Setting up a Mech Engineering workshop

Hi wonderful people

I have just cleared out one of my old barns and want to set up the ground floor as a workshop. I favour air tools, rivetters, drills sandblasters and so on. I can locate the tools and compressor etc but I want to put in some form of bus backbone so that with constant air pressure to support the usage of multiple tools simultaneously. The last time I worked in a place fully set up for compressed air tools was in 1978/79. With todays materials what sort of materials are needed for pipework. I'm sure copper pipe would do the trick but is there an alternative method I could use? Any suggestions?
 

HE117

LE
To be honest, you can piss about forever with this kit if you try putting it together from bits..

You can find all the parts in Machine Mart - use plastic pipe and get the biggest compressor you can afford - it's all down to the size of the reservoir - bigger the better...

Air kit is on all the time.. leaks and equipment fails drive you nuts.. better you build from new - it's dirt cheap and not worth recycling...
 
If its just you (you don't say) how many tools can you use 'simultaneously '?

As HE117 said, start from scratch.
Also, take a week to imagine yourself walking from task to task and you will get an idea of the routeing of your air lines. A week may be too long, but really go through the motions of the tasks/functions you envisage carrying out.
 

HE117

LE

Yokel

LE
I thought you meant the paper version. Thanks for the link.

NO WAH!
 
To be honest, you can piss about forever with this kit if you try putting it together from bits..

You can find all the parts in Machine Mart - use plastic pipe and get the biggest compressor you can afford - it's all down to the size of the reservoir - bigger the better...

Air kit is on all the time.. leaks and equipment fails drive you nuts.. better you build from new - it's dirt cheap and not worth recycling...
Machine Mart is already on the radar. There is probably going to be 1 other possibly 2 or 3. If left to me I would just do a ring terminated circuit using copper pipe but just looking around for suggestions in relation to using plastic. Its cheaper and easier to work but what pressure can the joints handle ? Big compressor mandatory.
 
If left to me I would just do a ring terminated circuit using copper pipe but just looking around for suggestions in relation to using plastic. Its cheaper and easier to work but what pressure can the joints handle ? Big compressor mandatory.

Check the manufacturer's literature for pressure ratings, but whatever you want really. Plastic domestic plumbing is (should be) hydraulically pressure tested to 10 bar. I think JG (Speedfit) do pneumatic pipework.*

I don't get the big compressor thing, you'll probably be using one tool at a time, intermittently. If the compressor keeps pace with the hungriest tool, there's not a problem; anything more is just waste.

* PS 10 bar at 23 degC.
http://www.johnguest.com/wp-content...Z2105-163-0314_CAS-A4-Product-Guide-06-05.pdf
 

HE117

LE
Max pressure is not the issue...You don't need much more than 6.5bar/100psi to work tools... provided all your fittings are proofed to this you will be OK..

The thing you need to work out is your flow rate - cubic feet/min if your rig is not capable of feeding your usage rate you will lose pressure and power!

Think about like volts and amps - pressure is volts - you don't need to worry about the working voltage - it's what it is 240 or 110! What you need to think about is the current - amps - if you pull too many amps for a given voltage the volts will drop...

So.. work out what the average air usage is for your system.. how many tools will you be running at any one time, and make sure your compressor can provide the required flow.. You will also need a reservoir tank which will slow down the pressure drop and even out the peaks...

Finally - do you need to dry or lubricate the air? Are you using the air for tools - if so then do you need a lube injector, or are you running a shot blast or paint spray where you don't! If you are doing both, you may need a dual supply..

Oh and don't even think about breathing it - that needs a whole different set of toys...!

If you want to go a bit more into the subject, Omega are a good company to deal with..

Here is their help guide.. http://www.omega.co.uk/auto/pdf/compressedairtips.pdf
 
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Until recently i have been working in a huge engineering facility , that used plastic pipe everywhere , and the compressor was the size of a house in a huge vented room the size of two tennis courts . Im guessing it will be ok airtools . We had C02 blasters as well but the had metal pipe due to needing a bigger volume , about 1" i.d .
 
