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  1. #1
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    My DIY presta inflator for air compressors - CHEAP

    Hi all,

    After years of biking and battling with presta valves and tires pumps, I finally "back-yard-engineered" a durable inflator from stuff I already had laying around in the shop.
    My DIY presta inflator for air compressors - CHEAP-img_2227.jpg
    I started with the cheap box store compressor blow gun on my bench and then went to my plumbing parts bin looking for 1/8" NPT fittings. I was surprised to find that the street elbow screwed right into the blow gun nozzle. I then found a 1/8" to 1/4" adaptor (no idea where that came from) and threaded that into the female end of the street elbow.
    I then found the unused brass presta-only head from my Silca floor pump also threaded into the adaptor.

    I put thread sealer on all the fittings and screwed it all together and gave it a test. It was a bang-my head-against-the-wall kind moment. Can't believe I didn't think of this sooner! Its so easy my wife does her own tire pressure checks now too.

    If you need to make one from scratch, the parts will probably run about $50.00 or so.

    And now that we are a fat bike family, the search is on for a quality 0-15 lbs dial pressure gauge.

  2. #2
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    Ha, I applaud you for being creative and utilizing what you already had, I might do the same since I probably have the parts already. But for those who don't have the parts, you can buy one that does both Presta & Schrader for less than $50 US that also has a high pressure gauge. Although that high pressure gauge won't work well for low pressure fat tires.

    GrimmTools - Universal Bicycle Tire Inflator for Presta and Schrader valves

  3. #3
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    Nice job.
    As far as gauges go....take a look a Dwyer digital.
    And for those less handy.....take a look at Prestacycle for some well made inflation tools.

  4. #4
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    Thats a great solution. I was looking to do the same thing but did not have the head laying around. I opted for just buying a Prestaflator for $35 or so.

    https://www.prestacycle.com/product/...tire-inflator/

    It works very well.

    For mounting tubeless tires I had been getting by with a blow gun handle and a short section of automotive brake line with the 90 degree bend to blow air into the valve stem with the core removed. It worked, but it's nice to have a head that will work on a valve stem with or without the core installed. I like that with the Prestaflator. Pop the beads on without the valve core, add sealant, install core, inflate, done.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueCheesehead View Post
    Thats a great solution. I was looking to do the same thing but did not have the head laying around. I opted for just buying a Prestaflator for $35 or so.

    https://www.prestacycle.com/product/...tire-inflator/

    It works very well.

    For mounting tubeless tires I had been getting by with a blow gun handle and a short section of automotive brake line with the 90 degree bend to blow air into the valve stem with the core removed. It worked, but it's nice to have a head that will work on a valve stem with or without the core installed. I like that with the Prestaflator. Pop the beads on without the valve core, add sealant, install core, inflate, done.
    Thanks BlueCheesehead, I did not know about the prestaflator mini. Thats exactly what I was trying to accomplish. Had I known about that, I probably would have purchased one. However, now that I have compared my homemade unit with the manufactured unit, I prefer mine for a couple reasons. First, is ergonomics. Mine is longer and is positioned where the spokes are spaced further apart. Second, the Silca heads are extremely durable and the rubber seals are replaceable for a lifetime of use. I also have the option of attaching my Silca Schraeder/Presta head as well. Thanks for the info!

  6. #6
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    I already have a blow-valve, just have to connect this plastic presta infiltrator to create my own.

    Thanks for the Idea
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr_manny View Post
    I already have a blow-valve, just have to connect this plastic presta infiltrator to create my own.

    Thanks for the Idea
    Let us know how/if it works.

  8. #8
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    I just have a small blow gun air nozzle thingie , take the valve out, stick gun over stem, and letter rip. Cost like 5 bucks and has been working great for years. They also make rubber tipped ones that might work great as well. Less things the air has to travel thru the more volume you get.

    Edit: and if for some reason that's not enough air I just stick the hose over the valve stem without a blow gun or end of any type and turn the valve on the compressor for maximum air flow for the 5.0s'.

  9. #9
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    I like it and did something very similar years ago. I also installed a bottom out nut inside to open the valve for real time pressure readings and bleeding.

    My DIY presta inflator for air compressors - CHEAP-21055831_10212758509733563_3138671323163233605_o.jpgMy DIY presta inflator for air compressors - CHEAP-20979680_10212689511488650_1779425005_n.jpg
    Making shit harder than it needs to be isn't awesome, it's just...harder.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexbn921 View Post
    I like it and did something very similar years ago. I also installed a bottom out nut inside to open the valve for real time pressure readings and bleeding.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Nice work! You have elevated tire inflation to the "art" level LOL. The bottom out nut you mentioned is a great idea too. It is my belief that one cannot have too many tools, and I like the idea of making another inflator with an integrated gauge and a "bottom out nut" similar to yours. I found a supplier for a sweet industrial quality 0-15 lbs gauge that will be the foundation of my next inflator work of art.

