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Projects in process. . . #2: Copper air lines, small shop 101

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Blog entry by need2boat posted 05-09-2011 07:41 PM 3550 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: plane wall rack Part 2 of Projects in process. . . series Part 3: Pen states cyclone dust collector »

One of the first things I did when laying out my small shop was to get the dust collector outside the work area into a lean to I added behind the shop. I had hoped to make it larger to add some sheet good storage but it’s just not in the cards due to the size of the main shop and required pitch for the roof.

Fast forward to the shop being done, the starting of projects, the use of compressed air and, use of a compressor. So much for lack of noise.. . So in looking at different ways to run air lines and the cost I found copper the best since I already had many of the fitting I needed. For the most part it went smoothly. I decided to add 2 drops along the same wall.

I ran 3/4” in pipe from the lean to and dropped down to 1/2 or the two drops. Since I had needed to add 220 to the back area I just ran the copper pip next to it. Wall space is tight so I did my best to keep things as close as possible.

Each drop has it’s own bleeder and cut off so if I need to change things out I won’t lose all the pressure.

The drop in the lean too uses a short leader hose to suck up any vibration.

-- Second Chance Saw Works http://www.secondchancesawworks.com Blog: Positive Rake http://www.positiverake.com



11 comments so far

View Gregn's profile

Gregn

1642 posts in 2444 days


#1 posted 05-09-2011 07:57 PM

Looks good to me Joe. Nice little shop, you seem to have it set up pretty comfortable to work in.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View ptweedy's profile

ptweedy

75 posts in 2854 days


#2 posted 05-09-2011 08:05 PM

hey joe; nice job on both the copper and the galvanised. You might look at some fiber board to put into or on the walls in your compressor room. I have done this using furing strips to act as standoffs. use two layers seperated by a inch of air space. This will reduce the sound even more. Phil

View Robsshop's profile

Robsshop

899 posts in 2435 days


#3 posted 05-09-2011 08:13 PM

Very nice work,looks like You have Your air supply well managed ! I have piped air through out my shop as well and isolated the compressor also along with my dust collector and I am sure I don’t need to tell You how much of a difference it makes !! Took a look at Your shop as well, also impressive work . ROB

-- Rob,Gaithersburg,MD,One mans trash is another mans wood shop treasure ! ;-)

View need2boat's profile

need2boat

544 posts in 2153 days


#4 posted 05-09-2011 08:23 PM

ptweedy,

thanks for the idea. I will be adding insulation once I figure out the best way to add a return between the rooms, I have really limited wall space I can give up plus I don’t want to add any more noise back to the shop then needed.

When I built the shop I installed rockwool to cut noise and fire safety.

Joe

-- Second Chance Saw Works http://www.secondchancesawworks.com Blog: Positive Rake http://www.positiverake.com

View Grandpa's profile

Grandpa

3256 posts in 2136 days


#5 posted 05-10-2011 12:17 AM

I have asked and never got a reply on this. Can PEX be used for compressed air. I understand that PVC will shatter after it has compressor oil in it although I have a friend with a machine shope that has had 180 PSI air in a PVC pipe for 25 years now with no problems. I just don’t want an overhead grenade. Anyone know anything about PEX. It reminds me of the tubing I see in the Northern Hydraulic book but cheaper.
BTW you job looks great!

View need2boat's profile

need2boat

544 posts in 2153 days


#6 posted 05-10-2011 03:08 AM

I’ve used flair it fittings which are another type but much like Pex. I used them for high pressure water and I think they were good to 200 psi.

If you’ve never worked with plastic hose like pex or flair-it I would try it first. running it has it’s problems if your looking to keep it neat or straight. It doesn’t bend easy.

Joe

-- Second Chance Saw Works http://www.secondchancesawworks.com Blog: Positive Rake http://www.positiverake.com

View Grandpa's profile

Grandpa

3256 posts in 2136 days


#7 posted 05-11-2011 12:51 AM

Thanks Joe, I was mainly interested in the longevity of the PEX. I don’t want to invest in something that has a 30 day life or worse becomes dangerous. Steel pipe will rust and send ugly stuff into the system I am afraid. I could dry and filter before it enters the line but I am not sure how well that works. I have a filter regulator that I currently use. I would think the banding would work on the PEX fittings. One reason I am asking is I have some PEX. PEX is reasonable. I have a long shop and would like to have air where I want it. I added a room on the end this year. It was 30×40 and I changed it to 30×60. I plan to house the air compressor out there and keep the noise in the “other room”. I have no experience with PEX and air. I have read that you should not use PVC with compressed air but I don’t know anyone that has actually had problems with it.

View need2boat's profile

need2boat

544 posts in 2153 days


#8 posted 05-11-2011 07:04 PM

I would agree that most people do have issues with PVC I you mostly hear about the warnings because everyone needs to cover there ass these days. ;-0 The plastic however used on PEX and PVC are not the same. The PEX plastic has some give to it. I think if your really looking to go that way you should just give the manufacture a call. I’m sure they could answer any questions.

The issues with condensation in Black pipe is really not that big of a deal and by far the most common way to go. If you look at the way I ran my pipe you’ll see I added valves for each drop an sloped the long run between the drops. I think 1” every 10 feet is what I read. I also added cut off vales so I could bleed a section without loosing all my air.

When I looked at all the bends I needed to make to get things just right plus safety copper seemed the best choice. If you want to got the plastic route take a look at these

Compressed Air Aluminum Air Piping

RapidAir Compressed Air Piping System

The Compressed Air Aluminum Air Piping is top shelf stuff but over kill for home use. The Rapid Air is becoming quite popular and I know if you search on this site for it you’ll find reviews.

-- Second Chance Saw Works http://www.secondchancesawworks.com Blog: Positive Rake http://www.positiverake.com

View Grandpa's profile

Grandpa

3256 posts in 2136 days


#9 posted 05-11-2011 08:47 PM

Thanks again Joe, I have just heard that compressor oil causes PVC to harden and shatter but I have a friend with a small machine shop and he has used it for years at 180 psi. He always turned the valve off at the tank in the evenings and back on in the mornings. I saw the RapidAir system in Northern Hydraulics last winter. When I saw it I also noticed that the tubing was expensive. I was just thinking PEX might be cheaper and then you could go to an NPT thread and fitting. I haven’t done anything yet. That is one of my around to it jobs. I think drip legs are a must so you can drain each drop. You have a good set up here.

View need2boat's profile

need2boat

544 posts in 2153 days


#10 posted 05-11-2011 09:00 PM

The rapid air kit at woodcraft is 139.00 and I know I’ve seen it for less on-line. It should have what you’d need to run 100 feet. That’s hard to beat even if you went PVC.

If you have a filter at the start of the run I don’t see how you’d have issues with oil getting into the system. Filters run about 40.00 each and I put on at the start of the run then again at each drop.

Woodcraft

-- Second Chance Saw Works http://www.secondchancesawworks.com Blog: Positive Rake http://www.positiverake.com

View Grandpa's profile

Grandpa

3256 posts in 2136 days


#11 posted 05-11-2011 09:40 PM

I think the filter would be a good investment. you have a drip leg for anything that gets through the first filter and then you filter at the QD. I have woried about having the compressor in an unheated room and pumping air into the heated room where I will work. Of course no problems in the summer. I know I get plenty of moisture in my hoses when I plug them straight into the compressor.

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