Region: Ohio Valley Region
Car #: 35
Year : 1999 Posts: 170
After years of planning and dreaming, I finally have my garage built. I am moving on to the almost as costly, supplying the equipment. I bought a Kobalt 60 gal compressor it puts out 155 PSI. I am wondering if I need to buy a pressure regulator and a filter for it. I assume a filter is always a good idea, but if it puts out 155psi would I not need to regulate that down for some smaller tools. I do not plan on painting with it, just for running tools?
I did look at some filter and regulator combination, not really sure what I am looking for. One regulator for example only went to 125psi.
You will definitely need regulators (note plural). Depending on the size of your garage, you will probably want more than one air outlet so that you don't have to run long hoses from them.
There are regulators, filter/regulator combo units, and filter/regulator/lubricant combos. Unless you are going to be running things for very long periods of time, you don't need the FRL combo - just oil the tools from time to time. Although, I installed filter/regulator units, if I were doing it again, I'd just use plain regulators. This if for two reasons: 1) I don't paint; 2) I was very careful to install the air lines with a constant rise (getting higher as the lines go away from the compressor) which prevents moisture from accumulating in the lines - it just runs back down hill to the tank. Drain the tank regularly.
You definitely need to buy regulators that will handle the output of the compressor. A 125psi regulator will (sooner or later) just blow out from seeing 155psi. Find a regulator of the correct capacity. I have no experience with this specific unit, but it looks interesting - digital, up to 160psi and quite inexpensive: http://www.compressedairstore.com/Digital-Air-Regulator--2661_p_3612.html
If you think you need a filter/regulator combo, there are lots to choose from - even at 155+psi. (I needed 175psi and at the time there weren't a lot and they weren't cheap.)
P.S. Use iron pipe, not plastic for the lines. Its more expensive, a little harder to install, but safer.
Region: So Cal
Year : 90 Posts: 74
I put a 3.5 hp 60 gal compressor in a couple seasons ago. I used copper and sweated the joints. It was cheaper than black iron. I got plans and the flex hose to connect the tank to the permanent lines at TP Tools, http://www.tptools.com/p/2035,114_Modular-Metal-Piping-Kits.html I didn't buy the kit but I learned about drain legs and basic air piping design from there.
For the regulators I used an Ingersol Rand from Northern Tool, I don't see the ones I got but they have what look like the newer model. I plasma cut and paint so one drop has a Motorguard filter. A must for either cutting or painting. I anchored the unit to the floor with iso pads from Grainger and Redhead as the anchors. I mounted the pipe to the wall and ceiling with short pieces of unistrut and conduit clamps.
Here's a pic just after I finished the first phase almost two years ago.
Region: South East
Car #: #92
Year : 91 Posts: 189
You might want to check out your hoses before you buy them most cheap hoses are only 1/4" inside diameter so if you do plan on painting you may run into a restriction there. Most quality air lines for painting are at least 3/8" inside diameter and beleive me if you are regulating a paint gun at the wall instead of the gun you could see as much as a 20 pound drop in air pressure at you paint gun after you pull the trigger.
I get the paint from them too though I've been known to thin Rustoleum and use that at times too. For guns I've been using the cheapie HF that I seem to get 10 buck coupons for all the time. At times HF also has Goodyear 3/8" hose (in black) at a good price.
Car #: 72 and ?
Year : 90 and 90 Posts: 1051
PVC pipe works great for air lines. I have 12,000 square feet plumbed with white plastic PVC from Home Depot. Easy to cut. Make sure to get a new can of glue and primer. And follow the instructions to prevent joint blow outs. Add several ball type shut off valves in your system and drains at each hose connection.
You will need some type of flex coupler between the compressor and the lines. An old air hose cut to length works great.
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Region: NASA MA
Car #: 50
Year : '96 Posts: 318
i tried the harbor freight F/R unit and was very dissapointed. i threw it away and bought a Milton unit (Milton P/N 1108, Northern Tool item #159673). way, way better made (no surprise), but the included documentation describing what filters do what (ie dessicant vs coalescing etc) was a nice surprise.
strongly agree w/Dave Stevens re: TPTools diagram. they've been a pleasure to deal with and very knowledgeable about how to plumb air systems.
i did copper in my attached garage, but with the crazy pricing i will probably do iron in the shop. as far as it being difficult to seal, the trick is to use pipe dope not teflon tape - the difference / effectiveness is dramatic.
Here's a great alternative to copper or iron. http://www.airnet-system.com/us/ It is slick, doesn't leak and is easy to install. I can help you with a filter regulator too if you can't come up with a good alternative.
Also, PVC should not be used for compressed airlines. If it breaks it will whip around like a garden hose then shatter and in the event of an airline fire- well you can imagine.
Region: NASA MA
Car #: 50
Year : '96 Posts: 318
almost forgot... PEX CAN be used for air although i believe it is not recommended over 125PSI and you have to be careful with UV exposure - ie, i wouldn't run an exterior drop with it.
while there are a bunch of compressed-air specific piping systems available, i have yet to see one that is anywhere near price competitive with iron. and since the BORG (Big Orange Retail Giant - aka Home Depot) will cut / thread pipe for you, i couldn't imagine being able to justify the air-specific systems.
I'm with Dave. I had a 7000sf Millwork shop in Florida for 12 yrs. We ran a twin piston Ingersol Rand compressor with two 80gal tanks. Nearly all our tools and equipment had air running them or drops for blow guns at them. We also had a giant open face spray booth that was used nearly 8hrs a day. We beat our compressor with little mercy, but took very good care of it. We went iron pipe from outside to inside the shop to a wall mounted manifold holding the main filters, water traps, regulators etc. From there it was PVC (thick wall stuff) all across the shop. We placed several ball gates in the system to make zones and make it easy to make additions to it. We ran 150psi to all drops and regulated at the point of use. In 12yrs, we were inspected many times and never had an issue. We did have a single elbow blow on us though, but it took a hit from a 16penny nail....don't ask. Aside from that we never had an issue with PVC, and we had miles of it.