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  1. #1
    Seņor Member 4Rings6Stars's Avatar
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    I'm considering buying this OA torch set-up. Any thoughts?

    I've been practicing brazing with a borrowed oxy-propane torch, but it is very small (tanks and tips, I think it is meant for jewelry) and I want to purchase a set up of my own. I've looked around a lot and this seems like a pretty good price, but I could be wrong. What do you think, would I be better off buying one of those $100 sets online and just renting tanks or is this a quality set up? This will be used for hobby lugged and fillet brazed framebuilding on a small scale, couple frames a year maybe.

    He said he would do $270 cash.

    "Nice lightly used Smith Cavalier Oxy-Acetylene Gas Welding, Braising and Cutting setup that includes Tanks, regulators, hose, flash back preventors, torch with cutting and welding tips. It includes extra hose, glasses, striker and rods....
    The torch body is the Smith AW1A airline style that takes their AW series tips. It's a pretty easy handling, high quality small-size torch handle."

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  2. #2
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    That will do the job just fine.

    The only downside is that the tanks are very small, and you'll have to fill them more frequently - and you surely don't want to run out in the middle of the joint. Also, relative to the tank capacity, small tanks are expensive to fill. However, many welding supply places where you'd have them filled have a trade-in program, so you could move up to larger tanks.

  3. #3
    Seņor Member 4Rings6Stars's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2wheel-lee View Post
    That will do the job just fine.

    The only downside is that the tanks are very small, and you'll have to fill them more frequently - and you surely don't want to run out in the middle of the joint. Also, relative to the tank capacity, small tanks are expensive to fill. However, many welding supply places where you'd have them filled have a trade-in program, so you could move up to larger tanks.
    Hmm yeah that might be an issue. Since I won't be using it too frequently, I thought owning tanks would be better than leasing and I was told that I couldn't own the larger ones. The seller says that the Acetylene is a "B" tank and the Oxygen is 40 cu ft. I'll call my local welding shop (Airgas) and see if they would take these in trade and if I could trade up a size.
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    This is what I did, and I gather our gas rental scheme is similar. I bought tinman torches, which are cheap excellent quality and good for welding as well as bike work. You can weld bikes just like tig or do brass or silver. But if you don't want to weld, then in general, the set-up you are looking at there is better for the torches. A cutting torch hasn't any direct bike benefit, but I am making a milling machine for which the frame may required me to cut 2 inch plate. No fun on a bandsaw...

    Gas wise I am picky, I believe, because it suits me, that propane is better for brazing, better heat level, and cleaner. Potentially much safer. I don't know what the insurance company will say i I burn the place down doing bike work, but they shouldn't flinch if I have an unrelated fire and the only gas I have is my BBQ bottle. I use propane to run my forge, and to weld and braze with. Haven't had an actual BBQ in a while. Accetaline is a sneaky gas, and I wouldn't like to think my neighbours were using it, given the set-backs we live with. It's a good gas though if you have a separate building and a buffer, and learn it's ways. One problem with propane is that it is an O2 hog, but for the number of bikes you are planing that shouldn't mater. I may be getting an O2 concentrator this weekend, and if I do that could save some trouble on the O2 front. Leave my gas supply needs entirely handled at all hours by the local gas station!

    If you do all that retail, except for the concentrator, which only makes sense if you get one from the classifieds, then you can probably get it done for around 500. More expensve, but safer and far less expensive trips to the gas place.
    Last edited by NoReg; 12-05-10 at 02:20 AM.

  5. #5
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    Wow, came across this: The guy is using LP for his torch, and a concentrator for his o2. I have an lp lead into the shop, no high pressure gas!

    http://www.daclarke.org/ArsBrevis/oxyBoxen.html

    http://www.chaski.com/homemachinist/...87a79e27b5532b

  6. #6
    Seņor Member 4Rings6Stars's Avatar
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    Peterpan1 - That's interesting. The O2 Concentrator would be awesome but out of my price range for now, even used. I plan on using brass/bronze filler at least starting out and was told that that would be difficult using propane. Do you have any experience with higher temps or do you only use silver?

    The set-up mentioned sold out from under me today. Annoying...it had been posted for almost two weeks and today I had the cash and planned on buying it somebody else did. The search continues!
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    Assuming we are talking oxy propane, it's just shy of 5000 F. Tha't' enough to do with it what can be done with AO though the pace is a little slower. With propane by itself, you can do fillets with either material, but it is not sufficiently hot to do it properly.

