PDA

View Full Version : Buying Oxygen-Acetelyne Welder



torchroadster
08-10-2008, 08:32 AM
I am looking to buy my first Oxy Acetylene welding outfit. I have a small MIG and am looking for something to compliment that. I want the ability to weld thicker material, 1/4 to 1/2" steel. Also attractive is the ability to cut with a torch and heat material for bending and treating. My application is strictly HSM - or in other words infrequent casual use. For comparison I have used maybe 2-4 lbs of MIG wire in the last five years.

Here are my questions:

1. Are the small portable outfits (hand carry, 18" high tanks) as capable as the larger medium or heavy duty outfits? I know the smaller ones usually come with small tips - can I just buy larger tips and weld thicker material and add a cutting torch to get where I need to be?

2. How fast is the gas consumed? Will the small bottles last me years or minutes?

3. Do the larger rigs, medium or heavy duty, give more control or capability that I can't achieve with the smaller ones? Other than the obvious of being equipped with larger size tips, and coming ready to weld thicker material.

4. Is there a difference worth the money (for a HSM on a budget) between USA name brand and "Victor-like" outfits?

For example here is a reference for light, medium and heavy duty outfits.

http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/category_6970_114+1536

Ries
08-10-2008, 10:39 AM
First, buy Victor.
Not "Victor like" or Harbor Freight, or, even, in my humble opinion, Harris or Smith.

Victor is the gold standard by which all others are judged, and it is the best. Parts are available everywhere, it has actual resale value, its better made, and you will only have to buy once.

Second, I would recommend going medium sized, as in something like a Victor Journeyman set.
It will do most things you want.
Unless all you are doing is actual jewelry, you are going to be frustrated by the little sets pretty quickly.

Small tanks are convenient when you have to carry em- but a pain when you are constantly having to take em in and getting em filled up.
Again, medium size is probably best. Probably at least a 50 cubic foot acetylene, and around 100 cubic foot oxy.
Tank sizes, and prices, and the way you get em, varies from place to place.

Some parts of the country, you have to lease em, other areas, you can buy outright. I prefer to own my own tanks, and just swap em for full, "customer owned" tanks every time. This works where I live, but might not where you do. You have to go talk to the local welding supply and find out how it works where you live.

Usually you can get a package deal for the tanks and torch set- and it will probably run you $500 to $800 or so. And be worth it.

As for consumption- well, it really depends on what you are doing. Most people find actual gas welding to be unbearably slow, and as soon as they can afford an electric welder, switch to that. I use my torch a lot for heating, and a bit for cutting. But I have a plasma cutter, and if I didnt, I would be cutting a lot more with it. Cutting uses more oxy faster than welding. Size of tip, size of metal, time on target- all will affect consumption rates.

PTSideshow
08-10-2008, 11:23 AM
I can only second what Ries has said and can't say enough about buying the largest size tanks you can afford the first time.
With the advent of the take over of small LWS chains by the two 1,000 GO Rilla's Praxair and Airgas. the LWS no longer takes trade in's to up size the tanks/bottles/cylinders. Due to the liability and bean counters in the home office.
You have to get rid of them yourself which can be a royal pain let alone the increase in B&E's after people locally have had stuff on craigslist and or the trader/recycle sites.
http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d200/ptsideshow/Steampunk/Tools/AcetyleneTanks.jpg
Are two small sized tanks that have there uses, but with oxy bottles in the same size categories or the slightly larger ones they sell in the carry packs are for on site, repair and removal of H&V equipment mostly and yes they do require refilling when cutting or large tips or rosebud tips for heating are used.
The B (Bus) is about 18"
The MC(motorcycle) is about 12"
You need an adapter for both to use a full size regulator on them.
B tanks were used on buses for the headlights, and MC is motorcycle that is why the angle valve.
Good for plumbing jobs and silver smithing and pewter work. if you have to carry them to class etc.

wmgeorge
08-10-2008, 06:14 PM
I am looking to buy my first Oxy Acetylene welding outfit. I have a small MIG and am looking for something to compliment that. I want the ability to weld thicker material, 1/4 to 1/2" steel. Also attractive is the ability to cut with a torch and heat material for bending and treating. My application is strictly HSM - or in other words infrequent casual use. For comparison I have used maybe 2-4 lbs of MIG wire in the last five years.

Here are my questions:

1. Are the small portable outfits (hand carry, 18" high tanks) as capable as the larger medium or heavy duty outfits? I know the smaller ones usually come with small tips - can I just buy larger tips and weld thicker material and add a cutting torch to get where I need to be?

2. How fast is the gas consumed? Will the small bottles last me years or minutes?

3. Do the larger rigs, medium or heavy duty, give more control or capability that I can't achieve with the smaller ones? Other than the obvious of being equipped with larger size tips, and coming ready to weld thicker material.

4. Is there a difference worth the money (for a HSM on a budget) between USA name brand and "Victor-like" outfits?

For example here is a reference for light, medium and heavy duty outfits.

http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/category_6970_114+1536

Gas welding is expensive for heavy stuff, why not get a stick welder? Or get a bigger MIG 230 volt model of course. BTW Small tanks cost almost the same to fill per tank as a larger one.

