I've often wondered how much of the "energy" is getting lost thru
pressure drop in the hose from my air compressor to the tool. Plus
the thru hole in the fittings is pretty small. Yet none of the
regular outlets seems to carry any larger diameter hose or fittings. I
think the standard is around 1/4" or maybe 3/8. It' seems like a
larger hose would make tools that use a fair amount of air work a lot
better. Has anyone used larger hose and can offer a comparison?
There are variables. Any restriction can cause a performance loss but a
1/4" diameter passage can carry quite a bit of air. In the case of impact
wrenches, nail guns, the amount fair per shot is minimal. Some spray guns,
sander, bead blasters can take considerably more cfm. In the case of a nail
gun, the pressure drop is negligible because of the recovery time between
hits, even on a fairly rapid pace. The larger the house or piping in the
system, the more reservoir you have , thus lessening the impact of the
orifice size at the point of use.
The material, length, amount of connectors, pressure, turbulence,
temperature, humidity, leaks(!) can greatly affect the volume and
"behavior" of delivered air. When using a blowgun short air spurts
are often better than one long slower blast. With a larger hose of
the same material the hose itself can store more energy--may be good
(or not) depending on your specific application/tool.
I have not done comparison. My best SWAG is that the
couplings are the big loss item. So, if possible, thread the
hoses together without the quick disconnect couplings.
From my fire department days, I know that water hoses
benefit greatly from larger sizes. I do try to buy larger
garden hoses for that reason.
The answer is obvious. Always use 3/8" hose. Only one company makes
high flow fittings for the standard 1/4"NPT outlets on the hose and
that is MIlton. The ordinary box store fittings are M type, the Milton
high flow are the V type. The V type rate of flow is nearly double the
M type and I have been using them for a couple of years now for HVLP
spray guns and general shop use. Auto body supply stores carry Milton
stuff if you don't find it at your local Farm & Fleet.
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