Friday, July 16, 2010

Garage Air: Design on the Fly

Yesterday evening I drove out to the Baltimore ‘burbs to meet a guy about some pipe. Copper coils to be exact. I ended up coming away from that meeting with a 25’ long coil of ¾ inch soft copper tubing and some excellent plumbing advice. Armed with that wisdom and my sketch, Mikhaila and I headed to Home Depot so that I could spend an hour in their plumbing aisle redesign my system a couple times. I ended up going with all copper pipes because, 1) I’ve sweated pipe joints and have the torch, flux, and solder for the task, 2) the overall assembly will be much lighter than a galvanized iron one and thus easier to install by myself, and 3) I can cut the pipes to exactly the lengths I need to get them to run nicely along my garage walls.

The first item we selected was not from the plumbing aisle, but from the garden section. The coil I’d just bought could not feasibly be wound tightly enough to fit in a 5 gallon bucket as originally planned, so I needed a container with a larger diameter. We found a rope bucket that will serve my need perfectly plus it was a great receptacle for all the fittings I subsequently selected. Into the bucket went an assortment of elbows, tees, adapters, and valves and a three foot long coil of reinforced hose. Finally, with three ten foot long pipes sitting on my shoulder we headed to checkout and then home.

The first part of the installation was to run the flexible hose from the compressor into the garage. It needed to be flexible to handle the movements of the compressor in the shed. A one inch hole drilled through the window frame made a path with the only issue (and there had to be at least one) being the disconnected window weight that had to be shoved over while the hose was pushed through. A couple fittings and a hose clamp and I had connection at the compressor’s outlet. Next I had to pull stuff off shelves and take down two bikes hanging from the rafters to give me access to complete the layout. An hour later and it was time to knock off for the night. Final score for the day: 8 cuts down, roughly a dozen more to go plus all the sweating and mounting. Irr – there’s still a good ways to go.

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