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.

10 Responses

  1. Question. What did you use to draw your plans ?

    • The Grizzly Workshop Planner. A very quick mock layout of the shed, to scale, which I have saved and then manipulate as it changes. I took a screen shot of it, and did a quick edit in Photoshop to add the port and line locations.

  2. Where are you going to drain water out of the system? I would have thought that your reel is just another component and might be better mobile.

    • Not sure what the system (kit) does for water, or if it will prove to be an issue. Generally I would have expected water would get expelled through the air tool.

      The reel is a wall-mounted retractable-type. It can be removed from the wall by pulling out the hinge-pin, but it doesn’t work well if not mounted.

      Next time you are down, you’ll have to drop by!

  3. Professional Woodworkers Supplies.Don’t have the product listed on their website but RapidAir sell worldwide from thier site and have a lot of good PDF info sheets. What compressor are you going to use??

    • They can supply – is a new addition to their product lineup.

      As to air compressor – only have a crappy 40L GMC. But I still cannot seem to kill it!

  4. Digging back a bit here, but I like the RapidAir mounting blocks but, expansion-a-bility(sp) through PWS would be a hassle I think.

    Have a look at for some good stuff at very reasonable prices.

    as for the GMC, i went peerless (p14) 2yrs ago and couldn’t believe the difference, make the step and you won’t ever regret it.

    I’m re doing my shed atm am am starting to plan out my airlines as well

    • Expandability is easy – PWS can supply additional tube and fittings (as well as the kits), either at the same time or after installing some and deciding more is necessary. Once the system is set up, you are unlikely to need to revisit it again – especially if you went with a good initial layout.

      Airless is no use to me – I need air to drive the vacuum clamps and blow sawdust off projects and machines!

      • Got a Kincrome club cattledog today and they have air hoses and a retractable reel hose I wonder if you can connect these to the Rapidair system??

        • Easy! On the supply line to the air hose reel (I have one as well) you fit a standard male coupling (I use Nitto fwiw) You then plug this into one of the Rapidair outlets.

          Well that is how I am going to do it 🙂

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