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Framebuilders Thinking about a custom frame? Lugged vs Fillet Brazed. Different Frame materials? Newvex or Pacenti Lugs? why get a custom Road, Mountain, or Track Frame? Got a question about framebuilding? Lets discuss framebuilding at it's finest.

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Old 06-22-11, 10:26 AM   #1
RobE30 
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What torch?

I'm getting tired of paying others to do frame mods for me, even though it is fun to hang out and shoot the bull while he is working on my frame, so I've decided to get my own torch. I was going to try MAPP gas but that is expensive for what it is and I think a torch might be a better investment. Anything I should look for? I'm probably going to get a used setup to save a few bucks. What recommendations do you guys have?
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Old 06-22-11, 11:30 AM   #2
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where I live, most people selling torches didn't buy them (grandpa did) so they don't know how much new ones cost. The asking prices are astronomical and the torches are very heavy and outdated.

The victor J100, 100FC, and 100C are pretty common, not horribly heavy, and there are definitely framebuilders using them. Not a bad choice if you can get a good deal on a setup. I have thought about getting one so I can do light welding, but I wouldn't want to use them for framebuilding, too tiring.

I ended up spending about $500 on tanks, torch, regulators, and hoses. I got a Smith AW1A, which seems like the most popular torch for framebuilding. The Victor (also made by Esab) J28 is also popular. One way to save money is to substitute propane for acetylene. The welding supply store should be able to sell you adapters for standard grill-style propane tanks. You'll have to check with the suppliers about propane compatibility for regulators. Most people report that they can use an acetylene tips for propane. The torch makers sell propane tips, but they usually just add a small divot at the tip to help keep the flame from detaching and going out.

Here is an older thread where we covered the subject in a little more detail

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Old 06-23-11, 01:32 PM   #3
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Timely thread. Rob, I hope you don't mind me adding a couple questions to yours.

I just got back from a trip to the AirGas store. Cool place. There's a retail shop right down the road from me. I told the sales guy that I was a noob and looking to get started brazing bike frames. He punched me up a quote so I could come back here and ask questions about it

He recommended me this kit http://www.airgas.com/browse/product...ct=RAD64003004

plus a 75 cubic foot (#3) Acetylene tank and a 80 cubic foot Oxygen tank. The tanks aren't cheap. They get 190 for the Oxygen tank and 150 for the Acetylene. An Oxygen fill is 25 bux and an Acetylene fill is around 40.

Everything said and done with gas, ready to rock is $700.

The guy I spoke to recommended against the "portable" outfits with the small sized tanks. He said that he's got people who bought those who are constantly in and out getting those tanks filled because they run out quickly. According to him. I dunno what these other people are using their torches for, so can't say how that relates to my case.

Can you guys offer any opinions/insight to this?
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Old 06-23-11, 01:46 PM   #4
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can't say much about that torch, but it seems expensive and it's going to be heavy. Any time something says "Victor syle" it puts me off right away.

He's right about the tanks. I don't think those little tanks in the kits would last me an entire bike.
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Old 06-23-11, 02:10 PM   #5
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Note that your gas vendor will probably be willing to later let you trade-in a small cylinder toward credit on a larger one. Starting with smaller set of cylinders could allow you to get going at relativly low cost for now and still be able to size-up later if you need the extra capacity.
That said, I have a portable "peanut" rig and seem to run through acetylene about twice as often as O2. It would be nice to have a larger acetylene tank so that I could expend both tanks at close to same time, fewer trips to the gas man to get just a HC tank refill. If you dont have an open bed truck, it is quite a hassle to borrow one transport cylinders. Dangerous and illegal to transport them in a enclosed car and most gas places (rightfully) will refuse to sell to you without safe means to transport. Before I had a truck, I used to remove the trunk from my car in order to transport cylinders.
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Old 06-23-11, 02:40 PM   #6
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oy, I never considered how to transport the tanks. I drive a Mini!

unterhausen, you're correct about the torch in that kit. While it is made by Victor, it comes with the model WH 26FC handle which they claim a weight of 16oz. ....so almost twice as heavy as the Smith AW1A
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Old 06-23-11, 03:15 PM   #7
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I carry my tanks to the LWS in my Prius. If you start to smell acetylene, jump!
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Old 06-23-11, 04:09 PM   #8
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Ok I did some more lookin and was able to piece together an outfit from WeldFabulous with a Smith AW1A torch, AW200 Nozzle, hoses, Smith HTP2 regulators, a set of shade 5 safety glasses, and a striker.

Do I need a flashback arrestor/reverse check valve or are they built into the regulators or the torch?
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Old 06-23-11, 05:19 PM   #9
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Zap, you will want to get a nozzle at least as big as a 203 and you will find times that a 205 will be usefull. The AW1A torch does not come with check valves but the Victor J28 does. They go on the end of the torch. The flashback arrestor goes between the hoses and the regulators. That means your check valve will be an "A" fitting and probably your arrestors will be a "B" fitting - since it is most likely that your regulators have a B fitting too.

Don't buy a shade 5 lens - you won't be able to see what you are doing with those dark things. Actually a shade 3 can be too dark starting out. When a person is experienced and already knows the routine of what they are doing and is using them day in and day out, then they provide maximum protection under those circumstances. Actually for beginners, safety sunglasses work well because you can see what you are doing better at first. it is hard enough starting out without making yourself nearly blind with a shade 5 lenses as well.
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Old 06-23-11, 05:41 PM   #10
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I don't use shades at all when brazing silver, and use sunglasses when brazing brass. I also don't stare at the cone.

Pete
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Old 06-23-11, 06:15 PM   #11
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I just have check valves at the tanks. I recently saw someone offer the opinion that if you are using A size hoses, there isn't much there to flash back.

I have some shade 3 welding glasses that I use occasionally, but normally I use some shade 2 /ACE glasses that cut out the glare. I probably could learn to use the shade 3 glasses for everything, but I would hate it.
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Old 06-23-11, 08:13 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mudboy View Post
I don't use shades at all when brazing silver, and use sunglasses when brazing brass. I also don't stare at the cone.

Pete
Even with silver, it's important to use glasses with infra-red filtering. I like didynium glassblower's lenses for silver work as they highlight the pink tint when the work gets to the proper temperature.
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Old 06-24-11, 01:25 AM   #13
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I have some didynium glasses too, but they don't have the additional shading. #2 + ACE is just about right. It's not easy to get didynium glasses any more, all the suppliers I've looked at say it's obsolete, replaced by ACE
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Old 06-24-11, 06:54 PM   #14
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Thanks a bunch, you guys are great!
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Old 07-06-11, 02:58 PM   #15
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I'm probably about a year or so out from starting to build a frame but I really want to make my front rack. Nobody sells a rack similar to what I have in mind. All the ones I see have straight supports which are fine but lack any artistic elements. I'd like to try to mirror the curve of the fork in my rack supports. This is the main reason I'm looking into a torch....
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Old 07-12-11, 11:23 AM   #16
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hi all buy a victor first and or victor copy cat from harris next which is made by lincoln electric the welding company. there torch uses all victor parts and tips. i know i sold them for years. but first would be victor. goss tips fit all victor torches fine every welder store in america sells some victor tip. smith next great but not every body sells them then purox as last resort they make top shelf but parts are some times hard to find i know i have one. this comes from a person who ran a welding store for 9 years. we fixed all brands of torches. check out the new victor regulators! The larger smith has flash back resistors built into torch. the small torch dose not and is easer to hold all day.
get flash back resistors its safer. welder man sighing off
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