Author Topic: The Ultimate Air Manifold  (Read 3853 times)

Offline sshire

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The Ultimate Air Manifold
« on: April 27, 2014, 02:57:38 PM »
The Ultimate Air Manifold

The title may be a quite bit of hyperbole, but the concept arose from my dissatisfaction with the air manifolds that I've been using at shows for the last few years. It's an aquarium manifold. Under $10 each on eBay.



The valves don't adjust very precisely and the hoses have a nasty habit of popping off the barbs unless wrapped with stainless wire. The wire, in turn, has a nasty habit of slicing my fingers each time I adjusted a valve.



My friend and neighbor Fred (who is responsible for getting me involved in machining and engine building) had a fascinating manifold/regulator at Cabin Fever. He said that he had bought it years ago at the show from a long-gone vendor.



Not seeing anything like it at any vendor table,  I noted the manufacturer and model number. A search found SMC Pneumatics. The regulators (ARM 1000, now NARM 1000)  are manufactured for the aircraft industry.





At least, they’re not Made in China



Very expensive new from SMC, but, searching eBay for a few weeks turned up these surplus ARM1000s at a much cheaper price from two vendors, which were removed from out-of-service aircraft. (The regulators; not the vendors.)




The first one that I received was perfect for my use.  One air inlet and six outlets with six gauges in PSI.



The second manifold was configured as five inlets and five outlets with five gauges in MPa (Megapascal).

 After taking the second one apart, it was a quick drilling through the manifold block and tapping 1/8 NPT to make it into one air inlet after plugging the separate intakes with 1/8 NPT plugs.






I also wanted a master regulator from the show's airline. I had a number of Harbor Freight regulators that I had been using but, since this was to be the "ultimate" manifold, I went for an Ingersoll-Rand regulator (around $25) and separate water trap.  As Whiskey can attest, there was enough water dripping from the air pipe drop at Cabin Fever, that we could have made coffee.




The next issue was the hoses popping off the barbs at the manifold and at each engine. My solution had always been to twist stainless steel wire around the hose at the barb. Not elegant enough for this project. SMC had 1/8 NPT push-to-connect (they are also push-to-remove) fittings for 1/4" tubing ($2.00 each).






I also got the black hose from SMC at a better price than the clear hose I've been buying at Home Depot.


The final problem was a means of identifying which regulator controlled which engine. You've probable done the "follow the hose through the maze of hoses that resemble a plate of spaghetti" exercise. I got some stick-on plastic label holders at the local stationers that were the same width as each regulator. No pix as I just got them this morning.

With plenty of 6061 plate in the shop, I came up with this.












« Last Edit: April 27, 2014, 03:02:18 PM by sshire »
Best,
Stan

Offline b.lindsey

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Re: The Ultimate Air Manifold
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2014, 03:29:26 PM »
Stan, that is quite the set-up!! Just wondering how easy is it to adjust the individual outlet pressures given that lock nut arrangement. Or do you not expect to have to adjust them that often?

Bill

Offline sshire

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Re: The Ultimate Air Manifold
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2014, 03:40:27 PM »
Bill
I haven't yet done any extensive tests, but I did run it with three engines. I left the locknuts loose and the set pressures didn't vary. My guess is that the locknuts are a necessity with vibration in aircraft.  Probably an engineering and/or safety issue. Not so much at a ME show.
The adjustment is very smooth and appears to be fairly linear.
Best,
Stan

Offline Marinus

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Re: The Ultimate Air Manifold
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2014, 04:15:36 PM »
That just looks outstanding ! :)
What's the size of the small regulators?

Cheers!
Kind regards

Marinus Kruger

Offline mklotz

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Re: The Ultimate Air Manifold
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2014, 04:33:56 PM »
Very, very professional, Stan.  You'll be the envy of exhibitors everywhere.

