Shop-Built Pneumatic Cylinders

Michael Bianco


Light-duty pneumatic cylinders can be constructed in almost any shop. They are economical and relatively maintenance free, and they provide a push or pull force that can be remotely controlled. All materials can be purchased from plumbing and steel supply companies. The 6′-0″-long 2″-diameter cylinder described here costs about $100.00. Smaller or larger cylinders are possible.


See Figure 1. A rod connects the piston and the work to be moved. A pressurized gas (air, C02, or nitrogen) forces a piston through a cylinder. The greater the pressure, the greater the force that moves the piston. The force (lbs.) can be calculated by multiplying the surface area (sq. ...

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