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Old 07-18-2010, 03:43 AM
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line cooler idea/question

Hey guys. New guy here. Ive been looking the forum over for some time and finaly had a question that I needed to ask about.

So a while back I got a tiny compressor from Kragen http://shop.oreillyauto.com/productd...goryCode=3483A. Its nothing special and I was only useing it for simple stuff. It is just able to keep up with my little Bluepoint media blaster as I am starting to blast rust off some suspention parts for my car but I am getting a lot of water out of the lines. I like the compact size of the compresor but I do understand I could do much beter with a larger unit. Right now I am renting my old home from my Dad (he wasnt able to sell it befor the market crashed so Im renting it so he dosent have to pay for 2 places out of his pocket) so right now I have a garage but I have to move by the end of the year so I wont have room for a bunch of extra bits like a large box called a water air seperator or anything.

So the Idea I had while talking to my Dad about this was to take a length of copper pipe and coil it up to take up less space but still get the length needed to cool the air. put the coil into an enclosure like some ABS pipe with a fan to get directed air flow over the coil to help cool and condense the water vapor. Once the air reaches the bottom of the coil then have it go to a filter/trap.

I did a quick search on air line coolers and I found what looks like a comercial version of my idea http://www.airid.com/air-dryers.htm. My question is do you think my idea will work or am I missing something. I did the math and if I do the coil around the outside of 4"ABS pipe with a 1/4" spacing between the coils and a total of 30' Ill end up with a coil about 12" tall which I can deal with on my set up easily. The ABS pipe would only be used to make the coil but not used to hold the coil since it would limit air flow around the pipe. Basicly it seems like id be making a centrafugal radiator

I am also one of those crazy people that will try to make something before buying something. I've got my own powder coating set up I built up myself useing a toaster oven as my oven. Ive also built my own vacuum form machine and a few other things. Part of my likes the challenege of trying to figure somthing out and making it work. So somethings I need to get the ideas out of my head and run them across others who may have some more info to help me out.

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Old 07-18-2010, 07:00 AM
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A version of what you're talking about has been used...many years ago though. Same thing...coiled lines in a canister. But instead, it was fuel lines...and in the canister you'd put ice...to keep the fuel cool.
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Old 07-18-2010, 09:29 AM
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The coil is a good idea as far as cooling the air but once the moisture is condensed you need to deal with separating it from the air and a continuous uninterrupted flow will not do that very well. If you just put a collection drop at the bottom of the coil most of the moisture will just remain suspended in the air and pass by it when the air is flowing, some will drain into it when the air is not being used however. Much better would be to have the air enter the top of the coil and flow down into a pipe that turns up, continue up at least 3' or 4' then drop straight down below the coil with a collection drop on the bottom end of it. Tee your take-off point into this line at least 18" from the bottom so that the air has to make an abrupt 90 deg turn to enter the take-off line, more than 18" from the bottom would be better as would a longer vertical rise/drop but I realize you are strapped for space-still more is better. What happens here is that you will be cooling the air in the coil and line then as the air flows down the vertical line containing the condensed water it will have to make the abrupt turn near the bottom at the tee but the water, being much heavier, will resist the turn and tend to continue in a straight line passing up the tee and collecting at the bottom of the line where it can be drained. Even with this set up you still need a water separator after the tee but these are simple to install and the cheap ones work reasonably well.
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Old 07-18-2010, 12:25 PM
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sory if i wasnt totaly clear on some stuff. I wrote that last night right before going to bed. When I said "moisture trap" I did mean an oil/water seporator. I already have one, a small husky one from Home Depot.

So you are saying that my idea will work as far as cooling the line, but not necessarily for removing the water from the air, correct? I would have to add a 3-4' upsidedown "U" with a colllection at the bottom and a "T" 18" off the ground. The problem is that I dont have room for the 3-4' "U". And I need to keep this thing portable for when I move and easy to store in a closet or something like that.

I was also reading on another thread where you said that if you have a larger tank capacity it could reduce the number of times the compressor has to turn on and give it time to cool down and that can also help reduce some of the moisture in the system.

One more thing, would turning my shut off to 90 PSI instead of 125 PSI help any?

