Advice, please, about gas welding equipment

joel_bcMarch 29, 2005

I want to get equipped for heating & bending metal, cutting, brazing, and welding (not-heavy-duty welding - just thinner gauges of solid steel stock, plus tubing). So I'm inclined toward a basic oxy-acetlyene set-up.

When I find a set of used regulators & gauges, what is the procedure for getting them tested, to see that they are safe and otherwise working properly? Who does the testing? Is it sales outlets for acetlyene?

Any other advice about this would be more than welcome. Thanks.

Joel

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mla2ofus

When you find a set, it's unlikely there will be tanks available to check them.You'll need the hoses and mixing chamber attached to reg's. when they are hooked to tanks. Make sure high press. gauges are working and set acet. low press to 8 psi, oxy. at 25 psi. Observe both low press gauges to see if they slowly increase pressure. If they both hold pressure without increase, open valves on mixing chamber on at a time to see if there is much pressure drop.1 to 3 lbs. is OK.
After finding regs work OK, immerse hoses in a tub of water with pressure in them to see if they leak and where. If you see lots of small bubbles along the length of hoses, they're junk. If the leaks are at the fittings or thru obvious damage, they're repairable. Your local welding supply can fix them.
Hope this helps,
Mike A

    Bookmark   March 30, 2005 at 9:28AM
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joel_bc

Mike, thanks a lot. You're comments are helpful. But I'd like to ask you a few things...

You wrote: "When you find a set, it's unlikely there will be tanks available to check them." Yeah, and since I do not currently have tanks, can I take the equipment (before laying out the money), and have it checked?

"Your local welding supply can fix them." Does this not mean that they can check them first -- and then fix them if I make a purchase? What I'm thinking about is making an arrrangement to have the equipment checked before I hand over the money (offering a good-will deposit, or something, in order to be allowed to take the items to be checked out).

One more thing. As far as you see prices these days, what would a used set of gauges/regulators, mixing chamber, hoses, welding torch, and cutting torch (IOW, complete basics) cost, around where you live?

Joel

    Bookmark   March 30, 2005 at 10:08AM
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mla2ofus

What I meant was,most people selling a set of regs don't normally have tanks because if the regs were good and they have tanks, they'd be using them. Occasionally you'll find some belonging to an elderly person that can't use them anymore or their mate has passed on.
Yes, it's a good idea to talk to your welding supply and see if they will check out a used set for you. Whether you buy new or used, I stongly recommend Victor brand for mixing chamber,cutting head and welding/heating tips. I've used several different brands over 30+ years and Victor is the most dependable and easiest to get parts for.They cost a little more but I think in the long run you'll be happier.
I've seen used Victor sets(regs,hoses,mixing chamber and tips) selling here in S. Idaho for $150-$225. You can buy the other brands new for that, but just wait 'til you need to buy a new cutting tip. They more than likely won't be there.
Hope this also helps and I've answered all questions,
Mike A

    Bookmark   March 30, 2005 at 8:25PM
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joel_bc

Mike, this is the "real stuff"! I appreciate this wisdom of so many years of experience.

When you wrote, "seen used Victor sets(regs,hoses,mixing chamber and tips) selling here in S. Idaho for $150-$225. You can buy the other brands new for that, but just wait 'til you need to buy a new cutting tip. They more than likely won't be there." --Does this mean that there are fly-by-night manufacturers or distributors (of, say, Third-World-made equipment) who won't be in business or have a distributor a year or two later? (Kind of the sense I got from what you wrote.)

Joel

    Bookmark   April 1, 2005 at 9:55AM
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mla2ofus

I used to own a Harris torch set and never needed to buy any tips before I upgraded to Victor. A friend owns a Harris and two years ago went to two diferent welding supplies and couldn't find cutting tips. Don't quote me but I think a lot of the lower priced ones are Harris or similar.If you buy a lower priced set, check on availability of tips before buying.Cutting tips of any make work great until you overheat them, then no matter how much you clean it , it never cuts as clean as it did. Since you want to learn, I'll tell you when a cutting tip is clean and working good, there'll be very little slag left on the back side of the cut.
Hope this helps,
Mike

    Bookmark   April 1, 2005 at 10:51PM
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joel_bc

Why are people going for tig welders, if the used O-A equipment (Victor) can be that inexpensive? Is it the simplicity of the Mig technique? Or the low-cost of keeping it supplied? Or is it (tig) mainly a fad?

