My air/water setup

Hey guys. I’ve been setting up my shop to accomodate my MR-1 and XR machines. Here is how it’s gone so far.

I recently moved to PA from OH and have been setting up my new shop. My first problem was I didn’t have any 220v power outlets. The floor of my shop is adjacent to the roof of my basement where my main is located. I added a 90 amp breaker to the main panel and ran it to the opposite side of my basement to a sub panel. The wall my sub panel is on is shared by the garage one floor up. From the sub panel, I ran three lines, one for my mill, one for the plasma, and one for the welders. I may add one more for my lathe as well down the road.

I’m working out of a 900sqft garage so space to fit the XR and MR-1 is tight along with my CNC router, lathe, welders, wood working tools, and mechanics tools. To help save some space, I remotely located 2 air compressors into my shop attic. I would have gone with a single 220v 2 stage compressor but I couldn’t get one into my attic access. To compensate, I used my old 30 gal Husky 175 psi tank and plumbed it in parallel with a new 27 gal Fortress 200 psi tank from Harbor Freight. To power the tanks, I wired them each into a dedicated 15amp circuit.

Due to the location, I wanted to avoid having to climb into my attic to drain the condensation buildup from the tanks. To solve this problem, I decided to hook an automatic drain solenoid valve to each tank. The valves came with a timer that had a 1-45 sec stage and a 1-45 min interval. For my application, this just wouldn’t work or I’d constantly be priming the compressor. So, I removed the inline timer and plugged the 110v plug into a wifi controlled outlet which I then programmed to purge for 60 seconds at noon every day. The 175 psi compressor had a 200 psi pressure relief valve that I switched for a 225 psi valve to match the 200 psi tank. I plumbed the air outlet using 1/2 PEX (sue me for using plastic) into the roof of my shop. Now, I just leave them alone and let them work.

After the air entered my shop, I still needed to dry it before it entered the Cut60. As previously stated, I’m broke. So, I scoured the interwebs looking for poor engineering student solutions until I found some videos by a 14 year old girl named Hannah explaining how she made an inline dessicant air dryer for her sand blaster using 2" PVC. Intrigued, I decided to modify her design slightly using my experience of owning a pool company to make it more maintenance friendly and threw it together. It works perfectly and now that I have a proof of concept, I plan to make one out of alumunum in the shop to replace this one as it is a ticking time bomb (literally) with age as the temperatue and UV will exponentially degrade the plastic until it blows up.

As for water and coolant, I didn’t want to lose so much money each time I drained the bed for maintenance. In comes the 65 gal recycling tank. I bought a used 65 gal food grade tank locally and plumbed it using 2" PVC. I cut holes using a hole saw and threaded in a male adapter into the hole with some solvent glue. I climbed inside (wearing a respirator) and threaded on a 2" conduit locking ring onto the inside of the barrel just in case. The inlet for the barel is at the top. Prior to the water entering the barel, I put a valve to control the flow direction. On the outlet, I put a hose bib followed by a valve. The hose bib allows me to connect a normal garden hose to the system in case I need to drain it. I also put an air line with a one way valve between the top valve and the tank inlet. With the bottom valve closed, the top valve open, and an air relief port opened, the water from the bed is drained into the tank. With the top valve closed, the bottom valve open, and the air relief shut, the air line can be hooked up to the top air inlet port to displace the water from the tank back into the table.

Let me know if you have any questions. I’ll work on adding more pictures as I go. (I’m still a new user and it will only allow me to embed one image per post)



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Mounting compressors in a attic is not a good idea. That style of compressors make a lot of heat anyways and by putting them in a hot attic will make it even worse. More heat means more condensate and you don’t have enough drying equipment to get that moisture of of you lines. Plasma cutting requires drier air then what your setup will provide.


I used a 25 foot coil of pex that is just coiled up between my air compressor and my desiccant filter. From there it goes into my refrigerated air dryer. I don’t know if this adds any benefit, but I had the extra roll of pex and figured it would give the air a little space to cool down. I’ll also add that I lived in Alaska for 10 years, I’ve seen first hand how pex performs in incredibly harsh environments. I slowly replaced all of my copper lines with pex after my pipes froze. The copper lines burst, the pex expanded three times its original size but stayed in tact.

Nice set up by the way, what do you plan on making with the your MR1? I plan on adding one next year.


Your setup will work much better to have your bead cells after the refrigerated dryer.

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Not always, My system is more than adequate to work as an on demand system for my needs. I work out of my garage and bought a nice overkill refrigerated dryer. It is good practice to have at least a single stage filter before the air dryer to remove contaminants from entering your air dryer internals. To protect your investment, I would never run an air dryer without some filtration between the dryer and the compressor. I have a two stage filter before the dryer. The air doesn’t have a chance to warm up between the air dryer and the plasma. I know that it isn’t conventional thinking among the plasma community, but commercial air systems are always designed to fit the facility they will be used in. You will find a lot of variation between an air dryer and the end user, but I have only seen a few variations between a compressor and an refrigerated air dryer. A good example of this is on rotary screw compressors with built in refrigerated air dryers. They will always have an oil separator.

What I mean is you are over working your beads. If you go through your refrigerated first there is less work for the beads to do.


You are correct there. I really only wanted an oil separator. I found the two stage filters for 50% off and bought two. Each one came with two sets of beads. Honestly though, I’ve been thinking of not worrying about the beads

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A desiccant filter could be size big enough to take the place of a refrigerated air dryer but no matter what the size of the refrigerated air dryer it is it could never take the place of desiccant.

The refrigerator air dryer will only bring you to a pressure dew point of it about plus +3-4 degrees Celsius.

The desiccant will bring you to a pressure dew point of -40° c.
(That’s if it sized correctly and if the incoming air temperature is low enough)

Conventionally the desiccant is always the last source of air drying.


This is the standard you should be aiming for.

ISO 8573-1
Class 1.2.2

Column b deals with water vapor.

The dark blue is where a passive or active ambient air cooler will get you to.

The blue color is where a refrigerated air dryer will get you to.

And the light blue is where a desiccant cell will get you to.


Stephen, I love your pioneering spirit. I too felt those electronic drain valves cycle too often. I would like to set it to open maybe four times a day at most. I had mine hooked to a smart plug but have since changed to a temperature sensor attached to the air compressor tube that pressurizes the tank. When that temperature reaches 75 degrees F, the power goes on to the drain valve. I only allow it to open for 1 second. That seems enough to clear it.

I used a 100 foot coil of 1/2 PEX as a cheap cooling tower. It will have a fan blowing on it that is triggered by the same device that is triggering the drain valve.

Everyone on this thread has valid points. And I always appreciate the detail that Tin brings to a topic. When you are on a budget you have to make some compromises, however. Safety is always a concern so you are wise to consider a change with the PVC to aluminum with your desiccant drying filter.

Good luck to you sir.

Love the drum set up! My system is on it’s way and I would like to do something like that. I’ve been researching for idea’s and that’s a nice design!