Bend your own plates
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dmaceldUser is Offline
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09 Sep 2007 08:52 PM
Has anyone used these "bend your own" plates from this place, or otherwise bent your own staple up plates from flat sheet stock? How hard or easy is it to get good contact between the tube and plate?

As an alternative, who are some of the better suppliers for staple up plates, particularly in lengths at least 24" or more and roughly 6" width. I've found some 16" and 19" plates but not much for longer ones. Any suggestions?


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Gary W.User is Offline
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09 Sep 2007 10:35 PM
It's not easy making a quality plate. Don't bother trying to make your own lightweight plates with that rig. The contact you get will be minimal at best on the tube plus the aggravation of cutting & bending. Are you sure that lightweight plates are even acceptable for your application? Radiant Engineering makes a heavy extruded aluminum plate that is the very best bar none. The tube can be installed from either the top (ThermoFin C) or the bottom (ThermoFin U) I get them shipped out in 8 foot lengths "typically" the same day. They're the kind of plates that radiant professionals use under hardwood flooring to increase output & lower water temperatures. The fit is very precise. They're mostly sold to other OEMs such as Viega which then re-labels them but you can buy them direct. http://www.radiantengineering.com/index.html Bend your own? The HORROR!!!
Wallace Radiant Design
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dmaceldUser is Offline
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10 Sep 2007 01:01 AM
Posted By Gary W. on 09/09/2007 10:35 PM
Radiant Engineering makes a heavy extruded aluminum plate that is the very best bar none. The tube can be installed from either the top (ThermoFin C) or the bottom (ThermoFin U) I get them shipped out in 8 foot lengths "typically" the same day. They're the kind of plates that radiant professionals use under hardwood flooring to increase output & lower water temperatures. The fit is very precise. They're mostly sold to other OEMs such as Viega which then re-labels them but you can buy them direct. http://www.radiantengineering.com/index.html Bend your own? The HORROR!!!

Thanks for the comments.

I've been trying to find info on the ThermoFin plates, but it doesn't exist on the web that I can find! Every page of their website is under construction except the home page and contact page. Their web site is currently worthless except for their address and phone numbers.

The 2 panels on Viega's web site are the same then, correct? They show their ClimateTrak available at 8' but the heat transfer plate, which is what I need, is only 19" long. Does Radiant Engineering sell the U style directly at longer lengths? I'm planning on doing a ceiling install so I need the U style. What other brand names are they sold under? Looks like Uponor's Joist Trak is one of them also, but they list the length at 4'. Can you give me a link that shows the details of the ThermoFin panels if these aren't the same as ThermoFin?

Would you be willing to PM me with some information about the pricing Radiant Engineering sells their panels? I'm working with my HVAC contractor nephew and he's giving me all the prices as he gets them from his suppliers. His prices, w/o markup, are what I'm working with for my house project.

Any idea how ThermoFin prices compare to Rehau's Raupanel? If I can't get U style plates at a low enough price it looks like Roth panels or the Beka USA capillary mats may end up being the most economical route after all, and I thought they were pricey! 1 x stringers to support the plates start adding up pretty fast.

By the way, thin panels should work OK for me as they will be sandwiched between 1 x stringers and the ceiling sheet rock. NRT.Rob posted a photo over on the Radnet forum showing me how he does ceilings using thin plates.



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radiantbarrierUser is Offline
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10 Sep 2007 07:39 AM
A cheaper, easier, faster solution is to  use the finest reflective foil insulation MicroFoil, has 1 inch flanges on each side.  You can set depth.  Comes in widths of 16/24/ whatever your joist box is.    See picture on here
NRT.RobUser is Offline
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10 Sep 2007 10:32 AM
Relying on reflective insulation to do the job of a plate is ridiculous, and I will not sugar coat that. If you're going to advertise, please do it responsibly. You might use it in addition to a plate, but not instead of. Radiant energy cannot even compare to the power of direct conduction. Conduction is and always will be king until physics changes.

Rehau makes a very nice 5" x 24" lightweight plate. 19/1000ths. For staple up the extruded aluminum plates are much, much better though. We use the Rehau lightweights for standwiches and ceilings, Radiant engineering's Thinfin C and U for staple up and heavy sandwich applications.
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Gary W.User is Offline
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10 Sep 2007 02:05 PM
Yeah I know; Radiant Engineering’s website is STILL down. I hope Dale gets it back up again sometime soon. It’s been down for a while now! They do sell their U Finn plates in 8’ lengths as I’ve still got a few of them around here from our last job that I’m currently making a solar collector with. Just give them a call. They’re very helpful. The two Plates Viega offers are NOT the same. Their “Climate Trak” is re-branded ThermoFin C or ThinFin C (not exactly sure). If you’re worried about the cost of the 1”stringers (we use 3/4” strapping) extruded plates are definitely not for you. Viega’s “Heat Transfer Plates” are probably what you’d want for the ceiling application as you describe, but they’re just 19” long. Trust me: you wouldn’t want to work with an 8’ lightweight plate anyway so I’d go with Rehau’s 24” lightweights as Rob describes. It’ll be very easy to work with. We’ve done some ceiling radiant Rob’s way. A good system if the floor isn’t too cold;-) Although it may be “cheaper, easier & faster” I feel that it’s irresponsible for anyone to suggest the use a reflective foil to eliminate heat transfer plates. That’s just inappropriate marketing IMO. Instead use REAL fiberglass insulation or foam. This is the most important detail. It’s all about the insulation.
Wallace Radiant Design
http://radiantfloors.googlepages.com
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10 Sep 2007 08:09 PM
Posted By NRT.Rob on 09/10/2007 10:32 AM
Relying on reflective insulation to do the job of a plate is ridiculous, and I will not sugar coat that.

