Torch Recommendations

Mon Sep 09, 2013 1:40 pm

Since I attend a few auctions, I run across oxygen/acetylene torches for sale. Condition varies from sale to sale. Often the tanks are up for sale too.

It's one of those tools you need occasionally, so didn't want to run out an buy a new one, but what would be some quality name brands to look for, as well as pros/cons from some of you who have one?

Or, do you think it better just to buy a set at AirGas?

I'm all ears... :D

Re: Torch Recommendations

Mon Sep 09, 2013 3:11 pm

Stanton:

This is a post I made while I was still in my welding class back in 2011 in the Cutting Torch Opinions:

Subject: Cutting Torch Opinions

Rudi wrote:Decided to revisit this thread cause it is so interesting and of course -- since I have been on my basic welding course :{_}: I am learning just enough to be dangerous :lol: I don't think I have taken a course that has impressed me as much nor kept my interest at such a high level since I first took my Architectural Design Tech course back in the early - very early 70's. This is one of those courses where you cannot wait to go and dread the end of the course each evening. We are halfway through our 30 hour program and I have to admit, I have learned so much.. and we are only touching the surface. I already know that I want to take the advanced course down the road after I get some decent fabrication practice under my belt. So far I am pleased and my instructor is pleased with my progress. I hope it continues. Did I mention I really am enjoying this course :?: :wink: :lol:



Thought I would share a little of what I learned and what I have acquired since I started my course.

In another thread I asked for opinions on different torch setups and who preferred what. Got some interesting and I guess rather expected results. I added that to my cranial library and then played with a couple sets at school. By far my favourite from the outset had to be the Victor torches. I haven't gotten to the Harris as they do not have a set of those, but I did get to play for an evening with the Smith set. It became rather clear to me immediately and as the next 3 hours passed -- frustration piling upon frustration that I really did not like the Smith torches at all. Just not for me. Way too finicky and way to touchy on the valves. That may be primarily a cause of the number of students using the set, so I took that into account. The big kicker had to be the feel of the Smith combination torch. Balance just wasn't there. Hand fatigue set in rather quickly. Compared to the Victor torches the Smith set just did not cut the mustard.

I set in my mind that I would try to find a set of Victor's or at the least a decent quality level of Victor Style torches. So I started scanning my local Kijiji. Boy is that an under utilized venue :!: A number of hits after an initial search led me to a set that intrigued me. So I did the research on them. This is the set I ended up buying.

Image

These are original Union Carbide/Linde torches -- one is a dedicated cutting torch the other is a brazing torch. Blew me away when I saw them cause they were advertised for $75.00. I looked them up on the net .. Purox Type E Torches - and found out that these are still being made today -PUROX® Type "E" Cutting Torch and that they are one of the best on the market -- made by ESAB. My instructor was just blown away as these are the same class of torches he apprenticed with. Oh -- they are NOS -- never have been used.

I ended up with a cutting nozzle and one set of regulators for them, so I only have to buy a few things. I wanted about 50 feet of hoses, so those are on the list along with a new striker and another set of regulators. Flash suppressors are also on the list -- I guess I need two sets now as these are dedicated torches. I wasn't sure about getting dedicated but -- I guess this is the best way to go if you can. Combination torches like anything else that combines 2 uses into one tool is a compromise.. (as we learned in class) so maybe this is a bit better. I know I certainly could not have afforded dedicated torches on their own if I had to buy them new or even at normal used prices.

Oh, and no.. :shock: these :) are as cool as can be. I checked.

One of the other things I learned .. is safety. Proper setup up is critical and the correct fittings, regulators, hoses and suppressors are essential. Ventilation is also an essential ingredient in playing with flame. Acetylene gives off a lot of carbon .. C2H2 - even when set correctly. There is off-gassing and particulates to be concerned with (especially if like me you suffer from some form of PF or COPD or both) so ventilation is critical. Wearing a respirator is a wise thing especially if you are compromised. So.. now one of my searches will have to be for a comfortable yet safe respirator. I may end up using one similar to my finishing respirator - but with appropriate cartridges. The other item will have to be a respirator that will fit nicely under my Auto-Darkening helmet for the other welders.



I finally got to play with the Harris torches and like the Smith they are not my favourite, although that is simply my own opinion. I do like my Victor torches. And if you watch on CraigsList/:eBay:/garage sales/Kijiji if in your area .. you can find good torches for next to nada. As I said, I paid $80.00 delivered for these torches and I got an O2 regulator, dark goggles and a few other items with it. I bought my second set of Victor torches which included hoses, cart, tips, cleaning tools, goggles and other items including complete new style gauges/regulators for $100.00. So I is all set up. I finally got my leased tanks (we cannot own medium or large tanks - and the little ones are not useful at all), and we used the Oxy-Acetylene setup on my Storage Trailer project along with the 50 foot hoses (definitely a good buy) and the Linde torches were the best of the two sets.

Re: Torch Recommendations

Mon Sep 09, 2013 3:24 pm

Stanton, Both the O2 and acetylene tanks have to be pressure tested and/or recertified every so often. I don't know all the details of that process, but I think you possibly risk buying used tanks that can't be recertified and therefore can't be refilled. You might want to check with where you would have refills done and ask them about it. I have a set of Victor torches that are mostly used with a rosebud tip or cutting tip and like them, although I have no experience with other brands.