    Is this nut a top secret patented design, or something you could share with us?

  11. #11
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    I was going to buy a prestaflator but I think I can raid my parts bin to make something like this.

  12. #12
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    I don't like those classic straight silca pump heads. Wide range cassettes and/or large disc rotors often mean busted knuckles when removing the pump head from the valve.

    I use a Silca crack pipe instead, which is marketed for disc wheels (tri/tt bike thing) with tight clearance to the valve. Much better.

    https://www.amazon.com/Silca-Presta-.../dp/B007FNANE8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    I don't like those classic straight silca pump heads. Wide range cassettes and/or large disc rotors often mean busted knuckles when removing the pump head from the valve.

    I use a Silca crack pipe instead, which is marketed for disc wheels (tri/tt bike thing) with tight clearance to the valve. Much better.

    https://www.amazon.com/Silca-Presta-.../dp/B007FNANE8
    Does this head work with the core removed to pop the beads on for tubeless?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by cdn11 View Post
    Does this head work with the core removed to pop the beads on for tubeless?
    yes. I did this just the other day, in fact.

  15. #15
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    With everything solidly attached to the tool, inflation a tire in a one handed operation. Rotate the valve to the top of the tire, push the valve on and inflate to desired pressure on the gauge.

    No secret to the bottom out bumper. I used a Beveled Faucet Washer that was over sized and cut the outside square to let the air by and wedged it into place. You will need to play around with spacers to get the exact height you need.

    90% of the time it will pop on the bead, but I also have a super high volume air gun with slip over fitting.

    Home Depot brass connectors and a 90.

    https://www.homedepot.com/p/DANCO-Be...-203193509-_-N

    https://www.amazon.com/Astro-Digital...+tire+inflator

    https://www.amazon.com/Silca-Presta-...rds=silca+head
    Making shit harder than it needs to be isn't awesome, it's just...harder.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    yes. I did this just the other day, in fact.
    Awesome. Thanks. Now to find one in Canada!

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    Sweet! I've got some spare Silca heads laying around. Thanks for the idea!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jake415 View Post
    Hi all,

    After years of biking and battling with presta valves and tires pumps, I finally "back-yard-engineered" a durable inflator from stuff I already had laying around in the shop.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Nice job! I can't remember the manufacturer but someone used to make an inflator like that (also with a silca head) and I thought it was both the simplest and best available. We always had a few of them handy in the shop.
    I brake for stinkbugs

  19. #19
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    I like turtles

  20. #20
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    Hi all, thanks for all your responses on this subject. Its fun to see what innovations emerge from the "DIY Garage". As a result of the suggestions and ideas from you guys, I have already upgraded my "first gen inflator" to "gen 2 inflator".

    Another raid of the parts bin, and a couple trips to the local hardware store, I now have an ergonomically comfortable, one-handed operation inflator with "real-time" continuous pressure readings. The key component to the real time continuous readings is the addition of a one-way bleeder valve installed before the pressure gauge. Again, I have no idea where this came from or why I had it in my parts bin, but it is exactly what I needed. Took me awhile to figure out it was a one-way valve.

    It's not pretty, buy after I wrap all the fittings with some black rubber and tape, it should be more comfortable in cold weather and look better too. Obviously I left the wrap off so you can see what parts went into this project.

    I now present to you Gen 2 inflator:

    My DIY presta inflator for air compressors - CHEAP-presta-inflator-2.jpg

  21. #21
    Ride Fast Take Chances :)
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    Ugly, but functional. Why do you need the 1 way valve? Air gun is already a shut off.
    Making shit harder than it needs to be isn't awesome, it's just...harder.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Sloth View Post
    Ha, I applaud you for being creative and utilizing what you already had, I might do the same since I probably have the parts already. But for those who don't have the parts, you can buy one that does both Presta & Schrader for less than $50 US that also has a high pressure gauge. Although that high pressure gauge won't work well for low pressure fat tires.

    GrimmTools - Universal Bicycle Tire Inflator for Presta and Schrader valves
    Looks like the guage threads out on that one and you can just install a new guage.

    https://www.amazon.com/Winters-Econo...pressure+gauge

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexbn921 View Post
    Ugly, but functional. Why do you need the 1 way valve? Air gun is already a shut off.
    If you look closer, there is a schraeder valve bleeder on the one-way valve to fine tune the air pressure in the tire prior to pulling the inflator off.

