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View Full Version : Gas welding setup, torch and tanks......possible gloat or not?



DR
08-31-2014, 01:58 PM
Yesterday at a neighborhood estate sale I picked up a new appearing Harris O/A welding outfit. I say "appearing" because it might be 20 years old for all I know. It's obviously had very little use and kept clean in a warm basement. Torch and regulators say "Made in USA" so that might make it more old than newish.

I Googled a bit to see if I could find the setup. I didn't find the exact one. What blew me away was how inexpensive some sets are, under a hundred bucks on ebay.

What I got was the torches (welding and cutting), hoses, cart and tanks which are large for owner bottles and full.

I'm pleased with the purchase. Now I can't help wondering what's the distinction between the lower end torches and regulators like mine presumably are and the higher end units where a single regulator might be more than the complete lower end sets sell for. As is usual you get what you pay for, in this case the difference is not obvious to me. Of course, this torch likely won't cut 1" steel, if the that's the difference then I'm good, I don't need to cut thick material.

The full owner tanks may be where the real value is in this purchase.

It was an interesting sale. Sons of wealthy man in assisted living clearing his home. Everything was priced reasonably, the catch was when you asked about an item the sons usually asked if you had a use for it. If you answered you did, the price dropped substantially. The welding set was priced at $250, since I had a use for it, it was $50.

BTW, I'm not gloating as much as curious about what I've purchased.

Old Hat
08-31-2014, 02:05 PM
I hope you have an excuse for putting this up WITH NO PICS, ! Hmnn ?

danlb
08-31-2014, 02:21 PM
The story brought a tear to my eye, on several levels. I hope their dad knows that they were actively finding "good homes" for his tools.

That is a great buy. The tanks alone are worth the $250.

I understand that in the case of regulators, the two stage are more expensive and will give more even flow as the pressure changes. The more expensive regulators can often be rebuilt, so lo longer service life.

I was under the impression ( based on what little I remember from a 3 hour Techshop class on flame cutting ) that it's not the torch that determines how thick you can cut. It's the tip size and amount of oxygen flow that makes the difference.


You may now gloat. A lot.


Dan

sasquatch
08-31-2014, 03:25 PM
Another great purchase!! Can't be without torches and tanks.

flylo
08-31-2014, 04:44 PM
Good deal but around here they don't bring much. I bought 3 sets in a row with owned, not leased tanks for $100 per complete set with the carts. All USA made, a Smith set & 2 other still made popular brands. Same with stick welders, everyone wants MIG welders & Plasma cutters.

CarlByrns
08-31-2014, 07:37 PM
Nice to hear the kids weren't greedy hayholes. There should be a hydro-test date on the tanks- steel is good for 10 years.

If the tanks have the name of a welding or gas supplier on them, they're rentals. Some companies have a sense of humor about this, some don't.

danlb
08-31-2014, 08:14 PM
Nice to hear the kids weren't greedy hayholes. There should be a hydro-test date on the tanks- steel is good for 10 years.

If the tanks have the name of a welding or gas supplier on them, they're rentals. Some companies have a sense of humor about this, some don't.

I think that's regional. I bought mine and they have Airgas's logo on them. I trade them in on replacement tanks when they are empty.

Dan

BigMike782
08-31-2014, 10:09 PM
I have a Harris oxy fuel torch equipment that was my Dads. I have the torch body, cutting attachment, mixer and welding tip. 10 or so years ago I needed a heating head(I hate the word rosebud relating to welding equipment) and with my friend at the welding supply giving me a discount I still had 100.00 in it........so at 50.00 you got a screaming you suck deal!

Names on neck rings loose more value every day with the way welding suppliers are being bought up by the majors. They ARE supposed to keep rental cylinders in their respective owners population but it just does not happen the way all the time. If you go to exchange cylinders and the supplier claims ownership ask them to prove their claim.......in black and white.

DR
08-31-2014, 10:24 PM
........................... There should be a hydro-test date on the tanks- steel is good for 10 years.
.................................................. ...........


