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Old 12-29-2009, 01:36 PM
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plumbing in hard lines for a compressor

got another question, i am thinking of putting in either copper or black iron pipe for my air compressor so i don't have my rubber line laying across the floor. i have been looking at my local farm and fleet(which is like tractor supply) and have seen in the copper tubing section that there is four differnent types of tubing/pipe, one just say's copper tubing, one of the other ones is just copper pipe, third is type m hard copper pipe,and the fourth one is type L hard copper pipe. can you tell me the difference between them? and which one Black Iron Pipe or The copper tubing would you use, i have seen both of them used in area shop, just wondering what is going to be the best for what i want to do.

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Last edited by critter119; 12-29-2009 at 01:48 PM.
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Old 12-29-2009, 02:04 PM
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Type M is the light wall pipe and is cheaper so you may want to use that but don't use soft Copper line, the pressure rating should be well above anything you are likely to put on it. How many feet of pipe are you going to need? If you will be running over 50 ft you might want to consider black iron if it will save you some money but Copper will cool somewhat better especially if the total length is less than 50 ft or so. A common concern about black iron is internal rusting but that concern seems to be a lot of worry about nothing and iron pipe has been used successfully for many years. Regardless of what you select for your piping you will want an end filter because you will accumulate some debris in the line no matter what you use.
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Old 12-31-2009, 08:03 AM
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Copper is a bit spendy, I'd use galvanized pipe and fittings with pipe paste to seal the joints. Paste is easier than Teflon tape. When you drop it, it doesn't unroll across the floor and pick up all the bits and pieces of dirt.
You'll need a flexible line between the compressor and hard pipe. I know a guy who used a stainless covered flex line normally used to connect water heaters. He claims it works fine.
Don't forget drip legs with petcocks (no Paris, it's one word) or ball valves to drain condesed moisture.
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Old 12-31-2009, 09:33 AM
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Much better to just use hydraulic hose for the flex line, the less expensive low pressure hose is rated well over 1000 LBs so that certainly is not an issue. Tractor Supply, Northern or Surplus Center all have it in any size and length you need it with pipe thread ends. You probably can find it locally too, any place that makes hydraulic hoses can make you any size you want, the local Oreilly auto parts here has them. These hoses are cheap, easy to install, available in any size/length you need them, are rated far in excess of anything your compressor can put on them and they will last forever.


Just a note about hydraulic hose, these things are available in very high pressure ratings, 6000 PSI and higher. If you have someone make them up for you make SURE they know you don't need the really high pressure hose or you may have serious sticker shock when you go to pay for it! The standard hose is way more than adequate and is not expensive at all, most likely the standard hose is what you would find anyway.
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Old 12-31-2009, 12:05 PM
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I don't know about the copper, But I just finished my garage airline. I looked in to a lot of different materials before I picked one. I looked at PVC, Iron, Copper and various air lines. And I found something that works great, is safe and cheap.
I used 3/4" od Air Brake line. It has a working pressure of 1400psi, 6000psi burst. Heat resistant up to 400* (Working pressure at 200* is 300psi. ) DOT approved and It is oil and solvent resistant.

It is made for the air brake systems on tractor trailer trucks.
It is good stuff. The minitruckin guys have been using it for years on trucks with air bag suspensions. You can use push lock fittings or brass fittings. It is semi ridged, and easy to run.
I bought 250' of 3/4" (od) in a pinkish orange color for $60. It was a discount stock because of the color, They had black, red and blue for $0.49 per ft.
I was told that it is basically the same stuff that comes with the rapid air garage kits. The only bad part is it is not rigid like pvc, iron and copper.

I ran mine in all the walls and used the gray PVC conduit from lowes, and ran the air line inside the conduit, And put "T" fittings every 10' and had an air chuck on the ends. worked perfect, and I have less then $100 in the whole system.

To get an idea of cost the Air brake line is $0.49 ft, the pvc conduit is $0.89 for a 3/4"(id) X 10' stick. And the T and angle fittings are $0.59 each. The air line comes in many other sizes from 1/4" to 1" (the 1" was $1.19 per ft )

Saved me a lot of money vs black iron or copper. And could have saved my eye if I went with PVC lol.