Bob

Re: Torch Recommendations

Mon Sep 09, 2013 4:50 pm

i have Victor

Re: Torch Recommendations

Mon Sep 09, 2013 5:13 pm

I have used both Smith and Victor torches and other than operating a little differently, I have no preference for either of them. They both are good. Mine are used mainly for cutting and heating with a little welding and brazing.

As others have mentioned, be very wary of used tanks. Most cannot be filled. First you need to prove ownership and there is the certification issue. My supplier is a local auto parts store. I just go by there and swap out my empty for a full tank. Works good, because I always have a good certified tank. Same setup as swapping out a LP tank at Walmart.

Re: Torch Recommendations

Mon Sep 09, 2013 5:17 pm

Bob McCarty wrote:Stanton, Both the O2 and acetylene tanks have to be pressure tested and/or recertified every so often. I don't know all the details of that process, but I think you possibly risk buying used tanks that can't be recertified and therefore can't be refilled. You might want to check with where you would have refills done and ask them about it. I have a set of Victor torches that are mostly used with a rosebud tip or cutting tip and like them, although I have no experience with other brands.

Bob


There are a lot of places around here that will just exchange bottles( any brand) with you. Take empty in and exchange for full one, paying only for gas. Price might be a little more but still less than price of having one checked every 5 years.

Re: Torch Recommendations

Mon Sep 09, 2013 5:24 pm

Stan you may want to looking into using LP gas over acetylene. It doesn't put out as many btu but the cost is some cheaper and no rental. You can use the bottle of your grill and get it refilled. Rent your bottles. Like was said they get out dated and it is your cost to have tested. If you own your own they don't trade out bottles. May take a couple of week to get filled and back.
Ron

Re: Torch Recommendations

Mon Sep 09, 2013 6:16 pm

midmo wrote:Stan you may want to looking into using LP gas over acetylene. It doesn't put out as many btu but the cost is some cheaper and no rental. You can use the bottle of your grill and get it refilled. Rent your bottles. Like was said they get out dated and it is your cost to have tested. If you own your own they don't trade out bottles. May take a couple of week to get filled and back.
Ron


They will around here.

Re: Torch Recommendations

Mon Sep 09, 2013 6:47 pm

I own several sets of oxygen and acetylene bottles and the place back home swaps them out all the time. Ive never had to pay for a set of bottles to be recertified. Now with that said, the supply company aint just gonna take some old rusted up bottles in and give you a new set. You are gonna have to buy the bottles from them initially unless you find some that have a current sticker on them. Owners bottles have a special stamp on them to identify them as such. You might want to ask around and see how the supply companies around your area identify an owners bottle. With owners bottles, even if you don't use them up for several years, you pay once and that's it. If you rent them, you pay recurring amounts if you use the bottles or not.
Victor is a good set, and everything has a rebuild kit! :D

Re: Torch Recommendations

Tue Sep 10, 2013 8:28 pm

Plasma cutter does the same thing as a cutting torch. Recently purchased a Thermal Dynamics Plasma System Cutmaster 52 from Airgas. Total cost was just under $1500- for the plasma cutter, air line dryer and plumbing. Big air compressor and 220 Volts AC already on hand. 1/2" steel designated cut thickness but cuts up to 1 1/4" thick steel.

$1500- sounds like a lot of money and it is. I have several repairs to make and projects to build. The cost of the plasma cutter will be paid for shortly in Do It Yourself savings.

Building a brush guard for my 154 Low-boy. Today, cut out two each 1/2" thick steel plates for backets that mount to the frame from on hand metal.

Re: Torch Recommendations

Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:45 am

Thanks for all the opinions. Useful info.

Have experience with AirGas (I'm currently renting a medium bottle of argon from AirGas to use with my MIG welder). From dealing with them, I'm leaning more toward a lease/rent arrangement rather than own. The program at AirGas, for my purposes, seems better to rent; they're basically responsible for the bottles, I buy the gas.

That's why I've always been leary of buying a used set of bottles at auction; unknown condition and recertification.

I was more interested in your comments on the torch set itself. I've seen some Victor torch sets sell pretty cheap. I'll keep my eye out for one and let you know what I find. My way of thinking right now is that a torch set is nice when you need it, but it probably won't see that much use from week to week.

Rudi--I'd love to take a welding class. Thanks to all for sharing.

Re: Torch Recommendations

Wed Sep 25, 2013 11:03 am

Stanton wrote:My way of thinking right now is that a torch set is nice when you need it, but it probably won't see that much use from week to week.


A torch set is one of those tools you'll wonder how you ever got along without. I have a Victor Jr. set and it does everything I need it to. It cuts 1" plate no problem and I've even cut 1 1/2" with it. I have a myriad of ways to cut metal, saws-all, several cut off tools, a horizontal metal band saw, plasma cutter, and I still use the torches regularly. Beside cutting of course is brazing, welding, and heating up rusted, stubborn nuts an bolts. The tank situation must be issue by location. I've had no problem exchanging tanks I've gotten cheaply. I would add that you might want to consider using propane (with the appropriate hardware) instead of acetylene because acetylene is pretty pricey and propane is easier to get on a Sunday afternoon and it isn't that much cooler than acetylene, most people wouldn't notice the difference in how it cuts. I would try to get larger size tanks, they obviously last a bit longer.