Yeah, I'll probably get dinged for twenty bucks for hydro testing when I take these tanks in for refill. Although a couple times I've taken tanks in and they didn't bother to verify the last test dates.

macona
08-31-2014, 10:57 PM
I think that's regional. I bought mine and they have Airgas's logo on them. I trade them in on replacement tanks when they are empty.

Dan

If there is a company name on the neck ring it is probably a rental. If it is on a label it mean nothing.

macona
08-31-2014, 10:58 PM
Yeah, I'll probably get dinged for twenty bucks for hydro testing when I take these tanks in for refill. Although a couple times I've taken tanks in and they didn't bother to verify the last test dates.


The airgas around here does not charge for hydro, it is amortized in the price of the fill.

macona
08-31-2014, 11:02 PM
I have a Harris oxy fuel torch equipment that was my Dads. I have the torch body, cutting attachment, mixer and welding tip. 10 or so years ago I needed a heating head(I hate the word rosebud relating to welding equipment) and with my friend at the welding supply giving me a discount I still had 100.00 in it........so at 50.00 you got a screaming you suck deal!

Names on neck rings loose more value every day with the way welding suppliers are being bought up by the majors. They ARE supposed to keep rental cylinders in their respective owners population but it just does not happen the way all the time. If you go to exchange cylinders and the supplier claims ownership ask them to prove their claim.......in black and white.

All they have to do is point to the neck ring with their or the company they bought out's name on there and thats all they need. They dont need to prove anything else. And most companies won't fill someone else's bottles. So if that happens you are SOL.

CarlByrns
08-31-2014, 11:27 PM
Names on neck rings loose more value every day with the way welding suppliers are being bought up by the majors. They ARE supposed to keep rental cylinders in their respective owners population but it just does not happen the way all the time. If you go to exchange cylinders and the supplier claims ownership ask them to prove their claim.......in black and white.

I used to work with compressed gases every day (home health care)- the onus is on you to provide proof-of-purchase.

Sometimes, when a patient goes to the great beyond, the surviving family members think that all the leftover rental goodies become theirs. Sometimes they try to sell the stuff- hospital bed, oxygen concentrator, back up oxygen tank, ect. Trust me when I say that it's a bad idea to show up at a gas dock with a labelled cylinder and no proof-of-purchase.

The company I rented my MIG tank from was bought out by another who sent me a very nice letter letting me know that they were aware I had one of their tanks and where to return/exchange it.

flylo
08-31-2014, 11:32 PM
If that happens & you have a tractor supply nearby take it to them & I think it's $10 or $20 per tank to buy into their program but if they have the same size tank you can trade them from then on & at least here they were the cheapest within 40 miles when I checked & the closest for me, only 8 miles.

CarlByrns
08-31-2014, 11:40 PM
I think that's regional. I bought mine and they have Airgas's logo on them. I trade them in on replacement tanks when they are empty.

Dan

That's federal.
No doubt you exchange them at an Airgas facility or subsidiary. There are several welding supply houses near me. One has two locations with different names- a commercial business-to-business facility (delivery only, no walk ins, hard to even find the place) and the other is a storefront. Both fill tanks at the same plant.

flylo
09-01-2014, 08:22 AM
Here Airgas won't even talk to you without the tanks stamped with their name & a receipt. They are also the highest price.

bruto
09-01-2014, 10:32 AM
I haven't hassled with the gas suppliers for a while, so will leave all that to others.

Just as a heads-up, Harris made torches for Craftsman, among others, and I think also for Montgomery Ward. Back long ago the "Sears Best" set was a two stage Harris, quite good, and not too long ago I got a set of Wards regulators that look just the same. Sears may be a good source for tips and parts if needed.

If the Harris set in question has two stage regulators, it's definitely a nice thing to have.

bborr01
09-01-2014, 12:11 PM
Me too.

Brian


I think that's regional. I bought mine and they have Airgas's logo on them. I trade them in on replacement tanks when they are empty.

Dan

justanengineer
09-01-2014, 12:29 PM
All they have to do is point to the neck ring with their or the company they bought out's name on there and thats all they need. They dont need to prove anything else. And most companies won't fill someone else's bottles. So if that happens you are SOL.