Since it is heat resident, you can run it right from the compressor, But I used a 3/4" 24" black iron pipe and a speedaire filter and regulator combo with a on/off ball valve. Just in case. I don't like the idea of nylon air line getting that hot, even if it says it can handle it.
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Old 12-31-2009, 01:17 PM
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That system should be as safe as about anything you could have used, unlike PVC which is a time bomb! One disadvantage is that it offers little in the way of cooling which can lead to water in a system such as this because of the hotter air allowing the moisture to pass through the water separator as vapor, that's the main reason Copper is somewhat better than iron especially for shorter systems under 50ft in length. This however can be remedied by the addition of a cooler before the water separator if water in the lines should become a problem. Since you ran yours is in conduit you should not have any problems with sags but if any kind of flexible line is used without support then sags in the line can cause a real headache as water tends to accumulate in the low spots, since yours is in conduit that won't be a problem but for someone considering just the un-supported line it very well could be. One thing for sure you have a very clean system that will be completely immune to rust or scaling!
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Old 12-31-2009, 02:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldred
That system should be as safe as about anything you could have used, unlike PVC which is a time bomb! One disadvantage is that it offers little in the way of cooling which can lead to water in a system such as this because of the hotter air allowing the moisture to pass through the water separator as vapor, that's the main reason Copper is somewhat better than iron especially for shorter systems under 50ft in length. This however can be remedied by the addition of a cooler before the water separator if water in the lines should become a problem. Since you ran yours is in conduit you should not have any problems with sags but if any kind of flexible line is used without support then sags in the line can cause a real headache as water tends to accumulate in the low spots, since yours is in conduit that won't be a problem but for someone considering just the un-supported line it very well could be. One thing for sure you have a very clean system that will be completely immune to rust or scaling!
That is a very good point.
I never thought about that, I used the conduit to keep it ridgid for the air conectors, so I cant pull it out of the wall. I never thought about a sag holding water. But your right, if it had a sag it would build up water fast, and the next time you use it you better hope your not painting!
The air brake line fit in the conduit tight. I used brass fittings and so far I have no leaks at 150psi.


That got me to thinking. And you seem like a person to ask. That gave me an idea to help keep watter out of the lines. What if, Right after the compressor I made a large "V" out of the airline/conduit maybe 2' long on each side pointing down and at the bottom point put a large bowl filter. That way gravity would help pull the water to the filter.
Dumb Idea or not? I just thought of it wile I was typing this so dont flame me, just a ruff idea.
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Old 12-31-2009, 05:27 PM
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A sag in a line can be a real headache because water will collect without any noticeable problem for a while but then what happens is it reaches the point where it starts to restrict the air flow and it will get picked up and expelled all at once, lots of water instead of just a few drops. Then once it's cleared the cycle starts all over again and all will seem well until just at the worst possible time (seems like it anyway ) it will do it again!


What you are talking about with the line is basically what we call a "drop" to collect water where it can sit undisturbed by the air flow until it can be drained. There are several good diagrams here that show the layout and a couple of really ingenious designs by some of the guys here. The basic idea is to run the air through a metal line as far as practical in order for the air to cool and let the water vapor condense into liquid water droplets that can be caught in the separator, water vapor in hot air tends to pass right through the separator only to then cause problems by condensing in the air hose. Also along the route of the piping there should be those "drops", kind of like what you are talking about, for the water to drain back into as it condenses on the pipe walls where it can stay undisturbed by the air flow. The water separator needs to be placed as far away from the compressor tank as possible so that the air will have time to cool and condense the moisture, if it is located at the tank before the air has a chance to cool it will catch very little of the moisture, most will simply pass through as vapor.


One really neat example can be found here in the pic in this thread

Water Separaters


This is a good example of using the principle we are talking about and going a step further to adapt it to a small shop where running long lengths of pipe would not be practical.
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Old 12-31-2009, 11:44 PM
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Wow that is neat. Im starting to love this forum. Many very smart creative people here for sure.


