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Old 01-14-2008, 08:16 PM   #1
sbell25
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Default PVC in Australia/NZ

Right. I've taken some of the info from my posts and just put it all together here with everything else I could think of. If there's anything I missed out on, let me know. Thanks!

Guide to PVC in Australia and New Zealand

This article explains all about the differences between PVC pipe in America and Australia. The information in this goes for both Australia and New Zealand, however New Zealanders will need to find different plumbing shops than what I've talked about here.

First off, the size compatibility. American and Australian PVC pipe have the same outside diameter. This means that American pipe can fit inside Australian fittings and vice-versa. Here's a list of the sizes you can get in Australia and NZ, and their American equivalent.

15mm = 1/2"
20mm = 3/4"
25mm = 1"
32mm = 1 1/4"
40mm = 1 1/2"
50mm = 2"
65mm is the only incompatible size.
80mm = 3"
100mm = 4"
150mm = 6"
The list goes on.

The only difference between Australian pipe and American pipe is the wall thickness. This affects the internal diameter and the pressure rating of the pipe.
There are 5 different 'classes' of PVC pipe in Australia. Each class corresponds to the pressure rating of the pipe, in bar. They are:

PN6 = 87psi
PN9 = 131psi
PN12 = 174psi
PN15 = 218psi
PN18 = 261psi
IMPORTANT: When building a homemade or water balloon launcher, make sure you are using pressure rated pipe. Just check for the PN# on the side of the pipe. If you can't find it, don't use it. I would recommend using at least PN12 pipe. Also, never go above half of the pressure rating of the pipe as PVC wasn't designed to store compressed air.

Every pipe size comes in most of those pressure ratings. This doesn't necessarily mean that each pressure rating will be available. What you'll generally find in the shop is that as the size goes up, the pressure rating available goes down. For example, in the shop I go to you can only get 50mm pipe in PN12, but you can get 15mm pipe in PN18. This isn't true for all shops though, some will have the larger sizes in the higher pressure ratings too. If you were really determined you could order your own length, and choose your pressure rating and size, however at 6 metres (20 feet) long they're expensive and wasteful.

One thing that you do need to be careful of though: the thread incompatibility. Australia, New Zealand and the UK use the BSP thread standard, while America uses NPT. There are only small differences, but they generally won't work together. The exception to this rule however: 1/2" and 3/4" BSP and NPT threads are compatible. You need to watch for this if, for example, you ordered a spud gun valve over the internet. This happened to me, but I managed to catch this before I ordered it. I asked the guy if he could send me over the necessary NPT valve adapters (just an NPT thread on one side, and a pipe socket on the other) and he was more than happy to.

In Australia and NZ when buying PVC pipe, you simply ask for how much you need and they'll cut it for you and charge accordingly. You aren't required to buy whole lengths. Generally it's a good idea to get a few centimeters extra though, as the people in the shop usually cut it with a hacksaw which gives a pretty bad cut, and you need as straight a cut as possible when making a homemade.

Finally, you need a good place to get your pipe. The easiest place to go is Bunnings, they have an okay selection of fittings and pipe, however their range only goes up to 50mm. Also they're a bit more expensive than plumbing shops for that sort of thing. A better place to go would be Reece, or Tradelink. They have a much better selection than Bunnings, and will probably be cheaper. I've been to Reece before and they have a huge range of pipe and fittings, however some of their stuff can be expensive. Your last option is to just try and find a local plumbing supply shop. It's quite good when you get to know the people there, and if you tell them about what you're doing they're usually really interested. You might even get discounts!

So there you have it. Hopefully that makes it easier for Kiwis and Aussies who are looking to build their own homemades. Good luck!

Last edited by sbell25 : 01-15-2008 at 02:48 AM.
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Old 01-14-2008, 09:04 PM   #2
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Default Re: PVC in Australia/NZ

Thanks for this. I can't think of any other questions someone might have off the top of my head, so this should be of enormous help to those in Australia/NZ. I'll pin it. Would you mind if we used this on our website?
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Old 01-14-2008, 10:11 PM   #3
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Default Re: PVC in Australia/NZ

Sure, I'd be happy for you to use it on your website. Just a question for you Ben: do you guys have to buy 10 foot lengths of pipe or can you get them cut to your own length?
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Old 01-14-2008, 10:13 PM   #4
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Default Re: PVC in Australia/NZ

Wow, that's a definitive article! Thanks sbell25 (and MarsGlorious)!

We generally have to buy PVC in five or ten foot lengths. However, most hardware stores will cut it for you if you're buying it. The only problem is, you still have to buy the entire length.

Still, PVC is fairly cheap for me, so I don't complain.

Edit: I changed "SURE" into "sure" and fixed a typo or two. I hope you don't mind!
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Old 01-14-2008, 10:23 PM   #5
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Default Re: PVC in Australia/NZ

Recently I've used a small car, so I buy 5 foot lengths when I can. When there are no 5 foot lengths, I buy the longer 10 foot ones. Where I live I'd be hard pressed to get an employee to cut the PVC for me. I usually have to ask where a saw is and do it myself, and even then I get weird looks. Usually I cut only part of the way through and then fold so the pipe is still one piece. Like SilentGuy I have to pay for the entire thing, but I don't complain because it's only a few dollars.
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Old 01-14-2008, 10:46 PM   #6
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Default Re: PVC in Australia/NZ

Quote:
Edit: I changed "SURE" into "sure" and fixed a typo or two. I hope you don't mind!
No problem.