+1. Ive been in the supply house several times when folks have brought in tanks from others companies or tanks that werent registered to the person bringing them in. They always take the tank in immediately before actually doing anything on the computer in case the customer doesnt have legal right to it. Even if someone bought a tank at a garage sale, they dont own the rental/deposit. Bringing an Airgas tank to them if youre not in their system gets you a bill for the tank + gas, not just the gas.

Personally, I'd suggest checking with your local gas supplier before bothering with personally owned tanks. Both my supplier back east and the one here dont rent tanks, they simply charge a ~$100 deposit for them just like the local beverage store does with kegs of beer. Pay the deposit once, pay for the gas/beer, enjoy. When you need a refill you simply pay for the gas/beer. It gets you out of having to pay hydro-testing and if theres ever a problem with the tank valve it gets you a free tank.

On another note, this is one of the ways which I judge a good, honest auctioneer. If they knowingly sell marked tanks, I dont trust them.

DR
09-01-2014, 01:11 PM
Regarding rental versus owned my local gas place with the best prices and service has always told me certain size tanks are never rentals. I don't know if they mean with them or that's a universal rule with all suppliers.

As to the setup I bought, the oxygen tank has Linde stamped on it down on the body, not on neck. The paper sticker also says Linde. The acetylene doesn't have a name on it, the paper label says Airgas.

I'll call tomorrow to see what my favorite place says about ownership.

Funny thing when I was buying these. I asked the sons if they were owned or rented tanks. They took offence to the question thinking I was implying their father couldn't afford to buy and had to rent. My understanding is if you use large quantities of gas renting is less expensive. with renting the supplier is assured you'll come back to him so maybe they give renters a better price?


On edit: looking online I found a chart with tank sizes.
http://www.cousesteel.com/AndysPlace/CylinderSize.html

My oxygen is an 80, the acetylene is a #1.

macona
09-01-2014, 03:18 PM
Linde became Liquid Air and then Air Liquide. It is probably a rental tank. I am not sure anyone rents acetylene cylinders.

Around here anything smaller than about a 200 is sold, not rented. And airgas marks the tops with purple paint to help differentiate between them.

flylo
09-01-2014, 04:43 PM
Craigslist had a full set for $120 this morning, I bet $100 bought it.

CarlByrns
09-01-2014, 05:54 PM
Me too.

Brian

It's not. It's federal. Trust me.

metalmagpie
09-01-2014, 06:21 PM
Yesterday at a neighborhood estate sale I picked up a new appearing Harris O/A welding outfit. I say "appearing" because it might be 20 years old for all I know. It's obviously had very little use and kept clean in a warm basement. Torch and regulators say "Made in USA" so that might make it more old than newish.

Harris is good stuff. You did fine. I'm not going to comment on the cylinders except to say that the acetylene in the cylinder you bought would have likely cost you more than $50. I always suggest using propane for EVERYTHING with the single exception being gas welding of steel. Much, much cheaper. Use the same regulator, same heating tips, sometimes the same rosebud tips, different cutting tips that are however much easier to clean. And I find it easier to make a clean straight cut using propane vis-a-vis acetylene.




I Googled a bit to see if I could find the setup. I didn't find the exact one. What blew me away was how inexpensive some sets are, under a hundred bucks on ebay.

Well, summer time is slow, not that much demand. And prices aren't real high on O/A gear anyway. Not many people know how to use it anymore.


What I got was the torches (welding and cutting), hoses, cart and tanks which are large for owner bottles and full.

I'm pleased with the purchase. Now I can't help wondering what's the distinction between the lower end torches and regulators like mine presumably are and the higher end units where a single regulator might be more than the complete lower end sets sell for. As is usual you get what you pay for, in this case the difference is not obvious to me. Of course, this torch likely won't cut 1" steel, if the that's the difference then I'm good, I don't need to cut thick material.

You labor under a common delusion. It is NOT the torch that cuts, it's the tip. Theoretically your torch can cut really thick steel. In practice there are gas flow limits so you'd want a bigger handle, large hose etc. but in general you most probably won't ever cut anything thicker than 1-1/2" anyway so don't worry about it. Just stock up on cutting tips (again, I recommend propane!) in sizes 00-2 and take very good care of them. I find that generic tips work great, so I've used those for years.

