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Homemade Aftercooler

 
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Old 06-23-2016, 02:57 PM   #1
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Homemade Aftercooler


This is basically a coil of 1.25" sch 40 stainless pipe (bent with a simple Hazard Fraught bender) and submerged in a 55-gallon drum. The sillcock is used for both filling the barrel and draining. A flex hose (not pictured) used at the bottom of the drum to go from the coil to the bung adapter I made. There is also welded metal "cradle" at the bottom of the drum used so that the weight of the coil does not bear on the bung.

The initial idea was to keep the water running and let it overflow to maintain the cooling, but I found it worked well enough that I could just shut the water off. My trigger time I would guess is a few hours per day. If you wanted to get more elaborate you could circulate the water thru a air-cooled radiator. The water is not under pressure so this makes choices of a radiator wide open.

The first filter, the black cannonball thing, is a Hankinson TripLTrap, which just collects water from the coil and auto purges as needed. The second black filter is a Parker/Dominick-Hunter (PDH) Oil-X Evolution water separator which uses centrifugal force to whip water molecules out of the vapor. It has no filter to worry about. The orange filter is also from PDH but is a coalescing filter (and has a filter cartrige) and is intended to remove the last stubborn amounts of water and oil. All of these purge themselves as needed.

Performance? I know this is a crude measure, but I put a small buckets under each filter, and at the end of the day there was the following: 3 oz under the orange filter, a gallon under the oblong black filter and a gallon under the spherical black filter.

Also my Clemco pot came with a large water separator which you need to manually purge. I didn't measure that but I would guess the water coming out of that per day was around 3 oz.

The frame is 1.25" square 11 gauge tube.

By far the most difficult part of this project was fabbing the coil, and I've done a lot of metal fabrication. I called everywhere within 50 miles and no one seemed to have a roll bender of sufficient size to do it. (Either that or they figured I was trying to make a still for moonshine and wanted no part of it.)

PS. I just made a hose reel last week. Pictures of that are coming.
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homemade aftercooler-aftercooler1.jpg   homemade aftercooler-aftercooler2.jpg   homemade aftercooler-aftercooler3.jpg  
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Old 06-23-2016, 03:00 PM   #2
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Re: Homemade Aftercooler


Here are a few more pictures of my aftercooler.
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homemade aftercooler-aftercooler4.jpg   homemade aftercooler-aftercooler5.jpg  

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Old 06-23-2016, 03:16 PM   #3
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Re: Homemade Aftercooler


So how does the hooch taste?
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Old 06-23-2016, 03:21 PM   #4
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Re: Homemade Aftercooler


Seriously, an old salt from the neighborhood said this area was a favorite with the moonshiners of yore. Once in a while I unearth a part that could have been used in a still.
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Old 06-23-2016, 08:58 PM   #5
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Re: Homemade Aftercooler


Nice work! I've done some jury rigging in battles with moisture. Looking for a cooler on the used market . . .
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Old 06-30-2016, 10:27 PM   #6
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Re: Homemade Aftercooler


I made some changes from the initial pictures. New picture attached.

I took out the external flex hose. There was really no need for it because, with the pipe hangers, I have vertical adjustment, and there really isn't any lateral error to compensate for. This gave me more room for the following:

I installed a regulator: an IR 300psi 800cfm. None of the three different compressors I rented so far had pressure regulation and Clemco advises that I turn pressure down to 50psi before I purge left over abrasive from the pot.

Lastly I installed a separate tap for breathing air. Before I was getting it straight from the compressor, but I think sending it thru the aftercooler is is better. Dryer air to the helmet should be better, especially in the winter when condensation might be a problem. Also, the output on rented compressors usually have a wye with a oiler on one of the legs (for jackhammers). I typically had to remove the oiler to attach my breathing air line. I won't have to do that anymore.

(Note: I always test compressor air with a CO monitor the first time I use an unfamiliar compressor. None of the P185's I've used so far put out any measurable CO.)
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Last edited by sgt panties; 06-30-2016 at 10:49 PM.
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Old 07-03-2016, 04:15 PM   #7
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Re: Homemade Aftercooler


Friday I put in about 1 hour of trigger time. I used the aftercooler in the way I was always going to: Fill it up and forget about it. But this time after I was done I checked the water temp and it had gone from about 50F (well water) to about 120F. (It didn't get that warm previously, I think because back then I was fussing a lot with settings, nozzles and the metering valve.) So next time if I want serious aftercooling I'm going to keep the silcock open (to some degree) to let in cold water near the bottom, and of course the warm buoyant water will overflow at the top-- which was the intention of the original design anyway.
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Old 07-14-2016, 03:26 PM   #8
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Re: Homemade Aftercooler


Thursday I put in about 3 hours of compressor time, probably about 50% with the trigger depressed. This time I kept the water running --probably around 8 gallons per minute. It was 80F and about 95 relative humidity. At the end of the three hours the compressor stalled (an IR P185 from the rental yard) and after that could not sustain more than a few seconds of trigger time. Before the pressure ran out I opened bleed valve on the moisture separator on the Clemco pot and got nothing but air --no water whatsoever! So I take that as a sign the aftercooler is working pretty well!