  8. #8
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    liquigas allowed me to buy the bigger tanks. Yeah, running the smaller tanks to get filled may be an annoyance. The tanks always seem to run out at the worst times. Dont ever run them completely dry.

    my .02

  9. #9
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    thoughts

    That seems like a good deal. Nice torch and a few extra tips by the looks of it. If you keep looking, you might find a similar price for a set-up with larger tanks........With that said, you might not. I used similar size tanks like this for a few years. You can get at least a bike out of one fill. On the plus size, they are easy to transport. Are they Smith regulators as well?

  10. #10
    Seņor Member 4Rings6Stars's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boedie View Post
    That seems like a good deal. Nice torch and a few extra tips by the looks of it. If you keep looking, you might find a similar price for a set-up with larger tanks........With that said, you might not. I used similar size tanks like this for a few years. You can get at least a bike out of one fill. On the plus size, they are easy to transport. Are they Smith regulators as well?
    That set-up sold before I could buy it...the hunt continues. I searched craigslist nationwide to see what was out there and found 15 or so set-ups with tanks in my price range (around $250) but none within driving range of Boston!
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  11. #11
    Seņor Member 4Rings6Stars's Avatar
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    Okay I may have found a set. What do you guys think of this one? I'm thinking I'll offer $200.

    Cutting Torch Set - $300 (Stafford Springs)
    Date: 2010-12-07, 4:57PM EST
    Reply to: sale-wgpay-xxxxxxxxxxx@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]


    Selling a set of torches, tanks ( still have gas) , hoses and cart. Gauges are Victor and Oxo #402, all parts in good condition Asking 300.00.Email if intrested.






    My worries are that it is an old set up and I might have difficulty getting the tanks filled/exchanged as they are likely past inspection. I have also heard that you just have to pay a small fee to get them reinspected...

    Thoughts?
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  12. #12
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    My thoughts are that, that torch body/hoses/etc appear to be huge, which makes it not something I'd be interested in for brazing bicycle frames.

    I'd suggest checking with your local gas supplier as to what their exchange rules are as YMMV, then you'll know going forward what you have to concern yourself with in terms of old bottles.

    The value may be there even discounting the hoses/torch, but then again it may not.

  13. #13
    Randomhead
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    I think it probably would be worth some reasonably discounted amount off of the asking price, especially if you get the cart. OTOH, you'll probably want a lighter torch at some point.

    I learned on a huge torch. I'm not sure how much it really held me back. Once you learn to braze, the only issue with a heavy torch is just a matter of getting tired of holding it.

  14. #14
    Seņor Member 4Rings6Stars's Avatar
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    Regarding torch size...and sorry in advance for all the dumb questions.

    What do you guys recommend? I am currently using a borrowed Smith "Little Torch" for practice and it is very comfortable and maneuverable but I think way too small for actually doing a frame. I thought the large torch in the picture above was more what I should be looking for. Something in between is probably what I need though. Are torch bodies interchangeable at all or what I need to get new hoses?

    This is the body I'm using (cute isn't it?), but I have a slightly bigger tip (see next pic).


    The #7 is what I'm using for practice and this picture is pretty accurate of the flame size.
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  15. #15
    Randomhead
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    I've always wondered if those are big enough for anything useful. The smallest torch I've heard of anyone using is the meco midget. I have a Smith AW1A, which looks a lot like the torch in your OP.

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    Torch size doesn't have much to do with output, but it can have to do with comfort. My MECO is a case in point. I should note that they make a longeneck accessory. In standard form it will blaze away all you want, but your hand is too close, of course one could MacGyver a handle extension for it also. I love it by the way.

    Classically, most frame builders once used standard size torches. Even the small sizes now in vogue were originally designed for aircraft welding. They are called aircraft torches, and you can be sure people weren't using them for lugged airframes. In welding the torch is often horizontal where extra weight is very noticeable, and one is following a line, not just artfully throwing the heat around. These days, most people are such healthy specimens they want to use the delicate welding torches for general work, possibly with ultralite hoses. Pass the beefsteak!

  17. #17
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    I agree with PP....I think
    The torch in post #11 is a fine size for brazing. Ultra light hoses and tiny torches won't help you learn to braze and will just cost you extra $ at this point.
    Also, ask the owner about the age of those tanks, that pic doesn't tell you anything because a lot of the tanks you get at a shop have that beat up look to them.

