Curious case of my beloved Compressor…

When I started scale modelling during 2003/ 04, I started off with a 30$ air brush compressor that made more sound than deliver air flow….

So, investing 400$ for a compressor was a big decision…. I bought WERTHER Sil-Air Compressor in 2004 and was the happiest man.


True to its reputation the compressor served me well over these many years. Even when we moved overseas, it travelled with me and sat in the storage when the voltage was different.

I moved back to India during 2021 and getting back into modelling…. Off late I noticed some rusting at the tank corners, I sanded and painted the outside and forgot about it…. Later I started hearing some weird noise when the compressor starts up. I got a bit concerned. I thought of getting the compressor checked out…. Shipping back to Italy from India is ruled out. So started searching the local experts….

One refrigerator mechanic said that we need to service the compressor and said the possible cause is rust due to contaminated oil etc… By that time the compressor was getting hot even after running for short duration…. I reluctantly let him take the compressor to be checked at….

After nearly 3 months, I got my compressor back…… Looks like, to fix the compressor, we need to spend around 450$ to import and ship replacement components. Or identify local alternates which might take more time and more of a trial and error….This is the current state of my compressor……

I feel very sad today…. It is confirmed that I will never get my compressor working again :frowning:

I am sourcing for a new compressor now. Wish me luck……. :frowning:

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Tough …
The tank on my Silair rusted through from the inside so I am replacing the tank
with the shells of powder type fire extinguishers. The normal filling pressure of those fire extinguishers is twice the pressure that the compressor can deliver and the testing pressure is 5 or 10 times the filling pressure.

Oh…I can feel your situation :slight_smile: … But take your time and plan your fix. Nilsson.
I think I have rushed it and created more problems for myself.

I see you live in Stockholm. Hope you can source the replacement components easily… I lived in Oxelösund… During one of my projects with SSAB plant there… Nice little place. Liked it very much :+1:

Do not dismantle the unloader valve in the Pressure switch. Fixing it back is a pain… Plan and execute one step at a time… All the best …

The extinguisher shells are secured, the piping and connectors have been brazed (high temp soldering), the pressure regulators and gauges are waiting in their boxes.
The only things I need to fix are the holders for the tanks.

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If you need to replace the tank, there are several options. Has Robin mentioned, an empty fire extinguisher, any hardware compressor, scuba tank…
If you need to replace the compressor itself, this one looks very much like refrigerator compressors, which are indeed used often.
Combine a refrigerator compressor with one of the tanks above, add a regulator and a few more parts (which may come from your former compressor) and you have a new unit.
More options are a CO2 tank, needs to be refilled from time to time.

In any case, making your own compressor with an old refrigerator is fairly easy and cheap, there are several videos and sites explaining how to do it.

Good luck!

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@Robin_Nilsson - That’s a great project on its own… It would be great if you started a thread on how your tank transplant progresses… I for one would be very much interested. It would help the faint hearted to take the plunge and start their own projects… :slightly_smiling_face: I managed to find a local compressor manufacturer who can deliver immediately… I will get my new compressor later today…

@varanusk - My compressor tank has not started to leak… I was looking more of a preventive maintenance… which have gone horribly wrong. I ended up with replacing the whole compressor… You are giving me ideas…I will take up this as a compressor DIY project… I think I should keep exploring and get replacement parts (unloader valve) … and do internal external coating to prevent rust etc… Lets see how this turns out… For my day to day use, I have ordered a new compressor, local Indian made with no dependency on imported components. So getting spares for them will be easy and cheap… Will share the details of this new compressor later…
Since i can take my time to do research and rebuild the old compressor, I will take your suggestion and see how this goes… Thanks again :+1:

Refrigerator compressors depend on the coolant medium for lubrication.
Compressors who deliver air needs to be lubricated with oil so a refrigerator
compressor will die after a while.

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It’s really not difficult to build your own using most of the parts you already have:
DIY Compressor

@Robin_Nilsson - True. The replacement refrigerator compressor does not have a oil level indicator etc. But from what I learnt from the mechanic, these are oil filled compressors. Since they work in closed loop, no oil refill is required…
Since we will be converting them to work with air in an open circuit, we need to fill oil periodically. Since no indicator, it is up to the users to maintain regularly. I understand refilling once a year should be OK.
Filling also has a lot of tricks using syringe or let the compressor suck the oil by closing one port etc…
Adding a oil level indicator can also be done. Being carful no metal chips are entering into the shell while drilling…
Still this might be one interesting project …

@Swiftnbold - Thanks for the link. I will definitely attempting to build something that looks good and functional soon…

As I mentioned earlier the compressor I bought locally has been delivered. Looks ugly and bulky. Absolutely no aesthetic consideration is given during the design process. But it is working fine. The local company that manufactured has replacement warranty for a year and can maintain afterwards as required. So my compressor requirement is addressed now…

For 250$ delivered at my doorstep…I think I should not be complaining on the looks I suppose :money_mouth_face:


Yeah, probably the ugliest compressor I have seen :smiley:

But has a tank and seems to be silent and durable so you should not need to find a new one, I guess

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