Desiccant Filter – Moisture Control
One of the biggest concerns with your high speed engraving equipment should be moisture control. Depending on the humidity where you live, moisture might be a big problem, or not a problem at all. So, let’s talk a little bit about moisture and how to control it.
Moisture is naturally created when air is compressed by your compressor. It is all around us and it seems to appear out of thin air, especially when air is compressed. (I know this is a simple explanation – but for the purpose of this post, it will do). If you allow moisture to reach your high speed handpiece, or even your slow speed handpiece, it will cause rust and eventually ruin the bearings.
Our goal is to find a way to control the moisture, or stop it from reaching your engraving equipment altogether.
The first line of defense is your compressor itself. A tank type compressor will control more moisture than a tank less type. Some moisture will gather on the inside of the tank, then settle to the bottom. If you look on the bottom of your compressor tank, you will notice a valve where you can drain the moisture. I recommend keeping your compressor tank drained as often as possible. Don’t worry, if you don’t have a tank type compressor, there are other ways of controlling moisture, read on.
The second line of defense would be a filter/regulator. All Profitable Hobbies Engraving Systems are supplied with a top of the line air filter/regulator. This controls a lot of moisture, if it comes through the air hose in the form of liquid. If you have used our filter/regulator unit at all, you have probably noticed water in the regulator bowl. If you notice water, simply press the valve on the bottom of the bowl, just like you are letting the air out of a bike tire, and the water will drain. If there is a lot of water in the bowl, you might want to put a towel under the bowl prior to draining the water. Keep your regulator water bowl drained while you are working to insure that no moisture gets down line to your handpiece.
So, why doesn’t a filter/regulator get all the moisture out?
When air is compressed by your compressor, heat is created. Heat causes water to turn into vapor. Vapor can and will travel through your filter/regulator. When the vapor cools, it turns back into water. At this point, it is often already down line of your filter/regulator and the moisture reaches your handpiece. There are some tricks to control this, like putting your compressor hose into a bucket of ice, to cool the air before it reaches the filter/regulator, but using a desiccant filter is a much better solution.
Now we get to the Desiccant Filter. If moisture is getting through your compressor, the best line of defense is a desiccant filter. A desiccant filter is placed inline right before your F/R/L (filter/regulator/lubricator). You must install it before the f/r/l, otherwise, it will remove all the oil you are trying to get to your handpiece.
What is a desiccant filter?
Basically, it is a bowl full of desiccant (basically – a substance that promotes drying – there are many different kinds), that forces the air to pass through it, removing the moisture before the air is exported.
How does it work?
Air travels into the desiccant filter and is directed to the bottom of the container. The air then travels through the container of desiccant, to the top of the container, where it exits. So basically, the air is forced to travel through a bunch of desiccant beads before it is allowed to escape. As it travels through the desiccant beads, the water is pulled from the air.
Profitable Hobbies Desiccant Filter is specially designed to perform with your high speed engraving equipment. We have tried several different kinds of desiccant filters over the years, but we never found one that performed the way we wanted it to. Therefore, we designed our own to do just that.
Profitable Hobbies desiccant filter holds about 2.5 lbs of desiccant beads (included) and comes with it’s own stand. It is very simple to install, just push the hose into the fittings provided and it does the rest.
Now for the really neat part….
How do you know that the desiccant filter is working?
As the desiccant beads soak up more moisture, they will turn pink. As you use the filter, you will notice some of the beads turning white, then pink. The more pink they are, the more moisture they have soaked up. Each bead can only hold so much water, so you need to dry them.
Simply spread the beads out on a cookie sheet, then bake in the oven at 275 degrees until they turn blue again. Pour them back into the filter, and you are ready to go again. The humidity where you live, along with other factors, will determine how often you will need to dry out the desiccant beads. Replacement beads are also available.
Profitable Hobbies desiccant filter is designed to work perfectly with your engraving equipment or sandblasting system and works wonders when it comes to eliminating moisture.