Pneumatics using too much air

(This is my first forum post so hopefully I’m doing it right…)
So, I’m making a 4-bar pneumatic lift and it was a struggle finding a place for the pneumatics that worked but I ended up with this.

The problem is, for it to extend fully I added elastics and each time I go up and down, a lot of air is used, more than 5 psi each time which is too much. I can only extend and retract a couple times before running out of air.

Any ideas on what I should do?

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You should certainly be able to get more than a couple actuations from your air cylinders, typically 20 or so depending whether you have two air tanks or not. One thing you could do to conserve air is operate your air cylinders in a “single acting” mode, so air is only used to extend the cylinders, but they will retract under the weight of your mechanism. To do this, you will need to disconnect the fittings from the nose end of the cylinder (leave it open), and plug the line where it comes out of the solenoid valve. At the cap end of your air cylinder, you have an exhaust flow control valve, be sure that valve is open all the way, or replace the flow control valve with a straight fitting. The valve is not using up extra air, but if you don’t need speed control it doesn’t do you any good. One more way to conserve air is to dial down the air pressure until your mechanism just operates, but it could slow things down and might not be best for competition, and you would have to add more rubber bands to counterbalance your mechanism.


There is a flow limiter valve that is included in the pneumatic kits. It limits how much air, and hence psi, is used for each actuation.

Another thing you can do is not to use any air when putting your lift down, letting gravity do the work. Check out this topic:

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How many air tanks are you using? You can use up to 2 for the maximum amount of air. Also, make sure you are pressurizing the air to 100 psi (the maximum amount allowed).

Thanks so much, I will be trying this out.

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Would I leave that hole completely open or use one of the plugs to plug up the hole?

It limits how much air, and hence psi, is used for each actuation.

Flow limiters don’t limit the amount of air that passes through. It simply limits the RATE at which air can flow.


On the acutator/piston? Completely open, nothing in it
On the solenoid, use a plug

Thanks for correcting me!

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The thing in Gigahertz.t’s picture is a pressure regulator, not a flow limiter. It lets you control the pressure (psi).

Flow limiters (shown below) on the other hand do control flow rate like you said.