatement there, you had six (SIX!!!) broken bones including a femur (femurs usually don't break easily). Heal well.

    (and I was just recently mentioning/admonishing on another forum that pressure vessels are NOT to be taken lightly or messed around with. I'm going to post this there to FURTHER r-e-m-i-n-d some of the folks who were taking things waaaaay to lightly IMNSHO that pressure vessels are not to be f'ed with, including a self-proclaimed CWI who was advising someone to just weld on a pressure vessel. No WPS, no hydro-test, just go and weld on an air tank. Grrrr. )
    The best laid schemes ... Gang oft agley ...

  20. #20
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    Oct 2010
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    Re: Stay from those old compressor---

    WOW! that sucks! Glad nobody was killed. Thanks for posting those pics. Just goes to show it can happen to anyone. We use small 4 gallon compressors everyday, and we are guilty of not dumping the air everyday. Not after seeing that. Looking at all that rust on the inside tells me my compressor may look like that. We bought a new Rigid about a year ago. You were nervous about 150 psi shut off pressure. Our new one shuts off at 160 psi. Our older compressors (campbell hausfeld) shut off at 120 psi. You got me paranoid now.

    kidtigger24
    They think I’m crazy, but I know better. It is not I who am crazy. It is I who am MAD!

  21. #21
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    Jul 2010
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    Texas
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    Re: Stay from those old compressor---

    Wow, that gives me the shivers. Very glad to hear you're ultimately "alright". Heal up quick but take all the rest and happy pills you need to get by. (And try to get off them soon as you can!).

    I think you just convinced me to buy a big new compressor when the time comes.
    Lincoln AC225 and Cart
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  22. #22
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    Oct 2008
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    Skelton in cleveland,ENGLAND.
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    582

    Re: Stay from those old compressor---

    Congratulations on your "LUCKY" escape, certainly gives food for thought. Seems to me like a wrongly set relief v/v or maybe it was a bit sticky, As he had to pull it at 130psi to make it lift.
    Lincoln SP-170 Mig
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  23. #23
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    Apr 2006
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    Soda springs,Id
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    Re: Stay from those old compressor---

    thanks, monica. i've never been much for prescription pain killers, but i'm taking these percosets religiously. my left arm and leg both tell me i will or suffer the consequences
    and thanks to everyone for all the well wishes. after looking at the pics closer i believe the strap the wheels were mounted on saved me from more extensive injury as it appears to have restrained some of the expansion on the side facing me.
    mike
    Ol' Stonebreaker
    "Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes"

    Miller 175 mig
    Miller thunderbolt ac/dc stick
    Victor O/A setup
    Makita chop saw

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    1,771

    Re: Stay from those old compressor---

    Wow. Don't know what to say except I'm glad you are still with us. I haven' been to the Safety Forum in months but for some reason I decided to check it today. I've always been leery of OLD pressure tanks and I'll be more so now after seeing this.

    I have a DeWalt compressor out in the garage that shuts off at 210 psi. I may start going out side when it runs. It's pretty new so it shouldn't be dangerous yet.

  25. #25
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    Re: Stay from those old compressor---

    Wow, thanks for posting!
    I think a new compressor is in my future. Mine was used, 20 years ago...
    Heal up quick!
    Buy American, or don't whine when you end up on the bread line.

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