I have been using an OXY/MAPP set up (the kind that you get at Lowe's) to practice with and will probably continue to use it
for a little while longer. Withthe equal size tanks I run out of O2 rather quickly and its getting pricey. I am looking to upgrade
to Oxy/Acetylene. I need some recommendations, I am doing lots of reading on the subject but I would like some input from
people doing bicycle work as opposed to autobody/aircraft. I am not discounting what I have learned so far, just want a more
Freddy Parr sells torches, sometimes second hand. I'm also swallowed up with an interest in aircraft, so I break towards the aircraft torches designed for welding. They can braze also, you probably need the long neck for the heavier brazing tasks, to keep the heat reasonable. It's just too much to pass up on the ability to do everything from heat treating knives to welding jewelry for the cost of the unit framebuilders are using. You can weld steel aluminum copper, stainless cast iron and so forth. The only disadvantage is that the Smith style has a round handle that is probably easier to keep in motion than the Tweako style. Now that the tweeko has propane heads, it's an even tougher choice.
You want regulators that go down to low pressure since bike tubing is thin. Most manufacturers make various models. I bought some Harris regulators off ebay brand new for a great price - paid about 1/3 what the shops sell them for. Do some research before biding and you can find a good deal.
As an aside, I'll sell my old Victor Firepower regulators for $20 + shipping. They work fine but I think one of the gauges doesn't go to zero anymore when they are off. You still need to find hoses and a handle.
Becareful buying/selling bike parts on-line. I learned the hard way. :(
Peterpan, I have been looking at the Smith Airline series any experience? I would also like the versatility to do more than just bikes. Think furniture/tables and the like.
I am really looking to buy the whole shebang all at once. I really like the looks of the Smith outfits even though they have bigger torches than the Airline. I was all so considering the Henrob, but I can't really justify the cost for the torch alone when I can get the whole Smith outfit for the same price . I also considered the $50 kits on eBay, but I really don't want to buy **** that I am going to have to spend more money on later. Smith is US made and carry a lifetime warranty so that is a big plus
I've always had Victor regulators, hoses, handle & tips.
The kit came with everything but the tanks.
And that should be looked into prior to getting the other stuff.
Tanks can be rented or purchased. I bought small tanks and a cart. I can easily load them in the trunk of my Accord.
A couple of things to remember, tanks have to be pressure checked every 5 years, or you can't get them filled. Some places don't FILL tanks, they trade them. Lost a pair of custom painted ones that way once.
But trading is easier than filling, and most tanks are rentals anyway. Rental is probably the way to go if you want big tanks for little initial outlay.
And I must add that I'm very glad to have an oxy/acetylene set-up, every time I use it!
Which may not be often, but it's just the right tool for the job.
Melting metal since 1986.
Sorry YJ I don't have the smith myself. What is different about the meco is that the ends can be changed, so you can have a huge range of tips for about the price of one tip, in a victor. Of course the single purpose tips are a little neater, but it's the flame I am working with not the tip.
One point tinman makes in a video is that the +/- accuracy range of the regulators blows away pressures in the range we are using, fagetaboutit. They have a traditional way of adjusting the gas by feel and you don't use the pressure gage. Good gages are still important for flow and safety, but I wouldn't worry what they say. The basic technique is:
None of the torches are all that expensive, and if you want one for cutting I would just watch Craigslist where they come up around here regularly. You need a really small orifice and a handy torch for brazing. Don't be tempted by a cutting set-up or even something midway between. You will lay out the cost of a torch just getting the orifices you need, and that money will just be a stopgap.
If you want to save cash you might try Freddy Parr, he has second hand Smith stuff in the bike sizes when he has it.
Dr.D, I actually have a Tractor Supply about 5 miles from my house where thy have the Thoroughbred industrial gas exchange program. Basically works like a propane exchange. I plan on buying some decent used tanks and trading them in to the program for the $19 fee plus new gas. More info here: http://www.gaspony.com/welding.htm
My initial thought was to grab one of these 50ish dollar kits . But something tells me I ultimately wouldn't be happy with it down the line. If I am wrong and this is a decent set up, by all means please tell me. I like to save money.
I have also been looking at Smith's and Victor's outfits but they only include one tip, #2 I believe. But I guess welding tips can be had at pretty low prices.
I love learning about this stuff, so please keep any info or advice coming.
I bought the small Victor portable unit and couldn't be happier. There were a ton of options and I got tired of shopping around so I went to the welding supply and bought it. I used the oxy/mapp torch for my first frame and it was a huge pain and very exspensive. Using that torch contributed to some bad habits which I realized when I started using my oxy/act setup. I have finally lined up a true workshop/tinkering area and will rent larger tanks once I have it all setup but the small tanks are fine for a random frame here and there.