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  1. #1
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    oxy outfit recommendations?

    Any recommendations for a beginning frame builders oxyacetylene outfit? I'm trying to keep it under or around $200, without tanks. Uses for now would be for chopping up old frames and putting them back together. (tall bikes, etc.) Just got the Paterak manual too, so I'm hoping to start brazing frames this summer. Thanks

  2. #2
    Senior Member Nessism's Avatar
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    Victor Firepower fits the bill. You are going to want to add a couple extra tips but these are pretty cheap and readily available considering they are Victor compatable.
    http://www.sjdiscounttools.com/fpw0384-0656.html
    Becareful buying/selling bike parts on-line. I learned the hard way. :(

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  3. #3
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    Thanks. Was also looking at the victor compatible kits on ebay that go for around 90 bucks. Anyone have any opinion on these? http://cgi.ebay.com/VICTOR-Comp-Oxy-...QQcmdZViewItem

  4. #4
    Dr.Deltron
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    Quote Originally Posted by fiver
    Thanks. Was also looking at the victor compatible kits on ebay that go for around 90 bucks. Anyone have any opinion on these?
    "Compatable" = NOT Victor!
    Get Victor equipment!

    I've had mine for 20 years, and they work as well now as when I bought them.
    When it comes to investing in a tool, buy the best you can afford. If you can't afford the best, keep saving.

    I have been collecting Thomas the Tank Engine for over 10 years. If I see something on eBay that says Thomas compatable, I pass. Some of the characters I have, are now orth over $200. (they were $10 when I bought them.)
    Good stuff will always retain its value and worth.

    So get Victor welding torches.
    Oooops, didn't I say that already?

    Get Victor, because nothing costs less than the best!


    like that?...?

  5. #5
    Senior Member Nessism's Avatar
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    Firepower is made by Thermadyne (parent company of Victor), and comes with a two year warranty.
    Becareful buying/selling bike parts on-line. I learned the hard way. :(

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  6. #6
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    That's what I thought. Just wanted to check in with the pros. Also, how important is it to have a built in arrester? I want to be safe, but before going to welding/fabrication school next fall I am mostly interested in the budget package to get my hands in it in the meantime. Later on I will invest in better equipment.

  7. #7
    I am not a deer
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    Victors Super Range II runs about $250. It is rated for heavier duty. This is what I have and I am not sorry about the extra cost. Arrestors are required in some form to prevent flashback. You might as well get good stuff now. You will throw money away on something cheep and good equipment is easier to learn with.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by fiver
    Any recommendations for a beginning frame builders oxyacetylene outfit? I'm trying to keep it under or around $200, without tanks. Uses for now would be for chopping up old frames and putting them back together. (tall bikes, etc.) Just got the Paterak manual too, so I'm hoping to start brazing frames this summer. Thanks
    With thinwall tubing, the smaller "aircraft" torches are favorites among frame builders - and for good reason. They are lightweight, have forward positioned adjusting knobs, and will easily weld over 3/16" thick mild steel if need be. After using one for well over 40 years, anything else in my hand feels like a fence post.

    1. Victor "J" series (J-28 and the older J-27)
    2. Smith AW-1 (better tip selection than the Victor)
    3. PREST-O-LITE W-200 (Now peddled by ESAB, I believe)
    4. Harris model 15 (Aircraft Spruce sells these)

    I would recommend buying just the torch, a few smaller sized tips and 25' of new, 3/16" hose. Then hunt down a set of cheaper, single stage regulators like the Victor S-250 series. I would avoid used regulators and hoses.

    BTW, your "chopping up" is best done with a quality "high tension" hacksaw or an 4" angle grinder. Torch cutting attachments are nice for dissecting a '59 Buick, but rarely used for bike building.
    Last edited by PuttPutt; 12-29-06 at 01:26 AM.

  9. #9
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    Potentually, one of the best bargins (in aircraft torches) on ebay right now. It is very similar to the Victor J-28 (Victor "J" series tips can even be used). Uniweld has been around a long time - decent stuff (one of my backup torches is the model 71). http://cgi.ebay.com/New-Uniweld-Oxya...QQcmdZViewItem

    I know nothing about this seller, so you're on-your-own if you decide to bid.
    Last edited by PuttPutt; 12-28-06 at 10:42 PM.

  10. #10
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    Meeco midget is also cheapish, and it's a better choice for people who want to do a fair amoutn of welding on whatever at the same time. The stick handles are better for the brazing crowd.

