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So I have a portable air compressor, not a huge one, but good enough for air nailers and inflating things. It sometimes gets dragged to a work site, but typically sits in a corner of my basement shop. I was thinking that if I had some hard lines plumbed up to my garage, and to an overhead connection in the shop, it would save me time wrestling with hoses and moving the compressor around, plus it’s an opportunity to learn a new skill, which is always a good thing.

I don’t really know where to start - I assume I’d be using some type of bendable metal line, and some type of flare / compression fittings. Can anyone provide, or point me towards some basic information? Thanks.

Tim
 

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I plumbed air lines in my garage using the Black iron gas pipe available at any home center or hardware store.
Durable, inexpensive and not really tgat hard to install.

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I used 1/2" copper when I did my shop/garage...it was cheaper back then lol. Very handy to be able to plug in a short hose wherever it's needed.

The kits like 440rat linked to are a pretty affordable and fast way to get it done...also available on Amazon.

Al
 

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I know a guy that is using schedule 40 PVC. Ok?
 

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PVC or CPVC will work IF you're in a warm climate or heated building. Once temps get close to freezing, the plastic becomes VERY brittle and can crack/break.

I would go with steel pipe as large as your budget will allow! The larger pipe. let's say 1 1/2", will act as additional storage. When you install your piping, remember to pitch it away from your compressor, 1/8" per foot will do. Add a drip leg and drain valve at the lowest point and ALWAYS tee off to the top of the pipe (this leaves any condensation in the piping and not in your air line). Bob
 

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I know a guy that is using schedule 40 PVC. Ok?
No. Not ok. Very dangerous.
Schedule 40 PVC is not to be used for compressed air/gas systems. Being in the plumbing design business, manufacturers specifically state it on their submittals, even with schedule 80.
From Charlotte Pipe:
Installation:
Installation shall comply with the latest installation instructions published by Charlotte Pipe and Foundry and shall
conform to all applicable plumbing, fire, and building code requirements. Buried pipe shall be installed in accordance
with ASTM F 1668 and ASTM D 2774. Solvent cement joints shall be made in a two-step process with a primer
meeting ASTM F 656 and a medium- or heavy-bodied solvent cement conforming to ASTM D 2564. The system
shall be protected from chemical agents, fire-stopping materials, thread sealant, plasticized-vinyl products or other
aggressive chemical agents not compatible with PVC compounds. The system shall be hydrostatically tested after
installation. WARNING! Never test with or transport/store compressed air or gas in PVC pipe or fittings. Doing so can
result in explosive failures and cause severe injury or death.


Typical is black steel with screwed fittings. In manufacturing facilities we have designed CA systems using S.S. pipe with press-fit or mechanical joints, but they needed clean dry air that had no moisture, particulates to run machinery/equipment. That would be very expensive for the home shop.

Here's some reading from Quincy Compressor website about piping systems. There are some plastics that can be used, but I don't know cost benefits versus other piping systems.
 

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I did my barn with black pipe from Home Depot. Bought a threading die kit from Harbor Freight and ran a line up the middle of one gable end, across the length of the building secured to the bottom of the roof trusses and down the other gable end. Teed off about every ten feet and ran a rubber hose drop line from each. Drip leg with valve at the two lowest points. Cheap and permanent.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks everybody, some good choices there. I am leaning toward the Rapidair Maxline kit - it seems reasonably economical and a bit easier than running rigid pipe.
 

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Black pipe has a couple of advantages over any kit. Parts are cheap and available at the nearest Hopot or Lowes, or even any hardware store. They are cheaper yet at a wholesale plumbing supply place - and most don't care if you have an account or are walking in off the street. Threading 1/2" or 3/4" black pipe is not difficult - just plan on 1/2" at each end to disappear into the elbow, tee, or other fitting. Use ball valves, and buy a pressure gauge/regulator to put near the end of your run. You can even bend 1/2" pipe with an electrician's 3/4" conduit bender. If you are running 3/4" black pipe it takes a 1" conduit bender and bigger muscles (the larger benders are, of course, more expensive than the very common smaller ones.
 

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I would use a 2 foot piece of hydraulic hose to connect to the compressor. Just match the size to your line size and add a hose coupler.
 

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I vote a Rapid Air style kit. The drawback to black pipe is rust. Your air will have moisture and moisture will cause rust. The little pieces that come through are rough on air tools.
 
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In addition to Drew's comment about a hose, use a quick disconnect coupling! You never know when your going to need air just a few feet past the end of you last hose! A quick disconnect coupling will still give you a portable compressor. Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks again all! I will definitely plan on a quick connect so I can still move the compressor if need be.
 

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I have been using 1/2" pex tubing with shark bite connectors for years with no problems.It's survived from -20 to100+ degrees @180 psi.
 

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One of the better references that I have seen is on the TP Tools tech site. Metal Piping eliminates moisture and air volume problems - TP Tools & Equipment Click the link for the metal piping diagram pdf. I'm not affiliated with the company; just really liked the diagram because it covers most everything to consider when installing an air system.

A lot of folks also like the plastic tubing kits for a quick and easy setup, especially in a garage they may not stay in forever.
 

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I just installed a rapid air style kit today in my barn. Rebuilt my 60 gallon compressor and wanted to get away from the rubber line going downstairs. Got it all plumbed in a few hours. I am very impressed with how it came out. Realistically I would need 2 complete kits to get it installed 100% how I want it but it will work for now. Definitely recommend!
 

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FWIW - I just recieved a M7500 Rapidair kit from my friendly neigborhood Fedex man. 3/4" size. Primary purpose is to supply my cabinet blaster. I haven't had time to install yet, maybe this week sometime. It's a quality looking kit. Has three outlets and two tee's among other hardware. Have to supply your own couplings, teflon-tape, and pipe dope as recommended. Installation and cutting tools come in the kit.
 
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