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Alistair Hosie
05-30-2012, 04:04 PM
I have long had a desire for a glassblowers torch they are however prohibitevly expensive to buy.Is it possible to make one or are they too difficult to even contemplate. ?Alistair

Rustybolt
05-30-2012, 04:35 PM
Got a picture? I'm too lazy to google.

flylo
05-30-2012, 04:47 PM
Ebay 320914186255 ends in a day, looks good, cast iron tripod, 4 bids $37.
Don't forget you have to be like Clinton "Don't Inhale!":D

oldtiffie
05-30-2012, 08:04 PM
What about a "Cobra" (aka "Henrob") oxy-acet torch - once set at 4 psi (both) it works very well and had a good range of nozzles. It is very economical to use, is versatile, light weight and comfortable and very easy to use.

http://www.google.com.au/#hl=en&rlz=1W1IRFC_enAU360&sclient=psy-ab&q=cobra+torch+kit&rlz=1W1IRFC_enAU360&oq=cobra+torch&aq=1&aqi=g4&aql=&gs_l=hp.1.1.0l4.0.0.1.2379.0.0.0.0.0.0.0.0..0.0... 0.0.KrnI9topoUs&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=b8dd09f1bfa7708b&biw=1280&bih=545

http://www.cut-like-plasma.com/dhc2000.htm

http://tjgingras2.wordpress.com/2008/07/31/the-virtues-of-the-cobra-torch/

sasquatch
05-30-2012, 08:10 PM
Tiffie,, have you ever used one?

oldtiffie
05-30-2012, 08:23 PM
Yup.

......

Alistair Hosie
06-03-2012, 01:49 AM
I somehow think that a glassblowers torch is different to these thanks for email flylo but it's not the same. Alistair

Paul Alciatore
06-03-2012, 02:39 AM
I did a quick search and found prices from about $39 to well over $1000. It seems there is a very broad range of glass blowing torches.

In my younger days I did some simple glass work using things like Bunsen burners and kitchen stoves (gas). City gas seems to have a hot enough flame and it does not need to be too large unless the work requires it. A simple Bunsen burner with one of those flatten tips that spread the flame over a bit of an area would probably take you far in this.

Of course, I could be hopelessly behind the times. They probably have computer controlled flames today. On the other hand, didn't someone post a video of a craftsman who made beautiful chess pieces with a complete primitive, hand operated lathe? And he did it lickety split, probably faster than CNC.

Lew Hartswick
06-03-2012, 09:24 AM
Roughly 70 years ago (I must have been about 10) I did a bit of
glass work (made droppers and such from glass tubing) with nothing
more than an alcohol burning from a wick source. From a Chemistry
kit. Had a lot of burns on fingers from picking up the WRONG end of
a piece that I'd dropped. :-)
...lew...

rohart
06-03-2012, 09:23 PM
I used to make simple glass equipment too. Any source of heat would do. A few carbon or burned wood spatulas help you shape stuff and don't stick to the softened glass.

What is the task, Alistair ?

For lab equipment, after a simple torch the next thing you need is a glassblower's lathe. That's just two headstocks geared together, moveable like a saddle, and a seal so you can pressurise the work, usually from a tube in your mouth. I say 'just' because there's nothing there you couldn't make, although I agree it would be a big job.

I've seen glassblowers use a hand held torch to keep work they're spinning keep the heat. They'd have several torches adjusted to different flame sizes. The torches would keep a pilot flame going, and they would pick the torch up and pull the trigger for the full flame. The flame would vary from a welding type of pencil flame to a 'flamethrower' with a foot long soft flame.

I guess the price reflects the small market rather than sophistication.

mtownsend
05-11-2016, 10:43 AM
Glass blowing torches are not too difficult to make, Iv seen them made with steel pipe with holes drilled in the pipe cap.

They get a little bit expensive but not bad for the quality torches. Some guys buy motorcycles, some guys buy guns and some of us blow glass with some nice torches.

I have about $3,500 into these 3.
http://imageshack.com/a/img923/589/P13ZBG.jpg

If anyone has any questions I can answer them.