    Some of the regulator assemblies have FB arrestors in them, and others need them added externally. So if your cheaper units aren't so equipt then you may end up paying more in the end where you would have been better off buying the better units in the first place.

    tinmantech.com

  11. #11
    bobkat
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    I'd go along with what Putt Putt said, about the smaller torches used for aircraft steel. (I personally use TIG, but that's a different story)
    Also, I'd add a flashback arrester if it doesn't come with one. Also, very important to learn how to SAFELY turn your rig on and off, adjust it and bleed it down when finished. - very important. Torches can be dangerous if not used properly.

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    what about the lincoln set up that home depot sells.

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    I would recommend just buying the Victor setup and be done with it. Their portable unit is around $300 but comes with one tip, cutting attachment, and the tanks. I try to stay away from cheap tools because in one way or another they often become dangerous or break. The last place that I want cut corners is with torch setup. I have seen the Lincoln setup at Home Depot which is basically the same setup as the Victor but also about the same price. I would just shell out the extra $30 or $40 and get the Victor setup.

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    I would not buy one of those HD sized units for bike building. They are mostly cutitng torches for steel fabrication. For beginers in particular there is a lot of time moving a torch around to get a well brazed frame. The heavy units are vastly overweight for the work involved. Paternek estimates the bottom bracket is an hours work for the Newby. It's delicate and involves precise placement of the flame, off the work and between orther tubes and fixtures. You just won't have the control. Sure try it if you want a big cutting torch.

    Also check out your local gas supplier. Mine charges basically the same price regardless of the size of the bottles. So you are going to get ripped for the amount of gas that a HD compact unit accepts. You want standard size bottles they aren't too big anyway.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Nessism's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1
    I would not buy one of those HD sized units for bike building. They are mostly cutitng torches for steel fabrication. For beginers in particular there is a lot of time moving a torch around to get a well brazed frame. The heavy units are vastly overweight for the work involved. Paternek estimates the bottom bracket is an hours work for the Newby. It's delicate and involves precise placement of the flame, off the work and between orther tubes and fixtures. You just won't have the control. Sure try it if you want a big cutting torch.

    Also check out your local gas supplier. Mine charges basically the same price regardless of the size of the bottles. So you are going to get ripped for the amount of gas that a HD compact unit accepts. You want standard size bottles they aren't too big anyway.
    Just because some of the pre-packaged kits come with a cutting torch attachment doesn't mean they are not suitable for framebuilding. Just about all the standard sized torch handles will accept a variety of attachments and tips thus making them quite versatile. I have one of the cheap Victor setups, use tips from 0 - 3 when building frames, and haven't found handle bulk to be an issue.
    Becareful buying/selling bike parts on-line. I learned the hard way. :(

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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nessism
    I have one of the cheap Victor setups, use tips from 0 - 3 when building frames, and haven't found handle bulk to be an issue.
    With #2 tip, the typical, medium duty Victor 100FC handle weighs over a pound - or about the same as a full cup of coffee in a heavy, ceramic mug. The Victor J-28 w/tip is about 11 oz. Now add (approx) 8 more ounces of heavier (and stiffer), 1/4" hoses to your 100FC. Brazing a straight, 60 second butt joint on a welding table is one thing, torching half-a-dozen, precision, 360 degree, tight radiuses (one right after the other), is quite another. Sure it can be done, and is done, but by the fifth or sixth frame, it gets really old... really fast.

    Assembling a quality OA framebuilding setup piecemeal can be expensive, to be sure. But it only needs to be done ONCE.
    Last edited by PuttPutt; 01-01-07 at 01:40 PM.

  17. #17
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    Here's another possibility;

    http://cgi.ebay.com/VICTOR-BRAZING-W...QQcmdZViewItem

    Torch looks like a Victor J-28 w/#4 or #5 tip. I'm always leary of used, but this set is definately inviting.

    And here's an additional (size #1) tip for the above torch;

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Victor-acetylene...QQcmdZViewItem
    Last edited by PuttPutt; 01-03-07 at 02:32 AM.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Nessism's Avatar
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    Puttputt's ebay torch talk inspired me to bid, and win, a brand new Harris oxygen regulator for a great price! http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...4769&rd=1&rd=1

    Ebay seems to be a great place to find this kind of stuff – I was able to buy a high quality heavy-duty regulator for less money than the value priced economy ones usually sell for at the local welding supply houses. So now I’m going to have to chase down a matching acetylene regulator…I’m a sucker for a deal
    Becareful buying/selling bike parts on-line. I learned the hard way. :(

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  19. #19
    Senior Member hotbike's Avatar
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    I would go for an Inert Gas arc welder. There is one serious drawback to oxy-acetylene, and that is explosion hazard. Your homeowners insurance rate will be TRIPLED if your insurance agent finds out you've got oxy-acetylene in the house.
    Assuming you don't tell your insurance agent, and your house blows up, the insurance carrier won't pay your claim.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotbike
    I would go for an Inert Gas arc welder. There is one serious drawback to oxy-acetylene, and that is explosion hazard. Your homeowners insurance rate will be TRIPLED if your insurance agent finds out you've got oxy-acetylene in the house.
    Assuming you don't tell your insurance agent, and your house blows up, the insurance carrier won't pay your claim.
    It's pretty hard to silver braze with an arc welder though.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotbike
    I would go for an Inert Gas arc welder.
    If all your gonna do is install trailer hitches or build lugless, heavy wall, "gas pipe" bikes,.. then by all means,... go for it. If you are recommending TIG, then you better have a robust checking account.

