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  • I need some torch advice.

    I need a torch to heat up stuck bolts (automotive work) and maybe learn to do some brazing. I want a small portable set. I see a lot of posts where people are complaining about not being able to get their tanks filled or refilled, particularly the set from Harbor Freight but I have seen it with systems purchased at Lowes and Home Depot as well. Quite a few people have mentioned this in their review sections.

    Is there something bad about these units or what? Anything to look for to avoid this no refill issue?
    Last edited by Nipper; 10-01-2019, 08:37 AM.
    "He who is without oil shall throw the first rod."
    Compressions 9.7:1

  • #2
    Originally posted by Nipper View Post
    I need a torch to heat up stuck bolts (automotive work) and maybe learn to do some brazing. I want a small portable set. I see a lot of posts where people are complaining about not being able to get their tanks refilled, particularly the set from Harbor Freight but I have seen it with systems purchased at Lowes and Home Depot as well. Quite a few people have mentioned this in their review sections.

    Is there something bad about these units or what? Anything to look for to avoid this no refill issue?
    Since you do not plan on welding, your best choice would probably be an oxy-propane out-fit, with an 80 cf oxygen bottle. The problems and expense, as well as frequent replacement makes the "plumber's outfits" less desirable than buying a cylinder from a LWS. Hardware stores may switch contracts and leave you without options, unless they use a name-brand supplier

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    • #3
      I have seen those oxy propane torch sets but everyone has told me it will not get as hot. I need to get some of these exhaust manifolds red hot to remove studs that are stuck. I tired MAPP gas and it was useless.
      Last edited by Nipper; 10-01-2019, 09:38 AM.
      "He who is without oil shall throw the first rod."
      Compressions 9.7:1

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      • #4
        Anyone know why some LWS won't refill those tanks?
        "He who is without oil shall throw the first rod."
        Compressions 9.7:1

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        • #5
          Size. That's the reason. It takes the same effort to hook up a small cylinder as it does the large but the profit isn't there to do so for the cost of labour required to hook them up.
          Click image for larger version

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ID:	706210 The gas is the cheap stuff, you pay for the labour to fill. I'd go oxygen and acetylene.

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          • #6
            I purchases a 60cu-ft oxygen and "B" acetylene tank for my Victor J100 series torch about 30 years ago, and to this day Praxair exchanges them without question.... Exchange or refill is policy of local gas supplier.... So far my oxy/acet rig has cut or heated everything I have come up against....

            Be aware AIRGAS is trying to become sole suppliers of welding gasses in industry and not the best to try and deal with.... Airgas wanted $200 for 125 cu-ft C25 tank for my MIG welder, down the street about 6 blocks Praxair wanted $100.... Praxair gets all my business...


            Dale
            Last edited by Dale M.; 10-01-2019, 11:47 AM.
            "Fear The Government That Wants To Take Your Guns" - Thomas Jefferson..

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Nipper View Post
              Anyone know why some LWS won't refill those tanks?
              What size tanks?.... "Tanks from Lowes or HF" is pretty vague....If you are taking like ones below they are almost a joke.... Most gas suppliers don't want to deal with these small tanks.... Go to LWS before you purchase anything to check availability and policy....





              Get a big kid rig,,,




              Yeah you might have to invest $300 for torch set and $300 for tanks but you will never look back...

              Dale
              Last edited by Dale M.; 10-01-2019, 11:44 AM.
              "Fear The Government That Wants To Take Your Guns" - Thomas Jefferson..

