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Rapid Air Compressed Air System For Your Shop

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#1
Has anyone installed one of these systems in their shop? Pro's Con's?

It's on my radar and I'm thinking of installing one. Can't decide if I want to go with 3/8 or 1/2 air lines. The 3/4 is way too big for my needs.
What started this, is, needing some 1/4" tubing to connect up a couple of misters I bought. The more I looked for fittings to run the tubing from my compressor to make this work, bam! I stumbled across 3/8 air line fittings/system along with 1/2 system stuff, too.

https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B0015A11U2/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=IF9UWCJEZQWT2&colid=2N1PWR8VSYL3O&psc=0

https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B01H633...liid=I2JM0000LIJDWQ&colid=2N1PWR8VSYL3O&psc=0

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073YD8K1M/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=I1PBMJ1G7Q8YBZ&colid=2N1PWR8VSYL3O&psc=1

I've also looked at several Youtube videos, too. Too many to list here.
 

woodchucker

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#2
I considered it years ago. I saw it in HF online (no longer). I should have bit, since they stopped carrying soon after, and it was real inexpensive from them about $30 while Rapid Air wanted more than $100. That price seems better than what I have been seeing. You do realize that you can probably do your own setup using pex for a lot less, and make your own blocks easily.

They do the job though, I have seen 2 installations, and both guys were happy with it.
 

kd4gij

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#3
It has been on my raider for a couple of years. It get's good reviews every where. Nice to see it coming down in price. 1/2" used to be over 100.
The HF version was a cheap knock off so I passed on it. If you have the material to make the wall mounts it would be cheaper to add on to.
 
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#4
Yeah, I was thinking the same, making my own blocks. Right now finding time to make them is not going to happen for a while. Just doing some preplanning.
 

woodchucker

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#5
It has been on my raider for a couple of years. It get's good reviews every where. Nice to see it coming down in price. 1/2" used to be over 100.
The HF version was a cheap knock off so I passed on it. If you have the material to make the wall mounts it would be cheaper to add on to.
I actually think the HF was the same kit. The blocks and everything looked the same. I figured that whoever was making them for Rapid Air at the time sold a alot to HF. And HF was told to stop by Rapid Air. (just assuming). Same with a gear head clamp, that they just stopped carrying. It was the exact same as the Jorgensen.. I kinda get the impression that they are buying from the same manufacturer sometimes.
 
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kd4gij

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#6
I actually think the HF was the same kit. The blocks and everything looked the same. I figured that whoever was making them for Rapid Air at the time sold a alot to HF. And HF was told to stop by Rapid Air. (just assuming). Same with a gear head clamp, that they just stopped carrying. I was the exact same as the Jorgensen.. I kinda get the impression that they are buying from the same manufacturer sometimes.

No it was a knock off . Rapid air had a big disclaimer on the front page That they did not make the HF kit and could not warranty it as they where getting a lot of complaints from HF costumers.
 

woodchucker

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#7
No it was a knock off . Rapid air had a big disclaimer on the front page That they did not make the HF kit and could not warranty it as they where getting a lot of complaints from HF costumers.
Or, that could have been Rapid Air's way of dealing with them, put out a page that says they are totally inferior and require support. I do know they stopped really quickly. But you may be right as well. Just hard to tell what's what.
 

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#8
Once you go with those type of fittings, you will never go back to anything else. Being able to push the air line into the connector and yet, pull it back out if need be should you need to change something down the road.
 

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#9
I like the modular stuff but, instead of going that route, I bought a bag of 20 T-joints on Amazon or eBay for about $25 and a roll of vinyl compressor hose from HF and went to town. I put drop-downs for air all over the place and did it on-the-cheap.

Ray
 

kd4gij

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#10
I looked At the Harbor Freight kit first hand in the store and passed the fittings where junk. And it got a lot of bad reviews for leaking and tub splitting.
 

kd4gij

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#11
Once you go with those type of fittings, you will never go back to anything else. Being able to push the air line into the connector and yet, pull it back out if need be should you need to change something down the road.

I agree. At my last job I ran a lot of air lines on automated production machines with those type fittings.
 