    Quote Originally Posted by hotbike
    There is one serious drawback to oxy-acetylene, and that is explosion hazard.
    Only in the hands of a complete idiot. If this were even remotely true, then colleges and universities would ban them.
    Last edited by PuttPutt; 01-05-07 at 02:14 PM.

  22. #22
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    Re: Regulators

    Like the torch, OA regulators come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and are often taylored to specific applications. Many will work fine for frame building, some will not. So, how do we determine the difference?

    Victor, for example, embeds valuable information in the model number. Looking at a Victor SR250B-540, we can determine the following:

    The "SR" means it employs single stage regulation. Not the best, but certainly doable. If the Victor model # began with "VTS", then this would indicate that it is a more desireable (and expensive) "dual stage". Dual stage regs provide a smoother and more consistant gas flow, and the operator isn't bothered with constant regulator tweaking as bottle pressures drop.

    The "250" is capacity, with larger numbers indicating larger capacities. (i.e. Victor 250, 350, 450, 700, etc). Any of these sizes will suffice for most frame building.

    The lonely "B" tells us its effective "delivery range" in psig. With most torch work on bike frames being done with smaller tips and line pressures well below 10 psi, (I use 4 to 6 psi), the "A" and "B" stamped regs are preferred. The "C" and "D" regs will do, but flow regulation suffers and regulator adjustments become overly sensitive at their lowest delivery pressures. (I have a VTS450D which simply shuts-off when any attempt is made to adjust it below 6 psi.)

    A = 2 to 15 psi
    B = 2 to 40 psi
    C = 4 to 80 psi
    D = 5 to 125 psi

    The "540" tells us it is for oxygen and uses a CGA-540 inlet fitting. If the regulator is stamped "510", then we know it's for acetylene and likely has a CGA-510 inlet fitting installed.
    ***********************************************************************************

    When buying regulators, always ask for the model number - then refer to the manufacture's specifications to determine if it's suitable for what you plan to use it for. Also, avoid purchasing or using ANY regulator whos line pressure gauge (aka. low pressure gauge) displays ANY + or - reading when it is detached from the bottle.
    Last edited by PuttPutt; 01-06-07 at 01:32 AM.

  23. #23
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    Hey guys. So I ended buying a victor firepower on ebay . Take a look. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=140071142390
    Thought it was a pretty good deal, fits my price range. Let me know if it seems like I will need to buy any extra tips or anything. Thanks for all the suggetons.
    matt

  24. #24
    Senior Member Nessism's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fiver
    Hey guys. So I ended buying a victor firepower on ebay . Take a look. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=140071142390
    Thought it was a pretty good deal, fits my price range. Let me know if it seems like I will need to buy any extra tips or anything. Thanks for all the suggetons.
    matt
    You are going to want a small tip for adding braze-ons, size 0 I think, and maybe one intermedate tip as well - say a #2. Have fun with it.
    Becareful buying/selling bike parts on-line. I learned the hard way. :(

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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by fiver
    Hey guys. So I ended buying a victor firepower on ebay . Take a look. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=140071142390
    Thought it was a pretty good deal, fits my price range. Let me know if it seems like I will need to buy any extra tips or anything. Thanks for all the suggetons.
    matt
    Looks like a very sweet score, fiver. Hard to confirm from their crappy pics, but it appears you landed a CST-150 kit, and not a Firepower - a better deal IMO, because it appears you got the aircraft, J-28 handle. The cutting attachment is a spendy CA-1260 and the regs look like 150's.

    Check the number on the barrel of the tips when you get it - should say something like "2-W-J". The first number (the "2") is the orifice size, and the "J" tells you it fits ONLY the "J" series torch handles. Nessism is correct, you'll eventually need a few extra tips - sizes 0 thru 2, would be handy.

    Again, I can't tell from the pics, but you may have to spring for different inlet fittings for the regs. If you do, your local welding supply can fix you up - just tell him what bottles you plan to use.
    Last edited by PuttPutt; 01-11-07 at 04:48 AM.

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