I machine some tips for the old style National torches that are like $100 new. they take a 7/16-24tpi thread.

boslab
05-11-2016, 01:37 PM
We had a bench torch in the lab, no one could really use it!, self included, I could manage a bit of tube bending, and after a while learned how to bead a platinum wire for insertion into a vessel, after help, they did have a technical blower, he trained a guy, they made the guy redundant then the blower retired!, HR strikes again.
The blower used to make Liebig condensers and all sorts, amazing, and when bored glass sailing ships!
All the kit was thrown in a skip just before I retired, HR strikes again (5s)
I saw a torch on eBay recently, very pricy thing.
I think there was an oxy hydrogen torch, was not keen on big red cylynders myself
Mark

Mcgyver
05-11-2016, 01:47 PM
If anyone has any questions I can answer them.
.

did you make those? I suppose they must be commercial you have 3500 into them. What are they all about, what are lines - fuel & oxygen, what are the controls etc

I know nothing on the subject (as is probably the case for many here) but am curious what goes into the best glass blowers

cuemaker
05-11-2016, 02:05 PM
did you make those? I suppose they must be commercial you have 3500 into them. What are they all about, what are lines - fuel & oxygen, what are the controls etc

I know nothing on the subject (as is probably the case for many here) but am curious what goes into the best glass blowers

Let me add on to Mcgyver here as I am curious also... Give us a basic lesson and maybe a closer detail pic of your work (if you made those)

Black_Moons
05-11-2016, 02:18 PM
did you make those? I suppose they must be commercial you have 3500 into them. What are they all about, what are lines - fuel & oxygen, what are the controls etc

I know nothing on the subject (as is probably the case for many here) but am curious what goes into the best glass blowers

Those are professional glass torches. Controls are inner flame oxygen, inner flame fuel, and outer flame oxygen and fuel. I forget what the 3rd control is for.

IMO I don't think you need much to start glass blowing, but if you move into some of the more exotic glasses, or high temp to melt glasses you may need something more professional. Also for much finer temperature control as your skill improves you might want higher end torches.

old mart
05-11-2016, 02:43 PM
Nice torches, not so impressed with the hose connections.

Goldstar31
05-11-2016, 04:16 PM
Actually you are less than 100 miles from Crieff and 'Caithness Glass'. I've been to the old place in Perth but I have no doubt that it is pretty similar.

mtownsend
05-11-2016, 04:39 PM
Nice torches, not so impressed with the hose connections.

Agreed...
Im not in love with the way they come from the factory, just a hose with a barbed end so you have to use a butcher knife to change torches thus the cheesy rigamaroll you see there. Other companies put real ends for a screw on hose and dont have to cut a hose off to use it or change things. I need to get them all switched out for quick connectors but with 6 torches its expensive.

Im running some top of the line brand of torches, they are hotter and more fuel efficient.
These are GTT Gas Torch Technologies in Pennsylvania. They are triple mix so the fuel port has oxygen surrounding it and a higher flow port right down the center of the fuel stream. Red Knob is fuel,green is Oxygen and the blue knob is the high flow oxygen.

The Mirage is $1,725, the Phantom is $1,200 and the little Cheetah cost $550

Two of my torches are 2 stage with a small fine center flame and a larger outer flame controlled with a gas pedal and pre set with the back set of knobs.

The GTT's run on propane, natural gas or hydrogen for working quartz. I mainly work Borosilicate glass(Pyrex). melts at 1,510F.

The biggest cost is oxygen so I make my own from medical oxygen concentrators and run the torches from them or sometimes compress the oxygen into the tanks with oil free compressors. I have a compressor for high volume that's quick and a super slow compressor that will compress oxygen to 1,800PSI and fill my own bottles I own. Oxygen is not dangerous at all. Only ignorant people freak out about it. You do need to know what you are doing though.

I use a 1,540 CFM exhaust fan with a big intake of free flowing clean air and special didymium glasses with UV/IR protection.

This is a little video clip of My Phantom with a foot pedal on 3 medical oxygen concentrators.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmfymeMiJyk

I make my own graphite tools on my lathe and drill press, reamers, marble molds.My machinist background has helped me build many things that are over priced.
There is a need for competitively priced torches to be produced, graphite tooling is expensive and there is a need for that. Compressor systems that will handle oxygen are expensive.

Glass lathes are grossly overpriced($12,000+), I am going to make that a DIY project in the near future.

The work I do is primarily art and jewelry but I fund my glass orders with utensils I make for local smoke shops.

Andre3127
05-11-2016, 09:29 PM
From what I understand Oxy acetylene torches can leave soot in clear glass, but I have no idea if this is true or not.

If you want to go totally homemade, research HHO torches.

michigan doug
05-12-2016, 11:13 AM
Oxygen generators are surprisingly simple in concept. There are (typically) two cylinders, which cycle back and forth to produce a fairly steady supply of ~90% O2.

A compressor pressurizes the first cannister, which is filled with Zeolite. As I recall, it's in the 20-30 psi range. At that pressure, zeolite is fantastic at adsorbing nitrogen. The remaining oxygen goes to the accumulating chamber.

