what kind of air lines should I use

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Forum topic by , posted 02-07-2015 11:36 PM 1027 views 1 time favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2387 posts in 2967 days

02-07-2015 11:36 PM

I just sold our old CNC today, now it is time to set up our new to us cnc. This cnc has an ATC which will require a reliable air supply. I am thinking of pvc. Currently I have simple rubber air hose which is reliable enough but I think I might experience some pressure drop over the run.

What are all of the cool options out there.

-- .

26 replies so far

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 2728 days

#1 posted 02-07-2015 11:58 PM

-PVC is a good choice. I have a 5 HP Ingersoll Rand compressor and have pvc running throughout my shop. The PVC is rated at 600 psi and far exceeds the 135psi my compressor is capable of. I’ve used PVC for air lines in excess of 20 years with no problem except a leaky fitting that leaked once and that was my fault for not bluing it properly.

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2538 posts in 1677 days

#2 posted 02-08-2015 01:00 AM

Jerry, since you have a commercial operation, I would err on the side of caution. There is a difference between air pressure and water pressure which I can’t explain, but respect nonetheless. I used black pipe when I installed my system because I can’t sweat a copper joint worth a darn. However, if I were talented, I would have used copper, but check prices before committing to either copper or black pipe.

However, if you want the cool factor, I don’t think it gets much better than this. FWIW

-- Art

View TheFridge's profile


5676 posts in 906 days

#3 posted 02-08-2015 01:09 AM

Pvc and poly drops

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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883 posts in 1494 days

#4 posted 02-08-2015 01:16 AM

PEX quick, fast and inexpensive.

View Redoak49's profile


1819 posts in 1408 days

#5 posted 02-08-2015 01:41 AM

I do not think the PVC is a good idea for air lines. People do it and get away with it. It violates OSHA rules. If an employee was hurt by a ruptured pipe, you could have real problems.

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2387 posts in 2967 days

#6 posted 02-08-2015 02:08 AM

Anyone else use PEX. I have heard of this being used and it sounds good.

-- .

View NoThanks's profile


798 posts in 949 days

#7 posted 02-08-2015 03:21 AM
I’ve heard a lot of people talk about these systems. I’m an old fart with no one else to worry about, I use PVC and am one of the few that have for 20 or 30 years without an incident.

-- Because I'm gone, that's why!

View Tony_S's profile


597 posts in 2503 days

#8 posted 02-08-2015 02:27 PM

Regardless of how you get it to the cnc, make sure the air is clean and dry. ATC’s and dirty, wet air equal downtime.

-- It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle

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2387 posts in 2967 days

#9 posted 02-08-2015 07:18 PM

Thanks for the advice Tony. That is one of my biggest concerns. I have 3 runs total, one that feeds the FF table, one that feeds the Edgebander and one that feeds a manifold that provides for everything else. On my one run that goes to a manifold, I run a Desiccant filter / water filter. On that manifold I run my DA sanders, Pocket hold machine, Blum minipress, spray gun. So before actually installing the Desiccant filter I would get tons of water through my DA sanders. Then after the filter installation, we have nothing but clean air dry air. Here is the filter we use which works great:

I had been wanting to add this filter to my Edgebander run, which will be the same run the CNC will be installed on. I am hoping that this filter will be adequate. The filter has two stages, the first stage is just a water filter (which needs emptied every day the air is used) and then there is the desiccant filter with the Desiccant beads. I change out the beads twice per month. So hopefully this inexpensive unit works. Also, even though the filter is only 110.00, it is built very well and very sturdy, I have been impressed.

Obviously the alternative is an air dryer or a shop built dryer system. That is a whole other subject though.

So looking at the PEX, it looks to be a good solution. I did look at the rapidairproducts online and that also looks like a great idea. So now I am just torn. As for copper, I am not efficient at sweating fittings. As for pvc, I have heard good and bad. A cabinet shop across town who I have become friends with runs a pvc set up.

Now is a good time to swap out the air lines. Thanks for the input everyone.

-- .

View johnstoneb's profile


2104 posts in 1592 days

#10 posted 02-08-2015 07:31 PM

You already have air in the shop. Use what you have. you don’t have to carry a different inventory of repair parts and your people know what to do eith the system you have.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View NoThanks's profile


798 posts in 949 days

#11 posted 02-08-2015 07:46 PM

Jerry, along with the normal air filters, I run these yellow snakes at every machine entry point.

If you want to try one I could send one to you!

-- Because I'm gone, that's why!

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2387 posts in 2967 days

#12 posted 02-08-2015 08:25 PM

Iwud4u, how do you change out the beads on that tube? Looks to be a pretty neat set up. I know those desiccant filters work very well. You don’t need to send me one, for the price they are I will go ahead and order a few and add them to each of my machines like you have. You can never be too diligent in keeping the air dry and clean to your machines. Thanks for the tip.

Tell me more about them, how often do you have to change the beads? Or maybe you don’t have to change out the beads ever? Since they are just 21.00 do you just buy another one every 3 to 6 months or so?

Looks like a good idea.

-- .

View daddywoofdawg's profile


1006 posts in 995 days

#13 posted 02-08-2015 08:46 PM

How often do you drain your compressor tank?that helps alot with wet in the lines,that’s where most of the wet starts at.
I build halloween props as a side business and Have seen many PVC tubes explode,back when people were trying to use them in there air props.spend the dollars and go with black pipe over PVC.the shrapnel of sharp plastic hitting you is about like metal hitting you.

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798 posts in 949 days

#14 posted 02-08-2015 09:16 PM

Jerry, You throw them away. Lifetime varies, it depends on how much you use the machines. Since I’m a one man band I don’t use them all that much, so about every 4 months or so. The snakes work good, the hardest part is telling when they need to be changed. They say to use this in conjunction with,

Suggested to be used with the RHI-01 Relative Humidity Indicator for easy tracking of desiccant performance.

-- Because I'm gone, that's why!

View crank49's profile


3979 posts in 2391 days

#15 posted 02-08-2015 10:31 PM

Please do not use PVC for air lines.
I don’t know it it is oil in the air, or UV damage, but when PVC fails it does not just crack and leak. It explodes.
I know some people on here will recommend it and say they have used it for years with no problem.
I used it myself years ago before i knew better. After seeing what damage it can cause I replaced all mine.

Black iron (actually just un-gavanized steel) is best.
Hard or soft copper, or stainless steel works well, just very expensive.
PEX has a product designed for air service.
And rubber hose will work.
Galvanized steel pipe will work, but the galvanizing will sometimes contaminate your air tools and is not recommended.

-- Michael: Hillary has a long list of accomplishments, though most DAs would refer to them as felonies.

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