HaHaHa you should see what some of the hacks(plumbers) up here in Colorado call 'Radiant Floor'. I couldn't really believe it. Yup, 'Staple Up'. One installation that I witnessed looked like the horizontal cables of a suspension bridge! They used 3/8" Pex that literally hung from staple to staple. If there was any contact with the subfloor, it was only at the staple locations. This was absolutely the poorest excuse, both in installation technique and no doubt efficiency, that I've ever seen.

And this company, gasp, had started a 'Hydronic Division'.
....jc
If you're not building with OSB SIPS(or ICF's), why are you building?
dmaceldUser is Offline
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10 Sep 2007 08:56 PM
Posted By Gary W. on 09/10/2007 2:05 PM
If you’re worried about the cost of the 1”stringers (we use 3/4” strapping) extruded plates are definitely not for you. Viega’s “Heat Transfer Plates” are probably what you’d want for the ceiling application as you describe, but they’re just 19” long. Trust me: you wouldn’t want to work with an 8’ lightweight plate anyway so I’d go with Rehau’s 24” lightweights as Rob describes.
The only reason for my comment about the cost of 1 x stringers is what starts out to be a "not too badly priced" system, i.e., light weight plates, soon becomes not quite as economical when you add in the cost of "cheap lumber"! I'm beginning to get the picture there ain't nothin' cheap about hydronic heating! You know, Roth panels may not be so expensive after all! I'll have to see if I can buy the straight panels only, not the entire bundle they like to sell.

I finally found the Rehau lightweight panels in their catalog. I agree, they look like what I'll want to use. Now, all I need is to get a price for them. One distributor my HVAC contractor nephew buys from is his "last resort" supplier. Prompt, friendly service is not a strong point! He needs to get an account established with the other local distributor before we can pricing from them. They are enthusiastic about hydronic radiant heating, and even interested in working with me for the radiant cooling. Night and day difference from the other Rehau distributor, and from the Zurn and Uponor distributors!

Gary, what do you mean exactly by 3/4" strapping, and how do you use it?

I talked to a plasterer today about plastering over the Beka capillary tubes. Ouch, a budgeting number he gave me was about $4/sf. Add that to $4/sf for the Beka mats and I'd be looking at around $8/sf to use the mats like they do in Europe. Tells me that Beka may be facing an uphill battle in getting their mats established in the American market. But then commercial installations may be altogether different story, economically. I may revisit the plan I once had for using Beka mats glued to the upper side of the sheetrock using joint compound. The biggest problem there is getting back to the eaves of the house to get the tubing laid down good, and that's where it's most critical!

Thanks for the comments.
Even a retired engineer can build a house successfully w/ GBT help!
NRT.RobUser is Offline
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11 Sep 2007 09:30 AM
Gary works with us on some projects; we spec 1x3 strapping in ceilings, which is dirt cheap. They are actually 3/4" thick.

PC: actually if you aren't going to use plates, you want to suspend the tube off of the subfloor to avoid heat striping. Touching the subfloor in that case results in so little actual contact that it doesn't really help much, so they use a convective circuit around the pipes to transfer heat (pipes should be 1" below subfloor). edit: that is a situation where reflective foil might help, if you trust it to stay reflective long term when facing upwards. I don't.
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dmaceldUser is Offline
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11 Sep 2007 05:32 PM
Posted By NRT.Rob on 09/11/2007 9:30 AM
Gary works with us on some projects; we spec 1x3 strapping in ceilings, which is dirt cheap. They are actually 3/4" thick.
Rob & Gary,

I didn't realize such a stick existed! Talked to my lumber guy this morning and asked him about strapping. They don't stock it, but can get it. The main issue with strapping, apparently there is no quality control over it's production. I guess that's one reason it's cheap! So what's been your experience on the cull rate when you buy a package of the stuff? What % in a typical package would not be the correct thickness or straight enough to put on the ceiling, 10%, 25%, 50%? I asked the lumber guy how much would I have to buy to get 9000 ft of usable strapping, 12,000 ft? He said that would be a good guess! Agree? Even if 1/3 of it is firewood, the price sounds like it would be attractive.


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NRT.RobUser is Offline
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11 Sep 2007 05:54 PM
I am not sure. Strapping is used in most every home here in maine as drywall screw surface, so whatever the cull rate is it's not prohibitive.
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gregjUser is Offline
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14 Sep 2007 05:18 PM
Strapping is just your standard 1x3 material. It's hard to believe your lumber yard doesn't carry it. Maybe the term strapping is confusing them. Just ask them for 1x3s. You won't have any more waste from 1x3s than you do any other lumber.
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20 Sep 2007 04:04 PM
Bending system looks a little suspect. If you want to bend your own find a seamless gutter contractor in your area. They can adjust the first die and remove the remaining dies to extrude plates that fit your pipe perfectly. The machine will also shear the material to the length you need.

