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The Staff of Motorsport Marketing
The Staff of Motorsport Marketing Writer
6/23/17 11:51 a.m.

story by robert bowen

Okay, so you’ve read last issue's shop article and you’ve bought that house with the eight-car garage that you always wanted. You didn’t think you would be able to get away with using that hand-me-down air compressor with all your shiny new air tools, did you? And surely you want to run compressed air lines to every corner of the garage, just like a “real” shop, right?

The question is, how to do it?

Well, you’re in luck, because we’ve done all the research you don’t have time to do. After reading this, you’ll be ready to choose a compressor and run air lines like a pro.

Read the rest of the story

Stefan MegaDork
6/23/17 12:31 p.m.

What about the flexible hose kits? Any thoughts on those?

Tom_Spangler UberDork
6/23/17 12:49 p.m.

I hear PVC is the way to go. (ducks)

codrus UltraDork
6/23/17 12:56 p.m.

I put a RapidAir kit in my garage last year and am pretty happy with it. Inexpensive and easy to install.

Zomby Woof
Zomby Woof PowerDork
6/23/17 1:14 p.m.
Some people prefer heavy galvanized cast-iron pipe for air supply lines,

You really should have a tradesman look through some of this stuff before you print it.

LifeIsStout Reader
6/23/17 1:59 p.m.

I just moved to a place with a garage so this is timely, that being said, any opinions from the Hive about the 21 gallon vberticle Harbor freight job?

Air delivery: 5.8 CFM @ 40 PSI, 4.7 CFM @ 90 PSI

Heavy duty 2.5 horsepower rated motor

Long-life oil lubricated compressor with precision machined cast-iron sleeve

I don't think I am going to be painting any time soon, this is more just for impact wrenches and other shop tools. At less than 200 bucks I was hoping it might fit the bill.

WonkoTheSane Dork
6/23/17 2:30 p.m.
codrus wrote: I put a RapidAir kit in my garage last year and am pretty happy with it. Inexpensive and easy to install.

I've been running mine for two years.. I'm in love with the RapidAir stuff.

Bobzilla MegaDork
6/23/17 2:53 p.m.

For mine, I run a 50' rubber 3/8 hose from the compressor, up the wall and to my hose reel. It's worked great for 6 years now.

floatingdoc New Reader
6/23/17 3:33 p.m.

In reply to LifeIsStout:

I bought one a few months ago. Haven't got enough use from it to comment on it yet, only used to air up the fleet's tires. Seems like a good purchase so far.

It's my first "real" compressor, so I didn't realize how much more I would be spending on couplers, etc.

jimbbski Dork
6/23/17 3:39 p.m.

As for running air lines to places away from your compressor I have a rubber air line (50 ft.) running from my attached garage through my crawl space and to my work bench. I use the air for various things but mostly in my HF blast cabinet. Never an issue. I run galvanized pipe in my garage since at the time I did it I had a few lengths laying around so I only had to buy a few extra lengths. I also had most of the fittings all thanks to my father who was a pipe fitter by trade.

jere HalfDork
6/24/17 10:21 a.m.

I also have a pretty janky ~$150 setup. I keep two compressors (both old Sears 1hp Campbell Haus one was $20 the other $80) in the house basement (not enough juice to power them in the garage). Then run 100ft orange hft 3/8 hose ($20) underground out to the garage with a tank in the loft, and hose reel(from what I can find about its a old schrader 1/2inch water/air hose reel couldn't say no for $20 hose and included). Added some quick disconnects and splices, "t"s in hose as needed. It's nice to have compressed air in the house too.

Been playing with making a free fridge into a dryer, but might just do the silica beads in pvc.

rslifkin Dork
6/24/17 10:35 a.m.

In reply to LifeIsStout:

On paper it sounds decent. Oil lubed compressors tend to be a bit quieter and longer lasting than the oil free ones (especially within the realm of cheap units). And it pushes enough air for good use of impacts, etc.

Toyman01 MegaDork
6/24/17 12:31 p.m.

I have a 75' hose reel mounted at the compressor. It will reach everywhere in the shop and half way down the drive. If I need to go farther, I have 2, 25' vinyl hoses.

SkinnyG SuperDork
6/24/17 12:49 p.m.

I did my shop in copper because I got all the copper for free.

Copper was soldered together, then scrubbed with a green scrubbie, and clear-coated.

The main line slopes down to a final drain-only leg.

All air drops T off the top, keeping moisture in the main line.

Each drop has a drain valve at the bottom, to collect and drain moisture.