  18. #18
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    didn't they stop making tanks in 1948 or something? Kidding, but it seems like I've never gotten anything that looked like it was anything other than an antique

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Live Wire View Post
    I agree with PP....I think
    The torch in post #11 is a fine size for brazing. Ultra light hoses and tiny torches won't help you learn to braze and will just cost you extra $ at this point.
    I'll respectfully disagree. Not dragging around unnecessary extra torch weight in the form of "heavy duty" torch bodies and large diameter rubber hoses designed to provide enough fuel/gas to enable welding 1 inch plate most certainly can make learning to braze .9mm wall material easier.
    For me, personally, having dragged around several setups of varying weight, the aircraft torch and kevlar hose combo was the easiest to work on control with as you have less fighting gravity to think about so the brain can be more fully focused on the mechanics of what you're actually trying to to rather than thinking about how heavy the damn torch is.
    That said I don't own kevlar hoses and probably never will, but I do have the lightest rubber hoses the welding shop carried and an aircraft torch now in addition to the larger torch and hoses I started out with (which are still smaller than what is shown).


    Will it work yes (depending on what those tips actually are).
    Is it optimal? I'd say say far from it.

  20. #20
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    the way I see it is that he is never going to be able to buy an aircraft style torch on CL. He can certainly learn to braze with that torch, the one I learned on was much bigger. When he does upgrade, he can get his money back out of this torch. Assuming he can find someone to refill those tanks, he is money ahead on that part of the deal alone. My tanks are smaller and cost me more than that from the LWS.

  21. #21
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    Has a full week gone by since I last posted this...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMA8X5pk2kI

  22. #22
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    Or what about this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuazU0IJUGA

    Not sure what make of torch that is, but I don't think Midget is the likely name.

  23. #23
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    I think in most cases, the age of the tanks doesn't matter. What matters is the tank certifications. When I bought my tanks, the 10 year certs were long expired. For about $28 each, the LBS swapped my tanks for tanks that were newly certified. I was given the opportunity to upsize them for a charge, but I don't mind the size I have (75/80cf) Unfortunately, each time I have the tanks filled, they simply swap them out for other tanks - but but with certs that are slightly older. I think the original 10 year certs are going to effectively expire in 5 years or less after so many tank swaps.

    To the OP, if they're Victor torches, look for the series number on them: 100 is medium duty (I think quite common for bike frames), and 300 is heavy duty - quite big and heavy, but that shouldn't stop you from being able to use them. Heck, you could probably sell or trade a 300 torch toward a 100. I don't remember the size smaller than 100 that many use.

  24. #24
    Senior Member PaPa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    the way I see it is that he is never going to be able to buy an aircraft style torch on CL.
    Perhaps not CL, but if he (or anyone else) has an ebay account, the selection has been ripe, as of late.

    I bought this Victor 'aircraft' J-50 - simply because it was cheap $7:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...7n28QlH1Y%253D

    And here was a nice J-40 w/tip $40:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...7n28QlH1Y%253D

    Or how 'bout this J-28 with a pile of extra tips $66:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...7n28QlH1Y%253D

    Bottom line, there is NO justifiable reason to use 'fence post' torches when bargains like these are available.

    I discourage 'used' setups (especially those with bottles) because you may, or may not be able to refill them. The second reason, is because many are stolen. Most welding retailers have data bases chuck full of 'hot' serial numbers - yes, bottles have serials.

    I recommend buying piece-meal. First, hunt down your favorite torch, then buy your regulators - here again, ebay has been inundated with bargains. The hose is usually very cheap - typically less than $20 locally, so absolutely no reason to risk used rubber. For bottles, just bite-the-bullet and lease from a reputable, close to home, dealer. If you have ANY issues with the bottles, it's the dealer's problem, not yours - and if you decide to move, say for example, to a differ state, you just return the bottles and secure your original deposit.
    Last edited by PaPa; 12-15-10 at 12:01 AM.

  25. #25
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    The Little Torch you are practicing with will not provide adequate heat for frame work. The first torch set (you showed) was in better condition than the second set, cheaper and adequate for the job. I'd go for that one. A couple of things, though; acetylene is hotter than propane (although much dirtier, too); MAPP gas is even hotter- you will require more propane to perform the job. Propane is a heavier than air gas and is therefore, illegal to store indoors. Depending on local fire codes, you may be able to only use, legally, 5lb tanks or 1 lb disposable tanks, indoors. Acetylene is legal to store indoors. However, I have seen many plumbers dragging around propane tanks for indoor work without any worrying about fire codes. I suspect that there are many people who use such torches indoors.
    Propane is much easier and cheaper to find than Acetylene and MAPP; you can do 20 lb tank swaps at gas stations, these days. Acetylene, on the other hand, is available from welding supliers, who may not be available to "after hours" type hobbyists. The second set of torches showed rusty, ill cared for regulators- one of the most expensive and critical parts in any torch outfit. I would hesitate before buying rusty regulators.
    As stated before, you may have to purchase your own cylinders, if the tank set is stolen, but you can at least re-use better cared for regulators. Tanks purchased from welding suppliers are routinely hydrostatically tested- legal and safe; where as a used set may not be up to current standard.

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