You can pick up a good used AC buzz box off Craigslist for $100 -150 at the most and weld 1/2 inch, multi pass of course. Want to cut metal, look at a plasma cutter. Expensive, but no gas to buy and heck of a lot handier than a torch set up, and the tanks are never empty when you need to use it! Take the $500-600 you are going to spend for the torch kit and the tanks and get a plasma setup.

macona
08-10-2008, 06:24 PM
Also the small acet tanks will not keep up with larger torches.

wmgeorge
08-10-2008, 09:31 PM
Also the small acet tanks will not keep up with larger torches.

I agree. And it seems like every time I go to get tanks refilled the price has went up. And whats with the Hazimat or whatever charge?? I buy from Praxair and not sure if other suppliers are the same, keep tacking on little changes for this and that.

I love my plasma cutter, I would not have an oxy-ace torch except once a year or so I need to heat something and bend. Thinking about switching over to propane for that purpose.

macona
08-10-2008, 10:26 PM
A Hazmat is a fee that goes into the companies pocket. Nothing more. Airgas does it too.

But depending on your sales guy they can take it off if you ask.

R W
08-11-2008, 03:49 AM
The rental on gas bottles almost places O/A out of reach of the average HS.
A 130/40 amp AC welder on a good power supply will weld 1/2" steel or better, O/A is great to have for brazing, heating, cutting etc, unfortunatly
there is a lot of time it is not being used but the rental still has to be paid,
after 15 years I handed the gas bottles in, have got by without so far, have a power hacksaw cut off saw angle grinder, kept the gauges, torch, trolley etc, in case the need for O/A comes up again.

wmgeorge
08-11-2008, 07:37 AM
The rental on gas bottles almost places O/A out of reach of the average HS.
A 130/40 amp AC welder on a good power supply will weld 1/2" steel or better, O/A is great to have for brazing, heating, cutting etc, unfortunatly
there is a lot of time it is not being used but the rental still has to be paid,
after 15 years I handed the gas bottles in, have got by without so far, have a power hacksaw cut off saw angle grinder, kept the gauges, torch, trolley etc, in case the need for O/A comes up again.

I agree on the saw. I have a Jet Horz / Vertical band saw, would not be without it. I think its a 5 x 7 with a good bi-metal blade like a Lenox.

Welders, I have Hobart 187 MIG and Hobart AC/DC stick. I have a Miller Maxstar 150 stick / TIG ordered and will sell the almost new Stick to make more room in the shop. :)

loose nut
08-11-2008, 09:40 AM
Victor torches are built like a battleship, hard to break, I have seen people use them like a hammer and they still work. Down side ,they don't have good balance if you are doing a lot of brazing. Purox is the best for balance, real sweet to use for brazing and cutting but cost bu cu bucks. Harris is fine (made in Ireland) I've have had a medium set at home for years, no trouble but tips are not as commonly available.

Small bottles are cheaper to own than paying a fee every year to rent, rental gets very expensive very fast BUT the gas cost for the small bottles is equal too or higher than the large bottles (economics of scale is how they tell you to bend over, here it comes) so it is a matter of how much you are going to use. I refill my small bottles about every 5 or 6 years so the increased gas cost is cheaper for me. Brazing and silver soldering don't use much gas but cutting will drain a small set in minutes.

A stick welder is still the best all around welding method available (a lot better than gas welding which is obsolete, OK there come the flames), it will handle anything but the thin stuff and you have a mig welder for that. By a DC welder if you can, AC sucks and limits your rod selection.

If you go for the plasma buy one bigger than you think you will need. You can't stick in a larger tip like an ox-acet set, what you bought is all you can get out of it and if it says it will 1/2" cutting capacity that means with some difficulty, so get a bigger one if you can, with in your limits. If you do a lot of cutting plasma is cheaper in the long run, they do have consumable parts too, so check up on the cost and future availability of those.

torchroadster
08-11-2008, 12:44 PM
Thanks for all the advice. Based on everyone's comments I will go with Victor. I'm not too concerned with speed, my welding jobs are small and infrequent. I didn't mention that occasionally I need to weld away from a source of electricity, especially 240V, so gas welding is attractive for that too.

I bought my gas bottle for the MIG and expect I will do the same with Oxygen-Acetylene.

Any one have experience with Victor Firepower?

http://www.welding-direct.com/150serdeloxo.html

macona
08-11-2008, 03:09 PM
Victor firepower is a cheaper version of their torches. Same as the Airgas Radnor line. Not as well made and i believe made in mexico.

wmgeorge
08-11-2008, 08:30 PM
Victor firepower is a cheaper version of their torches. Same as the Airgas Radnor line. Not as well made and i believe made in mexico.

I'd second Victor, not familiar with firepower line. I know some of the stuff is made in China looks just like Victor. Do you have a local Craigslist? Sometimes you can find some real bargains for a complete setup.