Christmas present, compressed air piping system installed, Fine tuning.

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  • Christmas present, compressed air piping system installed, Fine tuning.

    The compressed air piping system install, and overhead hose reel installation is done!

    Not counting the compressors themselves, and the manifold assembly / filter / dryer units which I have had for going on a decade now, and misc bits and bobs here and there scrounged up from my old stuff drawers, Since it was chosen by me as a black friday thing for a Christmas present, I can say with utmost certainty I have less than $70.00 in the entire rig. Considering my setup, and the pieces that would need to be added to a rapidaire system, I am EASILY at around 1/2 the cost if not less... Only time will tell if it will hold up as well.

    For a full writeup with photos, please see my blogger page at

    Now first things first. I KNOW I haven't used my DC as much as I should. It is DUSTY, hence why I am getting so OCD about dust collection lately...

    The 29 gallon compressor and the first connection to the system.

    The manifold assembly, with regulator, filter, dryer, plumbed connection to the compressors, and hard out, and a quick connect out.

    Where the first turn is made. Those push to connect fittings are SUPER easy! Makes sharkbite look difficult.

    The hose reel squeezed in there between the overhead doors. It is a tight fit, but it goes and nothing interferes.

    The finished outlet block assembly. Instead of tilted at an angle like Rapidaire does. I wanted to come straight out, so I did...

    As you can see from the pics, I need to tidy up a bit by adding a few more straps to secure it to the ceiling and keep it tight, but overall, it is a done deal and ready for use. It holds pressure perfectly without any notable leakage.
    Last edited by dbhost; 03-09-2022, 11:11 AM.
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  • #2
    Oh, that is nice, and I didn't realize that tubing was so affordable. Nice job.

    We use the smaller diameter (1/4" and 3/8") tubing in our lab for all our instruments and it's nice to be able to place them anywhere. However, it's not so good when you have to disconnect and reconnect. The ends get squeezed down and then leak when you try to reuse them. We just trim a little off to get a fresh end.


    • #3
      Originally posted by atgcpaul View Post
      Oh, that is nice, and I didn't realize that tubing was so affordable. Nice job.

      We use the smaller diameter (1/4" and 3/8") tubing in our lab for all our instruments and it's nice to be able to place them anywhere. However, it's not so good when you have to disconnect and reconnect. The ends get squeezed down and then leak when you try to reuse them. We just trim a little off to get a fresh end.
      The kit, minus the outlet blocks, was $30.00, the blocks were $18.00 for 2, and the rest of the bits and bobs ran maybe another $10.00. I tend to carry a reasonable amount of 1/4" and 3/8" NPT fittings in my toolbox. All told I have around $60.00 into the whole shebang, minus taxes of course. I would have had to add other bits and bobs to a Rapidaire setup and would have ended up at around $150.00. Most notably a number of additional push to connect fittings, I think it came out to be,and would have ended up with WAY more tubing than I could ever use.
      Last edited by dbhost; 01-08-2022, 09:06 PM.
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      • capncarl
        capncarl commented
        Editing a comment
        Is the tubing 1/2” id?

      • dbhost

        Editing a comment
        Technically it is tubing, so it is measured in OD, pipe is measured in ID, so no. It is 3/8" ID, which will flow according to the charts I have seen 24 CFM, which is way more than the combined compressors max delivery of 14.1 CFM, so not super worried about it.

        At some point my 29 gallon compressor is gonna bite the dust, and I am figuring on picking up a 3HP 60 gallon at that point. IF the specs on those are similar to the ones I have looked at, most notably Ingersoll Rand, they should still give a max CFM of around 18 to 20.

        I have one tool and only one that flows more than my 29 gallon compressor can produce, and that is the texture gun. The 29 gallon compressor is rated at 7.3 CFM. HOWEVER, the pressure for the hopper gun is super low anyway, like 20 - 30, and I have run it off of the 8 gallon comrpessor before. The specs in the manual are just whacked.

    • #4
      I should mention, this filter / regulator setup, was literally shown in every single manual for every spray gun I own, the HF siphon feed, the Husky siphon feed, the HF HVLP, and the HF texture hopper gun...

      Only difference is that they show a filter first, then filter / dryer, THEN regulator. I went with a filter / regulator, then filter dryer. I didn't see a need to have the first filter and regulator be 2 separate units and even less sense in it being after the filtration / water sepatation...

      Last edited by dbhost; 01-09-2022, 02:04 AM.
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      • #5
        UPDATE, and pics pending....

        It bugged me that my tubing was 3/8" ID, my filter / dessicant dryer was 3/8" ID, but my push to connect fittings were 1/4" MPT. My dump valves were 1/4" MPT, and my couplers were 1/4" FPT, meaning that they all were a restriction, required 3/8 x 1/4 NPT bushings, and the couplers required 1/4" close nipples.

