Category Archives: Rapid Prototype

D.I.Y Ultra Quiet Shop compressor from a refrigerator motor (compressor)

How I built a Ultra Quiet Shop compressor from a refrigerator motor (compressor) for my Industrial design studio workshop. In the video I show you step by step how to build the compressor from parts you can buy on Ebay and your local hardware store, Home Depot, Lowes, Menards, or a scrap yard or an old refrigerator (fridge). Add your own optional Motörhead badges too.


I needed to build a very quiet, higher capacity compressor for my Design shop, since the one I have is quite loud and does not have the capacity that I was comfortable with for urethane casting work.

I sourced a 6 gallon tank on eBay for $35 including shipping from a fellow in Indiana. I then needed a refrigerator compressor. I got lucky and have a buddy I play hockey with that is in the small appliance repair business. He was able to get me a new replacement unit that was not needed on a recent job. He was also able to get me some of the copper tubing i needed for the project.


Everything else was pretty straightforward after that.  I have access to a lot of good fabrication equipment. First I built an adapter plate to mate the tank to the compressor motor. I built this from an old “Big Iron” IBM server cover. I made a cardboard template to follow and then transferred it to the sheet metal and folded the edges for extra strength. Then I applied a bit of primer and paint to finish the exposed metal.

I replaced the original oil in the compressor with 10W40  weight motor oil for added protection.

I mounted the motor on the sheet metal bracket I made and connected the compressor side to the tank with some 1/4-20 socket cap bolts. ”

Next I connected the compressor side to the tank with some 1/4″ copper tubing and a one way check valve to keep the air from flowing out of the tank back through the compressor inlet.



On the business side of the compressor I used some parts I had laying around including a pressure shut off valve that I had from when I attended college at Pratt in the late 80’s from my dorm airbrush set up! It still all works great and is able to turn the motor on an off with no issues. I also used a main pressure gauge and added a pressure regulator so I could adjust how much air comes out of the tank. Additionally I added a quick disconnect to I an easily connect an air hose to the tank.


I added a computer electric socket connector to the set up so I can remove the power cord if I need to as well.


The key to making the whole thing ultra quiet is building a intake manifold that absorbs the sound of the compressor. For this I used a spent metal aerosol travel shaving cream can. It already had openings at both ends and was perfect for my needs. I packed it with some brass wool to help absorb the sound and added some pink packing foam for a filter. The combination of the metal can and the brass wool significantly mutes the sound and makes the whole set up extremely quite.



Last but not least I added some Motörhead badges to give it some character. Lemmy R.I.P

A fun build and an essential piece of shop equipment to have when making Industrial Design models and prototypes.

Eric Strebel, is an Industrial Designer living in Southfield MI. He has a home-based Industrial design studio “Botzen Design” and has been designing consumer products for 25+ years ranging from sunglasses for Bauch & Lomb, Traps eyewear, entry level luxury vehicles for Ford, wireless charging PowerMat for Homedics, to magnetic toys for Guidecraft. He specializes in tabletop and handheld products, ranging from routers to cosmetic products to Bluetooth devices and everything in between, he also teaches Industrial Design at Wayne State University and CCS (College for Creative Studies)


Follow Eric on Twitter @botzendesign and Subscribe to his Youtube channel.




Botzen Design announces 3D printing and rapid prototyping services

Gear test Botzen Design

Rapid prototype gear printed at 75 (.075mm) micron layers thickness

Botzen Design a Metro Detroit based Industrial Design firm run by Eric Strebel now has 3D printing capabilities. Additive manufacturing is making products more exciting and come alive faster than ever. The expanded capabilities will allow Botzen to design better quality products in less time than ever. It will also allow Botzen to act as a service bureau to create rapid objects for other companies and individuals with prepared CAD files to get 3D printed objects quickly at an affordable price.  The resin based prototypes are very durable and excellent for everything from small engineering parts, toys, action figures, small hand held products and small injection molded parts, as well as investment casting for jewelry! With layer thicknesses as thin as 50 microns per layer models are detailed and accurate and more affordable that you think.

Painted Head

So…what is 3D printing?

3D printing is a printer that creates a three dimensional object.  This is done by creating layer by successive layer, until the entire object is complete. Every 3D-printed object begins with a digital Computer Aided Design (CAD) file, created with a 3D modeling program, or which was scanned into a 3D modeling program with a 3D scanner. To get from this digital file into instructions that the 3D printer understands, software then slices the design into hundred or thousands of horizontal layers.  The 3D printer reads this file, and proceeds to create each layer exactly to specification. As the layers are created, they blend together with no hint of the layering visible, resulting in one three dimensional object.

Eric Strebel who runs an Industrial Design studio called Botzen Design in Detroit, MI.  He worked to design the Powermat wireless charge pad for Homedics, sunglasses for Bauch & Lomb, vehicles for Ford Motors, monsters for Clive Barker and the Solar Vox Ultra personal charger. Currently he consults for various companies in the Detroit area and around the globe and teaches Industrial Design at Wayne State University. He recently placed third in the Local Motors Shell Game Changer contest with the Willow Run-A-Bout for the city of Amsterdam.

Botzen Design, Inc., Detroit Michigan





You can watch the assembly of the unit here on Youtube.