Shop air lines

JDDurfey

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I have a question for you guys that have set up your own shop. What did you use to pipe your compressed air? The shop I manage was set up with PVC piping and it is starting to fall apart. My boss likes to keep it old school with threaded black pipe which is a pain in the ass to plumb.

Any suggestions y'all can give me so I can convince him there are better and easier ways to do it. Part of the reason I am against threaded black pipe is that I need to swap quickly so my air is not down for days on end.
 

Csmart

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Parker has the blue line, almost any good compressor company has it also. All the new car service dept are using for the last 10+ years.
works good cost varies
make sure you do not get the china or other stuff it does "go boom" as they lie about the PSI
 

JDDurfey

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I've learned can get the Rapid Air products through my Napa store. I do several thousand $s of business with them each month so I will get a good price. I just have to convince the big boss to let me go this route. We recently opened a new yard that had an existing shop. He had a coworker run black pipe and thread everything together. What a pain in the ass that was and it was not a quick fix.
 

bullnerd

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I've learned can get the Rapid Air products through my Napa store. I do several thousand $s of business with them each month so I will get a good price. I just have to convince the big boss to let me go this route. We recently opened a new yard that had an existing shop. He had a coworker run black pipe and thread everything together. What a pain in the ass that was and it was not a quick fix.
And, If you have even a little standing/trapped water or moisture, it will rust inside. I worked in another shop that shot rust out of the air nozzles. It looked nice, it was all painted and pretty, but compressor room wasn't set up properly.
 

cjohnson

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I use black pipe. I'm old school too. Black pipe will last a long long time if installed properly. I would worry too much about the O-rings flattening and leaking over time with these new-fangled slip together piping systems. That's why I won't use shark bite plumbing fittings either. Give me a nice threaded mechanical connection any day.
 

mfs

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I have have work at many shops that have have pvc schedule 80 thick (not the thin stuff) for over 25 years I used it in my own shop for 12 years with zero failures with 150 psi. only time I seen It break is if something runs into it/ hits it by accident I seen this happen 2x in 25 years and it was are fault, both times it broke cleanly near the fitting and there was not any small pieces that flew anywhere. Super easy to work with and repair. The bad stories Seems to be from the thin pvc. I read a lot of other Forms about this and a lot of people have said the same.
 

partybarge_pilot

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Either copper with drains everywhere or PEX with drains everywhere. Black pipe is rusty crap 8n a few years. I have collected lots of rust flakes out of filters on machines.
 

cjohnson

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It's cheap, easy and pressure rated for it soooooo. They sell poly air line kits if you like the same thing for 4X the money.
PEX is not rated for compressed gasses, is not impact resistant and deteriorates if exposed to UV like PVC. A poor choice for shop air lines in my opinion. After living in several houses with PEX water lines I would not even use it for its intended purpose if I want it to last more than 10 years without leaking.
 

JDDurfey

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I got a quote on the Rapid Air products for a little more than $700 and I will have extra tubing and a few extra parts after. Here is a basic drawing of the layout right now. I am not going to do anything with the air on the other side of the shop at the moment, but it will need to be replaced eventually. My shop has an overhead crane running the length of the shop and six 14' bay doors on each side so I have to go up and over them. There is a 7 ft tall wall between the main shop and the bay with the pit which is where the air line for the other side crosses.

Anyway, the black pipe alone for this project would cost $300, plus all the cutting and threading, and pain in the butt installation. I think I have the boss convinced to let me do it with Rapid Air products.
 

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michael.gonzalez

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I'd recommend making a sort of water trap with the pipe (Large BLUE U-shape) right out of the compressor (RED) before making the large run up to roof height.

Do you run an air dryer or do you run an air/water separator? Or neither? (Good location for either indicated in GREEN)
If neither, I would at least put a water drain ball valve somewhere near the GREEN.

SHOP_AIR_LINE.jpg


EDIT: Just realized you drew the compressor in the schematic already. Same principle. Just draw all my lines over to compressor "drop" the right.
 
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cjohnson

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If you don't run dryers etc all the horizontal piping should slope/drain back to the compressor tank which is drained regularly. Each drop should have a drip leg with a ball valve to drain condensation. You do not want water traps because condensation will pool there and spit out at random times. Use a dead end drip leg with a ball valve to drain it..
 
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partybarge_pilot

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After living in several houses with PEX water lines I would not even use it for its intended purpose if I want it to last more than 10 years without leaking.
If you lived somewhere where the power going out and your house freezing is pretty much going to happen, you would love PEX. Nothing else will take freezing. Just because it's not WOG rated doesn't mean it won't work for air which is well within it's specs. Air is a lot less abusive to plumbing than water when you factor in hammering. Inside a shop UV isn't much of an issue.
 

cjohnson

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If you lived somewhere where the power going out and your house freezing is pretty much going to happen, you would love PEX. Nothing else will take freezing. Just because it's not WOG rated doesn't mean it won't work for air which is well within it's specs. Air is a lot less abusive to plumbing than water when you factor in hammering. Inside a shop UV isn't much of an issue.
PEX could give me a BJ and I'd still hate it.

DO NOT INSTALL WHERE EXPOSED TO DIRECT OR INDIRECT SUNLIGHT FOR MORE THAN 60 DAYS. PEX tubing shall be stored under cover, shielded from direct and indirect sunlight when the material is stored for any length of time. Short exposure times, not exceeding a total accumulated time of 60 days maximum, are permissible.
 

MCM MOTORSPORTS

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Every shop we do (5 in 15 years) we use 1 inch stainless tube tig welded together. Then threaded sockets to adapt down to nitrogen couplers. May cost a bit, but when the boss wants presentation. It works.
 

JDDurfey

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I'd recommend making a sort of water trap with the pipe (Large BLUE U-shape) right out of the compressor (RED) before making the large run up to roof height.

Do you run an air dryer or do you run an air/water separator? Or neither? (Good location for either indicated in GREEN)
If neither, I would at least put a water drain ball valve somewhere near the GREEN.

View attachment 225899

EDIT: Just realized you drew the compressor in the schematic already. Same principle. Just draw all my lines over to compressor "drop" the right.


My compressor has a built in dryer that works really well. My compressor is an Atlas Copco screw type. The dryer automatically dumps when it is full. I am also located in Hobbs NM where the air is extremely dry.
 

mebuildit

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Make your system in a loop. Better flow, and if someone is using air ahead of you your air volume will not go down
Use .750 copper thick wall. Try to keep the turns to a minimum too.
Install air outlets all over, you will still wind up adding more as time passes
 
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