Copper air lines- 50/50 or 95/5 solder? - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    Silver Solder - the most durable in my experience. I can remember many years ago in New Zealand at the (very late 1960's early 70's)
    International Harvester tractor assembly plant located in Christchurch where overhead copper lines had
    been run to facilitate filling engine/drive line components with lubricating oil once assembly was complete. The overhead lines were about 40/50 mm OD and silver soldered at every joint. The oils were
    pumped by pneumatic pumps with a very high output pressure (hundreds of PSI) and at every joint the lines
    expanded to an alarming increase in diameter, ballooned out so to speak. This was rectified by cutting the
    lines and rejoining using a brass mechanical compression fitting.

    I would imagine that your air lines are only small in diameter and even at 200 PSI you would not experience
    any problems. I have seen many failures in soft soldered joints in copper, but these were usually because
    of transferred vibration from equipment or poor joint preparation.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by npinson View Post
    Is the proper way to slope the supply line towards the drops slightly?. . .
    That is correct. "away from the compressor" is an unknown variable and not relevant. Give the runs a minimum of 1/8"/ft, (better if you can go 1/4") toward the drops. I like to tee off the horizontal lines with a down pipe to a drain valve and the other side of the tee goes up to a convenient height for the quick-coupler. I do have a refrigerated dryer for plasma cutting and painting but even when I don't use it the air is quite dry. I do live in a dry climate, however.

  3. #23
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    Does anyone have experience with the Rapid Air aluminum/plastic tubing? Seems a lot cheaper and easier than copper.

    We used the rigid aluminum/plastic tubing at my last real job. That stuff was awesome.

  4. #24
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    Just wanted to make a note that if one plans to use a lubricator than you’ll need to have a dryer as well. My compressor has an onboard desiccant dryer and it works very well.

    I restored a machine run in a shop that did not use a lubricator or dryer, every piston needed resurfacing, every seal was rotted.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by ewlsey View Post
    Does anyone have experience with the Rapid Air aluminum/plastic tubing? Seems a lot cheaper and easier than copper.

    We used the rigid aluminum/plastic tubing at my last real job. That stuff was awesome.
    If you break it down it's a lot more expensive. The 1" rapid air is same or less flow as 3/4" copper.

    And again, why would you buy that stuff when you can get air brake tubing by the spool for dirt cheap and use whatever fittings you want?

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    Solder............prep and getting good flow is key. Use what you like. I love copper air lines cuz it's cheap and professional looking. Cheap because it's so darn easy to install and change. Sure copper seems $$$$, but a couple of hundred feet of tube and a pile of elbows/T's, and fittings is peanuts.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by EmanuelGoldstein View Post
    I can say from experience that for steam at 150 psi, you definitely want silver solder. I lost a perfectly good pair of jeans when the 50-50 let go ...
    That's because it was 370 deg F. Whoever did that is crazy stupid!

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  9. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garwood View Post
    If you break it down it's a lot more expensive. The 1" rapid air is same or less flow as 3/4" copper.

    And again, why would you buy that stuff when you can get air brake tubing by the spool for dirt cheap and use whatever fittings you want?
    OK. Northern Tool is selling the 100 ft 3/4 Rapid Air kit for $159. The cheapest I can get 3/4 DOT air line is $2/ft. Copper about that same.

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  11. #29
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    Type L 3/4 is $1/ft in the contractor pack of 10 pieces at Lowes.

    By the spool air brake tubing is dirt cheap from wholesalers. It's been 8 years since I bought a spool, but it was more like 50 cents/ft

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    Quote Originally Posted by ewlsey View Post
    OK. Northern Tool is selling the 100 ft 3/4 Rapid Air kit for $159. The cheapest I can get 3/4 DOT air line is $2/ft. Copper about that same.
    factor in the cost of labor (push to connect Vs. soldered joints), and its a runaway winner. I guess if you are a hobbyist with all the time in the world it doesn't matter, but for anyone else it sure does.

    If you don't like the look of the blue stuff, there is another quick connect system called DanAir. It has a "side tap" tee as well, so you don't have to go up, and over, and down. pretty slick, and a big time saver.

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    So, first off you guys need to get your shit straight.

    The rapid air stuff is just blue air brake tubing. That's all it is. It is not the form and bend it where you want it stuff. It is marketed as hobby grade garage stuff.

    The metal/plastic bendy stuff is Max Line. Made by the same company it is $270 for the same thing as the $159 rapid air kit.

    The rigid aluminum pipe painted ugly blue for your retina's enjoyment is Fast Pipe and it's more money yet and a lot more in shipping expense.

    I'd need about 6 of those 100 foot kits @ $270 each. I'm going to spend about $750 on copper all said and done.

  14. #32
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    There is Kaeser smart pipe also. I believe their fittings are aluminum.

  15. #33
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    IMO, preparation is more important than the solder type. Clean pipe, clean fittings and the right flux and temperature. Full insertion.

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    This is HDPE/aluminum tubing. Not air brake tubing. Rated for 200psi.

    RapidAir 3/4in. MaxLine 100ft. Master Kit, Model# M7500 | Northern Tool + Equipment

    My Lowes shows the cheapest 3/4 copper is $1.60. So I guess the copper is the same cost as the kit, but the kit has hangers, tees, outlets, couplings, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ewlsey View Post
    This is HDPE/aluminum tubing. Not air brake tubing. Rated for 200psi.

    RapidAir 3/4in. MaxLine 100ft. Master Kit, Model# M7500 | Northern Tool + Equipment

    My Lowes shows the cheapest 3/4 copper is $1.60. So I guess the copper is the same cost as the kit, but the kit has hangers, tees, outlets, couplings, etc.
    That's a lot more reasonable. Definitely makes it viable if you like that stuff. I can see where that stuff makes sense and have seen plenty of it in big facilities.

    Personally, I don't care for the looks of it. I don't care for the color safety blue whatsoever. I prefer metal to plastic. Copper checks all my boxes and I don't mind the extra labor because I set aside the time to do it.

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  20. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeanQ View Post
    That's because it was 370 deg F. Whoever did that is crazy stupid!
    When you're 18 ....

  21. #37
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    I did the compressed air lines in 3/4 copper in my workshop garage using "silver bearing" soft solder. Its a low silver concentrated soft solder, has a higher tensile strength than typical leaded, and lead free plumbing solders. With MAP gas it solders about the same as plumber's lead free and uses the same flux as other soft solders. From memory, 20+ yrs ago, the 1 lb spool I bought was from Harris and the cost was only slightly more that lead free.

    just did a quick search, the silver bearing Harris solder has a tensile of 14,000 psi vs 4,000 to 7,000 psi for lead free plumbing solders
    Last edited by aribert; 01-12-2020 at 10:17 PM. Reason: more info

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  23. #38
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    I thought blue wa sfor cold water pipes/ What color is compressed air supose dto be? Red is hot water, gray was NG.
    Bill D.
    Note "hot" water meant temperature. We did not have active water in pipes. But all the buildings sewage flowed into storage tanks through detectors. So the output from the tanks could be shut off if needed. It has been twenty years and they had not detected anything in the outgoing water.
    It was fun to tell friends that we had a hot freezer at work. It was used to store hot biological stuff until it could be hauled to Nevada once or twice a year. We also had a cold freezer next to it for cold stuff.


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