Sunday, February 22, 2009

fun with gas.. pipe that is

In the pile of trash remaining after Leroy's grandkids took everything they thought had value, were some tools from his days as a plumber. This box held the dies sitting next to it, which are used to cut threads into pipe. The two big pole things are ratchets the dies would go into, if they were from the same set.. Unfortunately, they weren't, and a ratchet for the great Ridgid set he had now costs several hundred dollars. Which might've been worth it, because it is really good set, except there was no 3/4"" die, which is one of the sizes we need.

So, we took a little field trip to Harbor Freight, which is sort of like a trip to the toy store, and picked up a full set for less than the cost of a Ridgid ratchet. We have no illusions that this will last nearly as long, or be of nearly as high quality as the Ridgid set, but we don't have all that much pipe to run so it fits our needs pretty well.

One thing that was all together was this tri-stand for holding pipe while you thread it - also Ridgid, and also remarkably expensive to buy!

You tighten the pipe in the vise, and the wide leg base makes it very stable so you can crank down on the pipe without it moving.

Plus, it's got a quick release, which makes it easy to get the pipe out after you've threaded a fitting onto the end of it, as we discovered later.

In theory, it's all very straightforward.. you slide the ratchet on a clean, square-cut, deburred piece of pipe and crank it clockwise to start cutting threads.

This ratchett has a reverse, which you're supposed to use every full turn or so to back out the shavings so they don't muck up the threads

And no holding back on the cutting oil.. lubrication keeps it all sliding smoothly

And voila! a pipe exactly as long as you need!

Everything went so well on the test pipes, we were ready to go on the 9' length of 1.5" pipe. One of the last things we need to do for the heat is to run the gas to the boiler, so that's what we're working on

Here's an action shot of Dan working the ratchet.

This is what it looks like mid-threading. We stopped regularly to get out all the shavings and spray lubricant in there, but the threads still wound up a little chewed up

From here it looks like a perfect job!

And the fitting went on easily, so it was time to put it inline.

We used teflon tape on the male pipe end and liquid plumbers tape on the female fitting, which is what all the pros recommended. It helps protect the pipe, since the galvanization is gone where we cut threads, and of course helps get a good seal.

The first one fit perfectly!

The next one I cut, and it wasn't quite as pretty.. and the fitting didn't go on as easily.. but it did go on and it doesn't leak.

But that's not really the point of this glamour shot.. I'm still barely showing, but I don't have any maternity work clothes, so we wind up with very attractive views like this.

We didn't get the whole run done, so it's capped off and next weekend we're back on pipe duty.

1 comment:

Kitt said...

Wow, that's pretty ambitious, doing your own pipefitting.

You should get you a mechanic's coverall. Roomy and durable, and can be belted later.