I put a ball valve on the bottom of the tank to make draining easier, but I will be running a timed blow-off drain thingie when I finish the compressor shed outside, getting the compressor out of the shop.

I really wanted a 7.5hp compressor, but you have to wire it for 3X the full-load-amperage for that initial current spike when it starts up. A 7.5hp compressor draws 31A, so I need to wire it for 93A. I only have 100A to the shop, so I ended up going down in size to a 5hp compressor. It still feeds my sand blasting cabinet and sanders fine, but it won't feed my air drill for long.

I also changed from Milton "M" couplers to "V" couplers - holy carp! Do these ever move air! Double the cross-sectional area - you almost need two hands to control the blow nozzle now!

einy Reader
6/24/17 2:47 p.m.

PVC has worked for me for 12 years now. Compressor stays in the basement, line to garage disto system is pressurized when I need to use air out there. Regulator and filter is in basement by the plug in. Works like a champ, super easy to install, and low cost.

compressed247 New Reader
7/25/17 12:10 p.m.

Hey guy! I think you need a normal compressor for your compressor

stuart in mn
stuart in mn UltimaDork
7/25/17 2:41 p.m.
einy wrote: PVC has worked for me for 12 years now. Compressor stays in the basement, line to garage disto system is pressurized when I need to use air out there. Regulator and filter is in basement by the plug in. Works like a champ, super easy to install, and low cost.

I knew someone would suggest this sooner or later...

People look at the pressure rating of PVC and figure it's going to be great for use as airline, but that is not the case. The pressure rating is for liquids, not gases.

When it's used with water or other incompressible fluids and if there's a break in the PVC pipe, the water just squirts out. On the other hand, if it's used with air and there's a break in the PVC the air expands out aggressively, which will cause the PVC to shatter into shards that can be dangerous. I've seen the aftermath of such an explosion, and the shards were sticking in the walls a long distance away. On the other hand, if you use a metal pipe for airline and there's a break, the metal just bends instead of shattering.

I haven't found any codes or regulations for home use (I think mainly because the various regulatory commissions don't take into account people running airline systems in their home garages) but it has been an OSHA violation for many years to use PVC for airlines. Also, the PVC pipe manufacturers all say specifically to not use their product for compressed air.

You're free to do what you want but be aware of the potential dangers, and do some research on your own as to its safety.

D2W Reader
7/25/17 6:04 p.m.

Don't use PVC as air piping its cheap and easy, but I have seen it come apart. It was in my works shop when we moved in. After one nice shrapnel inducing explosion it was all taken out.

PMRacing SuperDork
7/25/17 8:16 p.m.

Good timing and relevant to my recent post. Thanks!

stan_d SuperDork
7/26/17 8:24 a.m.

What about Pex piping ?

spitfirebill UltimaDork
7/26/17 8:46 a.m.

There are some types of PEX that are suitable. Even the basic PEX won't kill you if it blows.

D2W Reader
7/26/17 10:57 a.m.

My buddy runs an air compressor business and has a product he uses for piping industrial applications. It aluminum tubing with plastic fittings and hangers so you can run it in straight lines and have drops anywhere you want. Its also easy to modify if you want to add a drop at a later date. He was flirting with the idea of offering a basic kit to do a two car garage. What I like best about it is the nice straight runs vs the floppy hose or coiled aluminum that you can never get completely straight.

spitfirebill UltimaDork
12/4/17 7:01 a.m.
Tom_Spangler said:

I hear PVC is the way to go. (ducks)

Just make sure to paint it black so it looks like iron pipe. 

JtspellS SuperDork
12/4/17 7:12 a.m.

In reply to LifeIsStout :

I ended up getting one this summer so I could easily do my timing belt on the protege and it was great once I dialed in the working pressures, though I wll say if you are using air ratchets, paint guns, or air grinders you are not going to be too impressed, fine for doing something quick but if you are cutting 10in off of 3/16" steel its going to be a minute waiting for air to rebuild.


Also be sure you get a water/oil separator, it is a bit "dirty" with output.

Cousin_Eddie Reader
12/4/17 7:59 a.m.

I've done pretty much every method over the years. From PVC to black iron, then copper. Now, Rapidair. I'll never use anything else. Cheap and quick to install. It looks attractive when you are diligent with a nice install. It doesn't rust. Easy to modify. I have found no down sides to it whatsoever. Finish it out with all Milton brand fittings and it's just fantastic and within a working man's budget.

I bought it all on Amazon

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