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#12
I used the rapid air "fast pipe" when I built the shop. It went in quick and has performed great for the past 3.5 years. The fast pipe I used came in 19' lengths and uses teflon fittings. The fast pipe is powder coated (blue) 1" extruded aluminum rated around 200psi. Mark (mksj) used the rapid air system to plumb air in his shop and likes it. If you use the rapid air, you'll need to pre straighten the coil if you want a clean install. I would also order extra wall clamps as it has a tendency to sag a little on long runs. They sell a straightening roller but I've seen guys push it through a section of conduit that works well.
Heres some pictures of the fast pipe system if your curious what it looks like.
IMG_0464.JPG IMG_0520.JPG IMG_0523.JPG
 

Ray C

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#13
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#14
Paco,

Do you know if the "fast pipe" is available in 1/2"?

Ken

EDIT: Found the "fast pipe" in 3/4" still looking
 

gr8legs

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#15
I don't really have anything to add to the discussion but when has that ever been a deterrent to chiming in?

Several years ago I upgraded / upsized my shop compressor and put it into a doghouse outside the shop so new air lines were needed. At that time I researched what kind of piping to use for shop air and toyed with the idea of using PVC or CPVC water pipe for compressed air. The consensus was 'don't' because the stuff would explode and shatter if you bumped it under pressure. So at that time I went with copper and have been happy ever since.

Subsequently I saw the (what appears to be PEX) air line and fittings but was still leery about using it due to the warning about PVC and other plastic for air lines.

After that I re-plumbed some of the water lines in the house with PEX - and fell in love with the stuff. And boy is it tough! The only down side is that you shouldn't expose it to much sun- or UV light as that degrades the piping.

We're all pretty aware of the general quality level of HF goods.

So, long story short, if I had to do shop air again - or if I expand what's there - I'll do it with the air-rated plastic piping. Easy-peasy!

Stu
 

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#16
Ken
I have the kit in the first link you posted. Very easy to use and I’ve had no leaks. My install was real simple, just a drop to my four post lift and one to a hose reel above my bench.
No regrets with the purchase at all.
 
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#17
Paco,

Do you know if the "fast pipe" is available in 1/2"?

Ken

EDIT: Found the "fast pipe" in 3/4" still looking
Ken,
At the time the smallest fast pipe was the 1". The coils start at 3/4" and smaller. I needed 1" since I ran + 300'. It adds about 2.5-3 gallons by volume and ran a loop system.
 
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#18
Ken,
Looks like Fast pipe now offers it in 3/4". Like I mentioned previously, at the time I did my system the smallest was 1". I understand your wanting 1/2" but check out the link anyway. https://www.rapidairproducts.com/page/fastpipe
Paco
 

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#19
I installed the Maxline system about a year ago, the pipe is flexible and uses an aluminum tube coated with plastic on either side. Uses barbed fittings with a compression ring. Very happy with the system, well made and have had no issues. I went with the 3/4" tubing because I have a run a bit over 50' with two drops along the way. Also I use a larger 2 stage compressor the pumps out 17+ CFM and there would have been too much pressure drop with some high CFM air tools otherwise. The Maxline M3800 is there 1/2" kit which should work fine for what you have outlined, providing your distance is under 50'. As gr8legs mentioned, I have heard too many bad tales of using PVC and other tubing not rated for sustaining continuous air pressure. It can be pretty dangerous if something fails. I would recommend going with the Rapidair or Maxline systems, both are well established and have quality products. Be aware of the ID and OD of the difference systems, the 1/2" Rapidair 90500 has an ID of 3/8" and an OD of 1/2" with a maximum pressure of 150 PSI, the Maxline 1/2" system M3800 ID is 1/2" with an OD of 5/8" with a maximum pressure of 175 PSI. Air flow is significantly affected by the pipe ID, so if you are using any high CFM tools, you may want to go with a larger tubing size. Also need to figure out the fittings and the drops, I needed to order a few extra fitting for their 3/4" M7500 package. If you do not need the CFM then the 1/2" Rapidair 90500 would be the way to go.

20170208_075225.jpg
 

PMartin

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#20
I found the Rapid Air system a few years ago at Northern and installed it in my garage at my old house. I was very happy with it because it worked good and was easy to install. You do have to straighten out the coil like somebody else said before you put it in but otherwise was really good. I just moved to this house six months ago and still have to set up my shop in my garage. I don't have my air system set up here yet but hope to next summer. I plan to use Rapid Air again.

Paul
 
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#21
mksj brought a interesting point. I wasn't aware of the difference between Maxline and Rapidair tubing diameters. I will keep that in mind,
Thanks.
 

