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non-metalic rod for tube inspection

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  • non-metalic rod for tube inspection

    I'm posting this here because its not about sewer or drain work.

    I have a need for a tool that can be used on condenser tubes which are about 1" ID and ~50 feet long. I want to be able to send this tool through from one side to the other mainly to ID the tube on the other side. There are a few thousand tubes in the condenser and I am looking for a way to positively ID the tube on the other side. I'm thinking that by pushing something like a non-metalic fish tape made of nylon or fiberglass would work, and I found those for sale at a good price. But just wondering if there is something else out there that would work better or maybe be a little cheaper. The fish tapes are about $100 each and 100 foot long. The next smaller size is 50 foot and that's too short. I could potentially need a couple dozen at a time so trying to get the cost down but want something that will hold up and last for a few uses. There could also be some debris or sludge in some of the tubes but normally that will be cleaned out when the are hydro-washed.So I thought I would ask if there is some plumbing tool along the lines of a electricians fish tape that might work better or cheaper. It needs to be something non-metalic if possible so that scratching or scarring the inside of the tubes is not a problem. Anything that would lead to a tube failure would not be good as it could result in a tube leak which means lost efficiency and that translates directly into dollars lost.

    Here is a generic photo of some tubes. Now picture this about 20 feet wide by 36 feet high.
    The other end of all those tubes is about 50 feet away.
    Click image for larger version

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    Thanks.
    ---------------
    Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
    ---------------
    “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
    ---------
    "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
    ---------
    sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

  • #2
    Re: non-metalic rod for tube inspection

    A couple hundred feet of 3/4" PEX has to be cheaper than a fiberglass rod. Does it need to pass though any turns?

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: non-metalic rod for tube inspection

      could one machine a small spacer, (basicly a small shaft with a hole in it) to hold a lazer bore sighter,
      a tool used for sighting in rifles and firearms,

      laser bore sight - Google Search

      by passing your hand over the other end, one should be able to pin point the tube and mark it
      one could posbily make a "lens" out of some type of rod plastic, that one could put in the tube to mark it,

      turn both the spacer and the lens with a lip on one end so it can not be pushed in the tube so it would be difficult to remove,

      or any other type of lazor (pointer for power point prestations),
      one could probly use a pen light as well,

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      blow or vacume a string attached to a Conduit Pistons Conduit Pistons - Google Search
      throuht it like electriction may do to get a pull cord throught the conduit,

      fix an adaptor for a vaccume cleaner and attache to one end of the tube go to the other side, and plop a conduit pistion in it, with a builders sting and a end so it can not be sucked in,

      or put the conduit piston in the tube and put a piece of plastic pipe about a foot long, with the string in it up to the tube, have a small hole or a tee, so one can put a blow gun with compressed air in it to a small hole in the pipe and blow the piston through the tube, pulling the sting though it to mark it, again attaching the string to the tube so it stays in the tube on both ends,

      If I come up with any other ideas I will come back and post,
      Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
      attributed to Samuel Johnson
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: non-metalic rod for tube inspection

        I was going to suggest a laser pen or bore sighter as well. There are some green ones that are intense enough to see in bright daylight.
        ~~

        ... it was plumbed by Ray Charles and his helper Stevie Wonder

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: non-metalic rod for tube inspection

          bhd is always right on the money

          with 2 men and an air compressor or vacuum, you should be able to easily id the corresponding tubes.

          if you need string, or fly line, the vac or air blast will easily pull a fish line.

          rick.
          phoebe it is

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: non-metalic rod for tube inspection

            Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK View Post
            bhd is always right on the money

            with 2 men and an air compressor or vacuum, you should be able to easily id the corresponding tubes.

            if you need string, or fly line, the vac or air blast will easily pull a fish line.

            rick.
            Thanks BHD, Rick, and everyone. I thought about sucking a string through and suggested that but they would like something more substantial I believe. I thought the string drawn through with a vac was the fastest and easiest but that idea didn't impress anyone. Anyway, I like the idea of using some pex tube. It's inexpensive and rigid enough to push anything out in front of it, thanks for that idea PC.
            Last edited by Bob D.; 01-09-2013, 05:52 AM.
            ---------------
            Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
            ---------------
            “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
            ---------
            "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
            ---------
            sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: non-metalic rod for tube inspection

              Bob, pex is good and cheap. But it comes in 20' straight sections that are easy to work with. The rolls of pex are more difficult as they have a natural curve and will create friction while trying to fish them through.

              Are you trying to clean the tubes, or just I d them?

              A blown in string can be attached to a foam piston or bristle brush.

              The lazer is very interesting too just for I d.

              Couldn't you just blow up a large digital photo and match a grid point on the other side.

              Rick.
              phoebe it is

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: non-metalic rod for tube inspection

                Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK View Post
                Bob, pex is good and cheap. But it comes in 20' straight sections that are easy to work with. The rolls of pex are more difficult as they have a natural curve and will create friction while trying to fish them through.

                Are you trying to clean the tubes, or just I d them?

                A blown in string can be attached to a foam piston or bristle brush.

                The lazer is very interesting too just for I d.

                Couldn't you just blow up a large digital photo and match a grid point on the other side.

                Rick.

                we have drawing maps of each side. they want positive id, don't trust the drawings i guess.
                we have rolls of 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2" poly tube. we may try that before buying anything.
                ---------------
                Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
                ---------------
                “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
                ---------
                "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
                ---------
                sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

                Comment

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