When the finned intercooler line on my compressor broke many years ago, I didn't feel like buying one either, so I just took a 25 foot roll of 1/2 inch copper tubing, and put 5/8ths compression fittings on it, and a couple adaptors. It really cools the air, especially if you blow a fan on it when working it hard. IMG_7164.JPG
If you don't need to bend it too tight, use something like a piece of pvc pipe or a coffee can or whatever you can find that's the radius you need.
The refrigeration place you buy the tube from may be able to bend it for you too.
I had to replace the "intercooler pipe" on my compressor last year. It was long and bent in a "W" shape plus a couple more bends. I opted to just buy one for $50 if I remember the price correctly. The original had cracked after 12 or 15 years of service. I also had to buy a big wrench for the fittings.
After looking on Amazon and then Lowes online and Ace hardware online I went to Ace for the compression fittings. They stock 5/8, then 7/8". No 3/4" ?? And the kicker, the guy says, you know, we ran into this before. So why didn't you do anything about it??????????????
I go to Lowes which I passed on the way and look. Nothing looks right and sizes stop at 1/2". What the hell, I press the little help button and a woman comes to help. I tell her I need 3/4" to 3/4" compression fittings and she says they only have them that size with one end pipe thread. I said that's what I need! They were over with the water heater stuff. 2 in a pack and under $11. I couldn't believe it. I got enough copper to make 2 loops around the flywheel instead of the one. The one bracket was made for 2 tubes so I figured why not? The copper bends way easier than I thought it would. At the store they wanted to bend it straight to measure it but I got them to let me run a tape measure along the length of it as we turned the roll. Then the dippy kid mashed the tube cutter deep into it trying to cut it. I was getting impatient with him trying to cut it and was about to grab it out of his hands and start over loosing and inch, (which I had to anyway at home), but he finally got it cut, or mashed.
I don't even know if the whole deal is worth it? Will the cooler air condense more water in the tank so there is less in the lines? I'm certain flow wise I could have used 1/2", but with 3/4" the air moves slower and has more time to cool is what I was told.
I already had the 1 1/16" wrench it takes, actually not sure what the new fittings take, but I have up to 1 1/4".
When spring comes I just may play with gluing bigger fins on the flywheel for more air.
The way I look at it is that the manufacturer thought that the intercooler pipe was necessary and should be there, but it's not quite as necessary to run the tube like they do. A tube as long or longer should do it as long as you can make it fit the surroundings.
I don't recall the size of the wrench I had to buy to deal with the compression fittings, but I think it was bigger than you mention. I have a 24" Crescent wrench which will open as far as needed, as well as a pipe wrench, but neither one had enough clearance to get on the fittings and actually swing enough to tighten or loosen.
Rick, the truth is that on their newer pumps for many years now, they shortened that pipe considerably. Just going straight from the compressor to the tank. They all do have an intercooler between the high and low pressure cylinders. Now it will have about 8' of copper after the output instead of 5'. Looking at the pipe that is on it, it must be hard copper the way it is kinked. I was thinking I'd have to pull the flywheel to do this but the way this tube bends so easy, I guess I can just "thread" it onto the crankshaft and make the bends after it's on.
I had straight 30 weight oil in it to break it in which was OK the day I put it together, but by the next day the temps dropped and it didn't start easy. Liked to trip the breaker a few times first. I drained 1/2 the oil (1q) and added 1q synthetic and once that got mixed in it starts easily in the cold (it's outside). I think it's a mix I can use safely all year round.
I guess I confused myself on the intercooler piping by not reading closely enough or by making assumptions. You are right, the intercooler pipe goes between the first and second stage, and you don't really need one between the second stage outlet and the tank.
The aftercooler isn't going to remove all the water from the air, but does help lower humidity alot. Most aftercooler radiators are options on most compressors and standard on commercial ones.
The copper lines really only work till everything gets heat soaked (pumpand tank) then they lack surface air to dissipate the heat effectively. That is why on some they attach alot of fins to them. Once the tank is hot pretty much looses effects then as you're pumping air in a hot tank. Light use and they can lower temps. Discharge air can easily be 300*+ on a two stage recpi compressor. So lowing the temp helps reduce the dewpoint, with the aftercooler, so the hotter the air the more water is suspended in it. So reduce temps 20* will reduces humidity alot. But unless you get the temps low (near freezing) there will always be water in it.
I wouldn't get caught up on alot of cooper pipe if you are using the compressor alot it will heat soak and then still have water in the system. But I am sure for your use you'll won't have much issues.
If you have something to get the temp of discharge air really low like with an refrigerated air drier the air is so cool it can't retain the water and water can be easily removed from the system. Unless you're media blasting alot I doubt you'll have issues that much. Most times inline desiccants will help more and be more affordable in most cases.
Also I would add an auto dry to bottom of tank. The more water in tank displaces air as water won't compress so 5 gals of water in a tank reduces the tank by that much volume wise, plus leads to corrosion too. Ideally you would want to aftercooler pump discarge air enough so no water ever gets into the tank any way buy unless you have it run through a air drier you'll get water in the tank.
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Looks like I'm back to getting a cheap 3/4" flaring tool. The soft copper pipe I bought is type L so it's too small for the compression fittings I bought (and returned). They are for type M I believe which is almost 7/8 OD. If it was a tool I'd plan on using a lot, and on hard tubing, I'd get a good one, but for this, no. I just double checked the fittings that go on the pipe over the flare and yes they are for the type L size pipe. Amazon here I come. Hmm maybe fleabay.
By the way, as above the compression fittings were for type M tube and I had type L. I went on Ebay and bought a cheap flaring tool says for "soft" tubing, it does the small stuff and on up to 5/8" and 3/4". Also it's a swagging tool if I ever have the need. I flared one end of the copper and it seemed to work well. Didn't do both ends because I wasn't ready to bend it to shape and cut the fittings off the old tube. The tool was $20.99 with free shipping so what the heck, if I ever need any tube that size that needs flaring or swagging, I'm all set. Although I'm sort of sorry I didn't get a whole roll of 1/2" like 55 rescue dog. I know that would work much better. I'm fairly certain the 3/4 size isn't for the high flow, I think it's to slow down the flow to give it more time to cool. But that length of 1/2" would do just fine especially with a fan. I'll check the temps when I get it going, in the winter, and then when it's hot out.