Also, what if I just got up off my butt and got one of these:
http://www.harborfreight.com/desicca...yer-97686.html

Last edited by OutcastZeroOne; 07-18-2010 at 01:21 PM.
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Old 07-18-2010, 03:45 PM
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To make a really compact air system you could use the coil you are talking about (submerged in water maybe?) and have that run into your moisture separator without having the longer straight lines. It may not work as well set up like that but then it may be sufficient for your purposes, also you could use a separate tank if you could find a small one. I have seen this done many times and it works fairly well, after running the air though your coil/cooler have it plumbed into a second small tank and have your take-off air from the top of that tank. As the already cooler air enters the second tank and expands it will cool even more and moisture will condense inside that tank and collect on the bottom, just make darn sure the tank you might use is in good shape and can safely handle the pressure if you were to decide to do something like this. Also you wouldn't want to use a tank bigger than the one you have and preferably slightly smaller because increasing tank capacity can lead to a hotter pump so keeping it small would be much better.
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Old 07-19-2010, 05:14 PM
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I've looked into all sorts of things like this before, in my case it started with grinding a transmission case and finding that after about a half an hour I got water sputtering out the exhaust on the angle grinder making a big mess.

The problem with the big copper coil is simply going to be cost, by the time yo make it long enough to have a real effect it will be more expensive then other "more sensible" solution. I've seen it done before and work well, but it's been a while since you could get a coil of copper for cheap enough for it to be worth doing.

WRT to the HF desiccant separator, a bunch of people have reported that they work quite well, and I have one but have never run it on it's own. A similar deal using a big steel tube (the air slows down dropping stuff it's carrying when it enters the bigger volume and the steel acts to both cool the air and as a surface for the water to condense on) but home built is a "Franzinator" (do a web search, you'll find it, and even recommended dimensions (I messed with that also and finally got frustrated with trying to find fittings that will weld well and seal up right).

In my case I ended up with what I consider pretty much bullet proof, reasonably inexpensive (after wasting all kinds of money trying to do it cheaper making parts of it myself...), and drys the air well enough that I have no problem spraying paint, running a plasma cutter or with a sand blaster caking... I have about 20' of hose (long story, didn't intend to be in the shop that I'm in as long as I have been, was supposed to be temporary) going to a standard filter/separator (Kobalt brand from Lowes, the big one), into the HF desiccant column and then into a Motorguard "toilet paper roll" filter, and then from there it splits off to a hose reel for the basement and a separate line going into the garage where it hooks up to another hose reel.
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Old 07-19-2010, 10:39 PM
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Well I think I finally got my set up settled. Final gonfiguration is out from the tank it goes into a 14' copper coil (about $25) then from there it goes via a 1' hose to my new desiccant filter. Made from 2" ABS pipe with one glued on cap one one end and a "clean out" fitting on the other. Before you start freaking out about my useing ABS pipe, the holder for this housing is a PVC pipe repair clamp so it has steel reinforcing for the main body. There is only 1/2" of pipe before the ends are reached. No leaks here either. I took some sctoch brite pad for a filter on each end to keep the scilica from falling out the quick release fittings. From here it goes to my oil/water seperator filter.

Everything fits inside the new handel area I also made useing a 4' long peice of 1 1/4" steel flat bar.

Ran most of the afternoon without any problems. I used ABS cause I have so much of it laying around. Will upgrade to something more sturdy later on.

Well I did have one issue. Some how the houseing of my BluePoint "Speed Blaster" got cracked. Its cracked in about 3 places. As much air comes out these cracks as out the nozzel. Im leary of getting the $14 HF one since if my $65 BluePoint one broke after never ever having been dropped or misstreated and maybe a month of use total for the 4 years I've owned it, whats going to happen to that $14 HF one... Get to talk with my Neighbor tomorow and see if he still has some scrap aluminum block at his machine shop so I can now start making my own metal blaster. I did pick up one of those $1.50 air guns from HF, and its got 1/8" NPT fittings on the nose so Ive got a nice handel to start with.
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Old 07-19-2010, 11:40 PM
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Actually ABS is fine, it's PVC that's a problem. PVC shatters when it bursts, and it gets more brittle with UV light. ABS doesn't shatter, it ruptures/splits and just releases the air inside.
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Old 07-20-2010, 01:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silverback
Actually ABS is fine, it's PVC that's a problem. PVC shatters when it bursts, and it gets more brittle with UV light. ABS doesn't shatter, it ruptures/splits and just releases the air inside.
So it farts instead of exploding. I can deal with that.

incase anyone is wondering, this is the air gun I got:
http://www.harborfreight.com/air-blo...zle-42939.html

Atleast its a metal body instead of plastic. I just need to be carefull not to over tighten things on itto keep from cracking it. My other main concern is its size. The handle grip is very thin. Kind of a problem for someone with large hands.

Last edited by OutcastZeroOne; 07-20-2010 at 01:45 AM.
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