Summer Project #12: Airlines, Completed!

Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

June 17th, 2018, 9:53 am #1

Again, no pictures yet as I'm still in the planning stages, but one of the top things I want to get done this summer is finally- finally- add proper manifolded air lines in the shop.

I've wanted to do this for years- I think I still have a can full of copper fittings I bought a decade ago to run 1/2" copper tube. 😁

Has anyone tried the RapidAir or MaxLine kits? They tend to get generally good reviews- although not uniformly so- and they're supposedly a quick snap to install.

If not, how do you run compressed air in your shop? (Home shop or professional shop.)

Doc.
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Joined: November 30th, 2014, 1:36 am

June 17th, 2018, 4:31 pm #2

I used the 3/4" RapidAir MaxLine in my shop, about 300' of it in a loop with several drops.  It's something of a PITA to get to seal properly, still leaks down a bit so I need to run around with a couple of big wrenches and some soapy water.  I liked the wall mount outlets and put quick connects on them.  I bought the basic kit from Northern Tool and a bunch of tees and outlet off eBay.  It's not cheap but was a lot easier than black iron or copper, cheaper than the quotes I got for the black iron.  My son-in-law and I did the system over a day or so.
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Joined: March 8th, 2004, 11:48 pm

June 17th, 2018, 6:48 pm #3

You are way too busy to start your own airline. And where would you get the passengers to keep it running?
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

June 17th, 2018, 7:14 pm #4

Hey, Elon wasn't too busy sleeping on the floor of his auto plant to buy a bunch of weed burners and turn them into assault rifles. 😁

I figure as long as I have this decomissioned Iowa rifle, a couple of big air tanks stolen from those "Punkin; Chunkin'" guys, a supply of bullet-shaped coffins passenger cabins and I only get customers that fit into a 16" bore, I'm set. Express service right to your door- or at least the nearest soft, marshy landing spot closest to your door. 😁

Doc.
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Joined: October 8th, 2014, 2:05 pm

June 17th, 2018, 8:05 pm #5

DocsMachine wrote:...a couple of big air tanks stolen from those "Punkin; Chunkin'" guys,..
Save those tanks! You can use them when you plumb your shop for air.

But the real question is how did you score a gun from an Iowa class battleship? All the military surplus places around here carry are smelly canvas with suspicious stains, "genuine USGI" ballcaps and boonie hats that were made in China, and out-of-date MREs. It's easier to get Warsaw Pact surplus arms here than U.S. hardware.
If it ain't broke, I'll fix it!
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

June 17th, 2018, 8:51 pm #6

rkepler wrote:I used the 3/4" RapidAir MaxLine in my shop, about 300' of it in a loop with several drops. [snip] I liked the wall mount outlets and put quick connects on them.
-That's part of why I like it, too. With the copper, I'd been trying to figure out a clean and easy way to have a "wall tap"- I want a solidly-mounted QD connection, so that tugging on the hose, accidentally or purposefully, doesn't stress and possibly damage the tubing.

I was hoping I could find something sweat-on that was suitable, but I haven't been able to find anything even close. Making a block out of aluminum would be possible, but I tended to worry- justifiably or not- about galvanic action at each connection, with copper screwed into aluminum.

I like the big solid mounting blocks that come with the MaxLine. I've been drawing up a rough sketch, and it looks like I'll need at least two kits- an easy 150 feet of line and at least six drops (counting the connection from the compressor as a drop.)

Doc.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

June 17th, 2018, 9:05 pm #7

hinermad wrote:But the real question is how did you score a gun from an Iowa class battleship?
[shifty eyes] ... guy I know. Why do you ask?

😁

Seriously though, several years ago, somebody posted on one of the machinist boards about a government auction, for something like a dozen surplused Iowa-class barrels. Apparently about half of them had been used and removed after a refit, and the rest were brand new- with the newest, as I recall, dated sometime in the early 50s.

As I recall, each one weighed something like 120,000 pounds, and all went as a lot. 😁

We had some fun speculating on what to do with such things- the world's most earthquake-proof sixty-foot deer stand, for example 😋 - but the auction specified each one had to be cut into sections in place. No carting them off to saw them up.

I'd have loved to have a 2" thick section sawed from the breech end- that's where all the proof marks, inspectors marks and Navy insignia were stamped. Over a dozen at least.

Doc.
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Joined: March 8th, 2004, 11:48 pm

June 17th, 2018, 10:03 pm #8

And we all know that metal can't be welded back together once it has been cut apart......
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

June 17th, 2018, 10:34 pm #9

Okay, looks like I've got a plan. Three drops in the main shop, plus the compressor connection, and three drops in the machine shop. Let's finally throw in a filter/regulator combo... go with the 3/4" stuff in the main shop as that's where the volume-hungry air tools get used, and switch to the 1/2" stuff in the machine shop since those are mostly just for blowguns...

I'll need a couple extra wall clamps, at least one extra union for when we have to go through a wall...

[adds]

Holy crap.

[checks bank, PayPal and sofa cushions]

... Okay, I can buy some of that now and at least get started. 😁

[moth comically flies out of empty wallet]

I will say that it's likely cheaper than the copper would have been. Some of it I'd have needed either way- like the filter/regulator. I seem to recall the last time I added up a system in copper it was north of $400 just in the raw materials. That was prior to the price of copper going up (and coming back down, and going back up again) and didn't include things like wall straps, drain valves, and having to make my own mounting blocks.

Still ain't cheap, but fortunately I only gotta do this once. (I hope. 😁 )

Doc.
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Joined: May 11th, 2004, 4:09 am

June 18th, 2018, 1:54 am #10

I use Rapidair.  Worked great.  no leaks.  I bought two of the starter kits from Amazon and did the whole shop.  I also run the bigger industrial quick connects. Lots of airflow! :)
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