How To: Craftsman Cordless Inflator Dials In PSI To Presta Tires With Minimal Conversion
Last week, we listed our favorite gadgets that every home mechanic should have on hand for the season. Today, we decided to bring back the ‘how-to’ element by reminding folks that some basic tools can be repurposed as perfect-for-the-pit gadgets.
by Chris Mayhew
If you’ve paid close attention to footage of Stu Thorne, or you’re geeky enough to even know who he is, you’ve probably seen the Craftsman Cordless Inflator (he uses one quite a bit in the Behind the Barriers videos). It looks like a drill, but it’s actually a portable air compressor that fits in your hand. Not only that, but it has a digital gauge that reads to .1 PSI (or BAR, if you’re crazy Euro). Airing up one set of tires is not bad with a floor pump, but if you have multiple wheels and play with pressure a lot (as you should), it gets tedious. Plus, floor pumps only read out in 10 PSI increments, so dialing in 23 versus 25 PSI is more or less a matter of guessing.
The Craftsman Inflator is stocked with a Schraeder head. Most mechanics just remove the hose and use a Silca hose and head. That’s certainly handy and “pro,” but perhaps not as handy as it could be. The Park pump head and hose will fit in the Inflator with almost no modifications and gives you both valve options. The Park heads wear out fairly quickly, but it took two years of being the community pump at cyclocross practice for mine to do so. And on the flip side, I’ve inflated quite a few car tires from 15 to 32 PSI, something that would make a floor pump too hot to touch. Just ask me how I know!
Hopefully, the picture tutorial below makes it clear how to make the conversion. If not, please feel free to drop me a line at [email protected].
Here’s a link to the product: Craftsman 19.2 volt cordless Inflator (Tool only, no battery)
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FYI, the Craftsman 19.2V Air Inflator Tool is $36.33 at Sears.com right now. You'll need a battery and charger, too, though.
The Park Tool part number is 1088 it's the head and tube from the PFP-6 pump, it was $7.80 plus shipping in Jan-13
I opened it up with 3/8" drill bit it was a tight fit but went on with some encouragement. I got the XCP battery so hopefully it will last for ages.
I guess Craftsman updated this tool because the inflator I received (purchased late December 2012) has a different red cap that holds the tube in the inflator. This new cap does NOT fit the Park Tool PFP-4 hose.
The good news is that they didn't change the size of the actual chuck itself, so the tube still fits like a glove into the actual inflator. All I had to do is simply pop a drill bit in my dremel and open up the hole in the red cap just a bit and it's perfect.
Just wanted to let everyone know that the new cap design will need to be dremeled out for the tube to fit through into the inflator.
I finally got on the tubeless tire bandwagon. The handheld compressor pumped up the first tire just like it would a normal tube tire. The second wheel/tire combo took a lot of finagling but it finally worked with the cordless compressor also. Much more hit and miss but I have the confidence that if I am not in a hurry, I will eventually make it work.
This probably makes the case for having two sets of wheels.
Will any park pump hose and head work or does it have to be specific? There is a hose that fits PFP-2 and -4 and a different one that fits PFP-3 and -6. Does it matter which one?
Thanks for sharing this impressive information. Craftsman Cordless Inflator could change the way you pump up your tires. it is very useful.............
I am not a bike mech. so I couldn't say about the inflation of tubeless tires to initially seat. Even if not, it probably is worth the $ and time to rig one up. With the presta head I have, I find I have to insert about 1/2 inch or more of the valve stem into the inflator head, but I don't know about all the schrader heads at all.
Wow, this seems like a great tool recommendation. Any reason it will not just work with a presto adapter inserted into the existing schraeder head? How is it for getting tubeless wide diameter tires to seat initially?
I did this tool conversion about a year ago and it has worked soooo well. I got the two-battery w/ charger kit along with the compressor. Oh, and I also then got a cordless reciprocating saw. The tool family is called C3 at Sears.
Anyway, I cut the Shrader nozzle off and got a presta nozzle at my local bike shop. Turns out they had about four or five of them stuck away in a drawer. I haven't used my floor pump in about a year.
@ethanm I've been using this cordless inflator for almost one year. It will work with a presta adapter. In fact, it comes with a very basic presta adapter that will last for awhile (the o-ring will wear out eventually). I bought a Prestaflator adaptor that works great inserted into the stock schrader head.
It does not provide enough air to seat most tubeless tires so you will still need a "big" compressor for getting a tubeless setup started. It's usually in-stock at most Sears stores.
@repsteindds You can buy just the hose and head.
@iworedettos CJ I agree, consistency is the important part.