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  1. #1
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    Default Shop air lines... Suggestions

    I am doing some much needed maintenance on the shop and one of the things I want to do is get the shop air lines replaced. The cold has been making the spooled up lines brittle and just twisting them or stepping on the line has been puncturing them. I believe the flex lines I have are all harbor freight so I know they are bottom of the barrel already. Time for upgrades and getting the long spooled lines off of the shop floor. Nothing like 50' of line constantly being moved and used on many different machines. Getting tangled on everything.

    I need to get things overhead and out of the way. I would like a few connections dropped down from above so they are just above the machines. Easy quick connection should cover 3 machines nearby.

    I want to have a few locations where we can hook up to if needed nearby. I see kits online but I am suspect as they are pretty cheap.

    I have a 40'x80' building and the compressor is in the corner on one end of the building. I would need 150' or so of line. Maybe 6 - 8 locations for hook ups.

    Aluminum lined seems to be the way to go. I like the idea but I need to hear from people who have been there before.

    Thanks

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    Dont use black steel, it rusts fast and plugs the fittings...Phil

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil in Montana View Post
    Dont use black steel, it rusts fast and plugs the fittings...Phil
    Over 20 years on my current employer's black iron pipe and little/no issue. I am sure the air dryer helps.. Over 40 years on the family's pole barn shop my Dad has ran his aluminum fab shop out of. Drain the tank once a week.

    Perhaps rather than say what not to use, offer a suggestion? PvC is out due to brittleness and critical failure.

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    I have had the black pipe going on 30 years now. I feel it is too small for the future needs. Mine is rusty as hell too.

    I want something aluminum lined. Not the expensive tubes but the flex line. Probably 3/4" line.

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    We put in 1" copper with shark bites for a 132 PSI system. It goes up in a day and you can add drops wherever you want them in the future. Stationary o-rings are plenty reliable for moving air.

    If you have wet air then there are a ton of considerations about slope, drains, loops, filters, and corrosion. If you have an air dryer then you don't need to worry about any of that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Strostkovy View Post
    We put in 1" copper with shark bites for a 132 PSI system. It goes up in a day and you can add drops wherever you want them in the future. Stationary o-rings are plenty reliable for moving air.

    If you have wet air then there are a ton of considerations about slope, drains, loops, filters, and corrosion. If you have an air dryer then you don't need to worry about any of that.
    The air is very wet in the summer and tends to be dry in the winter. I do not have a drier but I would like to at the very least make something that helps the moisture condensate and fall back down. My idea would be to get the air up to the ceiling (10') as dry as I can before moving it down to the other end of the building.

    I know I can get creative with it but I am getting cnc's at some point and I need the right air going into those for sure. Might as well start working towards that now.

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    I have RapidAir FastPipe and I’m quite happy it.

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    I thought that PEX would be a good choice, but apparently it is not approved. The link below mentions various types of piping that are approved. There are several types of plastic.

    My shop is small so I get by with air hose. If I was going to pipe for air I think an approved plastic or copper would be good choices. I don't know about aluminum. What type of fittings would be used?
    302 Moved

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanASM View Post
    The air is very wet in the summer and tends to be dry in the winter. I do not have a drier but I would like to at the very least make something that helps the moisture condensate and fall back down. My idea would be to get the air up to the ceiling (10') as dry as I can before moving it down to the other end of the building.

    I know I can get creative with it but I am getting cnc's at some point and I need the right air going into those for sure. Might as well start working towards that now.
    What is your compressor horsepower or cfm? A dryer is an investement but if you do it now and can save a bunch of cost of drops and valves it would make sense. Along with skipping the cost of whatever alternatives you end up purchasing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Strostkovy View Post
    What is your compressor horsepower or cfm? A dryer is an investement but if you do it now and can save a bunch of cost of drops and valves it would make sense. Along with skipping the cost of whatever alternatives you end up purchasing.
    7.5hp around 20cfmm

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    Quote Originally Posted by mjr6550 View Post
    I thought that PEX would be a good choice, but apparently it is not approved. The link below mentions various types of piping that are approved. There are several types of plastic.
    Doesn't PEX stand for polyethylene? Your article appears to approve of that.

    We ran PEX to everything in the new shop. It's not done yet, but I've plowed through about 400 ft of 3/4 and 100 ft of 1/2. It is stupid simple, looks good, and is leak free. It is also really easy to change and repair.

