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PROJECT: Pneumatic piping
#1
If anyone plans to get an air compressor for tools or painting here is a plan using steel piping and am currently building.

Why would you want steel piping? Well, it is VERY important to remove moisture from the compressed air before it goes to your tools or paint gun. First, moisture will cause your air tools to wear excessively and faster. Second, moisture in your air coming out of the paint gun will produce poor quality paint jobs. Plastic piping will not help with this at all.

So it is best to try and construct piping that has at least a long enough run to cool the hot compressed air down so water will condense in the steel pipe and also be easier to remove at the moisture filter located at the end of the run.

I also chose to use 1/2" black steel piping because the size is more than adequate, cheap, and all components are readily available. The whole project costs around $100 or less, excluding the filter and regulator. Do not use galvanized pipe because pieces of it will come loose and get trapped in the filter causing pressure variations.

The first step is to plan out the design on "paper" so you can get an idea of what your materials needs are to complete the project. Try to pick the best places to purge air and moisture from the system, and try to create sloping runs to those shut-off valves.

Below is the design I started with and then made changes as I go.
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#2
Below are some of the components you will need for the project.

Photo #1 shows a shut-off valve.

Photo #2 shows an elbow and a "T"

Photo #3 shows a "T" and end-cap and nipple.

Nipples come in many different sizes. Depending upon how far you have to drive to get the components, I would suggest buying several of each size you might need, and more. I have already made three trips to the hardware store. Smile

Pipe and nipples will all be pre-threaded.

I personally use white plumbing tape to add these components to pipe threads. Tape helps prevent air leaks. Two complete turns around the threading is all that is necessary, and go with the thread as you would tighten, or clockwise.
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#3
You will also need at least one union shown below. It is similar to a coupling where you connect two lengths of pipe together. But a union allows a quick and convenient method of disconnection for maintenance or repair.

A union is VERY important, but try and limit the number of connections in your system to reduce air leakage.

In the photos below I show a union that has been taken apart because the nipple to the right was too long and put the pipe over my electric switch. The second photo shows the result of replacing the long nipple with a shorter one.

Without the union, the task would have been much more difficult. Be sure and remove the old tape and replace with new tape on any threads.
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#4
Lay things out on the floor and begin putting sections together one at a time.

This is IMPORTANT. You will need to think ahead and put each section together in your head first so that you can install each section easily. Otherwise you might find it nearly impossible to put two sections together.

Then once you have a section completed then attach to the wall as shown below. That jog-around is only due to the 6-foot piece I had above. I could have taken it to a hardware store and had it cut down some and re-threaded but it was just easier to just do it this way. Smile

You can also see that I used a flexible gas range attachment to the first section. This helps minimize things coming apart when the compressor vibrates while running (and reduces noise levels as well). Here again I used plumber's tape. And I also wanted a nice slope back to the compressor so any moisture in the line there would go back. I drain the compressor often.
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#5
Here's another view of the compressor outlet and the flexible piping mentioned above.
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#6
The next section is the pipe running across the top of the garage. In this case I used two 10-foot pieces of black pipe. I connected them with a coupler shown in the photo below.
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#7
After the run across the top of the garage, I then brought the pipe down the side of the garage door, shown in the photo below. It is also similar on the other side but couldn't get a decent photo of it. More to come as the project progresses.
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#8
Simply INGENIOUS!!!! Nice job Steve
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
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#9
I WANT!
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#10
It must be nice to have the space for a proper "man cave" loads of tools and gadgets and not an ornament or nik-nak in site. Smile
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#11
(08-06-2010, 07:38 PM)xerxes Wrote:  It must be nice to have the space for a proper "man cave" loads of tools and gadgets and not an ornament or nik-nak in site. Smile

He-he-he, nope, the garage is sacred territory.
Maybe it could use a felt painting of dogs playing poker. Smile

Steve
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#12
(08-06-2010, 08:11 PM)KC-Steve Wrote:  Maybe it could use a felt painting of dogs playing poker. Smile

I think a few "adult art" posters and perhaps a Pirelli calendar are the only adornments allowed in workshops, if most the ones I've seen are anything to go by. Smile
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#13
(08-06-2010, 04:42 PM)Jordan300 Wrote:  I WANT!

(08-06-2010, 12:16 PM)Bill Wrote:  Simply INGENIOUS!!!! Nice job Steve

Thanks guys! Smile
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#14
Yesterday, I used a couple of pieces of scrap wood to create a solid backing for the moisture filter and air outlet in the last section. The wall behind this is an exterior wall to the garage so I don't intend to be elaborate with insulation or finishing.

The heat and humidity here are so bad that my camera is having a difficult time getting clear photos (fogging). But I'll run to the hardware store once again and add another union so this last section can be added easily. This is the second union for this system.
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#15
What pressure are you running the section attached to that flex line at? I work in the Propane industry and most times those flex connectors are only rated at 10 PSIG max (usually run on less than .5 PSIG). Would be careful with that or get a higher rated flex connector.
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#16
Thanks for the heads-up. I haven't completed it yet so haven't put any pressure on it. If I recall correctly, the hardware salesman said it would work at the 90 psi intended output. I wasn't looking for it when he offered that as a possible solution. Around here most people use the city's natural gas, underground pipes. So I'm thinking it is a higher psi compared to propane. But I'll check into it further before completing. Smile

Thanks,
Steve
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#17
(08-12-2010, 05:09 PM)KC-Steve Wrote:  Thanks for the heads-up. I haven't completed it yet so haven't put any pressure on it. If I recall correctly, the hardware salesman said it would work at the 90 psi intended output. I wasn't looking for it when he offered that as a possible solution. Around here most people use the city's natural gas, underground pipes. So I'm thinking it is a higher psi compared to propane. But I'll check into it further before completing. Smile

Thanks,
Steve

Difference in Nat. Gas v. LP (propane ) is about 1/2 of 1 PSIG. i.e Propane runs at 1/2 PSIG and Nat. Gas runs at about 1 PSIG.

They do make High pressure flex lines- for running liquid propane thru that can handle up to 300 PSIG- but those are not readily available at your local hardware store. You may have to go to a gas supplies or welding supplies store for that.
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#18
Nice.
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#19
After checking my FLEXIBLE PIPE out of the compressor, Ramzious is right. The one I have is not designed for this application. Thanks Ramzious. Smile

I'll check around for the correct stuff. The steel pipe used is fine though.

Steve
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#20
(08-17-2010, 12:38 PM)KC-Steve Wrote:  After checking my FLEXIBLE PIPE out of the compressor, Ramzious is right. The one I have is not designed for this application. Thanks Ramzious. Smile

I'll check around for the correct stuff. The steel pipe used is fine though.

Steve

Might want to check the pressure rating on those shut off's too. The steel pipe is fine as it is just air, we use galvanized pipe in FL simply for the rust prevention is more important on the outside of the pipe (LP gas carries no Oxygen- therefore no rust on inside of pipes).
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