    I can also remove/replace pressure gauges at will according to my needs. I'm digging a 0-15 PSI for fat, and if I'm doing more road stuff, I will put the 0-160 PSI gauge on.

  24. #24
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    I would prefer version 1 and use the gauge separately but that's just me.
    I brake for stinkbugs

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jake415 View Post
    If you look closer, there is a schraeder valve bleeder on the one-way valve to fine tune the air pressure in the tire prior to pulling the inflator off.

    I can also remove/replace pressure gauges at will according to my needs. I'm digging a 0-15 PSI for fat, and if I'm doing more road stuff, I will put the 0-160 PSI gauge on.
    What keeps the compressor from trashing the 0-15 psi gauge due to over inflation? I'm assuming its the one way valve, but am failing to comprehend how it works. I already have and use a prestaflator, but am looking for a way to incorporate my 0-30 psi and 0-15 psi gauges onto it for real time inflation - 0-30 for the mountain bikes, 0-15 for fat.
    I would advise not taking my advice.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by watermonkey View Post
    What keeps the compressor from trashing the 0-15 psi gauge due to over inflation? I'm assuming its the one way valve, but am failing to comprehend how it works. I already have and use a prestaflator, but am looking for a way to incorporate my 0-30 psi and 0-15 psi gauges onto it for real time inflation - 0-30 for the mountain bikes, 0-15 for fat.
    There is an output gauge on the compressor, and I also installed another gauge after the water trap I constructed which is midway between the compressor and my tire chuck. Technically, I don't need the gauge on the inflator, but it is far more convenient as it is right in front of my face as I'm inflating / deflating.

    The one-way valve keeps the pressure in the tire showing on the gauge while connected and has a schraeder valve on it to bleed off small increments of air. Much more accurate and quicker than removing air by pressing on the presta valve and re-checking pressure repeatedly.

    Hope this helps.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jake415 View Post
    Much more accurate and quicker than removing air by pressing on the presta valve and re-checking pressure repeatedly.

    Hope this helps.

    You can also bring it down gently with the release valve on the gauge until it's exactly where you want it.
    I brake for stinkbugs

  28. #28
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    Nice job OP! I made one a few years back from a Harbor Freight inflator.

    https://www.harborfreight.com/pistol...uge-68270.html

    I used a bicycle pump head and hose from an old floor pump, and swapped it onto the HF inflator. I used a barb fitting and hose clamp on the inflator side.

    I added a sweet pressure gauge from these guys.

    1008A/AL 63/100mm Pressure Gauge | Commercial | Ashcroft

    Shameless plug, I work for them

  29. #29
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    I think I have everyone beat for the ugliest and cheapest

    I can probably swap out the galvanized pieces, with a single brass unit...just need to find it.
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  30. #30
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    Interesting gadgets but how important is complete accuracy?

    Based on my pump I am approximately at 6 PSI front and 8 PSI rear. This is based on what my pump says when I get back home. I just need to be able to repeat this, even if it is inaccurate.


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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr_manny View Post
    I think I have everyone beat for the ugliest and cheapest

    I can probably swap out the galvanized pieces, with a single brass unit...just need to find it.
    Yep, finally somebody with an uglier inflator than mine LOL. I think you would be wasting your time trying to find one brass fitting to replace all three. I think you are good to go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by serious View Post
    Interesting gadgets but how important is complete accuracy?

    Based on my pump I am approximately at 6 PSI front and 8 PSI rear. This is based on what my pump says when I get back home. I just need to be able to repeat this, even if it is inaccurate.


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    Good point. But this thread was about raiding existing parts bins and cobbling stuff together on the cheap. I used what I had and only wish I had done it years ago.

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    I love the DIY vibe but as I already have this I think I'll just cut off the factory tip and add a Silca head

    https://www.homedepot.ca/en/home/p.t...000765274.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by SRALPH View Post
    I love the DIY vibe but as I already have this I think I'll just cut off the factory tip and add a Silca head

    https://www.homedepot.ca/en/home/p.t...000765274.html
    Great idea. Thanks for the link. Do you have a shop in Canada that sticks Silca heads? Iím trying to find one. Iím in Ontario.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by SRALPH View Post
    I love the DIY vibe but as I already have this I think I'll just cut off the factory tip and add a Silca head

    https://www.homedepot.ca/en/home/p.t...000765274.html
    Having the head mounted to a tube is a PITA. You have to hold it on the valve and operate the handle. You end up needing 3 hands.
    Making shit harder than it needs to be isn't awesome, it's just...harder.

  36. #36
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    Tested mine yesterday...worked like a charm.
    Not having to mess with Presta/Schrader adapters anymore is definitely worth creating your own.

    Thanks again OP.

