Advice Needed; Air Compressor Reserve Tank Placement

I recently started cutting with my table and discovered that my air system isn’t up to snuff.

I have a 26gal. Kobalt Quiet-Tech with 2 outputs connections; One going to my CNC machine and the other to my table. Whenever my compressor turns on it makes a huge(bad) impact on cut quality. I bought a 10gal. reserve tank as a stop-gap solution until I can afford a better air compressor.

I was hoping someone could advise me on how I should hook the reserve tank into my existing air system. Do you typically want something like that on the unregulated side? Or do I want it close to the table between the plasma cutter and air compressor?

so I have a 10 gallon compressor in my basement sjop

coming off that I have it running into a 60 gallon tank and into the plasma…
I set my compressor at 90 PSI outlet pressure…and run my Plasma at around 60 PSi on the average.

my compressor starts and stops but does not affect my cuts as the buffer tank of 60 gallon. absorbs the change
in fcat I can cut for almost 3 minutes on the large tank…I know because I have done it by accident…forgot to open the valves feeding the tank.

one thing is to always turn off in and out of the tank as to not loose pressure overnight.

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COMPARE This is what I have. Bought it before I even knew what a crossfire table was. I got it on sale for like $350 a couple years ago.

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I don’t think a 10 gallon reserve tank will make a noticeable difference for you, may not be worth the effort. You’re going to have to still pause your cuts to let your compressor catch up. And it will just take longer now since you have a small compressor filling more than it was intended too.


I put my extra storage tank right after the compressor (80 gallon tank). You would be amazed at how much moisture that extra tank catches before reaching any of your other filtration/drying methods.

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So I feel a little silly… Christmas was more generous than expected and I ended up buying a 60 gallon Ingersoll Rand air compressor :sweat_smile: Which is good since it sounds like my reserve tank wasn’t going to do much anyways

Appreciate the advice everybody :grimacing:

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I highly recommend some/all of these types of accessories if you don’t have them and can get them. Having plenty of air is mandatory, and having dry air is critical to optimize your cutting & save you a lot of money on consumables.

Water Separator:

Auto Drain:

Air Dryer:

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Thanks for the recommendations! I have an inline desiccant dryer, but not an auto drain (though that’s a laughable price for a solenoid valve and a timer :sweat_smile: ) I’ve added that to my never ending list of projects lol


or…you could just drain the tank once a week…by hand


Lol sure. And I mean, that’s what I do now. But it is a good idea. My garage shop is small enough that I’m willing to consider something that stops me from fighting my way to the compressor squeezed behind the mill to drain it on a regular basis


@toolboy For those who are only doing limited things that would probably work. For me, my compressor might be in use all day with air tools, plasma, and other stuff, plus it’s in an enclosure. I had this set up using everything but the timed drain and I was still getting water coming out of my air tools (a big problem when doing woodworking); so I finally got around to installing that unit and it was night and day, no water anywhere. Now my air dryer is always fresh, probably don’t even need it in the system anymore but I’m keeping it. No more buying dryer beads though!

My system splits after the dryer, to “dry air” connections for the plasma and blowing stuff off with the blow gun; and a “wet side” as I call it, which has a F-L-R for my air tools. So another water separator before the lubricant - and now I never have to drain that separator either. Prior the valve installation I had wet beads & full separators, plus I had to drain the tank manually. Maybe it’s all of the humid air in the PNW, coupled with the added heat from the enclosure, but now instead of a river when I drain, it’s a slight mist every 45 minutes for 6 seconds and none of the other problems/hassles I was facing.

@The_Wolf_of_Walmart Yeah I thought it was expensive but I also wanted something in a brand I trust. I built an MDF enclosure for my compressor with a couple of fans (one input and one exhaust, linked below) so my compressor is always full, always dry, and I don’t have to drain her…and it’s much quieter in the shop (which is great for my neighbors and my family.


Yeah there’s definitely value in that. I’m sure I’ll have a lot less sticker shock when I get out of this boot strapping phase. Thanks for the fan link- I’m sure I’ll be looking at making an enclosure soon. Let’s just say that I’m close enough to my neighbors that I had to hire a crane to drop my mill in front of my garage to get it in lol. Did you use any kind of sound deadening material?

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Ok…you are using a lot of air…
I am the Facilities manager for a Hospital here in Canada…one of my main systems is “plant air”…which supplies all our shop tools…pneumatic controls…thermostats…damper controls…I go through 32,000 cf of air a day…so here is the design the engineers have set up…or dry air.

after the compressor(s)
they fill a “wet” storage tank…the wet tank cools the air and have auto drain valves on them
then the air goes through electric refrigerated air dryers…
after the dryers the air should go into a larger…usually 2 to 3 times wet tank storage…this is the dry storage.
from the dry storage you can go anywhere and have nice dry air…

desiccant beads… do break down and add contaminates…


@The_Wolf_of_Walmart Yeah I’d say that’s close quarters! What kind of mill do you have? I’ve been searching for a used Bridgeport for some time now…waiting for that special deal or liquidation auction to come my way.

I did not use any sound deadening materials. Just a top and four sides of MDF screwed together (one with hinges as a door). However, I am going to rebuild it when we move, I used 1/2" MDF and didn’t build a frame, so she’s kind of flimsy and the door doesn’t work great (because the MDF is too weak and flexes). So on the rebuild I’ll build a quick 2x4 frame and attach the MDF to it. But it works great, according to the decibel meter app on my iPhone I think I went down like 30dB or more and now with my garage doors shut you can’t hear it unless you’re in my driveway. I would definitely add some foam sheets or another layer of MDF if I needed it to be any quieter though. I positioned my input fan on the side of the enclosure (at the level of the compressor’s motor so it blows right on it), and the exhaust fan is mounted on top panel above the compressor motor.

@toolboy Yeah those systems are nuts! After I win the lotto I’ll have rotary screw compressors in all of my shops, with perfect air systems and no noise!

Had good results with the Husky auto tank drain for about half the price of the IR model.


I have the Ingersoll Rand SS5L5 18.1@90psi. Just watch out for the motor. Mine had a little blue flame in it. I had insurance and the repair shop put a better motor in it.

It’s a 2016 Haas Minimill. I may have started backwards but I would still love a bridgeport someday. I used some sound deadening around the spindle to quiet it down, though I wish I thought to look for an decibel meter app like you to measure the difference. Neighbor says he never hears it. Not sure if he is lying or not :joy: but I am really conservative with the hours that I run my tools out of consideration for my neighbors- In an unspoken exchange for them not telling on me to the HOA :joy:

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YIKES. That would end very very badly in my situation. The thing will be shoved into a corner in my unfinished garage. I’m sure the fact that I did my own electrical without asking anyone would reflect very poorly to anyone that looks to closely into that :scream:

Do you know why that happened? Recommendations on a motor?

That’s exactly how I do it…good neighbor style. I also have HOA rules that I’m counting on my neighbors to help me with :slight_smile:

When I built my brother’s chicken coop in my driveway (very big one) I thought for sure I was going to get a letter…took me almost a week thanks to rain. A lot of “curious” dog walkers asking questions like “how many chickens do you plan on having?” and “where is THAT going?”…ha!

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