Fixing Air Compressor Screwup

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I was originally going to blame this on "a friend," but this one is mine all mine, and I shouldn't hide.
I have a Bostitch twin tank air compressor, and over the weekend the drain valves started leaking air.
So, I decided that now would be a good time replace those pain in the butt valves with something a little friendlier to use. I tried to remove the worst of the two valves first, but I got the thing so boogered up that it was worthless for anything other than cutting myself on. So I took my Dremel to it and cut it flush, then tried to drill it out, except that my drill bits jump from 3/8" to 1/2", and the valve opening is somewhere in between.
So I stopped doing that, and now I'm left with a brass-plugged hole with a 3/8" hole in the middle of it.
1) How can I recover from my screwup and get the drain valve plugged up again? 2) How can I remove the other valve without completely screwing up again?
I admit that I got hasty, then stubborn, and finally mad, but I'm hoping I can either fix this or get it fixed. It's been a good compressor, and I'm stuck in the middle of a project that I'd like to finish.
-Nathan
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There is such a beast as an 'Easy-Out'. Look into that. They're available in sets and as single items.
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You've made this pretty difficult. If you don't have a drill index, I'm sure you don't have easy outs and taps. I suspect that you wouldn't know how to use them if you did (not a pick, just an observation based on your statements) and breaking them off would only make the problem worse.
Your best bet would be to find a tool repair shop or machine shop. No idea what they would charge. The best choice would be to go to an outfit that works on compressors, they will be prepared to deal with the issues and the new parts.
If you insist on trying: Buy a full drill index. Buy an assortment of easy outs - I prefer the square ones. Buy the correct tap, but be prepared to need to drill out for the next size and the next larger tap.
Try the easy out first. Tap it in firmly. Try to unscrew the broken nipple. There are nipple extractors, but I've not ever had much luck with them. If you succeed at this point, you're done other than buying and installing a ball valve or whatever you choose.
If it doesn't work (when it doesn't work), drill out the nipple but do not hurt the threads. There will be the old threads themselves hung in the hole that will require cleaning up the threads with the correct tap. Make sure to be VERY careful with the tap, they are very brittle and if you break it off in the hole it is much to hard to drill.
Good luck.
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I guessing the plug is a tapered pipe thread. How much metal is left between the hole you drilled and the threads?
Do you have a small triangular file that will fit in the hole well enough for you to cut a v-groove in several places? Or maybe a mini hacksaw blade? Or you could take a piece of a regular hacksaw blade and grind the back down until it fits in your hole. If you cut or file a pair of parallel grooves in the hole on one side (being careful not to go into the tank threads--they're closer to your drilled hole the deeper in you go), you may be able to use a cold chisel or an old screwdriver to pound a slice of the brass plug into the 3/8 hole. That will usually remove enough stress on the sides that you can turn it out. You might need to collapse the rest in some after you remove a section. At least brass cuts easily. Even if you can't cut deep enough to get the plug to collapse, you might still be able to cut a notch on both sides of your hole deep enough to get a big screwdriver to jam in there, and then turn the screwdriver blade with a pair of vicegrips.

Apply a good penetrating oil, like PB-Blaster, not WD40. Let it soak in for a while. If the threads are sealed with some sort of pipe compound, this probably won't make a lot of difference. You could also try heating it up a little with a paint stripping gun, it might soften things up enough to release whatever putty or thread sealer they used.
Take your dremel and cut off just the valve handle and stem, but not the rest of the valve. You should now be able to get a good fitting socket on the rest of the valve and apply enough force to remove it (otherwise, the valve style limits you to using either an open end wrench or some form of pliers, which as you found will only mangle things).
It will be worth your time to buy a six-point socket that size if you don't already have one--the brass will be soft enough that a 12-point socket could still mangle everything up on you. None of this is guarateed to work, it just improves your odds.
If you still end up having to drill things out, try using left-hand drill bits. Harbor Freight has them. That way, if the drill catches, it will at least be applying force in the direction you want it to go (though I think my set only goes up to 1/4").
--Glenn Lyford
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How about a nipple extractor?
http://www.plumbersurplus.com/Cat/Pipe-Nipple-Extractors/655/List
scott
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writes:

=======I have seen these before and even used them a couple of times. But I have never heard them referred to as a nipple extractor. I instinctively moved my hands to a protective position over my chest when I read it. Looking at the link, I was relieved that it was referring to the pipe type of nipple, not the organic kind. Whew!!
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On Wed, 8 Apr 2009 00:54:05 +0100, Lee Michaels wrote

How are you around ball paen hammers?
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writes:

Nipple extractor?? Just unhook her bra.
Sorry, couldn't resist.
Max
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Good advice here but I would add one thing. NEVER use an adjustable (crescent) wrench.

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"CW" wrote:

Or as my Dad called them, "Knuckle Buster".
Lew
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My dad called them "redneck speed wrenches"
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Hammer Hands wrote:

My dad called them "metric crescent wrenches".
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To reply, eat the taco.
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roundoff wrenches ha ha

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When I was a kid, my Grandad worked for "Crescent Tool" in Jamestown, NY. We had at least 2 of every size cresacent wrench, including a 30"er. Of course, this was back when most things were srtill made farm style with square head nuts & bolts.
Nahmie
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On Thu, 9 Apr 2009 19:26:37 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@netsync.net wrote:

Wow, another coincicdence. My aunt worked for them, too.
I think I might have mentioned her and my uncle once. They lived in Busti. He was some kind of foundryman at Ellison Bronze in Falconer.
I wonder if you granddad might have known my aunt, even though it sounds like there might have been an age gap--one generation difference. I have no idea how many employees they had. Might have been a big place.
We don't hear from you much. How's life on the road?
--
LRod

Master Woodbutcher and seasoned termite
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SFWIW, Along the way I aquired a 10" Cresent wrench that is built "hell for stout" as the old German used to say.
It must weigh at least twice what the current versions weigh.
Lew
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Actually a Crescent wrench does accomplish one task remarkably well, absolutely not what it was intended for.
In the tire business you often see steel wheels with bent rims. I am talking the part of the rim that the wheel weight clips on to. Hitting a curb will often bend this part of the wheel/rim and it can easily be straightened out if you adjust the wrench up snug on to the bend and then simply bend the rim back out. Works like a charm.
Note, this only works well on standard steel wheels.
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Leon wrote:

And bicycle wheels...
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There you go!
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On Fri, 10 Apr 2009 15:52:06 +0100, B A R R Y wrote

and aluminiminimum saucepan lids what SWMBO has lost her temper with.
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