        ALL of which were additional points of potential failure, and certainly limiting factors for system performance / airflow for air hogging tools.

        So I sourced up a pack of 3/8" MPT x 1/2" push to connect fittings. Some Miltion 3/8" MPT couplers, and 3/8 MPT x 3/8 FPT ball valves, the FPT end left open.

        Upon inspection though, the push to connect fittings had a SERIOUS problem design wise.

        It would appear that inside the air path of the fittings, well they are NOT 3/8" ID that IS the standard for NPT, nope, they have a baffle sort of plate with what looks to be approximately1/4" hex openeing.

        The same exact size as the 1/4" MPT x 1/2 push to connect fittings.

        Well out came the drill and the 3/8" drill bit.

        I managed to successfully drill out the restrictor plate on 2 of the 5 fittings, although I need 3, so I ordered another pack. from a different vendor. Hopefully this isn't universal. I got the 2 that I managed to bore out installed, 1 at the outlet of the manifold / beginning of the piping system, and the other at the first outlet block.

        This means that when the next set of fittings comes in, and they are a different brand so MAYBE they won't need to be modded, but assuming I have to mod them, hopefully I will get at least ONE done correctly without overdrilling. I digress though... Once I get one more done properly, and installed, that means from the inlet manifold to the filters, to the coupler, I will have a fully unrestricted 3/8" ID on the compressed air.

        Now considering my air hoses are 3/8" ID with 1/4" factory fittings, I am thinking any restriction is NOT going to be my piping system, and it shoudl flow fully up to the hoses, and of course the hoses shouldn't pose a functional restriction considering where I am going with this stuff.

        My big concern / issue when I initially set up the dual / ganged compressor setup is the HF hopper / texture gun, the manual I have determined from my experience, as well as countless online demos, is totally whacked out, and not to mention it has changed a couple of times over the years and now lists a MUCH lower CFM rating... Ugh...

        Anyway, I know I can drive whatever I will likely have / want / need in my shop and around my driveway with this setup. Testing so far to be leak free and holds air tight, so I am a happy camper.

        For anyone interested I can provide a full parts list if you want to do a setup yourself.
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        • #6
          So for anyone following this, an update.

          Not yet installed, but the Primefit 3/8" MPT x 1/2" Push to connect fittings are here, and just inspecting them in the package, you can tell they are deisgned correctly, with a proper 3/8" ID hex port. Yes the walls of the hex do give some restriction, but nowhere near as much as the 1/4".

          So hopefully this is obvious, but part of todays projects is going to be installing the new Primefit fittings. And then leak testing the system. Should it all hold, we are good to go, and happy pig is slop...

          So for those wanting to do this install here is the parts list.

          Compressed air piping system.

          Bigatur 1/2" Air Piping System.
          Primefit outlet blocks. I used 2.
          Glarks 10pc brass 1/4" MPT hex flush pipe plugs. This will close off the unused 1/4" port on the back of the outlet block.
          Primefit 1/2" push to connect x 3/8" MPT straight union 4 pack. I used one.
          Antrader 4 pack forged brass 3/8 NPT male x female ball valves 180 degree action.
          Milton Industries S-767 HI-Flo V-Style -FeetA,M,V-Feet 3/8-Inch MNPT Brass Body, Single. I used 3.
          Central Pnuematic 3/8 x 50ft hose reel. Yes the fittings are 1/4 NPT. So are the hoses. But at least I have full flow up TO it...

          Next and completely optional, pick and chose as you will, but here is the parts list for my...

          Dual compressor input, regulator / filter / dryer / manifold assembly.

          First the brass tees. Yes I am linking a 5 pack even though I used 3. These are useful, and, well, it is cheaper this way per unit by a lot. GASHER 5PCS Metals Brass Pipe Fitting Barstock Male Branch Tee T Adapter 3/8" NPT Female x 3/8" NPT Female x 3/8" NPT Male 5pk.
          I used the now discontinued Central Pnuematic, now they have the Merlin 3/8" air filter with regulator.
          Again Central Pneumatic, the Merlin equivalent is.... 3/8" NPT (F) Dessicant Dryer filter.
          Unlike the Central Pnuematic, the Merlin does not appear to have an FRL connection bracket available. If you can find a compatible unit, use it, if not, just connect them with a brass 3/8" close nipple.
          Milton S-217 1/4" NPT V Style Coupler and Plug Kit - 6 Piece. This will cover 2 hoses, and the secondary input should you opt to not run it in using the push to connect tubing and keep it mobile,
          Control Devices P2525-1WA Brass Ball Check Valve, 1/4" NPT Female x NPT Male. You will need 2 of these, 1 for each compressor input. These will require bushings.
          T TANYA HARDWARE 1/4" x 3/8" Brass Hex Bushing, Female Pipe x Male Pipe, NPT, Pack of 10.

