Anybody use an actual desiccant-type compressed air dryer? A buddy gave me this old Camair TS-10...
Which has a kind of mechanical separator on the left, what's called a "coalescing filter" in the pot at the bottom, and near as I can figure about 10 pounds of silica gel desiccant in the big chamber on the right.
I'm kind of wondering how long that ten pounds might last. I can get a "refresh kit" which comes with a new filter, a new sight glass which acts as a "moisture indicator" (presumably telling me when the fill needs to be changed) and ten pounds of fresh silica gel. The only problem being that kit costs about $150, and being in Alaska, after UPS and a box of Milk Bones for the dogsled team, that'll be more like $200.
Now, that's not a terrible price, IF the desiccant lasts a good long while- like several years.
Anybody have a good idea just how long something like that might last?
My air usage is actually pretty low, mostly just a little blowgun action in the machine shop, filling the occasional tire, and the once or twice a year I do some heavy fabrication, a couple of days of some pretty air-hungry tool usage, like die grinders and pistolgrip sanders.
Humidity locally is low to moderate, with most of the winter being very low, of course. I only need to drain the tank maybe twice a year, and only get maybe a cup or two per cycle.
I suppose I could just "try it and see", but I'd like to hear from you fellers, if any of you can shed a bit more light on the subject.
Moving on, as above, I'd managed to get the main line run into the machine room, and just after it comes through the wall, I put in a drop in the back corner, behind the big Exacto mill.
And yes, I'm aware I basically aimed the water drain right at an unsealed 220V outlet.
I don't like just opening the valve and letting the water blast out- that gets all over the floor and stains the walls, so I plan to use some kind of catch container each time I check the drains. Something like an old oil bottle, maybe, with a narrow neck.
Anyway, these are the smaller blocks from the 1/2" kit, rather than the cool flanged blocks like the 3/4" kit had, but they still work just fine. I countersunk the holes again, and discovered the 1/2" kit doesn't come with tube clamps. So I had to go up to Homey-Dee and buy a couple bags of PEX clips, which work just fine, though I'd have preferred screws rather than nails.
After that, I was able to run a good solid 20 feet of straight stretch of the 3/4" along the ceiling, right up to the workbench area towards the front of the machine room. The Sheldon lathe is right across from the workbench, so I set it up with a pair of the reducer tees, sending one 1/2" line to the workbench and the other to the lathe side.
For the workbench, I wound up with this little space right below my vise, after moving everything around to add the big map drawers several years ago. It really isn't good for much, I don't really have anything that fits in there to store it, so I never really bothered finishing it off.
So what I figure I'll do is make a plywood face for it, with the air connection outlet poking through on a bulkhead connector of some sort (which I'll probably have to make.)
The fun bit, however, is I was going to have to run the tubing down the wall. This wall. And through both the shelf and the workbench.
I was forced to clear off the pegboard and take it down, clear off part of the shelf, and move a few things on the bench itself (which is always somewhat cluttered, but is currently very
But, thanks to a long ship auger, I got it done and in.
Tomorrow I'll need to put the pegboard back up, but hey, I've been needing to neaten that up and clean off the bench for months.
That gets me my leg down to the forthcoming bench outlet (as soon as I figure out what I'm going to make)...
And the upper end is connected to the main line with a second reducer tee.
No, this part of the shop never got a finished ceiling. I'd love to do something with it at some point, but that's kind of far down the list at the moment.
On the other side, I ran the tube through my shelf and down the wall following the 220V line for the lathe. This puts it central between the mill and the lathe, my two main-workhorse machines.
I could then extend the 3/4" tube and turn the corner at the front of the shop...
Where for the time being I installed a 1/4-turn emergency shutoff valve. You'll see why later.
Now, as soon as I get the bench outlet built and installed, I can finally pressurize the system and start leak testing. I'm told this stuff is pretty foolproof, as the fittings seal with O-rings, but there's still a lot of unions and connections, any one of which could leak. I'll put a gauge on it to start with, and if I get any appreciable leakdown, it'll be time to get out a bottle of Windex and the ladder.