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Old 05-12-2006, 12:01 AM
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Just finished piping the garage for compressed air...

I chose 1/2" copper pipe - I have read recommendations for 3/4" or 1" pipe, but a guy only has so much cash laying around. I used the system that runs up to the ceiling (rafters - no Sheetrock), then runs at a slight downhill slope until it reaches a drop, then steps up about 4" and continues.

I'll try to post some photos tomorrow. Anyway, my garage is 22' x 30', so the run took quite a bit of pipe, 60' total. I spaced it from the wall to allow it to cool better, and I expect nice, dry air. I do need to add a regulator and a toilet paper style air dryer at the paint gun end.

Which brings me to a question: Where do I get a toilet paper roll air filter?

Anyway, I figured the project would take a couple hours, it turned out to be about 10 hours. That does not include the time spent running to the Lowes and the auto parts stores and Harbor Freight buying all the stuff I needed. The total cost was about $200.00, or about $100 more than I was planning. All those little $.80 and $2.99 parts add up quick.

Parts list:

6 x 10' pipe
6 90 deg. fittings
6 tees
4 drain *****
4 quick couplers
4 45 deg fittings
7 1/2" slip to 1/4" NPT fittings
1 Soldering kit
1 3' length of air hose
1 1/4-turn shutoff valve
15 pipe clamps
10 old scraps of MDF
?? Screws

Here's my advice for anyone about to do this: First of all, sit down with a paper and pencil and draw the thing out. This will help you figure out exactly how many fittings you'll need. Then, measure how many feet of pipe you need (there really isn't much waste when you use copper) Next, add at least one extra to every fitting you think you are going to get, sometimes they aren't quite round, sometimes you miss a calculation, etc... Finally, buy at least 4 45 degree fittings; they are lifesavers when your pipe finds it's way to some spot you weren't thinking of.

Oh, and plan to spend a whole day doing the work. I ended up with (I counted) 48 soldered joints. There's only 4 drops in the thing.

Photos coming soon.

By the way, as much work as it was, this was one of the most enjoyable projects I've done recently.

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Old 05-12-2006, 12:07 AM
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Just finished piping the garage for compressed air...

Sounds great. Thanks for the info and parts list. I will be doing my shop in a few weeks. Waiting for the pics.
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Old 05-12-2006, 09:16 AM
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Photos of the project:

Here are the photographs...hope they work.
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Old 05-12-2006, 09:23 AM
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Two more...

One just shows the space I was working with. Oh, and my HUGE mess of a garage.

The second one shows where my careful plans didn't match what happened in real life, and where I used two 45 degree fittings to get the lines back on track.
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Old 05-12-2006, 11:35 AM
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Just finished piping the garage for compressed air...

Thanks for the pics. Looks good.
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Old 05-19-2006, 06:55 PM
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Question Please

Hi loyter, Im new and just joined the forum. I read your article and this is just up my alley, great article by the way, I read where you used copper to do your air plumbing, I was going to use pvc, is there any differences? Thanks again for reading.
Calvin (Icom)
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Old 05-19-2006, 08:32 PM
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Pvc

A lot of people use pvc pipe with no problems. It's cheap an easy to work with, BUT I would NOT use it for my system. The main thing is if it's under pressure and something bumps it hard enough to crack it, it's going to explode sending plastic chards flying everywhere.....Copper or Black iron pipe only for me.....Black iron is what I used and there will never be any worries of a mishap.....Of course You can use what you want and this is JMHO...Please do it safe........GlennK
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Old 05-19-2006, 09:24 PM
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Hi

Hi GlennK, thanks for the info on this matter, I never gave that a thought. I sure am glad I joined this group because of all the helpful folks like you. Take care.
Calvin (Icom)
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Old 05-19-2006, 09:36 PM
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Pvc

It is my pleasure. I know that iron pipe is more expensive, Copper is cheaper, but there is no price on safety...Have fun with your piping job...GlennK
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Old 05-19-2006, 10:09 PM
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Icom, PVC contributes greatly to the problem of keeping the water out of the air lines (from lack of cooling) and that alone is enough to avoid PVC, in addition to the very real safety concerns. Copper is the way to go if possible.
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Old 05-29-2006, 11:43 AM
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Is there any rule of thumb with regard to copper distance and percentage of condensation? I recently ran 3/4" copper in a similar configuration to Loyter, but my total distance was much shorter. I went about 4 feet up (starting from the exit level mid tank (vertical 5HP 2-stage compressor), 10 feet along the wall (sloping away from compressor), and then had vertical tee's that came off this line going up 6" and then down the wall. I probably have 15-17 feet before my only hose outlet (note there are three drops in the system) at which point I attached the water trap, pressure gauge combo unit.