If you're having problems with wire wrapping (who doesn't), you might want to consider building one of these...

http://www.modelenginemaker.com/index.php/topic,384.new.html#new
---
Regards, Marv


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http://www.myvirtualnetwork.com/mklotz

Offline sshire

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Re: The Ultimate Air Manifold
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2014, 04:51:04 PM »
 Marinus
The dimensions of each regulator are
W .69". 17.52mm
D. 1.344".  34.4mm
H (body) 1.414"  51.75mm
H (to top of pressure gauge)  2.039". 51.78mm


Marv
I had considered making your wire wrapping tool, but perservered (lamely) with the Wiha long nose pliers.
Best,
Stan

Offline kvom

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Re: The Ultimate Air Manifold
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2015, 03:16:57 PM »
Good info Stan, I'll be on thge lookout for some of these.  FWIW, in this pic they're demo'ing the Novakon CNC mill;  mine is an older model of this one:


Offline sshire

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Re: The Ultimate Air Manifold
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2015, 03:50:53 PM »
They still appear from time to time on eBay
Best,
Stan

Offline gbritnell

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Re: The Ultimate Air Manifold
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2015, 09:03:19 PM »
Great looking manifold Stan. I like you got tired of the aquarium type and built a fancy one myself although each port wasn't regulated. I'm looking forward to seeing it at Cabin Fever.
gbritnell
Talent unshared is talent wasted.

Offline sshire

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Re: The Ultimate Air Manifold
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2015, 09:08:10 PM »
Thanks, George.
The individual regulation of each line is a treat given the varying air requirements of my engines.
It will be polished and ready for CF
Best,
Stan

Offline PStechPaul

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Re: The Ultimate Air Manifold
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2015, 09:31:15 PM »
That is a great-looking manifold. Maybe I can hook up my engine(s) to it? I saw some air speed regulators on the same site that had the pneumatic fittings, for about $7, and wondered if they would work better than a ball valve to control engine speed?
 
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Push-Style-Flow-Speed-Control-Fitting-1-4-OD-1-8-NPT-/260511177196

Offline sshire

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Re: The Ultimate Air Manifold
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2015, 10:26:39 PM »
Paul
The regulators on my manifold are quite precise. So much better than the aquarium regulators (which I believe have some variation of a ball valve)
Unfortunately, I can't help myself and have maxed-out the available ports.  :lolb:
Best,
Stan

Offline derekwarner

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Re: The Ultimate Air Manifold
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2015, 11:00:14 PM »
Stan....just digressing a little on those inexpensive aquarium air manifolds

I needed two water pump suctions, a drain & a bypass loop........as shown below

These are only required to be water tight at atmospheric pressure, however the tapered spring loaded plug valves maintain 2 Bar without any bypass or decay ...I did however lap each plug individually with BRASSO....I also grit blasted the externals to remove the electroless nickel plating

Derek

Derek Warner - Honorary Secretary [Retired]
Illawarra Live Steamers Co-op - Australia
www.ils.org.au

Offline sshire

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Re: The Ultimate Air Manifold
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2015, 11:08:56 PM »
Derek
Looks like a much better regulator after your work.
Gotta love things that require machining to actually make them work as they should.
Best,
Stan

Offline derekwarner

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Re: The Ultimate Air Manifold
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2015, 01:45:00 AM »
Stan.......prior to the lapping I disassembled the plug valve plugs from the larger 4 gang manifold........& this allowed for a proper washing of the BRASSO residue

The peened over formed M3 nuts were replaced with conventional hex M3 S/S nuts.....which also allowed for adjustable spring tension to be achieved

Following is another example yet to be grit blasted

Interestingly most of the Chinese WEB sites suggest they are stainless steel.......clearly they are electroless nickel plated copper header tube & plate ends with brass valves & fitting spools

Both versions were approx. AUD$8.00 each including air parcel post from Asia to OZ

Derek
« Last Edit: March 30, 2015, 04:26:42 AM by derekwarner_decoy »
Derek Warner - Honorary Secretary [Retired]
Illawarra Live Steamers Co-op - Australia
www.ils.org.au