Of course fifteen minutes later I was rewarded with a thunderstorm, so instant flash rust, and the whole day was a wash --a day the local weather report forecasted as clear.
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Old 07-14-2016, 04:31 PM   #9
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Re: Homemade Aftercooler


You really shouldn't be doing dry blasting when RH values is over 85%. What instrumentation are you using for determining your environmental's?


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Old 07-14-2016, 05:34 PM   #10
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Re: Homemade Aftercooler


I'm just going by WeatherUnderground.com. For much of the night the humidity holds at 100% but during the day it can dip down to 70%. (You have to tell the website to graph the humidity explicitly under "customize".) My zip is 28718. You can also see that when the humidity subsides the chance of a thunderstorm goes way up. No worries though, out in the sun the metal gets quite hot --so it is way above the dewpoint by 9am, which is when I typically start, even at 95% humidity. (I have an electronic weather station gadget that gives a dewpoint reading, but don't use it when the conditions are obvious --for instance, when the steel is hot to the touch.)

The challenges for me are: 1) blasting then immediately painting on the same day, else the morning dew can produce flash rust, and even though many times no rain is predicted, the afternoons are always a gamble, and 2) finding a rental compressor that can survive more than 3 hours without stalling in this heat. Two of the three compressors I've used so far have stalled in the early afternoon and no one seems to know why. After they stall they refuse to take a load on them for more than a minute, even if I let them cool off over lunch. Certainly there's nothing my setup can do to wreck a compressor?
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Old 07-14-2016, 05:49 PM   #11
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Re: Homemade Aftercooler


Sounds like you need a new rental company. We've ran compressors all day long in 100 degree plus days and never had a issue with running them hot. Sounds like their maintenance needs some work. Where are you located that your humidity stays so high during the day? I'm just out of Birmingham and on average our daytime RH is just under 50%. Surface temp should be at least 5 degrees above the dew point and never over 85% for most painting and dry blasting work. I use a Defelsko DPM reader for most of my environmental readings and then I have several sling physcrometer's as well as a Kestrel 5000.

But I would really look for a better company to rent from if they keep going down on you. What size compressor are you trying to use anyway?


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Old 07-14-2016, 06:01 PM   #12
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Re: Homemade Aftercooler


Look at zip 28718 on WeatherUnderground.com. My neighbor that works at the Cradle of Forestry told me our area is best described as a temperate rainforest.

Using just whatever IR P185 they have available.

Yes, I will avoid mentioning names but my current rental company is a mom and pop place that seems to be in "fix-it-only-if-it-is-near-death" mode. I strongly suspect they are spread so thin they do not do anything proactive or preventative with their machines. I've already scouted a new yard, albeit 20 miles further away.

Thanks for the input, Painter.

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Old 07-14-2016, 06:23 PM   #13
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Re: Homemade Aftercooler


Myself nor any inspector would ever trust any environmental reading from WeatherUnderground. You have to take your readings at your job as that's where the work is being done at. A zip code can cover many square miles with many varying environmental readings.


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Old 05-06-2018, 04:47 PM   #14
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Re: Homemade Aftercooler


Hey Sgt Panties, I know this is an old post, but I just wanted to find out how your air dryer is working. I'm a first time poster. I have a small business and sandblast headstones/vases. I use a Doosan c-185 towable compressor because I don't have access to 3 phase power.
I've made my own homemade air dryer, and have used an electric drain to move most of the condensate from the lines while blasting (here in Georgia I get plenty of it- especially in the summer)
Anyway, I bought a Hankinson spx 505 mechanical auto drain like the you have. It has a 3/4" npt connection in the top. Am I supposed to hook a pipe nipple in the bottom to get it to start draining?

Used it for about 4 hours today, and I had to manual drain it 3 times. For some reason it won't purge by itself. I see that you have a hose attached to yours. Thanks in advance!
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Old 05-06-2018, 06:51 PM   #15
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Re: Homemade Aftercooler


Hey Stoneman88,

Since I work alone and away from the aftercooler I almost never get to see those things purge themselves, so the only reason I had some tubing connected to mine was to to catch the condensate in a bucket as evidence it really did purge, and how much. They all apparently purged just fine.

If you bought the 505 used on eBay like me you might need a refurb kit which might possibly also be offered there. I can tell you there is plenty of "mechanism" that can go wrong inside the shell.

