Work in Progress: Nickel & Dime

I left off last entry with the completion of the shop vise. With all electrical work done, the lack of a proper vise stand was the next obstacle impeding the use of compressed air in the shop.

This photo shows the extent of plumbing completed prior to mounting the vise; coming off the tane with a 2″ outlet and flex, reduced and brought up through 1-1/2″ then dropped down into the main run of 1″. The used pipe stock off to the side occupy the space where future plans of a 2″ coalescing filter and refrigerated drier will go.

The 2″ outlet is unreduced, straight off the tank, because anyone that’s used air tools will attest to the fact that when it comes to cfm, more is better.

Now, I’m no giant, but  my fist measures about 5″ wide, and next to a 2″ union really shows how large the OD of this pipe is. It almost makes the 120 gallon tank look small in relation, but not only does using larger pipe lower the cfm drop to the application, it also adds to the capacity of the system.

I laid out the plumbing to be able to easily service and expand on the system. The 2″ valve at the tank controls the main 1″ run that is connected to each drop by unions, while ball valves at the end of each drop allow equipment to be disconnected for service without evacuating the system.

There are two dedicated 1″ air drops in the shop. The 1″ drop shown on the right is for the blast cabinet that will be next to the compressor in the corner. The other, on the opposite wall, is  filtered and dedicated to paint guns and only paint guns.

Past the blasting drop the main run is reduced to 3/4″ and makes a final drop in the middle of the service bay. Opposite is another 3/4″ service-bay drop that is located by way of a backbone line, teed up and along the roof, at the upper-left in the photo above.

The work station drop is 3/4″ off the main run (pictured right) and will feed a very cool setup that I will elaborate on at a later date.  From there the main run drops in the corner and proceeds to the filtered, 1″ drop for paint.

To some, the air compressor is just a tool tucked away somewhere; a piece of equipment taking up valuable real estate in the shop, to be wheeled around and used from time to time. Others, like myself, have a much different outlook on compressed air. As a painter, you wouldn’t expect my views of having a good compressed air system to be anything short of absolute necessity; however, beyond the paint gun, compressed air is the lifeblood for a large percentage of shop tools from air files to impact driver and ratchets, die grinders, motors, blowers, saws and much more.

I’m excited to have finally reached this point, so excited I decided to do some work pro bono. The first small undertaking using the shops own power was to cut down a M4 carbon silencer.
A nice pipe, but the owner wanted the length reduced so that inlet would be equal distance from the badge as the outlet. Cutting off more than what would be left.

I think a tear ran down my face as I cut through the dry carbon. I first removed a small section to gain a test cut. Then the final cut through the carbon was made. The ends of the perforated tubing are expanded to accept the inlet/outlet (removed in prior cut).

The new work space getting some action!
Next the remaining perf. tubing was cut and the shortened case was drilled for rivets.

After expanding the perforated tubing 1/8″, the inlet was riveted on to make what will likely be the loudest pipe imaginable.

Overall, I’m content with the location of the vise and the air drops. I’ve refitted a couple of pipes that had tiny leaks and can’t wait to really get rolling.
Next thing to set-up…. Blast Cabinet!!


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