Eddyde

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#22
I have done a couple of compressed air systems. The biggest, about 300' of pipe and 15 air stations, was done with copper tubing, it worked great but probably too expensive these days.
I also did a smaller one with threaded steel pipe. about 80' of pipe and 4 stations. It also worked great but a pain to install.
I am planning to install one in my home shop and will use PEX, which is probably what those kits are. It is readily available at home centers and very inexpensive. I will use the compression band fittings as I already have the tool but one may also use push connect fittings also available at the big box stores. PEX is not brittle like PVC so no worries of bursting.
 
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#23
Ken, I put in a manifold in my shop early last year.

Studied copper, packaged stuff available like Rapid Air, and HDPE. I eventually decided to simply buy PEX and do it myself using PEX pipe and brass fittings. I had the PEX plumbing crimping tool already so I was off to the races.

I bought a big roll of PEX, brass fittings, and valves in bulk at Lowes. My mistake was buying the PEX in a roll. The stuff was horrible to straighten out. I fought it like crazy and used a heat gun when needed. So for anyone using HDPE/PEX, my suggestion is to buy the straight lengths of pipe and avoid rolls.

I didn't make it too complicated and it has worked find thus far. I still have the ability to run hose from the compressor if needed plus I recently acquired a small "super quiet" portable compressor that I can move around easily in the shop and elsewhere as needed. Plus if I need to modify the header, that can be done in a matter of minutes.

IMG_20180121_114807.jpg

IMG_20180121_114532.jpg

IMG_20180121_114643.jpg
 

Groundhog

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#24
I installed the 3/8" RapidAir system in my shop about 4 years ago. It makes a complete wrap around the perimeter of my 20x24 shop (both ends go to the tank). Very easy and quick to install. Giving the coils a chance to straighten out takes longer than installing the system.
I've changed air station locations and added a few since the original install since it is so easy to do. I needed to buy another roll of tubing and some fittings to enlarge the original kit. Never had a problem and will hold 125 psi for days without leaking (if I unhook the cheap couplers).
All-in-all I'm very happy with the price, quality and ease of installation.

I don't have any experience with the solid pipe (used steel pipe at work).

If you have more than one user of air tools at a time consider using the 1/2".
 
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cvairwerks

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#25
If you are a glutton for reading, popover to GarageJournal and search on air systems. Lots of users of the various systems and lots of comments.

As to PVC and CPVC.....the ratings you see stamped on the piping is for incompressible fluids only. There is no rating for pressurized gasses for *ANY* PVC based piping. Should you want to run the allowable calculations for gaseous pressurized piping, per the codes, you would come up with a pressure limit of about 4 PSIG., for PVC.

The only rigid plastic piping rated for gaseous pressure usage is ABS, and it's not the stuff you find at HomeDespot/Lowes/Menards/ et al. You will only find it at an industrial supplier and it will cost you more to run than paying someone to come in and install 1" copper for you. I used to run it in our chemical treatment facility and processing skids and it wasn't cheap. In 1997, we were paying about 28$ for a 20' stick of 3/4" ABS and about 4$ a fitting.
 
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#26
All the comments reminds me of dad's shop. He plumbed it with 1/2 PVC pipe. Twenty years later, it was still holding pressure. But we limited pressure to 40 psi. Once in a while we would increase it to 60 psi to use the air drill we used. For any other air tools, there was a tap off the tank we would use. Amazing none of it blew up.
On another note, the place I worked at Huntsville, TX, that 20,000 sq/ft facility was plumbed in with 2" PVC pipe also. It did blow one day, an ell gave way on the pipe coming from the tank outside. Blew out ceiling tiles, insulation, wires, etc., all over the place. I don't know if any of that piping ever got replaced or not.
I'm liking the idea of DYI using PEX tubing with brass fittings that you can get locally from the big box store. Really have no need to run over 100-125 psi. Some more to think about.
 

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#27
Bought the Maxline 3/4" kit on Ebay. I now have a quick-disconnect drop between the hand-bench and the parts washer, one at the mill, and another at the lathe. Been happy with it so far. :)
 
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chips&more

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#28
In my other shop years ago I ran PVC for air. It was OK. But was flimsy at the quick connect stations because the plastic was not rigid enough. In my current shop I have copper and love it. The quick connect stations are solid. There was no issue with marriage of materials. All my connections are hard soldered together. No air leaks! No rust! 10ft of ½” copper pipe is about 14 bucks, please think about it.
 

jdedmon91

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#29
I have PEX in my shop and like it


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Old junk

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#30
Pex here also easy peasy
 
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