Our buddy Rob spends nearly all his time building cool stuff. He’s good at it and seems to know the best way to get the job done. So when we noticed different-looking new blue lines in his shop, we had to ask what they were. The lines were cleanly and securely mounted and looked great, kind of like PEX plumbing. They must have been easy to install because the system appeared in his shop quickly.
What we were looking at was a RapidAir Products Maxline compressed air distribution system. We knew we wanted one for our own shop. Luckily one of our favorite retailers, Summit Racing Equipment, caries RapidAir Products, and Summit always has great prices and blazing-fast shipping on almost all orders over $99.
With that in mind we called up and ordered two 3/4-inch RapidAir Products Maxline Master Shop Air Kits (PN M7500, $159.99 each) for our 1,600-square-foot shop. Each kit comes with 100 feet of MaxLine Semi Flexible Tubing, which is tube made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and aluminum. Kits also include 20 mounting clips, three manifolds with drains and fittings to fit the 3/4-inch tubing, two tees, a 1 3/4-inch tubing-to-male NPT adapter, a tubing cutter, and a deburr tool. These kits are a surface mount system that installs easily and yields a professional look.
This is the backbone of the system, some 3/4-inch MaxLine Semi Flexible Tubing. You can see in the cross-section that it’s made like a sandwich with HDPE as the bread and aluminum as the filling. The system is good up to 200 psi at 73 degrees F, 160 psi at 140 degrees F. The tubing can be straightened for long runs (with two guys pulling it straight) and can be bent in a 6- to 8-inch radius where the system needs to make a turn.
Each kit also includes 20 mounting clips, three outlets, two tees, a 1 3/4-inch hose-to-male NPT adapter (to connect the air compressor to the system), a hose cutter, and a deburr tool. The mounting clips interlock if you run tubes parallel to one another and have a hole so you can attach them to a flat surface with a screw.
Each fitting that attaches to the tubing has two O-rings and barbs to seal on the inside of the tubing. Then a ferrule and compression nut lock the tubing to the fitting. The kit comes with extra O-rings in case you damage one during installation or one starts to leak. Check out the accompanying videos for more details about what comes in the box and the parts.
The M81010 aluminum blocks have a drain valve for the bottom of the block and two threaded holes (one on the back) so you can add a quick-disconnect air chuck or hose going to a fixed pneumatic tool. The top of the manifold accepts one of the adapters so you can attach the tubing. Each kit comes with three plugs (one for each manifold) in case you only want to use one of the 1/2-inch NPT female holes. Other manifolds are available from Summit if you need multiple air supply ports in one area.