The only thing you need to worry about right now is the hose. Bend it slightly and look for cracks opening. A 20 year old hose usually needs replacing. Consider buying grade T. It's more expensive but it's rated for all fuel gases, not just acetylene.

metalmagpie

bborr01
09-01-2014, 07:49 PM
Please show me the federal law. I only know what my experience has been.

Brian


It's not. It's federal. Trust me.

mikem
09-01-2014, 10:45 PM
In Nebraska, the complete setups usually bring about $400... I bought a set at an industrial auction for $300 a few years ago and had the tanks filled and the torch checked out. I think that it was about $75. They didn't complain about the ownership of the tanks, if there was any issue.

You got a great deal, I think!

metalmagpie
09-02-2014, 03:49 PM
Around western Washington there are some sizes that are "safe" i.e. they are assured to be owner tanks even if they have neck ring lettering. These sizes (for high pressure cylinders) are 92cf and also 150cf. However, the 125cf cylinders are often rental cylinders. So I always advise people to be leery of 125s and look for 150s.

You are always safe with the popular sizing of 92cf oxygen/75 cf acetylene. This is what many plumbers and HVAC guys use. If you ever have to lug your setup up 14 flights of stairs you will be really glad for semi-portability when you get to the top.

There may be other safe sizes, but the ones mentioned above I know for sure are safe.

How can you tell what size your cylinder is? Here's what I use: (cut/paste this somewhere you can control the font
and use a fixed-width font like Courier to view)

Welding Cylinder Data (capacity is in cubic feet @ 2100 psi)

Oxygen / Argon / Helium / Other High Pressure
Tank Designator Capacity Height Dia. (height w/o cap & valve)
T 330 55" 9 1/4"
K 251 51" 9"
S 156 46" 7 to 7 3/8" *see note at bottom
M 125 43" 7"
Q 92 30" 7 1/8"
R 20 14" 5 1/4"
65 24" 7 1/2"
Acetylene
Tank Designator Capacity Height Dia. lbs. (tare weight)
#5 350 45" 12" 171
250 12" 117 (@300: 12x42"?)
#4 150 38" 8" 75 (8.5x30-34"?)
#3 75 29" 7" 44 (7x29"?)
B 40 23" 6" 24-26 (6x19.5"?)
MC 10 15" 4" 8 (4x13"?)

boslab
09-02-2014, 04:23 PM
With practice you can slice 2" or more with oxy propane easily, it is a bit of an art but learnable, with a track cutter i used to regularly cut 10" thick steel slabs, losing the cut is annoying when its that thick.
Plasma hasent got up to the thick steel range yet, i suppose it will eventually, a gas axe is a versatile bit of kit to have around.
In the distant past even thick steel was gas welded, i still have some nozzles at 1/4 hole in the end, i cant imagine welding with one!
Make sure you tighten your valves after use, the buggers leak, if the gauge is removed a bit of soapy water in the hole lets you know, i found my oxy had returned to the wild loads of times
Mark

loose nut
09-02-2014, 04:27 PM
It would be a good idea to toss to hoses and get new ones. They age, get hard, brittle and crack with time.

If in doubt throw them out.

Black_Moons
09-02-2014, 07:32 PM
Around western Washington there are some sizes that are "safe" i.e. they are assured to be owner tanks even if they have neck ring lettering. These sizes (for high pressure cylinders) are 92cf and also 150cf. However, the 125cf cylinders are often rental cylinders. So I always advise people to be leery of 125s and look for 150s.

You are always safe with the popular sizing of 92cf oxygen/75 cf acetylene. This is what many plumbers and HVAC guys use. If you ever have to lug your setup up 14 flights of stairs you will be really glad for semi-portability when you get to the top.

There may be other safe sizes, but the ones mentioned above I know for sure are safe.


