Make a compressor pump valve?

compressor pump valves
(Last Updated On: September 19, 2020)

It sometimes isn’t more than a year or two after you purchase a low cost, DIY type air compressor that pump valves can fail. Typically the supply of spare parts dries up  at the same time, that is assuming that any retail outlet had parts for the air compressors they sell in the first place. If a pump valve fails, can you make a compressor pump valve?

make a compressor pump valve

A couple of readers of my compressed air self-help website say you can.

One visitor in particular writes in that he made his own valves using the blade from a paint scraper.

Using the old, broken valve as a guide towards picking a satisfactory metal replacement, and for size, this visitor rough cut a paint scraper metal blade to roughly the same size as the valve he was replacing. Then, using a grinder, he brought the finished size down to match the old. He drilled the same holes in the new as the old and installed the “new” compressor pump valve.

scraper-blade-putty-knife -

He reported that it worked perfectly. That was good to hear, though we, at present, have no idea how long the new valve has held up inside the rigorous environment of a compressor pump.

The actual steps for building the valve were:

  1. Take the old valve plate to the store and pick a paint scraper that was big enough to cut to size, and had a similar thickness as the broken valve.
  2. Attach the scraper blade (removed from the scraper handle) to thin piece of board to help hold the metal and reduce vibration when cutting.
  3. Trace the old valve size onto the paint scraper blade and rough cut out the new valve a little bigger than the old.
  4. Carefully grind the new blade to accurate size.
  5. Using the old blade, trace any hole locations on the new, and drill to the same size.
  6. Install the new blade (s) in the pump head.

A creative solution, for handy folks, when they need to replace a compressor pump valve, and can’t find an OEM or off brand part.

Hello, I am Bill, the Compressed-Air-Man. I have years of experience in industrial and residential compressed air applications, air compressors and general pneumatics. I created this site to help professionals, students, and DIYers understand and properly implement and maintain compress3ed air systems.


  1. I came across your site while looking for a flapper valve to revive an old air pump. I read over the part about making one from a putty knife, which I can do. However, I wonder if it might be possible to find one ready made? I see them advertised online for different brands. I have not found one the size I need though. Can I just buy a larger one and grind it down to size? Will the heat of grinding it damage it? The two I need are .008 X .625 X 1.70″. The pump is older and there are no id plates or numbers I can see stamped on it anywhere.

    • Hi Charlie. I’ve moved your question and my response to the “Make a Compressor Pump Valve” page. Can you find compressor flapper valves ready made? Sure you can. Whether or not any actually exist for your compressor make and model I don’t know, however. Google “parts for xxxx brand and xxx model air compressor” and you’ll soon find out. Not knowing the make and model sure makes that harder, so good luck with that. As to buying a larger one and grinding it or them down, again sure. Yes, you can harden the metal by overheating it so you’ll have to go slow to make sure that doesn’t happen. As far as I know, if the metal changes color permanently when grinding, then the hardness may have changed. Better, perhaps to buy the closest size to the ones you need and start with a nibbler to get the size close and minimize grinding. If you search for stock sizes of shim stock, you’ll find many in sheets. The closest standard to what you need that I found is some that is .0075 thick, and that’s close enough to what you need. A paint scraper blade (decent quality, not a cheapie) may work too. Whatever is best for you is the way to go. Maybe let us a know as a comment here how you made out, and maybe a pic of the finished flapper valve? That will help others for sure.


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