So you're sick of running to your local shop every time you need your bottles filled up, so what options do you have? A CO2 fill station will allow you to fill your CO2 tanks from a much larger bulk CO2 tank. Most of the time the bulk CO2's are 75 pounders that you can get from a welding gas supplier. The bulk CO2 tank must have a dip tube installed in it. The fill station screws right onto the bulk CO2 tank, then your CO2 bottle is attached to a hose and suspended on a scale. The scale is used to measure how much CO2 you have put in the tank. When you first attach your paintball bottle to the station, you must dump all the old CO2 out and zero out the scale. This ensures the bottle is empty and the scale will keep track of how much CO2 you have added to your paintball bottle. It is important to note that CO2 is a liquid that expands when it heats up, so leaving an ounce or two for expansion is recommended.
While the basic function of all CO2 fill stations is to fill up a smaller paintball CO2 bottle, from a bigger bulk CO2 tank, however fill stations have different features. Most fill stations have a bleed valve, this feature de-pressurizes the line attached to your bottle and allows for effortless bottle removal. Some fill stations have a muffler, this is a very handy feature. Mufflers are attached to a line that then attaches to the fill stations dump valve, so when you dump the line the CO2 goes to the muffler, instead of shooting out the side of the fill station.
Setting up a fill station - These are basic instructions for most fill stations, however you should use the intstructions included with your specific fill station.
So you have your bulk CO2 tank with dip tube, your fill station, scale, and your paintball bottle but how do you set this all up? First you're going to attach the fill station to the bulk tank, you do this by first putting the black seal in between the bulk tank and your fill station, you then use a crescent wrench to snuggly attach the fill station to the bulk tank. The next step is to attach your paintball bottle to the fill station; this is done by simply screwing the bottle into the ASA (air source adapter). Following that it is time to set up your scale, and suspend your bottle from it. Now you are ready to fill up your tank.
Filling a tank using a CO2 fill station
Before filling you will need to open up the valve on your bulk tank, this can be done by twisting the knob on top to the left, until it is fully open. Next you will thumb tighten the knob on the ASA that is attached to your tank, this opens up the valve on your paintball CO2 tank which allows for the CO2 to flow into the tank. Now that both the bulk tank and your paintball bottle are open it is almost time to fill. It is important to drain your paintball tank until it is completely empty. This can be done with the bleed valve. Once the tank is empty, you should put the tank on the scale, and zero out the scale so it reads 0 ounces when the tank is suspended. Next you can begin filling, watching the scale the whole time so you don't overfill. Remember CO2 expands when it heats up so leave an ounce or two for expansion.
Removing a bottle from the fill station
Now that you have the correct amount of CO2 in your paintball bottle it is time to take the bottle off. You should unscrew the thumb screw on the ASA, which closes the paintball bottles valve. Next you need to bleed the line, using your bleed valve. Once it has been drained it is safe to unscrew the bottle from the ASA. The bottle is now filled and ready to be used for paintball. You can leave the valve on your bulk tank open in between fills, however there could be a tiny leak so you want to tighten the valve on the bulk tank when you're done filling for the day.