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Teaching plastic pipe

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  • Teaching plastic pipe

    During the first year of my HVAC program I teach about a 10 day class covering plastic pipe to my high school juniors. The lesson covers PVC, CPVC, PE, PEX, and vinyl tubing with the most emphasis on PVC. For a test project I put the kids under a crawl space in six groups of three to complete a DWV system. They have a 3" vertical main line in the center of a piece of 1/2" plywood that is 4' x 4'. The have to tie in 4 other fixtures to this main line using 2" pipe. The fixtures are located at the outside corners of the plywood. They're given the blueprints, a length of 3" pipe, a couple sections of 2" pipe, wyes, double wyes, caps, 90's, 45's, purple primer, glue, tools, strapping, etc... When all is said and done it is pressurized with about 10# of air pressure to check for leaks. The whole thing consists of about 30 joints total when finished. Any thoughts or ideas about this lesson? Anything I should change or add? Looking for any and all comments or constructive criticism.

  • #2
    Re: Teaching plastic pipe

    You could add a ball test to make sure they understand proper slope. But you already sound like you have a way better project then i had at school. The one I did was a joke it was a abs cast mixture no pressure test most of the peices of cast were pre cut. The quicker you were done the quicker you left.

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    • #3
      Re: Teaching plastic pipe

      Sounds like a fun program. It would be nice to have some sort of grading for speed and neatness. They might like the competition. Be sure to be safe though.

      Alot of PVC manufacturers frown upon air testing as it could shatter & injure someone under pressure. Never seen it but read about it.

      J.C.

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      • #4
        Re: Teaching plastic pipe

        could you take a photo of the finished product for us?

        I do something similar with my guys except we have an entire house they can rough in and test. I like the module idea though. Is it re-useable? and can it be moved around the classroom?

        I would have them test with 5lbs air, that being the std code requirement and foam core should never be pressurized past 7lbs.

        It can be helpfull to have them make transitions from pvc to abs properly also. I make them do elastomeric coupling method and Male\female transition as well. ( pvc to cast is not a bad idea either)

        Do you point out and stress the code requirements also?
        such as hanger spacing and type. Proper pitch, use of fittings, prohibited fittings (I like to throw in one every once in a while)

        It's so much fun ain't it
        sigpic

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        • #5
          Re: Teaching plastic pipe

          Seems to me a few things are missing

          The real world enviroment of a crawlspace would consist of spiders, spider webs, snakes, snake skins, rats, dead rats, rat traps, fiberglass insulation, asbestos insulation, broken beer bottles, rusty beer cans, fungus, mold, mildew, spiders, centipedes, camel crickets

          Add all of those things, make them climb through a 16" x 16" access hole with several nails poking out. Turn out the lights and hand them a 60 watt bulb then see who can do it properly

          Did I mention spiders?

          And when they are about halfway done; dump a bucket of water down the 3" to simulate a toilet flushing

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          • #6
            Re: Teaching plastic pipe

            Plumberscrack has the right answer. Also, make the crawlspace 18" maximum. And obstacles (piers) in the way.

            J.C.

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            • #7
              Re: Teaching plastic pipe

              Originally posted by JCsPlumbing View Post
              Plumberscrack has the right answer. Also, make the crawlspace 18" maximum. And obstacles (piers) in the way.

              J.C.
              and then unplug the light and see if someone has a flashlight
              Charlie

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              • #8
                Re: Teaching plastic pipe

                And put a 12" duct diagonally underneath one way, a bunch of wires the other way nice and tight.

                J.C.

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                • #9
                  Re: Teaching plastic pipe

                  To complete the "Plumbers Fantasy Camp" I'd want to stand on top of the plywood and stomp it yelling "HURRY UP!"

                  J.C.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Teaching plastic pipe

                    It has to be at least 95* in the crawlspace!

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                    • #11
                      Re: Teaching plastic pipe

                      How about adding some floor joist and have them run some water lines while their at it? Let them figure out how not to screw themselves when they are doing rough-in work buy putting pipes in the way of where other pipes have to go!!
                      ________
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                      Last edited by TOPDAWG; 02-24-2011, 06:12 PM.
                      Mike

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                      • #12
                        Re: Teaching plastic pipe

                        This is why plumbing school is practically useless. I learned the trade working as an apprentice in real-world conditions...thats the only way to do it right imo.
                        Last edited by Service Guy; 07-24-2008, 07:53 PM.
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                        • #13
                          Re: Teaching plastic pipe

                          These guys are onto something.
                          Give them something thats not on the blueprint..make them be creative and improvise as a "bonus question" of sorts.

                          Maybe set them up to have to use an offset or two (1.41 for a 45 for example).

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                          • #14
                            Re: Teaching plastic pipe

                            Originally posted by Service Guy View Post
                            This is why plumbing school is practically useless. I learned the trade working as an apprentice in real-world conditions...thats the only way to do it right imo.
                            They're only high school juniors Carl. Think of the head start they will have over the other apprentices IF they decide to go into our field. I think it's great and we need more of these programs.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Teaching plastic pipe

                              Originally posted by Masterplumb View Post
                              They're only high school juniors Carl. Think of the head start they will have over the other apprentices IF they decide to go into our field. I think it's great and we need more of these programs.
                              You are right, it is useful for high-schoolers. I just know some guys who had plumbing classes and are terrible. And yet some of the best plumbers I have ever known never went to any 'school' for it.

                              But yes, it can provide a head-start.
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