          The regulator / filter / dryer assembly can be had in a single coordinated assembly on Amazon for a few bucks more than the Harbor Freight units, but and this is goign to sound funny, this is one area that I know Harbor Freight makes a quality unit, I think you would be better off with theirs. But if you insist on going amazon, here is the lowest cost comaprable unit....

          I am certain you are wondering if I use the dual compressor configuration frequently, and the answer there is am emphatic no. HOWEVER, on the rare occasion that I get a chance to use it, it is priceless.

          The concept for the dual compressor rig is simple. I don't want to spend the money, or vertical space to house a 60 or so gallon, or wire to support a 5HP air compressor when a couple of smaller 2HP units will do the trick, and be able to be stashed in otherwise wasted spaces. While it is a scaled down version, we used something like that YEARS ago when I was a service station mechanic. Instead of a single 15HP monstrosity that took up land the station didn't have room for, they rigged up 2 5HP I believe they were 80 gallon compressors to run everything, and aside from the pnuematic pumps for the lifts, we really didn't need THAT much air. Only 2 mechanics, and 2 attenants. At the worst there would be a die grinder, an air ratchet, and 2 tire chucks going at the same time. I can't quote the numbers as this was literally 30+ years ago, but there was no way we were pushing limits on those comrpessors or the piping...
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          • #7
            UPDATE: I am having issues with the Central Pneumatic Compressed Air FIlter / Regulator as the 10+ year old rubber diaphragm is getting dried out wavy and rigid. Don't expect them to last forever folks!

            I am determined to keep a setup that has regulator, oil and water separator to deliver clean air, and I do NOT want nipples between the pieces.

            In my case I have ordered a replacement regulator / filter that appears to and is hopefully compatible with the FRL brackets from Central Pnuematic. It is from a company called Wingside Pnuematics and was honestly quite inexpensive

            IF I had to replace the entire assembly I know there are whole 3 stage units out there for around $120.00 and up, or the 2 stage systems not using dessicant so no recharging to worry about for a LOT less.

            The wingside 2 stage with the same 3/8 regulator / filter and a second stage that is an oil / water seaprator for just under $27.00

            You can certainly piece together a much less expensive dessicant dryer 3 stage system by using a stand alone regulator / filter and then adding a separate oil separator / dessicant dryer. Primefit 3/8 Dessicant dryer / oil separator goes for $60.00

            The problem is going to be the FRL wall mounting brackets that couple the units together. They are hard to come by. Harbor Freight in the Central Pnuematic brand was good enough to offer them back when I bought my setup originally and I REALLY like it. However even higher end brands like Milton require close nipples between components, and it will work, but then you have to use yet another brace / bracket to hold it to the wall and it just kind of looks less finished to me...

            It should also be noted I am going to seek out a replacement diaphragm for my Central Pnuematics unit, not because the unit itself is valuable, but because, well, it matches.... And I loathe the idea of being beaten by a little piece of rubber.
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            • #8
              So... Let's boil my experience down to soup and nuts, lessons learned kind of thing.

              #1. The aluminum outlet blocks are leakage prone and need a LOT of pipe tape / pipe dope.
              #2. The plastic fittings will NOT support having couplers directly attached, so you NEED outlet blocks.
              #3. You can buy a piping kit with outlet blocks and fittings, but you will likely need additionals and it is not worth the extra $$... Just buy the parts...
              #4. The Primefit 3/8" MPT x 1/2" push to connect fittings are the only ones I have found that actually have 3/8" ID air path, more or less.
              #5. Milton High Flow type V fittings will fit the Central Pnuematic male plugs, but leak a little bit. If you want 100% high flow, just get type V high flow fittings.
              #6. Go with 3/8" fittings all the way through the outlet block, and use 1/4" plugs.
              #7. Pnuematic filters / regulators get old, rubber bits and bobs dry out. If your stuff is a decade old or so, you might run into problems.
              #8. The time and effort spent getting all the leaks stopped, means you have more air available for your tools, and less work for your compressor to do.
              #9. If you can afford it, put outlets such that a hose does not have to extend more than 10' in your shop.
              #10. If you do work outside of your shop, put a 50' hose reel as close to the entrance as possible. I am not sure I would go with a hose reel if I were working fully in the shop as I never use the reel inside, but rather the synthetic hoses in the shop...
              #11. I am seriously considering adding another drop to the workbench area, to keep a coil hose for nailers, blow guns etc... fed.
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