How to Use Copper Tubing for Air Lines

By Marjorie Gilbert

Things Needed

  • 1/2-inch diameter copper pipe
  • Pipe cutter
  • Brush
  • Fitting
  • Flux
  • Flux brush
  • Propane torch
  • Wrench
  • Solder
Copper tubing works well for air lines.

When setting up your shop, you may want to hook up an air compressor system which allows you to use a multitude of tools and machines. When it comes to the pipe to choose for this system, care must be taken. "Don't use PVC pipe," the Family Handyman advises. One of the dangers is that oil which is present in the system can react with the plastic, causing the PVC to weaken and break down, unable to withstand the system's air pressure. And when the PVC begins to break down, it can actually shatter. Copper is long-lasting and well able to handle the pressure of the air lines. Best yet, installing the copper pipe is something you can do yourself.

Cut the copper tubing to length with a pipe cutter. Clean the inside of the pipe with a wire brush. Clean the inside of the fitting as well.

Apply flux to the ends of the tubing. Use a flux brush. Fit the pipe inside the fitting. Seat it as deeply as you can.

Sweat the pipe. Use a propane torch to heat both the pipe and the fitting, activating the flux. Keep heating the pipe until the flux has filled the gap between the pipe and the fitting.

Tip

Non-solder fittings can be used as well. Make sure that you apply them properly.

About the Author

Marjorie Gilbert is a freelance writer and published author. An avid researcher, Gilbert has created an Empire gown (circa 1795 to 1805) from scratch, including drafting the gown's patterns by hand.