One question, I would like to do something very similar to that in the picture. Maybe put longer piece of pipe going to the ball valves for more area to collect water. With that many bends and turns in a small area does it restrict the amount of CFM any? Or cause a drop in pressure when used on a regulator?

That is a good Idea, Like I said before I bought 250' of the Air brake airline and I still have 50-100 foot left over to do something like that with. Im sure it wont do as good of a job as cooling the air like copper does, But Im thinking I already have everything needed so why not. Even if it only trapped 10% of the moisture thats 10% I don't need to worry about any more.
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Old 01-01-2010, 07:56 AM
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Unless the line was quite small you would see no significant drop in pressure but if you do have moisture problems you could easily rig up a cooler somewhere along the line. I saw one recently in a home garage that the guy had rigged up to sandblast with, he had run the air through an old car air conditioner evaporator and had a couple of fans from a scrapped computer behind it. Even with no more air flow through it than was provided by those little fans it worked pretty darn good, a bigger fan would make it even better. This was interesting because we have discussed a system using AC evaporators here before and after seeing that rig I think it may be a really good idea.
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Old 01-01-2010, 08:46 AM
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On my lines I ran 1" black iron pipe. Also made a cooler by the compressor. I have very little moisture after the cooler. When the compressor is running a lot, the temp difference between the inlet and outlet is almost 30*.



[IMG][/IMG]
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Old 01-01-2010, 09:33 AM
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That's another good example!
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Old 01-01-2010, 09:49 AM
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47chevy, I see what you've done with your air manifolding, but I'm wondering about that wiring hanging off the shelving. It doesn't look like it .... ah whats the word I'm looking for? Oh yeah, it doesn't look like it meets code.
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Old 01-01-2010, 11:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldred
Unless the line was quite small you would see no significant drop in pressure but if you do have moisture problems you could easily rig up a cooler somewhere along the line. I saw one recently in a home garage that the guy had rigged up to sandblast with, he had run the air through an old car air conditioner evaporator and had a couple of fans from a scrapped computer behind it. Even with no more air flow through it than was provided by those little fans it worked pretty darn good, a bigger fan would make it even better. This was interesting because we have discussed a system using AC evaporators here before and after seeing that rig I think it may be a really good idea.

Like an aluminum A/C evaporator ? Will that hold 150psi ?
My father-in-law owns a heating and cooling business and has a ton of scrap units. Ive already got my hands on two sealed-unit blow motors that I plan to use for paint exhaust fans. I wonder I could figure A way to use freon to cool compressed air..........
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Old 01-01-2010, 12:12 PM
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I think you guys are over thinking this big time. I can't comment on your design Smith being I can't see the whole thing in the photo. But if it looks like the one on the link oldred posted it is wrong. First off and most important, you are WAY too close to the compressor to do any good. The air hasn't cooled, it is still hot and full of condensation. Being the water is still "in the air" it will go right thru your contraption. You need to "trap" water later down the line when the air has cooled and it is separated from it.

If your contraption were to be mounted horizontal, now that would help out as long as the pipe was mounted at a slant at every point. Then it would act as a "radiator" cooling the air WITHOUT restricting it's path.

Guys, go to Sharpe, Devilbis, and any other paint gun manufacture along with any air tool manufacture and you will see a diagram like this one at Sharpe.



The slope can be toward the compressor or away, I see no real consensus in that, some like it toward, some like it away.

I think this particular drawing is a little misleading in that the drains don't need to be at a slope as this drawing depicts. The bottom of the drop where the drain is could be a foot or twenty feet it would make no difference in it's efficiency.

The most important part is you have the main line sloped. At each drop to an outlet you go UP and then down passing the outlet to a drain at the bottom. The water being heavier than air has to go UP and down to the outlet so much of it simply can't make it and then it goes back to the compressor or out the last drain. The water that does get up and over, falls down to the drain at the bottom of the drop bypassing the air outlet!

Think about this, your air line is a race course, do you want your air going thru a tight course set up in the streets before it gets to your gun or tool to do it's job, or do you want on the Indy oval?

Brian

Last edited by MARTINSR; 01-01-2010 at 12:18 PM.
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