The Compressor is commonly used to craft Advanced Alloys, Carbon Plates, Industrial Diamonds (now just diamonds), Compressed Plants and for Refined Uranium. It can also make snowballs and Ice. In addition, it is used for the intermediate stages of crafting many items.
As of v1.337 a Pump (IC2) with an infinite water source under it and a Compressor placed directly next to it will pump and compress water into snowballs without the need for cells.
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If you try to remove the machine with an uncharged Electric Wrench and it's trying to compress something, it might destroy everything inside.