Not sure that this will be any cheaper than buying plates. With the cost of shipping it might be. You can also specify the gauge to match your heat transfer requirements.
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20 Sep 2007 11:45 PM
Posted By vermaraj on 09/20/2007 4:04 PM
If you want to bend your own find a seamless gutter contractor in your area. They can adjust the first die and remove the remaining dies to extrude plates that fit your pipe perfectly. The machine will also shear the material to the length you need.

Not sure that this will be any cheaper than buying plates. With the cost of shipping it might be. You can also specify the gauge to match your heat transfer requirements.

The idea of talking to a gutter guy crossed my mind but I just assumed they have special shaped rollers and so wouldn't be able to roll what I want. I may talk to one just to find out what can be done. Blue Ridge Company has 5" wide plates for 1/2" tubing for about $0.72 per running foot plus shipping. Seems like a pretty good price to me.
Even a retired engineer can build a house successfully w/ GBT help!
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30 Oct 2007 05:50 PM
Has anyone considered buying an inexpensive "bead rolling" machine and getting or making a proper die for it.  They sell for as little as $150 and will easily bend .019 aluminum.  I looked into a few suppliers and the aluminum is available in 667' rolls (about 125 lbs each) if using 8" wide stock.

On the job site you could then just roll out the lengths you needed as you worked.

If there is any interest maybe a group purchase could be put together to get custom dies made and also for a good source for the rolls of aluminum.  If there is enough demand I am sure that lighter rolls could also be gotten.

The cost of making them yourself runs half of what they sell the premade short strips for not counting the labor savings with the longer pieces.
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05 Apr 2008 03:37 PM
That sounds like a good idea any further info on it?===The bead rolling machine
NRT.RobUser is Offline
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13 Apr 2008 08:59 PM
you want an "omega" groove in a plate more than a 'U' groove. bead rollers would result in poor quality plates as far as tubing contact goes.

Better than nothing though, sure.

there is no real labor savings in long pieces of lightweight plate. they are just more cumbersome to handle.
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whitealanUser is Offline
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12 May 2008 02:29 AM
I am new to this Green Talk Forum and I missed this thread from/since last year. Let’s see if I can contribute my 2 cents worth.

I am very familiar with the BEKA USA capillary tubes for radiant heating AND cooling in the same installation. Just switch the tap water temperature from warm to cold and you go from radiant heating to radiant cooling. I you want to cool the water further below freezing (with glycol) you can get a freezer (a Penguin’s cage in the Berlin Zoo –Germany –) and in between if you want a wine cellar (at 56-58°F year round) or any other temperature for medical, commercial, industrial goals, etc. The system and the techniques are the same and any installer that familiarizes him/herself with the system now has few new lines of business opened at once. The system is extremely easy and safe to install and very fast that saves you labor big time. If the installation is small, yes it may be a little bit more expensive but this is the “Cadillac” and 21 century HVAC system. You should pay more for comfort and a healthier system. As soon as you are in 2-3000 ft2 or more the total system may not cost you more putting all construction costs on the table. If you go to an even bigger installation the system may not only be “for free” but may leave up to 15% savings in construction upfront moneys.

The system installed as BEKA USA recommends, welded to itself all by fusion, running water between 60 and 95°F, should last over 100 years. There is no possibility of condensation because of the BEKA USA system. If you get condensation it will be for some other reason. It comes with a fool proof shut off as you are even close to reaching the dew point, whatever it may be at that moment.

Some comments said that it may be a little expensive ($4 for the mats and $4 for plastering – although you do not “have” to plaster) you have to add the piping to take the water from/to the control panel and the control panel itself. If money is your main concern then all DIY is the way to go because you are going to forget your time and labor as part of the costs anyway. The BEKA USA system can also be DIY but you cannot manufacture the mats themselves and have the over 20 million ft2 installed worldwide behind you to warrantee/guarantee the system.

Six months ago $4 per ft2 gave you change back but today, thanks to the Dollar/Euro and Oil price situation you won’t get any change back.
There are many other advantages and solutions to other problems mentioned here but I don’t want to burden you with details you may not be interested in. Let me now if you have specific questions or doubts and I’ll try my best to respond.

www.bekausa.com

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02 Jun 2008 10:25 PM
I have seen a contractor that used standard 6" aluminum flashing which he stapled to the subfloor on either side of the tube sanwiching the tube between the flashing and the subfloor. There was hardwood flooring above, and the max water temp was set for 150 deg. the system worked and the owner had no complaints.
I am sure that they saved a bunch of money doing it this way.
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03 Jun 2008 11:10 AM
that's a wildly high water temperature by today's standards. I'm sure it was cheap to put in, but that leaves almost no wiggle room if your "calcs" are off, and you'll never get high efficiency heat sources to operate at peak efficiencies at 150 degrees.
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