Air Line Tubing Systems

Shop owners discuss various tubing and connection systems for supply lines to air-powered tools. March 22, 2013

I am moving later this month to a new shop and was considering trying the Rapidaire or one of the other tubing/quick connect fitting systems in the shop. I like the idea of easily moving or changing it as I settle in to the new space. I also like the idea of not having to solder fittings 15' in the air at the ceiling. Iím just looking for info from anyone who may have used this type of system in their shop.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor H:
One of my customers in the northeast installed this as an upgrade to their shop. They had black pipe before and air leaks all over their shop. They spent the money and upgraded to RapidAire. When I asked them about it, they said they loved it and it was easy to install. They spend more on the pipe and fittings, but it fixed all their air leaks. They also stated to me that it was very easy to change something or take a fitting apart to make a change.

From contributor C:
I used PEX. I would definitely do it again. I might spend the extra money for the PEX al PEX with the layer of aluminum between two layers of PEX. It stays put when you roll it out where the standard stuff wants to coil back up. Itís very easy to add to or change, but does require investing a few dollars in the crimping tool.

From contributor M:
More joints but why not use the ridged lengths (20') and instead of couplings just install a drop or a female branch tee with a plug for a future drop. You could likely upsize to allow for pressure drop through the coupling (reduced inner diameter) and still be less expensive compared to any other system on the market.

From the original questioner:
For those of you that are using PEX, are you using the barbed fittings with the crimp rings? I have those tools already as I re-plumbed my home water supply in PEX a few years ago.

From contributor B:
When I took my PEX certification class, the instructor stressed that the tubing would degrade rapidly in sunlight and recommended plumbing a house right before sheetrocking, keeping the tubing boxed when stored or in the back of a truck, etc. Has the formulation changed to allow UV exposure, or something else happened that renders my information obsolete?