Air Assist is hooked up, but could use help

Last night I looked at what needed to be done to get the air assist working on the Zing, went to Home Depot, got parts, came back, hooked almost everything up, looked in despair at two poorly labeled parts being different sized, went to Lowe’s this morning, and finishes hooking everything up.

Two observations:

  • The “quiet” air compressor seems loud in a small concrete room. It also needs rubber isolation pads or something to keep it from vibrating against the floor. That may be sufficient to quiet it down a lot.
  • The new fittings (a 1/4" quick disconnect plug, a 1/4->3/8 NPT adapter, a ball valve, a 1/4->3/8 NPT adapter, and a 1/4->3/8 barb adapter) are all hand-tight, and testing shows there are leaks. Someone with more experience, or time today (or both) should probably take it apart and do it up again properly (wrench tight, teflon tape if appropriate, etc).

The leaks make it squeal like a balloon with it’s mouth pulled tight when the ball valve is on. That, too, is loud. It also drains the compressor tank fairly fast, so it cycles often.

I did not cut anything this morning, but I did run my hand under the laser cutter rail, and the air assist seems fairly strong.

tagging @ken

Are the leaks just at the adapters, or also at the quick disconnect?

I didn’t do a detailed survey. I could hear hissing when the ball valve was closed, which was enough to confirm that there were leaks upstream from there.

The major leak I know about was between the 1/4" quick disconnect plug and the 1/4" to 3/8" adapter. I could feel air coming out there. I didn’t feel anything around the quick disconnect connector itself, but I also felt that it was close enough to the other leak that I might not be able to fully distinguish.

If it’s still leaking after we tape and tighten, we should check what kind of quick disconnect fitting it is, and if it’s a universal, get a dedicated quick disconnect. Turns out there’s a bunch of different types.

The docs for the air compressor say it’s a universal quick disconnect fitting. Home Depot sells “Industrial” and “Automotive” quick disconnect plugs, both of which are supposed to work with universal quick disconnect fittings.

Rather than change out the quick disconnect fitting, maybe we should just remove it from the system entirely, and have the compressor hard-wired to the Zing.

The option that I see that has the most promise is to put in a T connector before the regulator, connect the regulator-ball-valve-Zing assembly to the T connector without a quick disconnect, and a quick disconnect to the other port of the T. That way the compressor could be used without being disconnected from the Zing.