Nitrogen powered air tools.

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I'm aware that CO2 can be used to power nailers and I was wondering if the same could be said for nitrogen. In speaking with a guy at a welding supply shop he indicated that there might not be as much of a condensation issue with nitrogen and it is comparable in price. (Liquid co2 v high pressure air/N)
I guess I'm really asking if anyone knows of a source for regulators that'll take the N from 2000-2200psi down to around 150psi for the guns.
Thanks. JP
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Jay Pique (in snipped-for-privacy@g44g2000cwa.googlegroups.com) said:
| I'm aware that CO2 can be used to power nailers and I was wondering | if the same could be said for nitrogen. In speaking with a guy at a | welding supply shop he indicated that there might not be as much of | a condensation issue with nitrogen and it is comparable in price. | (Liquid co2 v high pressure air/N) | | I guess I'm really asking if anyone knows of a source for regulators | that'll take the N from 2000-2200psi down to around 150psi for the | guns.
Jay...
This is *not* an area in which I have any expertise; but it seems to me that a gas welding regulator should be able to provide the pressure reduction. I'm just not sure that the output pressure could be set as _high_ as 150PSI...
A phone call to a welding supply outfit might provide a quick (and expert) answer.
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/solar.html
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Morris Dovey wrote:

I use a lot of N2 and other gases, Concoa do some basic regs that will put out 150psi no problems, I've got one that delivers up 3000psi for one rig at work!
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I've got to think that it's easier -- and FAR cheaper in the long run -- to just put a moisture trap on a conventional air compressor.
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Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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I'm more interested in the portability of carrying a small nitrogen tank with me to a job than lugging a compressor and cords around.
JP
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What's the displacement of your nailgun, and what's the volume of that tank (at 100PSI)? How many shots will you get at best from each tank?
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By the way, fire departments have breathing air in 2215 PSI tanks, which is dry. So you can get compressed air in tanks just like nitrogen or whatever else, and it's probably cheaper. You don't care about purity, just dryness, right?
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On 9 Oct 2005 19:03:26 -0700, with neither quill nor qualm, "Jay

Many finish-carpenters do that instead of lugging around a compressor. Check with the welding stores near you for the entire setup. Most should have what you need.
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On Mon, 10 Oct 2005 08:41:34 -0700, Larry Jaques

I remodeled my kitchen, ripped out some walls and replacesd all the trim wood. I went through several "sticks" of nails in my finish nailer and didn't use much out of a 20# CO2 tank. I was using a "balloon inflater" regulator that puts out about 80PSI because that is what I had handy. It was a lot easier than stringing a hose in from the garage and having to leave a door open.
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Jay Pique wrote:

generally you can get the regulator from the same place you get the tank. if not, you can get them from an online welding supplier.
I have a co2 tank for nailguns. condensation isn't a problem. nitrogen should be fine too. I'm not sure, but I think the regulator for nitrogen is the same one as for co2. the fitting is different, maybe, but the regulator is the same, something like that.
do _not_ use oxygen or any flammable gas like propane to drive a nailgun.
co2 is a great system for small guns for when you need to move around a lot, like installing trim. the tank is quiet, clean and lasts a long time. if you want to run bigger guns the tank size needed goes up to the point where lugging it around becomes a chore- a small compressor is easier. by the time you need to drive a framing gun you will run into the problem of the flow being high enough to freeze up the regulator. if I'm going at it hard with my sfn40 (15g angled finish nailer) I can frost up the valve. the only thing to do then is stop and let it thaw. if you mostly need to run a brad nailer and might need to drive a few bigger nails a day you'll probably be OK.
I recommend getting the biggest tank you can easily carry, and build a cart for it that has a spool for hose and a way to tie it down for transport. those tanks hold a lot of energy- knocking the valve off in a fender bender is like having a small bomb go off in your car.
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I carry Nitrogen in my HVAC service truck. Using nitro for a nail gun should be no problem. I use the nitro for purging AC linesets while brazing to reduce the black oxidation that forms. Any welding shop will have an appropriate regulator, it should not be very expensive either. After having a flat tire in the middle of no where I carry a tire chuck and a regular shop air gun that will connect to the nitro tank using 1/4" flare AC hose fittings. In your case it would be simple to install a air hose disconnect to the regulator. Greg
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wrote:

the co2 tank will fill a tire up fast enough to reseat a blown bead. not too many portable compressors that can do that!
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Jay, yes you can get a regulator to provide the pressures you need. BTW I am a refrigeration service tech. We run nitrogen thru pipes sometimes at 3 psi or so........to eliminate oxidation buildup on the inside of the pipe (black soot). One thing you or the welding supply may have overlooked is the fact that nitrogen is a gas only in a pressurized tank. You use it a few minutes and it is gone. Then you get to hook up another tank. Co2 goes a lot farther in a smaller vessel, due being a liquid as it boils off into a gas. In short, I have run an impact wrench for 15 minutes with a 10 pound Co2 tank, I can't imagine it running more than 30 seconds with a 10 pound nitrogen tank. Ever see the trucks on the highway that say : caution liquid nitrogen ? There is a refrigeration unit on back keeping it cool so it doesn't explode. Unless there is new technology for nitrogen, I think you are looking at vapor only for portable application. Keep in mind I am not the final authority on this, I have had some experience with each. Ask the welding shop if he has the regulators and see if he will do a demo. It will help him and other potential customers. I might be dead wrong. I didn't have an air compressor for a while when we first got married and I worked on cars. I didn't do any woodworking at that time, so can't say for sure about a nail gun. Good luck Lyndell

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[...]

Not really. The tanks in which liquid nitrogen (or liquid argon) is stored are very well insulated (with a vacuum sleeve, just like a thermos bottle) and cooled by just letting some of the stuff evaporate: They don't explode because they have an exhaust pipe through wicht they continually leak the evaporated part of their content.
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Lyndell Thompson wrote:

Ten pounds of N2 should go further than ten pounds of CO2 because there are more molecultes of N2 in a pound. At the same pressure, the N2 tank would have to be much larger for the reason you indicated. Instead, N2 will typically be kept at a much higher pressure in a much stronger tank and if that N2 tank breaks when full, as for example if it falls and the valve at the top hits hard on the floor and cracks off, the result will be much more spectacular.

Actually, I think they vent the tank so it doesn't explode.
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Amazon.com sells them, also any business selling arco air products should also. (Amazon.com product link shortened)28919838/sr=8-3/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i3_xgl60/002-9707258-5494429?v=glance&s=home-garden&nP7846#amzn-reviews
Nitrogen bottles and regulators have backward threads. Search on nigrogen+regulator at amazon (pick search all or you will just get information on books. I carried nitrogen bottles in my work truck for years (telco cable splicer retired) two sizes, two 5' bottle and couple smaller sizes. As not having a compressor on most trucks we used them for any and every source of compressed air. For using them for air powered tools, they will work but depending on the tool, they will shortly run out of air. grinders are one of the worse for using air. Impact wrenches are ok, will last a while and should run a nailer a good bit too. Unless you have a cheap source of supply or are using in an area where there is no power source it would not be worth the cost to use.The bottles are really heavy and difficult to manage. We used 100 to 200 foot hoses so we would not have to drag the bottles out of the trucks. Even then at times had to leave at a job site and they are a bear to drag around, or roll as the case may be. The smaller bottles are more portable, but do not hold as much as the large tanks. You would be better off with a small compressor. Much easier to carry and ready when you are. Also if cost is an issue or weight a small portable generator and a small compressor. Still easier to carry and much cheaper to run over time. For once in a while, the nitrogen bottles will work fine, But I sure wouldn't want to pay to keep filling them up or carry them around. Another thing to consider. They are under 2200# or more of pressure. You must have a secure method of transporting the tanks and storing them. If the top valve gets knocked off when they are full.. they become a missle. I saw one fall off a truck and hit the concrete loading ramp... (The top was not screwed on right and came off) A deafining noise as it propelled itself across a 100' parking lot and stopped when it hit a chain link fence. Could have caused a lot of damage if it had hit something. Don't want that to happen in a truck either Horsing around nitrogen bottles is a young man's sport Chuck

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Have you considered a scuba tank? The regulators on them are 2 stage; the primary connects to the top of the tank and drops the pressure to about 150PSI into the hose which connects to the secondary at the mouthpiece which regulates to ambient pressure. Secondhand bottles can be inexpensive but be aware that they must be hydro'd every 5 years IIRC.
Art

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Also, many paint ball guns operate on portable regulated nitrogen tanks. If all else fails, try your local paint ball supplier. --dave

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Since nobody has given the proper answer, here goes.
When a gas under pressure is allowed to expand, it cools. Cool can't support as much moisture, so it condenses. Under compression, the reverse happens. In short, the nitrogen in your tank is "dry" because the condensation and/or desiccation have happened elsewhere.
Nitrogen is used for purging operations not because it's "dry," but because it is non-reactive. Oxygen evolved from a LOX tank would take up excess moisture in a pipe, but it would also make corrosion, or it's rapid cousin, explosion.
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Jay Pique wrote:

Yes, but not practically. As CO2 liquiefies under pressure without needing to refrigerate it, you can carry a _lot_ more CO2 in a portable bottle than you can nitrogen.
Nitrogen is sometimes used (mainly as a filler for pressurising hydraulic accumulators, or for inflating aircraft tyres) because it doesn't support combustion as oxygen does and it's more chemically inert than CO2. These tasks are generally where the gas is stored in some part of the mechanism afterwards though - for one-shot usage like running a pneumatic tool, just stick with the CO2.
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