Air line

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Established Member
11 Mar 2014
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Birchington, Kent
I do picture framing in a room in my bungalow and it has come to the point that I need a air supply for a underpinner and staple gun etc. In the room I work in, You can buy silent compressors but they are expensive and space is a premium.
I already own a fairly powerful compressor that is in my adjoining garage and was considering the best method/material to use to run a air point. The bungalow has suspended floors so that is a possible route I could also run through the loft and down.
Do you get a lot of pressure loss over a long run? I am/was a domestic gas engineer so competent soldering if copper pipe is a acceptable material only mentioned that as although I don’t have mice etc. as far as I know not sure I would want to use plastic/rubber hose unless necessary

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I've not long finished renovating a house and used first, second fix and a brad nailer throughout with a wee compressor sitting at the back door. No noticeable loss of pressure and that was with a 25metre hose.
I'd imagine that with rigid pipe work there'd be even less drop of pressure but I'd be tempted to use steel rather than copper, a bulkhead fitting somewhere in the room and a flexi coil onto your gun.
No scientific reason for that, just gut feeling. I'm not sure what pressure copper tube is rated to.
Looked at Tool station pipe and fittings apart from colour are they any different from the water ones do you know?
Also is there a calc for diameter V pipe length (I wonder if it the same as pressure drop for gas)

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If youve ever designed a gas installation youll know that every joint, and every foot run of pipe will produce a pressure and flow loss.

from old memory copper water pipe is rated to withstand 250 lbs psi. risky if you have a big compressor.To get a decent pressure and flow over a distance youd need as much as 1" galvanised pipe. Even then you would need high pressure piping and it would take a week to pressurise the system

I would run a pipe in pipe system. Use a conduit of black plastic water pipe making sure there are no sharp bends, with a continuous piece of air pressure hose inside it. Seal the conduit at both ends to prevent vermin getting in.
Then if there was ever a problem, all you have to do is pull the whole length out and replace.
Pressure and flow losses are only of concern when gas is flowing. As soon as the demand finishes, pressures will equalise in the line to the supply pressure. As the demand from a staple gun is both small and very intermittent, I wouldn't be at all concerned by pressure losses for your application. If you were looking to run a spray gun or rotary air tool, that's a different matter.

I like copper for compressed air lines, it's easy to work with and robust, and easily capable of handling 150PSI workshop air. My own setup is soldered copper. I've seen HDPE pipe used as well, but you need to be careful using plastic as some types can shatter when over-pressurised or cold. When I run a long underground supply between workshops, I'll be using blue water pipe for the underground run.
The problem with long runs is that they will collect water. I would advise running your pipe through the loft with a slight fall towards the outlet so that water is forced that way. Put a false drop with a drain valve in your work room to collect any water.

Use 3/4" copper for the lines & run them at full compressor pressure. Mount a filter/regulator unit in the work room & connect it to your copper with a short hose.

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