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              • #8
                That set in the top picture is sold at Lowes and HD with the Lincoln name but I understand it is manufactured by Harris. Is it junk?
                I know a few HVAC guys that use small torches similar to it everyday. I would prefer a portable torch if you know of one that is decent.
                "He who is without oil shall throw the first rod."
                Compressions 9.7:1

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Nipper View Post
                  That set in the top picture is sold at Lowes and HD with the Lincoln name but I understand it is manufactured by Harris. Is it junk?
                  I know a few HVAC guys that use small torches similar to it everyday. I would prefer a portable torch if you know of one that is decent.
                  Harris is not junk, they are probably third largest manufacturer of gauges and torches behind Smith (Miller) and Victor (ESAB) ... Certainly would purchase before any Chinese no name...

                  https://www.harrisweldingsupplies.com/cutting-torches/

                  The negative is not brand name on "set" at local big box store, it's the hassle and expense to transport and fill itty-bitty tanks....

                  If you think torch set is big enough to fit your needs by all means buy it, just besure local welding supply will refill or exchange tanks....

                  Dale
                  Last edited by Dale M.; 10-01-2019, 02:13 PM.
                  "Fear The Government That Wants To Take Your Guns" - Thomas Jefferson..

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                  • #10
                    The other part of this conversation is the draw rate of Acetylene, and the consumption required when cutting and heating. When that is given consideration, it's easier to move cylinders one at a time then as a set. The extra few minutes required is offset by the volume of gas from a larger cylinder. Seriously Nipper, those little torches will do the job. But can you afford the constant refills and down time running out?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Nipper View Post
                      I have seen those oxy propane torch sets but everyone has told me it will not get as hot. I need to get some of these exhaust manifolds red hot to remove studs that are stuck. I tired MAPP gas and it was useless.
                      MAPP gas is useless for your purposes if you tried it without oxygen. Also, any oxy-propane outfit with disposable cylinders would likely be useless.

                      However, if your needs are only heating, cutting, and brazing, as stated in your original post, you should not be listening to "everyone" mythology. An oxy-propane torch would do just as well, at far lower expense. In fact, the great majority of manual preheating in the welding industry is done with propane for exactly this and other reasons.

                      The reasons are:
                      the max.temperature of a neutral OA flame is 5720 F. while the max temp of a neutral OP flame is 5112 F, However, the amount of heat per cubic foot of gas is 1470 BTU's for acetylene, and 2498 BTU's for propane, so even though the flame is slightly cooler in max. temperature, the amount of heat produced by propane is actually much larger per cubic foot, making it MORE efficient for heating purposes. OP will also easily reach the 1100 - 1500 Fyou need for heating, will cut and braze almost as well, and you only need to buy one cylinder. (Use the propane from your barbecue).

                      Also, you can buy torch sets that will work for both OA and OP with only a change of tips and hoses, if you later decide you need welding ability or the greater precision of the OA torch.
                      Last edited by Northweldor; 10-02-2019, 08:14 AM.

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                      • #12
                        Very interesting Northweldor. Thank you....

                        "He who is without oil shall throw the first rod."
                        Compressions 9.7:1

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                        • #13
                          The caveat here is you can not weld with propane, but a Northwelder states you can heat and cut with propane... If you are going to use propane you need to have type "T" hoses, type "T" is rated for all fuels, "R" rated hoses are for acetylene only....

                          Dale
                          "Fear The Government That Wants To Take Your Guns" - Thomas Jefferson..

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                          • #14
                            Thank you Dale and everyone else.

                            Maybe I will go to the gas store and see if they have a medium sized unit I like.

                            "He who is without oil shall throw the first rod."
                            Compressions 9.7:1

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                            • #15
                              This is where the conversation starts to get interesting. This release of heat and BTU's. All that extra oxygen is required for a reason, it's called combustion. And those special tips, for heating and cutting, look at those and you see more orifices. Could be a reason for that. With out the added flames increasing volume, which burns more oxygen to complete combustion, your not getting BTU's. Add to that the distance to the object and the heat of the flame diminishes quickly.

                              What do you pay for oxygen? Cost of propane? How much for Acetylene? Some of this is a math economics question but at the end of the day, there is lots to consider. I'd store an Acetylene cylinder in my garage but I wouldn't store a propane cylinder in it. Call it a moot point but it's still a point.

                              https://www.canadianmetalworking.com...ng-and-heating

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