All quiet on the Western Front

The Eastern, Southern and Northern as well.

After finishing off the last few connections, changing the air compressor oil then plugging it in, the RapidAir system was charged for the first time. There were a few leaks to sort out, all associated with the connections in the mounting blocks. Not sure why the instructions say that teflon tape should not be used, especially since some of the fittings they provide come prewrapped with it. So where there are persistent leaks, I’ve gone the teflon route anyway, and that solved it.

What I was surprised by, was where I was expecting leaks were at the hose connections. Nada, nothing, not a thing. Amazing. Considering there are about 75 hose connections, that’s pretty impressive!

So I plugged in a hose with a blower end, and blew the workshop and machines clean, and mulched the garden at the same time. That’s what I’m talking about

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.

RapidAir

As indicated in my previous post, I have begun installing the RapidAir system around the workshop.

It is as easy as the product suggests to create a comprehensive pneumatic system around the workshop.

After preparing each of the outlets (which realistically didn’t take a lot of time), I began mounting these around the workshop.  Each set up with the inlet from the top, and drain at the bottom.  The plan is to run a ring-mail around at roof level (the underside of the mezzanine), and by using a T piece, drop down to each outlet.  The manifold has three outlets, one will feed a local outlet, the other two will supply the ring-main.

After mounting the outlets (and deciding that 2 more would properly finish the setup), I started connecting the tubing.  It is pretty rigid, so although it means it isn’t designed to go around corners (that is what L connectors are for), it does mean that each run is able to be done neatly, easily creating a professional-looking (and functioning) setup.

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The tubing is easily cut square using the provided cutter

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As mentioned, there are T and L connectors, combinations of which provide the different configurations required.

The tubes happen to still be hanging in free space, as I haven’t secured them in position with clips while I finalise the layout.

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I will change the configuration of the manifold slightly, so the standard nitto fitting from the air compressor can plug straight in.

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Proceeding very easily- another installation session will pretty much see it done.

When taking it slow is the fastest way to go

I was in the process of mounting the RapidAir outlets, which required pilot holes to be drilled for the screws (not self drilling unfortunately).

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It was taking ages- having to start on smaller and smaller drill bits, just to drill a 3.5mm hole. Ridiculous.

So decided to stop being lazy, and continue working with something obviously blunt. Take the time, set up the Tormek, and the DBS22, and put a real edge on the bit.

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Back to drilling through steel like butter. All that extra time sharpening was saved in just the next 4 holes, and I still had 50 holes to go.

Time spent sharpening pays off in spades.

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.

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