Friday, July 25, 2014

rapidair clamps

Last week I started installing my RapidAir setup that I ordered from Northern Tool for the DCRL. This kit is a slick set-up that allows you to run air lines just about anyway you want to. The pipe is an aluminum pipe that is plastic lined and coated. It comes in a coil and then you simply unroll it, straighten it and clamp it in place. It comes with all of the connectors you need to be able to put in drop air line fittings, a pair of shears to cut the line, a reamer to square your cuts and ream the interior of the pipe in preparation for the connectors, a few clamps. As John and I were unrolling the pipe and placing it, we realized that we were going to have to ration our plastic clamp usage in order to make it around the room with the line. After we had done one wall of the room, I decided that the line would just look better if I had a few more clamps to assist in keeping the pipe straight and even.  A quick trip across the hall and a few measurements later, I had a Rhino drawing of a clamp. I copied the dimensions from the original injection molded clamps and just beefed them up in the appropriate areas for 3D printing. I printed one clamp on the Replicator in PLA and tested it. It fit like a glove! I set-up several rows of clamps in Makerware, sliced them and sent it to the printer. An hour or two later, I had as many clamps as I needed. The airline layout continued and I didn't have to skimp on my clamp usage.

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