    I only have two complaints about PEX so far. 1 - the fittings are fabulously expensive. 2 - it can be hard to get it to straighten back out when you unroll the coil. This is especially true or the 3/4, and I suspect 1in would be even worse.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanASM View Post
    7.5hp around 20cfmm
    Ingersoll Rand D42IN Refrigerated Air Dryer 7.5HP 25 CFM

    Up to you what to purchase, but I have used this series personally in the past and it ran fine for the 3 years we had it until we got a bigger compressor.

    Just weigh the costs of not having dry air before committing to anything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by boosted View Post
    Doesn't PEX stand for polyethylene? Your article appears to approve of that.

    We ran PEX to everything in the new shop. It's not done yet, but I've plowed through about 400 ft of 3/4 and 100 ft of 1/2. It is stupid simple, looks good, and is leak free. It is also really easy to change and repair.

    I only have two complaints about PEX so far. 1 - the fittings are fabulously expensive. 2 - it can be hard to get it to straighten back out when you unroll the coil. This is especially true or the 3/4, and I suspect 1in would be even worse.
    What types of fittings are you using? The barb fittings are about a $1.20 depending on type, and the crimp rings are under 20 cents each for 3/4.

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    PEX is fine, IMO. Been using it for like 10 years. Even had 175psi on it some when I was in a pinch and my regulator right at the tank went out. I use the copper crimp rings. Fittings are not expensive that way and better than push-connect imo. And you can use the black plastic fittings if the brass are still too expensive...
    The rapid air is good too.

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    I’ve got all black pipe lines in my shop. 50 years no problem. The compressor is nearly as old and has a drain in it to keep the water out. There are auto-drain mechanisms available. Black pipe and fittings are cheap and available everywhere. Run the main lines high and put drain valves at the bottom of each drop. Give each machine its own dedicated air line and make the hoses just long enough to get all around the machine to eliminate the need to stretch hoses all across the shop. I would also suggest adding in extra tees along the main runs to allow for easy expansion of your system later on.

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    I like copper lines because they are reliable, easy to get and quick to assemble (albeit not as quick as some of the other solutions listed). I haven't used the Shark Bite fittings but I wouldn't hesitate to try them. If you are doing longer runs plan on a small accumulator tank at the air hungry machines to eliminate the need for larger (read expensive) OD tube/pipe/whatever you go with.

    Agree with the others about the air dryer being a good investment, especially if you know you have wet air during the summer. I ran an air dryer off the Kaeser and then pretty inexpensive ($100 if I remember) air separators at the machines and at the bench for rotary tools for extra security. Also had 12" of drop at each air outlet to allow moisture to settle below the valve. Never had any moisture issues but I am in Denver sooooo kinda dry already so take it with a grain of salt.

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    Error | DNS Resolution | Northern Tool + Equipment

    This is the line that I am thinking of.

    I dont want copper or black pipe.

    I have had too many bad experiences with pex. Its the main reason I want to upgrade to something Aluminum lined.

    Pex is made right down the street from me. Can you guess their name? ..... Its PexCo!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Strostkovy View Post
    Ingersoll Rand D42IN Refrigerated Air Dryer 7.5HP 25 CFM

    Up to you what to purchase, but I have used this series personally in the past and it ran fine for the 3 years we had it until we got a bigger compressor.

    Just weigh the costs of not having dry air before committing to anything.
    I guess I never looked at the air driers by themselves. I think I have always seen them with the full compressor setup and were expensive. The ones I just looked at on ebay are like 500-800 bucks. That's not all that bad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanASM View Post

    I have had too many bad experiences with pex. Its the main reason I want to upgrade to something Aluminum lined.

    Pex is made right down the street from me. Can you guess their name? ..... Its PexCo!
    What have your bad experiences been?
    Are you ripping out pex and putting in something else, or a clean install?

  24. #20
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    I recently went through this. I was using CPVC for 15 years then it got brittle and broke when I pulled a bit in my hose.

    A buddy suggested this stuff he saw on TV. I looked into that. It was just overpriced blue PEX. So, long story short, PEX went in and works great.

    As far as your hoses, in our environment the standard hoses don't hold up. I went to 1/4 & 3/8 hydraulic hoses. The one hose is 12 years old and still works great. I've ran it over with the forklift, dropped bar stock on it and no failures.

    Sent from my rotary dial flip fone


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