  37. #37
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    Here is what I have been using for stubborn tubeless setups recently. Nothing permanent, can still use the Silca head on the floor pump. No tools needed.My DIY presta inflator for air compressors - CHEAP-presta-inflator.jpg

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueCheesehead View Post
    Thats a great solution. I was looking to do the same thing but did not have the head laying around. I opted for just buying a Prestaflator for $35 or so.

    https://www.prestacycle.com/product/...tire-inflator/

    It works very well.

    For mounting tubeless tires I had been getting by with a blow gun handle and a short section of automotive brake line with the 90 degree bend to blow air into the valve stem with the core removed. It worked, but it's nice to have a head that will work on a valve stem with or without the core installed. I like that with the Prestaflator. Pop the beads on without the valve core, add sealant, install core, inflate, done.
    I'm going to have to blow your mind and tell you that if you remove the core from your presta valve, a regular shrader tire chuck will seat the beads.

  39. #39
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    [QUOTE=twodownzero;1I'm going to have to blow your mind and tell you that if you remove the core from your presta valve, a regular shrader tire chuck will seat the beads.[/QUOTE]


    Or a blowgun
    I brake for stinkbugs

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr_manny View Post
    Tested mine yesterday...worked like a charm.
    Not having to mess with Presta/Schrader adapters anymore is definitely worth creating your own.

    Thanks again OP.
    You betcha...and NP. Enjoy!

  41. #41
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    I bought these two items, then cut off the schrader end and installed the barbed presta with a small hose clamp...works great and has the PSI gauge ...

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails My DIY presta inflator for air compressors - CHEAP-dsc05750-1024x576-.jpg  


  42. #42
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    My take on the low buck inflator

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    No moss...

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by _rich_ View Post
    I bought these two items, then cut off the schrader end and installed the barbed presta with a small hose clamp...works great and has the PSI gauge ...

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    Looks good! Does this presta head work with the cores removed for setting the tubeless bead?

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    One of the keys is to use a head that works with the core out. Silka.

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    delete

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    Quote Originally Posted by cdn11 View Post
    Looks good! Does this presta head work with the cores removed for setting the tubeless bead?

    for setting your tubeless bead nothing works better than a basic blow nozzle with a rubber tip. remove presta valve and place rubber tip on valve stem...100% pure unrestricted bead setting power
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails My DIY presta inflator for air compressors - CHEAP-dsc05751-1024x576-.jpg  


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    Hands free

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    Finally got around to showing what I use to seat fat bike tires tubeless. Foot operated so i can work the tire with my hands with it laying on top of a small oil drum/garbage can. Milton valve, milton chuck with guts removed, silka presta chuck so I can take the core out and an old strap hinge. Works good. Gotta watch fingers things happen fast. Guage on there just so I don't blow it up. After putting core in i use a more accurate guage.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails My DIY presta inflator for air compressors - CHEAP-img_1594.jpg  


  48. #48
    All fat, all the time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr_manny View Post
    I think I have everyone beat for the ugliest and cheapest

    I can probably swap out the galvanized pieces, with a single brass unit...just need to find it.
    Oh I dunno if you can beat a bunch of electrical tape!! It works it's cheap, it's ugly.
    I think there might be a small plastic hose in there somewhere I don't remember.



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  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by _rich_ View Post
    for setting your tubeless bead nothing works better than a basic blow nozzle with a rubber tip. remove presta valve and place rubber tip on valve stem...100% pure unrestricted bead DESTROYING power
    FIFY. Used this method to the destruction of 2 different fat tire beads - granted, part of it was due to rim design, and part to dumba$$ operator error, but you CAN push too much air with this method.
    I would advise not taking my advice.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by watermonkey View Post
    FIFY. Used this method to the destruction of 2 different fat tire beads - granted, part of it was due to rim design, and part to dumba$$ operator error, but you CAN push too much air with this method.

    Even if you set the regulator @20psi or whatever the appropriate psi is for seating fat bike tires?
    I brake for stinkbugs

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by watermonkey View Post
    FIFY. Used this method to the destruction of 2 different fat tire beads - granted, part of it was due to rim design, and part to dumba$$ operator error, but you CAN push too much air with this method.
    I have never had even the slightest issue doing it this way??
    Your supposed to fill it until the bead is caught and seated on both sides, then stop and lower air pressure to desired PSI...just cause you have 150 PSI at your finger tips does not mean you have to use all of it you only use whats needed to set the bead...
    blow nozzle works great at setting beads IMO

  52. #52
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    Iv'e been blasting beads for years and never had a problem. Once they set enough to hold air, I use a gauge so I don't exceed max pressure.
    Making shit harder than it needs to be isn't awesome, it's just...harder.

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