Agreed! those are my size of tanks, they are about the same size, no doubt don't run out at the same rate but not a big deal IMO. And they can just fit under a very high worktable for safety. You can lift the tanks individually without any problem too. People roll the tanks all the time but I can only imagine slipping and the tank falling over, collar no doubt hitting something real hard. Smaller tanks let me carry em, even fit them into car trunks if needed.

justanengineer
09-02-2014, 07:43 PM
Please show me the federal law. I only know what my experience has been.


I'm not sure its a federal law per-se but theft is illegal in every state as is possession of stolen property. Given the BNIB price of some of the larger industrial cylinders I wouldnt doubt itd be bumped up to federal if the issue was pushed, luckily for the uninformed most suppliers just repo their cylinders rather than .

If you buy a tank from airgas the neck wont be marked, itll just be their usual ugly greenish blue with a paper sticker which lasts surprisingly long out in the rain/snow and is nearly impossible to remove cleanly. I local purchased a dozen of them when I was in the Army for our trucks...hence the need to remove the stickers. If you take in an owned tank and they just want you to exchange it theyre like some combination of lazy, screwing you intentionally, getting paid crap retail wages (highly likely, here its $8/hr!), or just plain doing things incorrectly. Personally, I wouldnt push your luck if the local store's full of idiots.

FWIW, Airgas has sued several companies for knowingly filling marked Airgas rental cylinders, notably Scott-Gross which does the gas filling service for several box chains like TSC, Rural King, etc. Customers brought marked Airgas cylinders in thinking they were "owned" and Scott-Gross filled them. After quite a few million wasted on legal fees on both sides they agreed to call it a draw on the agreement that Airgas owned the marked cylinders and Scott-Gross would confiscate and return them in the future.

garyhlucas
09-02-2014, 07:57 PM
A couple of quick comments. There is a maximum size heating or cutting tip you can use with the different size acetylene bottles due to the rate acetylene comes out of solution in the acetone the bottle is actually filled with. If you put a big tip on and it is popping you are likely pulling off acetone and that can be very dangerous.

Gas bottles have back seating valves. When you open a gas bottle open the valve all the way until it is tight again. That way the shaft packing is not doing the sealing, the back seat is, and it won't leak around the packing. Lost a whole new bottle of argon because an employee didn't back seat the valve and the packing leaked badly.

danlb
09-02-2014, 08:05 PM
I'm not sure its a federal law per-se but theft is illegal in every state as is possession of stolen property.

I just love the way the law works. Is a tank that was previously used as rental stolen or might it have another status? If 1)the renter makes no attempt to return it, and 2) the welding service charges him the cost for failure to return it or 3)makes no attempt to repossess it, then you have to ask is it really sold or abandoned?

In the case of #2, it would seem to me that it was sold to the renter. In the case of #3 a lawyer might say it was abandoned property. That is probably why Airgas did not prevail in their lawsuit against Scott-Gross. In the end, if Airgas can bully other suppliers into refusing to service the tanks, Airgas wins. I'll still use their products since they are the only local gas shop.

Dan

flylo
09-02-2014, 08:15 PM
I have a track cuttier setup & it amazes me how smooth it cuts, as well as plasma. Just get the motor speed right & the track magnet set & watch it cut so smoooth.


With practice you can slice 2" or more with oxy propane easily, it is a bit of an art but learnable, with a track cutter i used to regularly cut 10" thick steel slabs, losing the cut is annoying when its that thick.
Plasma hasent got up to the thick steel range yet, i suppose it will eventually, a gas axe is a versatile bit of kit to have around.
In the distant past even thick steel was gas welded, i still have some nozzles at 1/4 hole in the end, i cant imagine welding with one!
Make sure you tighten your valves after use, the buggers leak, if the gauge is removed a bit of soapy water in the hole lets you know, i found my oxy had returned to the wild loads of times
Mark

Mike Nash
09-03-2014, 08:29 PM
Gas bottles have back seating valves. When you open a gas bottle open the valve all the way until it is tight again. That way the shaft packing is not doing the sealing, the back seat is, and it won't leak around the packing. Lost a whole new bottle of argon because an employee didn't back seat the valve and the packing leaked badly.

Wow, great info! I hope I can remember that as infrequently as I use my tig/mig bottles (but I shut them off when done.) Thanks!