Seems limited, in that it has little or no value for general heating, and cutting.

Joel

    Bookmark   April 3, 2005 at 12:58PM
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joel_bc

My mistake. I shouldn't confuse mig and tig. I should have asked (above): Is it the simplicity of the tig technique?

J.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2005 at 4:04PM
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mla2ofus

I'm not trying to cram advice on you, but my opinion is you'll like OA better than TIG because it is more versatile in what you say you wamt to do.
Another option is a oxy/propane set. I would go to a dealer and arrange to try O/A and O/P to see which you like. Some O/A's work well except preheat time is a little longer.
Mike

    Bookmark   April 3, 2005 at 10:57PM
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joel_bc

Mike - you have not been cramming advice on me. I've asked for it and been in need of it. And you have a lot of experience, which I respect. I hate it when I or someone else posts a question and people with knowledge hang back from providing knowledge - or even an informed opinion. So, Thanks.

J.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2005 at 1:22PM
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Pooh Bear

Can oxy/propane be used for cutting.
How does it compare with oxy/acet.
And how does the cost compare.

Do you need special tanks or
can you just use tanks from a propane supplier.

Thanks.

Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   April 4, 2005 at 3:29PM
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mla2ofus

Oxy/propane can do all that O/A can. Propane doesn't have as much btu's as acetylene, therefore it takes a little longer to heat metal. The only difference is you use a 5 gal. propane tank instead of acetylene. I don't know for sure if you can use acet. regulator on propane.That would be something to ask your welding supply.The oxygen is still the same. You must have a mixing chamber and cutting head for propane. If you go the propane route, be sure the propane tank is secure and can't tip over, due to the fact you'll have liquid propane coming out the torch, which could start a fire if panic sets in.
Mike A

    Bookmark   April 4, 2005 at 8:36PM
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mla2ofus

Joel, I was in a CarQuest auto parts store yesterday and they had a Forney O/A set for $189. It is a hobby size mix chamber and cutting head which means they are a little smaller than normal. The cutting tips are identical to Victor and mix chamber/cutting head are built exactly like Victor. This might be what you're looking for.
Go to CarQuest web site and see where the nearest store is to you. I don't know what part of BC you live in,but I think there are CarQuest stores in Washington.
Pooh Bear, you might do the same. I picked up a catalogue in the store and it has three torch sets in it,but they are Hobart, which I'm not sure about. Maybe the Forney set is just a local deal here.
Hope this helps you both,
Mike

    Bookmark   April 6, 2005 at 8:53AM
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sagemouse

If you decide on the propane setup have someone demonstrate to you that you can actually weld with propane. I am talking about in the 1/8 to 1/4 inch range. I think you will find that the propane is not hot enough to weld with. It works very well for cutting as it only has to get the steel to a red heat and then the oxygen does the actual cutting by burning the metal away. You will have a very hard time using propane to get a good puddle of liquid steel which you must have to actually weld and not just melt on some rod.....Jim

    Bookmark   April 6, 2005 at 4:39PM
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mla2ofus

I disagree with sagemouse. If a propane cutting torch will heat iron enough to start a cut, A welding tip will weld "IF" the tip is large enough for the thickness you're welding.It's been my experience when preheating for a cut, the surface will start to puddle when you start the cut, with or without propane.
My $.02 worth,
Mike

    Bookmark   April 6, 2005 at 8:56PM
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Pooh Bear

I plan on going with an acet/oxy setup.
Just curious about other gasses.

Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   April 7, 2005 at 4:27AM
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joel_bc

Looking back, I found the advice Mike A gave to be very good. A year ago I finally located a set-up - Uni-Weld regulators with long Victor hoses, full-size Victor torch handle with flame arresters, numerous Victor welding tips, cutting torch, sparker, tip cleaner, wheeled caddy, and about 20 welding rods - at an estate sale for $150.00 I was very pleased, and everything has worked out okay with it. To add to the assortment, I bought one larger welding tip and one larger cutting tip (pretty cheap when I think of how inexpensive the basic set-up was).

I wonder how many other oxygen-fuel welders there are here? If you're here, please speak up, and maybe I could ask a few questions of you... I've only been welding for a comparatively short while.

Joel

    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 11:06AM
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concoa

joel,

17 years in the field.

If I cant answer your questions, I will find some one who can.

John

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 4:27PM
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