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Old 08-29-2010, 06:32 PM
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shop air piping layout

used the search function a lot today, read about everything I could find on this topic, I still have a few questions, note I'm a good handy guy, but plumbing is not one of my specialties

1) the diagrams show a 4 in drop over 50 feet or about an inch per 10 foot,
using 90 degree fittings or T's on the corners,, doesn't that force the pipe to stay straight,, or will I find enough "bend" in a long run to get the drop. My layout will have two runs of 16 feet that are stacked in the 12 inches of space above the window along the back wall of my garage

2) I am planning on using 3/4 inch copper, I have seen where some folks here use the L others the M,, to use the L on my project will run me an extra 30.00.. not a deal breaker,, but do I need to,,?

3) I have never really tried the torch / solder method,, 10 years ago I put a water heater in and used an epoxy made for copper pipes, to joint the hot and cold water fittings still holding fine,,
any thoughts on using the epoxy on a copper compressor lines,,

thanks

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Old 08-29-2010, 07:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DadTruck
used the search function a lot today, read about everything I could find on this topic, I still have a few questions, note I'm a good handy guy, but plumbing is not one of my specialties

1) the diagrams show a 4 in drop over 50 feet or about an inch per 10 foot,
using 90 degree fittings or T's on the corners,, doesn't that force the pipe to stay straight,, or will I find enough "bend" in a long run to get the drop. My layout will have two runs of 16 feet that are stacked in the 12 inches of space above the window along the back wall of my garage
You can bend the pipe slightly in order to maintain the ninety degrees just be sure you don't create any low spots where the water would accumulate in the pipe and not drain, make sure there are no spots with a "dip" in it but bending slightly to almost level at the joint is ok. If there is a spot anywhere in the system that water could stand without draining it will always cause problems, it has to be able to drain and the movement of the air will not be sufficient to keep the lines cleared that is why there can be no dips anywhere.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DadTruck
2) I am planning on using 3/4 inch copper, I have seen where some folks here use the L others the M,, to use the L on my project will run me an extra 30.00.. not a deal breaker,, but do I need to,,?
No you do not, there would be no real advantage.


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Originally Posted by DadTruck
3)any thoughts on using the epoxy on a copper compressor lines,,thanks

Just one, DON'T!
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Old 08-29-2010, 08:20 PM
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Here is a good discussion on piping a compressor. http://autobodystore.com/forum/showt...iping-question

Brian
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Old 08-30-2010, 05:53 AM
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another question,, for the 3/4 inch copper tubing,, is there a plug available that would allow me to pressure test sections of the piping as I soldered them together. I was thinking of a plug that would clamp on to each open end, with one of the ends having a male disconnect on it...
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Old 08-30-2010, 06:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DadTruck
another question,, for the 3/4 inch copper tubing,, is there a plug available that would allow me to pressure test sections of the piping as I soldered them together. I was thinking of a plug that would clamp on to each open end, with one of the ends having a male disconnect on it...
If it isn't hidden, there really is no reason to pressure check each section. Put it together, turn on the air. As long as you have a valve or at a minimum a quick disconnect at the end, the fittings can be easily seen. You can either check with a soap solution.

Technique - you have said that you have never soldered copper tubing. It's very easy. A really good cleaning with either a 6" long piece from roll of plumber's emery cloth found anywhere plumbing tools are sold, or from a piece of emery cloth then some flux spread on the joint and then put together - on a big job, ordinary 80 grit sand paper wears out too fast. Heat the joint until the solder will flow easily - it gets sucked in and spread through the entire 360 degrees - let it cool and you are done. If you can find an old roll of the now illegal tin/lead solder the job will go easier as that stuff will flow a bit better though the new solder does seem to work fine as far as strength. It just takes a bit more heat. Some folks have gone as far as 'tinning' a joint - that is clean it, flux the tube and the fitting individually and flow in a bit of solder then reclean so they will fit together and do the final soldering. I have and all it does is about double your time doing the job.

Good luck

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Old 08-30-2010, 06:43 AM
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I have to say I wouldn't do it without a brush for cleaning the tubing. I just plumbed a bathroom a month ago (still get twitches thinking about it) and did a lot of copper pipe soldering for the first time in my life. Those brushes are so cheap and they kick but, wham and you have spotlessly clean fittings.

There is this one.



