Gilles' Outlet

April 9, 2007

Installing a compressed air filter on Porter Cable pancake air compressors

Filed under: Shop Projects — Gilles @ 12:50 am

A general purpose air filter is installed on an air compressor. Two quick connectors are installed.

 

Skill Level: 1 (Very Basic)

Time Taken: About 20 Minutes

Air compressors are a versatile source of power for various tools: nailers, impact wrenches, paint sprayers… Most tools will require clean and dry air, yet few air compressors come equipped with filters. Using dirty and / or wet air will greatly reduce the lifetime of air tools.

Air is a sponge and can hold a considerable amount of water. When compressed, air looses some of its ability to hold water vapor. All the water which cannot be held by air condenses and accumulates at the bottom of the compressor tank. If let alone, this water will rust the tank to the point where it can explode under pressure. To prevent this, it is recommended to drain tanks every day. Some water will also condense within air tools, rusting them.

There are many different kind of filters. It really boils down to how dry and particule free you want compressed air to be. The pharmaceutical industry needs to remove all water an all traces of any particles but for air tools, it is acceptable to filter out particules larger than 5 microns and to get most of the moisture out. General purpose air filters are specifically designed for this.

Left: parts which will be used in this project. From left to right: 1/4” NPT x 2-1/2” Brass Nipple, Husky General Purpose Mini Air Filter (Home Depot $12), 1/4” NPT Brass Tee and Two 1/4 NPT Quick Connectors.

Right: I unpluged the compressor and emptied the tank. Using a crescent wrench, I removed one of the factory installed quick connectors.

Left: I wrapped the male part of the Tee with teflon tape. Since the pipe is 1/4”, I made sure to do at least two full turns.

Right: I threaded the Tee on the air filter. All filters have an arrow engraved on the body which indicates the air flow. I made sure to install the Tee on the output side of the air filter.

Holding the filter in one hand, I used a crescent wrench to tighten the Tee. It is important connections are tight but not too tight.

This Tee has an hexagonal shank which facilitates installation.

Left: I wraped the male part of the quick coupler with two full turns of teflon tape.I threaded it on the Tee and used two cresent wrenches to tighten the connection.

 

Right: I wrapped two turns of teflon tape on one end of the brass nipple and threaded it onto the air compressor’s output. Using a pipe wrench, I tightened the connection.

I wrapped teflon tape on the other end of the nipple, removed the bowl from the air filter and threaded the whole filter / quick connector assembly onto the brass nipple. I hand tightened it.

There was very little clearance between the tank and the bowl so I found it easier and safer to remove the bowl when installing the filter.

I re-installed the bowl, making sure the gasket between the filter body and the bowl was properly installed (not pinched).

Note that after installation, the bowl must be vertical. This is required for water to condense and accumulate at the bottom of the bowl where it can be drained.

I then turned the compressor on, hooked up a hose and with a tool. I pressured the gun and tried it. It worked fine.

I put a little bit of soapy water on all connections to check for leaks. Any air leak will cause the soapy water to bubble, making it very easy to locate any leak. It is important to ensure there are no leaks when fitting an air hose.

Tools Used:

  • Two Crescent Wrenches
  • Pipe Wrench

Materials Used:

  • Brass Nipple NPT 1/4” x 2-1/2” 
  • Tee NPT 1/4”
  • Universal Quick Connector Coupler 1/4” NPT (2)
  • General Purpose Ai Filter 
  • Teflon Tape
  • Dish soap and Water

March 25, 2007

Installing fittings on a compressed air hose

Filed under: Shop Projects — Gilles @ 3:44 am

A quick connector and studs are installed on a new compressed air hose. A stud is installed on a blowgun. The assembly is tested for leaks.

 

Skill Level: 0 (Trivial)

Time Taken: About 15 Minutes

I once witnessed a brand new Crafstman jigsaw die hours after beeing purchased (and it was not even used for heavy duty stuff). Since then, I have been avoiding Crafstman products. However, I was in need of a compressed air hose for a while and today, Sears had a sale where I found this Crafstman 50′ 300 psi air hose for $19.99 so I though I’d give it a try. I also purchased blow gun, on sale too.

Left: the new air hose, a roll of teflon tape (bottom left, still shrink wrapped), the blow gun (above the teflon tape). On the right of the blow gun, the brass looking fitting is a quick connect coupler. It allows to easily connect and disconnect air tools. It is basically a "female" connector.

The two chromed fittings on the left of the blow gun are quick connect studs. These are "male" connectors.

The hose comes with threaded fittings but no connectors. This is a common practice and not specific to Crafstman. 

Right: I started the assembly by rolling teflon tape around the quick connector side of the hose. Since the diameter of the pipe is less than 1”, I made sure to make at least 3 full turns of teflon. I also rolled the teflon clockwise around the threads so it won’t jam when the quick coupler is screwed later on.

Left: I threaded the quick connect coupler and tightened it with two adjustable wrenches. It needs to be very tight but not to the point where the threads will break.

 

Right: I repeated the same operation on the other end of the hose (the stud end).

The air gun with the stud already installed. I followed the same procedure: at least three full turns of teflon. However, there was no place for me to put a crescent wrench on the gun so I held it tight by its handle (on the bottom left in the picture).

I then hooked up the quick connect end of the hose to the gun and the stud end of the hose to an air compressor. I pressured the gun and tried it. It worked fine.

I put a little bit of soapy water on all connections to check for leaks. Any air leak will cause the soapy water to bubble, making it very easy to locate any leak. It is important to ensure there are no leaks when fitting an air hose.

Now, I can use two airs tools at the same time instead of switching as I used to before. We will see how the Crafstman hose holds up.

Tools Used:

  • Two Crescent Wrenches

Materials Used:

  • Craftsman 50′ air hose 300 psi 
  • Blow Gun 
  • Quick Connector Coupler 1/4” NPT
  • 1/4” Quick Connect Studs (2)
  • Teflon Tape
  • Dish soap and Water

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