Air Filter/Dryer Requirements in a Dry Climate


I live in the high desert of Northern Nevada, where we get an average of 7 inches of rainfall annually, and my swimming pool level drops a couple inches a week because the air is so dang dry. I haven’t lived here long, but I’m not really getting any moisture (to speak of) in the water trap under the 10 micron filter in my single pot regulator assembly that comes directly off my air compressor, and I get an extremely small amount of moisture out of the compressor tank itself when I drain it. After my single pot regulator/filter assembly, the air goes into about 100’ of 3/4” MaxLine plumbing with multiple drops throughout my workshop.

Anyway, I just pulled the trigger (during Langmuir’s Epic Black Friday Sale) on a Crossfire Pro with all the goodies, and a Primeweld Cut 60 plasma cutter and machine torch. My wallet is reeling from this spend, and I only have a couple of weeks to sort everything out (air and power supply) before parts and pieces start to arrive.

I have a drop of MaxLine about 50’ from my main regulator and filter assembly, which is right where I want my table to go. I don’t think I have much need to go crazy on secondary air management, though I am a total plasma novice. I’m hoping I can buy a simple desiccant filter/water trap to mount onto the table itself, as added insurance against my basically non-existent moisture, and that this will be sufficient, given my dry climate. Neither a big commercial air dryer, nor a maze of copper plumbing hanging on the wall is really going to work in my space, and I’m sure such things would be WAY overkill, anyway.

I am unsure of what type of secondary dryer/filter to purchase. Any suggestions from anyone who lives in a similarly dry climate?

PS-I have read through several of the threads found by searching “air dryer”, and didn’t really find anything that seemed relevant; it sounded like most of these folks with complicated air drying systems had moisture/contamination issues they were trying to solve, whereas I am just looking for some added insurance against damaging my new machine.

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I think the prevailing wisdom is to put a Motorguard filter right before your cutter. This will trap any particulate that’s managed to get into your air line. Then, whatever you put in upstream, shouldn’t affect your cutter.

I sounds to me like your air will be dry enough, however there are plenty of opinions on this matter :wink:


Where you live will definitely make a difference of what you need. I live in the Appalachian mountains my compressor is like a pressure washer without a good air drying system. I would recommend friending a local body shop to see how they dry their air.


Oooh, good tip!

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I’m in Colorado Springs, CO where 25% is considered humid. I’ve got a 40’ run of copper between the air compressor and my desiccant based drying system. I’ve been running for around 8 months with several hours of torch on time and the desiccant hasn’t changed color.

I’ve got the max dry, not the xxl:


Please follow up on this thread when you get your setup figured out and working. This would be great info for other people in similar climates

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I live in Utah not nearly as dry as where you are (18.5" annual precip) Currently I only use a desiccant dryer and a particulate filter right before the cutter.

I have gathered all the components to add an after cooler between the pump and the tank.

I think even in an arid climate you would benefit from cooling the air before it gets to the cutter.

Whether the best option to accomplish this is using a passive copper cooler, or an aftercooler (radiator) is an ongoing and interesting debate. Where you don’t have the room for a wall mounted passive cooler perhaps an aftercooler is your best option.

You can run without it. I have only changed my beads out twice in the year I have had my machine. One of the times I had to change the beads because I had left the hose unhooked for a long period while the table was not in use leaving the beads subjected to atmosphere, the beads had absorbed moisture just from sitting unused.

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I’ve not figured out if there is a way to “multi quote” in this forum, and because I’m a new used I can’t mention more than two people in a single reply…

@TomWS, I too am leaning towards the Motorguard, but might also add a desiccant filter if I can find an inexpensive enough option that has replaceable beads. I agree that it seems that a lot of these systems are overly complex, because I didn’t even have a moisture issue in the much more humid California Bay Area where I lived previously, through use of the single filter/water trap, and frequently draining my compressor.

@Phillipw, the tip about friending a local body shop is a great one!

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@jdr2710, that Max Dry is sweet, and would certainly do the job, but it costs almost as much as my Plasma cutter. How did you determine that you needed such a unit?

@Knick, I plan on making a series of YouTube videos on the setup and operation of my Langmuir, and will update this thread when I do. In the meantime, if you’d like to check out my website and/or YouTube channel to see if you like my presentation style, please do.

My Website

My YouTube

@72Pony, is the benefit of an aftercooler purely to reduce the chance of condensation in the line? Or is cooler air necessary to extend consumable life? Is there a target temperature? Sorry for the newb questions…

Assuming you paint your ride you may not need much extra. I would definitely get a bead dryer for giggles then you have to have a filter after that to catch dust off the beads.

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Unless you live in Antarctica a desiccant dryer is an absolute must.

You think you live in a dry climate Antarctica is the world’s biggest desert.



Read this, it will help.

My set up is a 7.5 HP V twin 2 stage compressor with a automatic condensate drain and refrigerated air dryer right off compressor.
My air lines are 1" copper so I don’t have to worry about rust. I am in Michigan so we see very high humidity during the summer. I have no problems with water. My motor guard filter on my powder coat set up after 3 years looks like new.

I contribute the dry air to the refrigerated drier.

One thing I will say is, lots of people think they have a great compressor. Most new compressors sold in home centers are poor at best. Most are single stage and spin very fast, this causes more heat more heat makes more water.

All of this info is, of course my opinion :smile:


A refrigerated air dryer only brings your dew point down to 32 or almost 0° C.

Where plasma torches air standard is - 40 degrees Celsius or -40° f dew point.

There’s really only one way to achieve this for a home jobber and that’s with desiccant.


So do you use a drier?

Ok so I did a little research and found this and was pretty shocked by what ole Jim colt had to say about air quality. I suppose this could have been someone using his name, but anyways have a look

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What are your thoughts on this unit?

I have a hard time wrapping my mind around spending 1-2x as much on an air dryer as I did on my plasma cutter, but I would like to give my cutter every advantage my budget can afford…

I start out by ducting cool air from another location near the intakes of my compressor.

I do this so all the heat being generated in the compressor area is not being introduced to the compressor.

I also run a large CFM compressor to reduce my run times which further eliminates heat.

I also have a very low pressure loss piping system from my compressor to the plasma torch which will make the air pumps work less hard to do the same job creating less heat.

Then the tank is the first location then moisture is removed.

Then I have 1 in iron pipe run from my compressor across the shop to the active air cooler (a radiator with a fan essentially)

Then it runs into my refrigerated air dryer.

Then from the refrigerated air dryer it runs through my oil separator particulate filter and desiccant dryer.

Then it runs into my dry air storage tank.

Then from my dryer storage tank to my plasma cutter.

And at the plasma cutter I use hypertherms air filter stop any little bits of whatever that might have worked its way down the pipe.

I can tell you those types don’t do much. Tin is talking about a air desiccant drier. I had a media in that absorbs moisture and turns color when saturated. you can then heat them to a certain temp in a oven and then they dry out and change color back to look like when new

Our new house is in the western NC mountains. Annual rainfall is in the 70" range (up to 110") :blush:

I’m going to have to do some major work to get dry air.


I couldn’t see a CFM rating on it but I can’t see why that wouldn’t work for your desiccant