I didn't realize you guys had to buy the whole length. Over here you can buy any amount you want, and they cut it for you and charge accordingly. They're happy to cut me 10cm of 1/2" pipe if I want them to. Although I suppose they wouldn't expect people to buy 20 foot lengths at a time (the standard size here).

Should I add that detail to the guide?
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Old 01-14-2008, 11:52 PM   #7
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Default Re: PVC in Australia/NZ

Quote:
Originally Posted by sbell25
I didn't realize you guys had to buy the whole length. Over here you can buy any amount you want, and they cut it for you and charge accordingly. They're happy to cut me 10cm of 1/2" pipe if I want them to. Although I suppose they wouldn't expect people to buy 20 foot lengths at a time (the standard size here).

Should I add that detail to the guide?
Sure, go ahead! Once again, thanks, I'm learning a lot about how the industry there works. I can see how the current articles would have left a lot of readers hanging.

It's neat that they charge per length of pipe that you buy. I'm not really complaining about the "buy it all" procedure here, perhaps because we have only five and ten foot lengths, but why not sell it in custom lengths? Jeez.
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Old 01-15-2008, 02:53 AM   #8
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Default Re: PVC in Australia/NZ

I've added the extra bit about pipe lengths. I fixed those mistakes you pointed out SilentGuy, thanks for that. Also added a few words here and there to clarify some things. I wasn't sure exactly where to put the new paragraph, so if it looks/sounds wrong just let me know.
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Old 01-15-2008, 11:07 AM   #9
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Default Re: PVC in Australia/NZ

Everything reads fine to me.

I've added this article to the database. It'll be online when we launch the new website.

Again, thanks a bunch for this. I often get emails about where to buy PVC pipe or whatever other pipe is available "locally." I put locally in quotes because these people are from everywhere but where I am, so there usually isn't much I can do to help. Something that spells the differences between North America and elsewhere is very necessary.

Perhaps some UK members could write something more detailed about copper pipe homemades. Some members from other European countries could do something as well.
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Old 01-15-2008, 04:39 PM   #10
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Default Re: PVC in Australia/NZ

Quote:
Originally Posted by sbell25
Generally it's a good idea to get a few centimeters extra though, as the people in the shop usually cut it with a hacksaw which gives a pretty bad cut, and you need as straight a cut as possible when making a homemade.
I'm surprised they just use a regular old hacksaw - without even a miter box (to ensure straight cuts and right angles) or anything. Not that I use fancy equipment at home, but they probably would at one of the local stores. Perhaps it's because of the difference in purpose - in Australia, they cut a piece so you can actually carry it home, whereas here it's just for convenience.

Sorry Ben, I should have mentioned I already added the article yesterday.

We could probably send an email to joannaardway to ask about piping in the UK. Still, we do have a good amount of information about copper pipe, although we don't have much about buying tips. Seeing MarsGlorious' and sbell25's information does tell a lot. Once again, thanks guys!
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Old 01-15-2008, 04:46 PM   #11
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Default Re: PVC in Australia/NZ

I should have checked if it was added. I deleted my copy.

We've got several months to work on the website before the main summer season, so I'm sure we'll get some more information organized. I'd like to see more information about the differences between North America and elsewhere. I'd also like to see a full guide on building copper water guns, but I'm sure we'll get one in time.
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Old 01-15-2008, 06:34 PM   #12
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Default Re: PVC in Australia/NZ

Glad to be of help. Really looking forward to the new website too.

Slightly off topic: What method do you guys use to cut your pipe? I tried a miter box once and it was terrible. Also they're too small for anything above 2". My method is to clamp the pipe on a Workmate, which is one of those tables where the whole thing acts as a clamp. Then I cut out a circle the size of my pipe in a piece of plywood, and push it over the pipe right up against the table. Then I just use a wood saw (whatever is lying around) and cut the pipe straight down beside the plywood. Hope that explanation makes sense. Bit of an odd-ball way of doing it, but it works.
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Old 01-15-2008, 07:16 PM   #13
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Default Re: PVC in Australia/NZ

That sounds effective - pretty much a homemade miter box, right? I do clamp my pipe too, on a very wobbly mount, but I don't usually bother with a miter or anything. I use a very neat hacksaw - one of those ones with a metal strip of blade pulled taut between two mounts. It cuts quite easily.
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Old 01-15-2008, 07:17 PM   #14
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Default Re: PVC in Australia/NZ

I use a hacksaw with a clamp and try to be as straight as possible, which is plenty straight for building water guns. When I want the straightest cut, I have a few options. A table saw will be the easiest. A miter box will work too, but I don't know where my father's one is. I also could use one of those PVC cutter things I've been told about, but saws work fine.

On large pieces of pipe I just hold it down with my hand and cut. Like you, I use a Workmate, but if one isn't available, I'll use a regular table. If I get off track, I'll change direction. If it's really terrible, I'll cut it again.
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Old 01-15-2008, 07:52 PM   #15
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Default Re: PVC in Australia/NZ

Quote:
That sounds effective - pretty much a homemade miter box, right?
Sort of. I should mention that I'm not cutting between the table and the plywood, which would make it like a miter box. I'm cutting on the other side of the plywood. So there's nothing to stop my cut wandering in a direction away from the table, but the plywood stops me cutting towards it. That's enough though, as if you angle slightly towards the plywood when you cut it's not likely to wander away from it.

I'd really like to try something like a table saw though. Although I imagine it would give a pretty rough (but straight) cut on PVC.
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