Or this one





Or this



They all do the job. Also, a deburing tool,




And a GOOD tubing cutter is awful nice.

I bought the best stuff I could, pro stuff but not the real big dollar ones. I am thrilled I spend the extra money. If you are just going to do this compressor plumbing, you don't need all the best stuff. But if it is a big project for a shop and you see that you may be doing some in your home in the future, the better tools really pay off.

And yes, the solder flows so nice, you can SEE it is sealed, you don't need to pressure test. I did my entire bath room and a good portion under the house, hot and cold, Never checked a single thing until I turned on the water and it all worked perfect.

Brian
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Old 08-30-2010, 09:03 AM
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Those brushes may not be absolutely necessary but they are worth every cent they cost and will make the job a lot easier. While tinning a connection before finial fitting does take a bit more work it will all but guarantee a leak free connection and may be worth the extra effort for someone not familiar with the soldering process. The best way to make the connection if tinning is to be done is to clean the pipe ends (this means NO oxidation left where the solder is going!), heat until the solder flows completely over the area then quickly wipe it with steel wool while it is still hot. Put the ends together and reheat and add a bit more solder. I bet you will find that making leak free joints is so easy you will forget all about tinning first and not even bother with it after the first few connections, the trick is to to make sure the pipe is clean.
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Old 08-30-2010, 09:42 AM
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OK

thanks to all,, I plan to get the tubing and fitting together thiis week, start the project over this weekend, I'll post on the progress.
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Old 08-30-2010, 02:45 PM
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sweating copper is really a piece of cake, I would argue as easy or easier then gluing PVC once you get the hang of it, but if you're really stressed about it they do make pre-tinned fittings and they even make pushlock ones now for copper.
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Old 08-30-2010, 04:32 PM
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I found steel wool works very well for cleaninf the pipe/fittings. I've never tried the brushes, but every plumber I know uses steel wool. Even harder than finding good solder is finding good flux paste. Up here, I used to use Kester acid paste, now it is next to impossible to find. The replacement flux is so bad it is almost a joke.
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Old 08-30-2010, 05:57 PM
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The brushes are CHEAP, the little round ones are only a buck or so. The blue one (that is a cheap HF copy, I have the real thing) is only about seven or eight bucks as I remember. After using them, I wouldn't do it without them. I had to use emery on a few do to the tight spaces, the brushes are MUCH easier.

I have done very little plumbing, never have I replaced a section or anything like that. Installing facets with a valve or something was my limit. When I walked into my hardware store (a REAL hardware store, not a "McHome" store) I told him give me the tools the pros use, I don't want to work too hard. I bought up everything he said and I am SO GLAD I did. The nice big American made pipe wrench, the brushes, the de-burr tool, etc. I was VERY happy I got that stuff by the time I was deep into the project.

Brian
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Old 08-30-2010, 11:06 PM
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We ran copper by the tractor trailer loads during the 40 yrs we were in the mechanical contracting business.

My take on soft soldered copper tubing.....

-use a fitting brush to clean the ID of fittings. Cheapest ones have a simple wire loop handle and are about half the price of the ones with a wood or plastic insert in the handle. The brushes don't last long enough to need any sort of fancy handle. Spin the brush in one direction, not back and forth, and it will last longer and do a better job. Easiest way to clean a lot of fittings is to take a pair of side cutter pliers and clip the handle loop off the brush so you can insert the shank in a cordless drill. About 2 seconds per end, and the fitting is clean.

-use sand cloth or sanding screen (preferred) for cleaning the OD of the tubing. Its too easy to contaminate an OD brush and not realize it until you have multiple leaks that have to be taken apart and re-cleaned. I never allowed anyone to use an OD brush regardless of their preference, and if we had one leak in a thousand joints it was rare. Use the sanding material in a shoeshine motion. Don't grab it in one hand and wring it around the tubing because you'll end up with the oils from your hand transferring to the sanding media and from there to the tubing. Natural oils from your skin are the #1 cause of leaks in soft soldered copper.

