Best air compressor line material??? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 04-24-2008, 12:55 AM Thread Starter
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Best air compressor line material???

Just finished building a new house and now want to run air lines to various parts of the garage. I have used PVC from the compressor to several locations in my last house and it worked fine. BUT, I have heard that this is not the safest material to use as it could shatter. Without getting into too much expense, what would be a suitable piping?

Thanks
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post #2 of 22 Old 04-24-2008, 07:25 AM
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Poly tubing would work well.........
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post #3 of 22 Old 04-24-2008, 07:52 AM
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I have three outlets off my compressor and use, http://busybeetools.ca/cgi-bin/pictu...2&NTITEM=B2505

This is easy to run and takes up little room.

John

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post #4 of 22 Old 04-24-2008, 07:57 AM
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I've always been partial to black iron until now. It is relatively cheap, and relatively uncomplicated to intstall. I have plumbed my entire natural gas supply from the meter to every appliance with it, so I'm sure of its integrity. Therefore, I'm going to use black iron pipe in my new workshop. That's just my preference....

smitty
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post #5 of 22 Old 04-24-2008, 09:32 AM
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Air line

I retired from WE-ENERGIES a few yrs ago. About 20 yrs ago we changed to plastic air lines. Schedule 80 PVC. WE run 200 lbs. pressure and have not had a failure of any kind with it. In my shop I run 4 air outlets with 1/2" copper tubing.It makes for a neat looking sturdy set up. Where the compressor hooks to the copper line you need to use a short flexible line to keep the compressor vibration away from the copper. What ever type you use,if you drop down to an air outlet put a tee with the air fitting out the side and a water drain out the bottom on a short piece of pipe. Dale
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post #6 of 22 Old 04-24-2008, 09:44 AM
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Black iron

Quote:
Originally Posted by smitty1967 View Post
I've always been partial to black iron until now. It is relatively cheap, and relatively uncomplicated to intstall. I have plumbed my entire natural gas supply from the meter to every appliance with it, so I'm sure of its integrity. Therefore, I'm going to use black iron pipe in my new workshop. That's just my preference....

smitty
Natural gas has no moisture. Moisture plus oxygen = rust on uncoated iron. Compressed air (oxygen) and moisture = accelerated corrosion or rust.
nice progress on your shop. I'm Jealous. Dale
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post #7 of 22 Old 04-24-2008, 10:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marchboom View Post
Just finished building a new house and now want to run air lines to various parts of the garage. I have used PVC from the compressor to several locations in my last house and it worked fine. BUT, I have heard that this is not the safest material to use as it could shatter. Without getting into too much expense, what would be a suitable piping?

Thanks
Anohter reason for not using plastic. I have posted this before on other posts and maybe here on this site, but another reason not to use plastic is fire. I know of a workshop that burned from what was a small smoldering fire that melted the airline. When the airline burst an inferno developed from the fresh supply of pressurized air fanning the fire. It was like a blowtorch until the breaker popped on the compressor from the wires being burned through. BTW, the fire was caused from a pile of sawdust under the table saw being set on fire from an extension cord that was chafed from the leg on the contractor saw base.

Jim
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post #8 of 22 Old 04-24-2008, 09:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom-3 View Post
Natural gas has no moisture. Moisture plus oxygen = rust on uncoated iron. Compressed air (oxygen) and moisture = accelerated corrosion or rust.
nice progress on your shop. I'm Jealous. Dale
Hey Tom: thanks for the comments...the work is finally starting to pay off in visual dividends---we can see progress!!

On the black iron, are you saying the moisture content in the compressed air will in fact lead to corrosion inside the compressed air plumbing? Or are you saying that the black iron, being coated, will inhibit corrosion?

I already know all the tricks about drops on each run to collect iron flakes, etc....any other tips?

thanks
smitty
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post #9 of 22 Old 04-25-2008, 03:24 PM
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I used copper pipe back when I built my garage/shop a few years ago. Now it's a little pricey, but recently I've seen piles of it at the local recycling center, so you might be able to pick up some used pipe little cheaper than new... good luck, Mike
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post #10 of 22 Old 04-26-2008, 12:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike65072 View Post
I used copper pipe back when I built my garage/shop a few years ago. Now it's a little pricey, but recently I've seen piles of it at the local recycling center, so you might be able to pick up some used pipe little cheaper than new... good luck, Mike
I have to agree about the copper. For painting, I would definitely stay away from any form of iron pipe. The only real problem with PVC is if someone goes out of their way to break it and hits it with a hammer. Copper doesn't rust and you can buy refrigeration tubing in rolls of 50'. It is possible to make complex runs with out a joint in the middle.

