Air dryer requirements

point well taken…and I agree
Your research and presentation is fantastic…

I may change it in the future…but for now it is doing it’s job…the biggest cause of failure of these units is water hammering.
I have seen copper water lines and fittings blow out on 60lbs of water pressure due to continuous water hammer effects…there is very limited impact of air pressure like water…
Everything has warnings and safety limits set by the manufacturer to protect them from people like me…ahahahaha…


@Dobber shielding it is a good idea, however I would lean towards something with solid walls. It’s the little pieces that exit the expanded metal that have a higher chance of blinding you.


@TinWhisperer thanks for the info!!!

I’m super leery of using a water filter for desiccant. At the least you should fab a shroud for it to protect in case of catastrophic failure.

I just run the larger new harbor freight desiccant filer Combo and swap my beads when they change color. Beads are cheap.


@brownfox not only are they cheap but they are really easy to dry and use again as well. how big is the one you are using from harbor freight? the largest one i have found from them has a cannister about 4 inches tall…would like to find a larger one so i dont have to change beads so often.


My air dryer/filter system. Dry beads every 2-3 months.


I have this combo. I may buy a second dessicany and replace the filter. Never had anything in it.

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That’s the same one I have. I hadn’t considered changing the other side into desiccant. I wonder if desiccant could just be added to the filter bowl?

Im not sure if the air path inside it is right or if the filter element takes up too much space to make it worth it.

@brownfox added some desiccant to that side and to another similar filter I had. You are correct…not sure that the volume is worth it but we will see. I need to quit being lazy and just build a decent container. It wont be see thru but it will hold a significant number of beads and then immediately following I will connect the small one with the see thru housing…I figure that one should work as a tale tale for when the large one becomes saturated.

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Any good idears for an aftercooler? I have a craftsman 30gal that I’m sure isn’t helping air supply temps since it’s barely over rated CFM requirements of my plasma. That’s going into my filter / desiccant, then into a spare 7 gal 125psi tank, then into the plasma.

Not sure if I’m supplying clean enough air, as my expendables are wearing out within about 1-2 larger cuts (10 mins or so?)

Search this forum for “Derale”
It is a transmission cooler people ( including myself) are using to cool the air temp between the pump and tank of air compressor. Add a water separator between it and the tank. Cools the air and removes maybe 2/3 water going into the tank.

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Well should I piece together that setup, or just buy the compressed air dryer from HF?

@apynckel in the best case scenario. actually all of the components kinda help one another. the after cooler cools the air enough for the harbor freight powered air dryer to process the air further, it then moves on down the line to a dessicant media dryer that pulls the final bit of moisture from the air then through a very good air filter and finally into your plasma cutter.

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@apynckel all compressed air driers like the Harbor Freight one and basically all of them have a maximum inlet air temp. The smaller the compressor the harder it works and higher the temp is. Once above the max inlet temp they can cool good enough to be effective.

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There are other aftercooler ideas on this forum. Also, you can place them after the tank if you don’t want to modify your compressor. The idea is cooling the air causes the moisture to condense allowing you to catch it with leg drops in you lines or water seperators.

As @DnKFab and @Dobber have said, put them together for a complete system to have clean dry air.

You want to cool the air going into your air dryer but there will likely still be moisture so add the desiccant filter and finally a very fine particle filter. There are a number of discussions on this forum. Search aftercooler, dry air, etc.

The money you spend on this pays you back by extending the life of your plasma consumables.


So should I have the aftercooler and then an air/water sep immediately after to catch what condenses?

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@apynckel having a separator after the aftercooler is a a good way to go. Get one with auto drain as will be easier keeping it drained. Any water you can keep out of your compressor tank keeps if from being downstream and also rusting the tank as much.

Okay, so I’m checking my air compressor to see what I’m going to need to plumb this all, and it uses an o-ring’d seal on the fitting coming out of the compressor, and a compression fitting going down into the tank. What do I need to use for the fitting coming out of the compressor to adapt into the derale?

Craftsman CMXECXM301

Also, is this air separator / dryer combo going to be enough?

I found those exact compression nuts and posted them on this site in the past I’m just not sure where the topic is.