Nitrogen Tire Filler

Here is a simple project. I have made a few of these handy portable Nitrogen tire filling tanks. Not much is required other then the tank, a regulator and some simple fittings and a hose. Most of what is shown here is an upgrade to an older version that I had made.

The need for an upgrade came about as the regulator had a limit in the range of 60 pounds if totally maxed out. This was not good for things where you want FAST filling or higher pressure tires on things like trucks, etc.

Things you will need -

Pressure Tank, Inert Gas CGA-580 Fitting. Typically for Argon, Nitrogen, etc. 
(NOTE: CO2 Tanks use a different, non-compatible fitting!)
Regulator for Inert Gas (argon, Nitrogen, etc)with CGA-580 Fittings
Fittings (depends on your air hose and regulator type)
Air Hose with tire chuck or fitting of choice

I picked up the tank from a restaurant supply house they are typically used for Beer. Again, CO2 tanks will not work as you need CGA-580 fittings for the Nitrogen regulator, and no normal welding or gas supplier will put Nitrogen in a CO2 tank. So just make sure CGA-580 for the fitting and you are good to go. For the regulator, check out eBay or welding supply houses. Just watch the pressure ratings as they come in MANY different ranges. The original BEER regulator was only good to not much over 50lbs. The welding style that I'm now using is good to 125-150lbs range. This is good for shocks and other things that need a higher pressure such as AFFF fire systems that should be charged with Nitrogen.

The Origional Nitrofiller

Original Nitrofiller System

This is the original Nitrofiller system I made. It's a small aluminum pressure tank (DOT Rated) and has the old Beer regulator that was made by a company called Micromatic. It's a very nice part, and when I purchased it, was under 75 bucks with the optional protective gauge guard. The main shortcoming was low maximum pressure. Worked OK for the race car, but not for the Excursion. Also can't charge up an AFFF racing extinguisher that I now have.
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Closer View of Micromatic Nitrogen Regulator

Micromatic Regulator

This is a closer shot of the Micromatic Nitrogen regulator. They have a few different models, all are limited in pressure to some extent. This is the model GN1773 they have a few models, but none are as good as the welding regulators due to the limited pressure range. It does come with a nice valve and a easy to reset pressure relief valve, but again, not great for fast filling or in places where you need to get a lot of pressure.
New Victor Nitrogen Regulator

Victor Inert Gas Regulator

While upgrading some welding gear and looking for some Argon flow meters, I though it's about time to update my Nitrofiller tank and get it updated so I could charge my AFFF fire system. I found a nice middle range regulator from Victor, the ESS3 580, I picked one up for about $130 shipped from Amazon. Again make sure the pressure range is what you think you are getting, and if you don't like this style their are plenty of others available. Just make sure it has the proper pressure range and proper CGA-580 tank fitting. EBay has bunches of styles as well. Victor / ESAB Part - 0781-5116

Closer Look at the CGA-580 Fitting

Just incase you come across a regulator, this is what the CGA-580 fitting looks like. The Micromatic fitting has an O-Ring on it, the welding ones seem to be just brass.
CGA-580 Fitting
Victor Nitrogen Requlator

Victor Edge ESS3 Inert Gas Regulator

This is the fancy box it came in. Just make sure you don't get one that has the Mig/Tig welding markings or one that is HIGH pressure as these typically won't work well for you. I liked this style vs. the traditional brass looking ones, but nothing different behind the plastic knob and gauge covers, they all work pretty much the same.
Hose Fittings

Hose Fittings

Most of the Nitrogen regulators I saw had the traditional female welding hose coupling. This won't work well trying to get that to all work, so an easy fix is for your air hose diameter get a barbed-pipe thread fitting. This makes connecting the hose an easy task. Most hardware stores have the brass barbed fittings in a variety of sized.  A touch of thread sealer on the threads and you are good to go.
Nitrogen regulator mounted

Victor Regulator Mounted to Tank

The regulator is a nice fit in the opening of the valve guard. The only think is if the tank flops over onto the regulator it's not going to be great for the large plastic knob. I read that it is designed to absorb the shock from the fall, but better just be careful as you should with all pressure tanks. The regulator is pretty light so doesn't affect balance much on the small aluminum tank. Again your mileage may vary.

Old Micromatic Regulator and New Victor Edge ESS

You can see the different style regulators. I like the metal gauge guard on the Micromatic, but lack of higher pressure is it's short coming. The new regulator is easy to adjust and I do like the style.

Well that about wraps up this simple upgrade project. If you are looking to make your own Nitrogen tank for portable 'air' this is a good way to go.  I always hated the cheep steel low pressure air tanks that you fill up with your compressor and tote along. While the smaller tanks don't have much capacity, that can do a great job of topping off your tires and related. Need more capacity? Get a larger tank!

For filling your tank just head down to your local welding supply or even medical gas suppliers and they often can fill you up.

A few gotcha's -

Out of date tanks, most places will require a valid date code that is stamped on the tank. If it's an expired tank, you can get them retested but it's almost not worth it.

Pressure Ranges, as I have said a few times make sure you get the proper pressure range, welding gauges for Argon are typically much lower pressure then what you need. Also make sure you get the CGA-580 fitting as that is what you need.

Tanks are available in Steel and Aluminum, price and weight are the difference, both are DOT approved. And I don't think it matters if you have a siphon tube or not since the tank does not contain liquid. Nitrous tanks will not work since they use a different fitting and again most places will NOT fill a tank designated for one gas with a different gas.

Make sure your hoses are rated for the pressure you intend on using PLUS some extra. Most air hoses are rated at 300-350 psi max pressure which should be fine.

Happy Motoring!
Old and New Nitrofiller