I know this has to be better than a rubber hose coming straight off the tank, but I don't want to find out (during painting!) that 25 ft is really the minimum for condensation at say 40% humidity on an 90 degree day.

Thanks All,

Chris
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Old 05-29-2006, 01:39 PM
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For about 5 years a have used just a plain ol' hose and have had nothing but water problems so I finally run copper . I ran a hose up from my compressor about 5 feet then ran 1/2"copper pipe 25 feet down one wall , (started a donward slope here) across 20 feet then back about 8 ,then I teed it for a future hose reel and then down and teed in a hose coupler and then even lower with a ball valve for draining . Now today I went in a thought I would have nice dry air while I sand , I even have a piece of crap water trap and regulator , and about 15 minutes in, nothing but water , just as much as before , and it kinda pisses me off. I seen some pics where before the line goes down it actually goes up about 4 inches then down , will this help ?
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Old 05-29-2006, 05:25 PM
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Outlaw is there any point in that line where it goes back up before it reaches the separator? All low points must have a "drop" for the water to drain into so the air can flow past it without picking it up. Look the system over and see if there is ANY low point anywhere, intended or otherwise, where the water can collect in the pipe itself. I am sure this can be made to work if we can pinpoint the problem.
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Old 05-30-2006, 09:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by outlaw17
For about 5 years a have used just a plain ol' hose and have had nothing but water problems so I finally run copper . I ran a hose up from my compressor about 5 feet then ran 1/2"copper pipe 25 feet down one wall , (started a donward slope here) across 20 feet then back about 8 ,then I teed it for a future hose reel and then down and teed in a hose coupler and then even lower with a ball valve for draining . Now today I went in a thought I would have nice dry air while I sand , I even have a piece of crap water trap and regulator , and about 15 minutes in, nothing but water , just as much as before , and it kinda pisses me off. I seen some pics where before the line goes down it actually goes up about 4 inches then down , will this help ?
I have run into this as welll outlaw17. Even with my 60 feet of copper line. I think my problem is as follows. I have a 60 gallon, 5hp air compressor and I have cheap HF air tools. Most of the tools (die grinder, air file, etc...) eat up the air like crazy. So, if I am using them for any length of time, the compressor just runs and runs. If the compressor runs all the time, the air in it is bound to get very hot. When it's very hot, there's less air in the tank, thus it runs even more. It's a viscious cycle. And I live in a very dry climate. For the most part, I think that there isn't much water in your air, but that the water forms when the hot air in the line meets with the cool air outside. I find that my water traps don't collect all that much water, yet there's still water at the end of the hose.

What I have done is to run about 5 loops of my air hose through a bucket of cold water. This serves to further cool the air and has worked fairly well for me. One other thing you can do is to loop your hose through a bucket of water, then up and over a rafter or ceiling hook. If that doesn't work, then I am out of ideas.
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Old 05-30-2006, 09:56 PM
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The water is contained in the air from the compressor and the fact that you are finding little water in the separator simply means that the moisture is still in vapor form when it reaches the separator so it will simply pass through and condense in the hose and exit as liquid water. Coiling the line in a bucket of cold water will help but only if it is done before it reaches the separator and if it is done after the separator it probably would make matters worse. Looping the hose over the rafters will do nothing because any water in the hose is going to be carried in the air flow and even if you do manage to drain some of it back it has nowhere to collect. The idea is to cool the air as much as possible between the tank and separator so the water vapor will condense into liquid before it enters the separator where it will be forced to spin thereby using centrifugal force to sling the water out of the air so it can be collected in the separator reservoir. Centrifugal force has practically no effect on water vapor so it must be condensed before it can be removed and collected, this is why a separator is almost useless if mounted on or near the tank. Also the line must be arranged so that the water that does condense on the pipe walls can drain into a collection "drop" where it can sit undisturbed by the air flow until it is drained. Any water that is not collected in the line or by the separator will be destined to exit the hose so the trick is to collect it BEFORE it reaches the hose. Getting the moisture out of your air lines is not at all hard to do nor should it require expensive equipment just follow a few simple guide lines and with proper plumbing and even a cheap separator water problems will be a thing of the past.
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