Oxy-Acetylene Torches (compatibilty?)
So I've been looking at oxy-acetylene torches lately and companies like Victor, Smith, and Harris have all these different models (Victor has the Professional, the Firepower, the Cutskill, and the Superrange II, Smith has the Dual Guard and the Toughcut among others, Harris has a bunch too). They all seem to have different model numbers for the handles, tips, and regulators. Are all Victor tips going to interchange with all Victor handles? Likewise with Smith and Harris? At the local community college we have a hodgepodge of all sorts of brands, so I guess the brands themselves are interchangeable too (fittings set by AWS?). Any suggestions on particular outfits? I'd like to buy new to be sure I'm not getting something that was abused. No, I'm not looking at the multitude of Chinese knock-offs.
Stuart de Haro
I bought a Craftsman (Harris) torch in the early 1980s. Any name brand is likely to work fine.
You should look at the price of tips. The Harris I have uses just a small bent-tube tip, while I think that some of the Victors require you to buy the complete end of the torch that screws onto the handle, and that's more expensive.
I've got a couple of Meco Midget torches. They are reasonably priced and very compact. I've used it to weld 1/8" thick aluminum sheet so they'll put out some heat.
I personally own a Smiths and I believe it to be one of the better quality torches. You should visit your local welding supppy and see what brand they carry (and support). You can have the best rig but it won't do you any good if you have to wait for weeks for a tip to be ordered in because no one stocks it. Also look at what the cost of the tips are.
They are definitely NOT all interchangeable.
I have an older, smaller Smith set, which has a female torch body, and male torch tips- and then, I have a medium sized Victor set with a male torch body, and female torch tips.
I think within any brand (and me, I would buy Victor, or, second choice, Smith) there will be interchangeability within a certain size range, but not with every torch in the line.
There are 6 foot handled cutting torches, and there are very small light duty handles that are 3/4" in diameter. Not compatible.
I would just buy a medium range Victor kit, with regulators, 3 or 4 tips, a rosebud, and a cutting torch, and you will have the best luck, nationwide, getting replacement parts just about anywhere.
But, with a Victor, beyond maybe O rings, you probably wont need any parts for most of your life. I suppose you could physically damage the torch, by dropping or hitting it, but otherwise, a Victor set ought to last, in home shop use, pretty much the life of the owner.
There are a couple of victor knock off and they are compatible with each other.
I have the full size journeyman 315 and little journeyman 50 I picked up NOS at a pawn shop. Have never used the cutting head with the 50 though. Paid something like $90 for the set.
I use Koike quick disconnects on the torches to I can swap them in seconds.
Really, as long as you get one of the main brands you should be fine. Although I would stay away from smith as they are not carried at many places (At least around here)