A few words about hoses...
In my humble opinion, the best type of hose to use is stainless steel braided. It's very strong, fairly flexible, and is available in a wide variety of lengths, sizes, and styles. You can also use steel brake line, or even hydraulic hoses.
Just keep in mind, whatever type of hose or tubing you use, needs to have a working pressure of at least 800 psi. (Working pressure = 1/4 burst pressure, ie. 800 psi working pressure would be 3200 psi burst pressure) Liquid CO2 produces around 800 psi pressure, unless your tank gets very hot - then it can reach pressures of 1000 psi or more. Caution: Be very careful with the nylon or poly micro tubing and push-in fittings. Most of it only has a working pressure of 200-300 psi, which means a burst pressure of 800-1200 psi (The burst discs in your tank valve will blow at about 1300 psi). You could easily burst a tube with un-regulated CO2.
Here is an overview of some of the more commonly used stainless steel braided hoses and fittings on paintball guns.
B - This hose is smaller, and has 1/8" NPT fittings. It is well suited for paintball gun use, and is very common. The only drawback are the fittings themselves. They don't swivel, which means that all the connections must be made before the last piece, usually the bottomline adapter, is installed.
C - This hose has swivel AN (aka JIC) fittings on it, and is very common in automotive, aircraft, and aerospace use. Since the nuts swivel, and are installed onto male adapters, the hose can be installed and removed without disassembly of the components.
|As mentioned above, 1/8" NPT hoses are very commonly used on paintball guns, in spite of the fact that components must be disassembled before installing the hose. Shown here is a 10" hose with male 1/8" NPT fittings. Also shown are a bare brass "street" elbow and a nickel plated "branch" tee.|
NPT fittings are tapered, to facilitate sealing, although teflon tape is highly recommended. The fractional size of NPT fittings refer to the inside diameter of the corresponding pipe. In other words, 1/8" pipe has a 1/8" ID, etc. The size of the threads is actually larger - 1/8" NPT threads are closer to 1/4" outside diameter.
One more thing about pipe thread fittings - you'll need to use Teflon tape to make sure they seal properly. Teflon tape is inexpensive, and can be purchased at most hardware and auto parts stores. Available in different widths, 1/2" is the most common. When you wrap your fittings, wrap the tape tight so that it pulls into the threads, put on at least two full wraps (don't put on too much, though), and wrap it in a clockwise direction. I hold the roll of Teflon tape in my left hand, and rotate the fitting clockwise to wrap it.
Also pictured here is another handy item - leak detector. Leak detector is nothing more than soapy water. When applied to installed fittings, it will discover small leaks by "bubbling" where the gas is leaking. You can make your own by putting a few drops of dish detergent in a cup of water, and stirring it up well.
One way to use NPT hoses effectively is with a quick-connect fitting. This allows you to easily disconnect one end of the hose to screw the other end into the bottomline. The quick-connect also facilitates field stripping and disassembly. With the proper adapters, you can very easily use a quick-connect fitting with AN style hoses.
Pictured is the bottomline with quick-connect on my Ranger pump gun.
|The quick-connect fitting consists of a male and female. The female has a knurled collar which you pull back to connect or disconnect it. The male shown here has 1/8" NPT male threads, and the female has 1/8" NPT female threads. The female side of the quick-connect is usually put on the hose from the bottomline, because it has a built-in check valve. This means you can disconnect it without turning off or removing your tank.|
My personal favorite for hoses are the AN style. Also known as JIC, they are a 37 degree flare fitting. Easy to install due to the swivel nuts on the hose. Shown are AN-04 size hose and straight male adapter (1/8" NPT male to male AN-04). The pipe thread adapter is installed in the component (bottomline, ASA reducer, etc.) then the hose nut is screwed onto the adapter.
The cheapest source I've found for AN style braided hoses is Paragon Performance. The hoses I've purchased are between $6-$8. They also have blue anodized aluminum adapters.
(top to bottom) 12", 10", 8".
The two pipe thread adapters used most on paintball guns are straight and 90 degree. The adapters are most often brass or aluminum. Stainless steel adapters will work as well, they're just incredibly expensive. The brass fittings were purchased at a hardware store, and were $1 to $2, depending on the style. Paragon has the blue aluminum fittings, but they're more expensive than brass. They look good, though! Pictured are:
|Shown here is an aluminum straight AN adapter in a Reducer. As you can see, the swivel fitting on the hose makes it easy to assemble and disassemble the hose without removing the reducer. The same holds true for adapters mounted in bottomlines, dual adapters, etc.|
|This page wouldn't be complete without mentioning steel brake line. The least expensive alternative, it also has its drawbacks. It is hard to work with, as it must have the correct bends to fit properly. Also, when used on a bottomline or vertical mount, the tube must be removed before field stripping your gun. However, like I said, it is cheap, and will handle the pressure.|
|The steel tubing uses adapter fittings similar to the AN fittings above. It is also a flare fitting, albeit a kind of reverse flare. Shown are straight and 90 degree pipe thread adapters. (If you look close you can see the flare on the inside of the fittings.)|
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