Also check if you are level and the 505 is upright. I'm pretty sure the 505 purges via a float.

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Old 05-09-2018, 04:50 PM   #16
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Re: Homemade Aftercooler


Hey Sgt Panties,
Thanks for your reply. I did buy this 505 (new) on eBay, and it did look that way. However, it seems to purge only partially. I used it again for another 8 hours Tuesday and I had to manually purge it several times throughout the day (lots of water!). Thanks for the advice on the rebuild. I have one on the way for around 55$ plus shipping. We'll see what the inside holds, and maybe I can get this thing functioning 100%

best,
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Old 05-10-2018, 01:57 PM   #17
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Re: Homemade Aftercooler


That is a VERY impressive aftercooler setup! I think I might have
to copy all or at least parts of that rig.
Thanks for posting the photos, and congrats on a very nice build!
Just for kicks, I checked EBAY the other day, and ended up scoring
a 505 water drain.......never used......for $39 including shipping!
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Old 08-05-2018, 08:14 AM   #18
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Re: Homemade Aftercooler


With all the time and $ you put into this, never mind the space, you could have bought an after cooler. Yea, $1,000 seems high, but add up your costs and time. And time not working is lost revenue. Also, don’t forget a desiccant filter. All between compressor and pot and hood
Also, try leaving your moisture drains open a crack


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Old 08-05-2018, 08:47 AM   #19
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Re: Homemade Aftercooler


Quote:
Originally Posted by cabindoc.sa View Post
With all the time and $ you put into this, never mind the space, you could have bought an after cooler. Yea, $1,000 seems high, but add up your costs and time. And time not working is lost revenue. Also, don’t forget a desiccant filter. All between compressor and pot and hood
Also, try leaving your moisture drains open a crack


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Old 10-26-2018, 04:12 PM   #20
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Re: Homemade Aftercooler


Sorry this is so long but maybe it will answer a few questions for anyone concerning their blast air quality

Pictures of fabrication. That is an impressive heat exchanger. Looks like a lot of work.

Resume: Running a blast booth and on-site blasting operation for over 15 years and 25 years in the blast industry.
My Opinion: We blasted out of Portland, Oregon. The Fall/Winter temperatures would be 30* to 50* on average with 70% to 100% humidity. The first couple of years we blasted mostly soda and corn cob. We fought media valve clogging consistently. We tried putting as many as 2 cyclonic’s and one coalesce in front of the pot. All were 250 scfm to 300 scfm units. It did not work, we still would get clogs because moisture was still getting in the pot. (Don’t forget there is still condensation inside the tank which is happening due to air compression/decompression, pressure pulses, etc.)
Results: We used our standard 200 scfm fan driven aftercooler. It is 12v DC, 19 amp, ran off the air compressor. We added a true high efficiency 250 scfm coalescing air/water/oil moisture extractor. I have included a link to video we have on YouTube of this package in operation. You should watch it.



Due to the new-found efficiency of our coalesce, we eliminated the smaller coalesce and all but one standard cyclonic air filter. The only reason we kept the final filter which is the final link of our air going into the pot. The reason was what-if we had dirt/bugs and whatever inside the airline that entered after we rolled up and reset on the next job.
We chose not to use anything water cooled for several reasons. First: They either make a mess or they are too heavy. Second: We often went to new construction jobsites with NO WATER. That would mean we would have to fill the barrel before we left. Third: Water flow in the barrel is definitely more efficient to cool with but we could not let water go running all over our jobsites making puddles and providing issues with Department of Environmental Quality due to protected wildlife estuaries, marinas, inside upper floors of building renovations, just going down the street to the storm drains. etc.
I have attached a picture of our package. It is self-contained, mobile and it solved all our clogging problems due to internal pot moistures or oil mist. This was some years ago. Never any problems. A lot of guys rent compressors as they travel. You never know what condition they are in for air quality; my package takes care of it so the pot stays functioning. This package also preconditions our supplied operator air that we feed into a blast helmet final filter. That gives us 3 of the 4 legs OSHA wants to see for supplied air. As we are a private company we do not use CO2 monitors but would if we had employees using it.
We can also build 400 scfm units with the same efficiency.
I understand costs, I been at this too long. BUT be cost efficient, spend the money now and go out do some jobs and make a profit. Anytime I am not onsite pulling the trigger, I am not making a profit. I can pay for the air package in one or two jobs.
YouTube: We are “Sodablast(space)dotcom” and have 29 videos of different types of blasting we have done.

I plan on spending more time on this forum in the future than I have in the past. I have two company entities, one is Eco-Blast.Com (manufacturing) and Soda-Blast.Com (Blast services) See ya round campus.

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