RapidAir Fittings

There are 2 main fittings used in the RapidAir system (not counting those that screw into the aluminium mounting blocks).

There are L fittings

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& T fittings

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There are also L fittings with a 3/5″ threaded end

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These are useful to screw into the manifold, and for attaching fittings to convert the system to fit standard air fittings, such as Nitto. You may need an adapter to resize the thread from 3/8″ to 1/4″. These are easily sourced from Masters in those awesome drawers in the bolt section.

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The fittings have mounting points so they can be screwed to the structure

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And failing that (or for longer hose runs) there are hose clips

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Add all that together allows some pretty sophisticated layouts, very easily

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SSYTC065 RapidAir Installation Update

Most of the system is now in place and connected up, just need a few extra connectors to finish it off.

Have shot this quick walking tour so you can see the setup that I have put in place.

As mentioned, the system is sourced through Professional Woodworkers Supplies, and it makes it very easy to create a professional looking setup around the workshop.

Threading Up

Spent the time while watching the Melbourne F1 Grand Prix (well done Daniel!), getting the outlets for the RapidAir (from Professional Woodworkers Supplies) all threaded up, with thread sealant rather than Teflon tape.

Probably the slowest part of the whole install!

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There are 7 outlets set up identically (capped off rear inlet, front outlet, air inlet at top, drain at bottom), 1 which is for the mezzanine (capped off rear inlet, capped off top inlet, air in from the bottom and front outlet- no drain so lower outlets will have to be the reservoir), and one manifold, with all 4 ports with a hose connector.

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Next job is to physically mount the outlets in the shed.

Layout

It pays to try a layout of a system as a dry run, before going to the trouble of connecting everything up.  And that is what I am doing with the installation of the RapidAir system.  It may be easy to install (and modify), but it is even easier if you get it right first time!

So I’ve taken the 8 outlets I have planned for the shed, assembled them (by hand only at this stage) and initially placed them around the workshop where I originally thought they’d go.  Didn’t take long to work out some were not in the right place – having to reach over machines (or almost unreachable at all), others not having something solid to connect them to.  So they got a bit of a shuffle.

Then while doing some other things around the workshop, visualising how I might utilise the compressed air, and where the nearest outlet is.

For some areas, I originally planned two outlets.  This is so I have access to compressed air for various tools, and a second outlet that will provide air for the vacuum clamps.  Turns out they do not need to be right beside each other so long as there are two in close proximity to the workbench, and that gives better overall coverage around the workshop.

I still haven’t finalised the layout – sleeping on it is another good option!  I’ll approach it with fresh eyes, see if there is anything I have forgotten or missed.

Meccano in the Workshop

I was so deprived as a kid, not ever having a meccano set.

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It is a wonder I managed to get an engineering degree at all.

😉 Now that I have managed to get myself completely disowned 😉 there are still ways we can get to play putting stuff together in many different configurations, easily, while achieving a desired outcome.

There is Ikea for some, but that isn’t particularly useful in a workshop setting.

What we need is a kit, full of all the fittings and items needed to fit out a workshop with something productive and useful. We (at least the majority of us) are not allowed to play with electricity, but there is nothing stopping us playing with compressed air!

Picked up my master kit and extra fittings I needed from Professional Woodworkers Supplies today, and had a bit of a look through all the fitting, bits’n’pieces etc that it comes with.

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Only real problem I see, is it is going to be a bit too easy to put together, and running a permanent air supply system around the workshop will be a bit too rapid. (See what I did there? It is called RapidAir after all 😉 )

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The outlets get screwed together- everything into a machined aluminium block. There are taps provided for each outlet to drain condensation out of the lines. The connecting hose fits tool-lessly from point to point, manifold to connector, connector to outlet etc.

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Extra outlets, connectors, hose are all available as extras, so you can get the main kit, then supplement it as your workshop requires.

Now you can have a compressed air system throughout, with outlets right where you need them.

Who needs meccano play sets, when we can get something like this to ‘play’ with, setting up the workshop!

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Compressed Air Supply

Compressed air and woodworking definitely go hand-in-hand.  There is a whole collection of air tools to use, and they are typically quite a bit cheaper than their electric powered equivalent machines as the energy conversion from electricity to mechanical is done by a single machine (air compressor) rather than each and every tool doing the same (there is a small step of converting the potential energy in the compressed air to mechanical kinetic, but that is pretty simple).

That concept does harp back to the workshops of old, with line drive, belts and pulleys etc, but compressed air is a lot easier to move around the workshop!

Other than nail guns, impact wrenches, sanders etc, there is always the convenience of a burst of compressed air to clean out a cut, clean off a tool, and even to sweep the workshop floor!  I also have a few vacuum clamps that use compressed air to generate significant grip on the component. (Using a venturi effect to produce low pressure, then the atmospheric pressure does the rest).

Getting air around the workshop can either be with long hoses, or in my case I am going to use the RapidAir setup from Professional Woodworkers Supplies.

152558The initial kit provides the tubing, and a bunch of quick-connectors, so running it around the workshop is a ‘breeze’

After running what will effectively be a pneumatic ring main around the workshop, at strategic points there will be individual tap points, to plug the tool straight in.

152559These come with the valve, and aluminium mounting block, so will fit in very well with the workshop layout.

airThis is an approximate layout for the air run, with the air compressor in a shed near the top right corner.  The red squares are air outlets, the circle is an air outlet then connected to a hose reel (which then allows air to be used elsewhere in the back yard)

I might put an outlet up on the mezzanine, and probably one by the drill press.

The ring main then allows a balance of air to each outlet (especially if there is more than one demand on the circuit at the same time), and for others to be easily added for future design changes or needs.

Will probably start installation next weekend.

Episode 88 Pneumatics in the Workshop

Episode 88 Pneumatics in the Workshop

A brief discussion of compressed air in the workshop, and a look at a very flexible option!

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