-Nokorode (no corrode) paste is one that's been around for years. Its a very weak paste in that its not self cleaning. Pastes which are strong and self cleaning tend to keep on cleaning, or attacking the surface of the tube or fitting over time. Easiest way to spot joints made with self cleaning paste is an accumulation of green crud around the joint a year or so later. Some will say you avoid that by wiping the joint down with a wet rag after soldering. To that, I ask them how they wipe the inside? I picked up a tin of paste at Lowe's recently, marketed by Lenox, the bandsaw blade people. As far as I can tell, its identical to Nokorode. Probably made by them since Lenox isn't in the chemical business AFAIK. Pick up some acid brushes to use for applying the paste. Apply sparingly to both the fitting ID and the tube OD.

-can't make any recommendation for a good soft solder. We didn't do any potable water piping, just hot and chilled water for HVAC and process applications, so we used 50/50 (lead/tin as mentioned above). If you can find a roll, its the easiest to use. Probably can't, but the general opinion seems to be that there are decent lead free solders on the market today.

-M copper should be fine for your air lines. I'd use a Bernz o Matic type torch for this work. They'll work fine and the heat is easy to control. A Prestolite torch works well to, but too much money for occasional use. Avoid the temptation to use oxy acetylene even if you have it. The heat is too hard to control on small tubing, even for someone who does it for a living. Burning the paste is a sure recipe for a leak.

-assuming you'll be using threaded valves at your takeoffs, make the joint at the tube and male adapter before screwing the adapter into the valve. This keeps the heat off the valve and off the pipe dope or tape at the joint. People who run copper every day tend to avoid using female adapters to the greatest extent possible, because they're far more prone to leaking than male adapters. To follow this principle, you need quick disconnects with female pipe threads. Female threads are the most common, but they're available both ways so its worth mentioning.

Unless you're absolutely sure you won't want to modify your piping sometime down the road, the main line should be mounted a couple inches clear of the wall, or hung from overhead, rather than clamped tight to the wall. A bit of clearance will allow you to take a compact cutter and cut a tee into the main anytime you want. Tight to the wall, and you end up trying to cut the line with a hacksaw and pry it away from the wall sufficiently to clean the tube and make the joints. If I had only one tubing cutter for small tubing, it would be this one. http://www.toolup.com/ridgid/40617.h...m=ridgid+40617 It will handle anything up thru 1" copper, works fine for all cutting on a small job, and gives the necessary clearance for cutting in a takeoff in a tight area later on.

One final thing is reaming of the tube after cutting. I've used the built in reamers that are a part of some tube cutters (worst type of all), rout-a-burr deburring tool (better), and my favorite copper deburring tool which is a pocket knife. On air lines, you're reaming primarily to keep any moisture flowing rather than having a series of steps that act as small dams for moisture. 5 minutes of practice with a reasonably sharp knife, and you'll cut the burr right out with a single twist of the tube. Ream before cleaning as you need to be able to hold onto the tube while reaming.
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Old 08-30-2010, 11:11 PM
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I "cheaped-out" and didnt want to run copper all over my shop - but still needed something to help cool the air down.

This is a picture of my setup - This is about 100 bucks worth of copper pipe and fittings with a 50' reel hose (Lowes not sure on price its about 4 years old), the filter/regulator is from HF about 30.00

My shop is 22x40 so the retractable hose reaches all corners easily.

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Old 08-31-2010, 07:53 AM
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That is a great layout to get rid of water, but a horrible layout for CFM. The air has to push it's way thru water.

In this design the water traps are at the bottom of the system with the air outlets up higher. And the pipe is ran at a slope so the water travels down to the lowest points without the air flow being affected.

Brian


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Old 08-31-2010, 07:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TubeTek

-use sand cloth or sanding screen (preferred) for cleaning the OD of the tubing. Its too easy to contaminate an OD brush and not realize it until you have multiple leaks that have to be taken apart and re-cleaned. I never allowed anyone to use an OD brush regardless of their preference, and if we had one leak in a thousand joints it was rare. Use the sanding material in a shoeshine motion. Don't grab it in one hand and wring it around the tubing because you'll end up with the oils from your hand transferring to the sanding media and from there to the tubing. Natural oils from your skin are the #1 cause of leaks in soft soldered copper.

-
I never even thought about this while doing my bathroom! I am glad it is all over and doesn't leak. If I had read this half way thru I would have thrown up with anxiety. I did all the wrong things! Well, I DID watch myself as to not dirty the ends. I was conscience of the fact that I didn't want to get it dirty so I guess that is what saved me. But I didn't realize how critical it is.

Brian
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