Then valves switch around, the first canister goes to ambient pressure and the zeolite dumps all the excess nitrogen while the second canister gets pressurized to remove nitrogen and send the O2 to the accumulator.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

Sometimes, there is cooling involved too, depending on the output levels.

For smaller scales, this is much less expensive than the cryogen methods.

old mart
05-12-2016, 05:59 PM
Its just as well you know how to handle these gasses as they are unforgiving if misused. Many years ago, my boss got a large hydrogen bottle to fill up kids balloons at some charity do. Today it would be totally illegal to fill up balloons with hydrogen. He fitted a gauge and turned on the bottle. there was an explosion and the gauge was destroyed, fortunately no one was hurt. The gauge was an oxygen one and there was residual O2 in the bourden tube. I always wondered how those oxygen generators worked.

macona
05-12-2016, 10:15 PM
From what I understand Oxy acetylene torches can leave soot in clear glass, but I have no idea if this is true or not.

If you want to go totally homemade, research HHO torches.

If you actually use acet, yes. Too dirty, propane or natural gas is what is normally used, hydrogen if you need to work silica.

I have a couple old torches that work pretty well, the bottom one is pretty cool, flip the levers down for a broad flame, middle off, and up for a point flame:

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4107/5031760420_1915eff604_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/8ED651)Sargent Welch bench torch (https://flic.kr/p/8ED651) by Jerry Biehler (https://www.flickr.com/photos/67292116@N00/), on Flickr

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4132/5031142833_92c3c7ff10_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/8EzVtX)Fischer multi flame burner (https://flic.kr/p/8EzVtX) by Jerry Biehler (https://www.flickr.com/photos/67292116@N00/), on Flickr

Black Forest
05-13-2016, 02:18 AM
About 25 years ago I went to the Island of Murrano off the shore of Venice Italy. The island is famous for the glassware they produce. The island is packed full of glassblowing companies. It was a great experience for me. Definitely the highlight of my trip. Watching these guys blow through a pipe and produce absolute works of art was fantastic.

So when I came home I did what every HSM'er would do and tried to blow glass. I broke up a bunch of wine bottles and put the pieces in a pan and put it in my forge to melt the glass. It took a long time and although I managed to get a glob of glass and could shove a pipe into the glass glob all I managed to do when I blew on the pipe was fart the loudest I ever had from blowing so hard. Never did ever actually get the blob to change. Gave up on blowing glass.

mtownsend
05-14-2016, 04:51 PM
If you actually use acet, yes. Too dirty, propane or natural gas is what is normally used, hydrogen if you need to work silica.

I have a couple old torches that work pretty well, the bottom one is pretty cool, flip the levers down for a broad flame, middle off, and up for a point flame:

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4107/5031760420_1915eff604_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/8ED651)Sargent Welch bench torch (https://flic.kr/p/8ED651) by Jerry Biehler (https://www.flickr.com/photos/67292116@N00/), on Flickr

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4132/5031142833_92c3c7ff10_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/8EzVtX)Fischer multi flame burner (https://flic.kr/p/8EzVtX) by Jerry Biehler (https://www.flickr.com/photos/67292116@N00/), on Flickr

Those are nice torches, they are the workhorse of the scientific glass blowing industry.

Like a machinist the glassblowers are Artist as well as Craftsman, its easy to do but not so easy to do well.
The modern tools may look different but in principle are the same as the old tools.

The other day a friend brought over a fine handmade knife from O1 I think, we put it in the kiln and soaked it at 1,475 degrees and then quenched it in oil then he later tempered it in his own over. It left some beautiful colors and is a real functional knife.

Having a digital programmable kiln is a handy item to have in a machine shop.


Black Forest a trip to Murrano Italy is something I would love to do before I die.

Black Forest
05-15-2016, 01:03 AM
Black Forest a trip to Murrano Italy is something I would love to do before I die.

Definitely worth it just to see those craftsman making their art. The cost of getting there and staying there is the least expensive part of the trip. Watch out for the shops that sell the glass products. We spent a small fortune on glass. ;) It was my fault not the wife this time. I was so intrigued by the whole process. The wife watched me like a hawk that I didn't purposely break any of those objects so I could go back and replace it just so I could watch them make the replacement.:cool:

dian
05-15-2016, 03:05 AM
i was there 20 years ago and the stuff we bought was so expensive that it lives in boxes in the attic.

tiffie, how thick will that cobra weld (they dont say)? sounds too good to be true, replaces a tig welder and plasma cutter? 25 mm cuts? wow.