Tom
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post #11 of 22 Old 05-02-2011, 08:40 PM
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go into about any car repair shop and you will find black pipe air lines.
they usually have dryers and filters installed in the lines for moisture and sediment.
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post #12 of 22 Old 05-02-2011, 08:54 PM
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I didn't read all of the posts above but..

The only setbacks about black iron is that the inside of the pipe will rust due to the moisture in the air that goes through it. That and if you don't have the know how to cut and thread the pipe, it's difficult. You're better off going with copper, it's resistant to water better than the iron, and it's (Easier) in my opinion for a home owner to apply to his shop. Simple solder joints, and not complex threading and sealing like black iron.
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post #13 of 22 Old 05-02-2011, 09:57 PM
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Plastic vs copper vs black pipe

The reason commericial shops don't use PVC or copper is the fire codes don't allow it. When the fire (assuming a fire) reaches the melting point of the plastic or the solder in the copper the lines BLOW and add oxygen to the fire. Firemen don't like that.
Even though the others solutions are cheaper/easier I still like the black iron pipe and use it. Also at the end of the day bleed the moisture off the bottom of the tank and shut the supply valve off to any lines especially hoses still connected to the mains. bill

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 05-03-2011 at 11:00 PM.
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post #14 of 22 Old 05-03-2011, 05:45 PM
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Even though this thread is 3 years old, it's still informative. A quick easy to install and move if necessary is Rapid Air. I've used both black pipe and galvanized pipe, which also works well.








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post #15 of 22 Old 05-03-2011, 10:44 PM
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one thing about copper....

If you going to use copper and solder the joints remember that regular solder will not due. It doesnt have a high enough pressure rating. You have to use silver solder which requires a much higher melting point. Propane wont due....you have to use MAPP gas. just a thought

jason
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post #16 of 22 Old 05-04-2011, 12:15 PM
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pvc and cpvc are against osha. one reference:

http://www.osha.gov/dts/hib/hib_data/hib19880520.html
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post #17 of 22 Old 05-05-2011, 12:59 AM
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I got my shop done in pex, simple and low cost. I also had the tools for it though.
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post #18 of 22 Old 07-28-2011, 12:49 PM
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At one time or another Iíve had shops set up with PVC, Iron and copper.

PVC, as many others have noted, can be very dangerous; the pipe is not designed to be used with air and has integrity issues with changes in temperature and any exposure to sunlight.

Iron was safe and secure but had several issues: it was a pain to install because we had to thread almost every joint and after about six months started to become a maintenance nightmare as the rust in the lines started causing issues with my machines. Even just using the blow guns was messy with all of the rusty spray going everywhere.

Copper is what I had in my last shop and overall was a good system; secure, safe and while not maintenance free (there were some electrolysis issues) it was a solid system. The only negative things about it were: it was very expensive! That copperís not cheap and while easier than iron to install it still took a long time to sweat all the joints.

I built a new, and hopefully last, shop a couple years ago and used a new aluminum pipe system that i wish had been available back when i did my first shop. It has all the "pros" and none of the "cons" of every other system Iíve used. It is safe and secure, extremely easy to install (it took a helper and myself less than a day to install air completely throughout my 8000sqft shop), to date Iíve not had any maintenance or contamination issues, and best of all it was inexpensive - especially compared to copper!

If you want to see any pictures of my latest (last, if I have anything to say about it) shop let me know and Iíll shoot you a couple. Here is the place where I purchased my system http://www.speedsourceusa.com/prevost-air-systems.html - They were easy to work with and helped me out with the design layout a lot.

So to boil it all down Iíd say no to PVC and Iron and yes to either Copper or Aluminum.
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post #19 of 22 Old 07-28-2011, 01:48 PM
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Let me toss something out here.

There is a new style of plumbing pipe where the connections are all crimped and the tubing is plastic (of some sort) coated to prevent corrosion. It seems to find frequent use on the HGTV show Holmes Inspection, but that's in Canada. The codes in the US may be different. I have seen it (or something similar) used in some new homes in the Las Vegas area. I don't know what the pressure limits are but it seems like an ideal solution for plumbing the shop. I think that even if you had to spend $300-$400 for the crimper you would be ahead of the costs of doing black pipe or copper.

Use the right tool for the job.

Rich (Tilting right)
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post #20 of 22 Old 07-28-2011, 02:20 PM
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I'll probably get scolded for this, but I use simple 3/4" air hoses with spurs in my system. We are talking home use here and as long as the hoses are placed where they can not be cut by accident you should be fine. The place where I worked for 20 years ran regular air hoses that were fixed to the joists in the ceilings to power all the production robots and maintenance shop needs.

Of course I don't have water problems because I have a dryer in the system right after the compressor, so all my air is dry out to the tools. Makes life much easier when spraying finishes.

If Woodworking is so much fun why isn't it called WoodFUNNING?

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