Air tools are all about CFM , if you want to use 3/4 drive rattle guns etc then you need big airline fittings and ideally 3/4 ID metal air hose and keep the flexible lines to a minimum.
Galvanised water pipe is good with readily available T 's and 90 degree bends etc .
You need a good reservoir of air and a high flow compressor , also think about the noise it will make as it will be running for long periods as you work so maybe have the compressor outside in an insulated building.
Decent compressor will also need 3 phase supply
 
Air tools are all about CFM , if you want to use 3/4 drive rattle guns etc then you need big airline fittings and ideally 3/4 ID metal air hose and keep the flexible lines to a minimum.
Galvanised water pipe is good with readily available T 's and 90 degree bends etc .
You need a good reservoir of air and a high flow compressor , also think about the noise it will make as it will be running for long periods as you work so maybe have the compressor outside in an insulated building.
Decent compressor will also need 3 phase supply
Which would suit a small business with enough turnover. If it's a bit of hacking and bashing for a restore or similar I have to ask why air? The cost of setting up a good system isn't worth the return if it's just personal use IMO.
 
Which would suit a small business with enough turnover. If it's a bit of hacking and bashing for a restore or similar I have to ask why air? The cost of setting up a good system isn't worth the return if it's just personal use IMO.
You're probably right however the OP wanted to know about air and was thinking of using copper pipe - we use the galvanised water pipe in several of the workshops around the farm , it's cheap , easy to use and wont rust with the moisture he will no doubt have in his setup , some of the battery operated tools are good now but circa £700 for a good battery powered 1/2 impact gun buys a lot of galvanised pipe and fittings , and I've not come across a decent battery or mains powered grit blast cabinet so he will need air anyway
 
You're probably right however the OP wanted to know about air and was thinking of using copper pipe - we use the galvanised water pipe in several of the workshops around the farm , it's cheap , easy to use and wont rust with the moisture he will no doubt have in his setup , some of the battery operated tools are good now but circa £700 for a good battery powered 1/2 impact gun buys a lot of galvanised pipe and fittings , and I've not come across a decent battery or mains powered grit blast cabinet so he will need air anyway
I'd expect flaking off the internal galvanised so copper better IMO otherwise your tools get bollixed. Meh, I'd probably go for a plastic backbone with big coiled plastic attached. Cheap and no special skills needed.
 
To be honest, you can piss about forever with this kit if you try putting it together from bits..

You can find all the parts in Machine Mart - use plastic pipe and get the biggest compressor you can afford - it's all down to the size of the reservoir - bigger the better...

Air kit is on all the time.. leaks and equipment fails drive you nuts.. better you build from new - it's dirt cheap and not worth recycling...
The size of the reservoir is not the issue for Air tools,it's the compressor CFM that counts.
 

Troy

LE
The pipe/tube to use is galvanised medium weight tube to BS1387. Loads of steel stockholders keep it and there is bound to be a commercial plumbing merchant that stocks it plus all the fittings too. Elbows, tees unions, connectors, clips, brackets, hangers and so on. Typically your "ring main" will be 1,1/4" nominal bore and the run off to a single tool point would be 1/2" nominal bore, or 3/4" nominal bore for multiple take-offs or larger tools. BSP fittings are made from malleable iron and can be joined with PTFE tape and pipe wrenches. Alternatively, get a quote from a firm that installs compressors, et al.
 

Troy

LE
More to the point is just what are you going to use the workshop for? Will you be making and fixing things, or just collecting tools?
 
To be honest i do not see the need for such a huge compressor and hard plumbed system . If its just one bloke how much air can he use ? And why not just use rubber hose for tools and from compressor to sand blaster etc .

Even a big cylinder one will not run out of puff , and i cant think of needing so many airline points that far apart that the expense and ball ache is justified .

Thats just the do you really need it post , seen as you have had all the other suggestions .
 
I'd expect flaking off the internal galvanised so copper better IMO otherwise your tools get bollixed. Meh, I'd probably go for a plastic backbone with big coiled plastic attached. Cheap and no special skills needed.
Fair enough , I think most if not all the air tools we use have been ruggedized to withstand abuse and have filters fitted inline as the tail joins the tool .....we operate in very different environments from the ideal w/shop , most of the time my w/shop roof stretches to the ozone layer and above, the problem part is the floor or lack of floor, trying to rebuild a final drive / gearbox in either sand or mud means our standards of clean can be lower than the norm
 
Fair enough , I think most if not all the air tools we use have been ruggedized to withstand abuse and have filters fitted inline as the tail joins the tool .....we operate in very different environments from the ideal w/shop , most of the time my w/shop roof stretches to the ozone layer and above, the problem part is the floor or lack of floor, trying to rebuild a final drive / gearbox in either sand or mud means our standards of clean can be lower than the norm
Fair point - horses for courses, different standards in the field to an ejection seat bay. Then of course you have oh so easy to use stuff like this: http://www.accltd.com/products.asp?...category=Aluminium+Compressed+Air+Pipe+System
Bet that costs a few bob.
 

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