In speaking with my local welding supply company here in Raleigh NC
yesterday I learned about the national acetylene shortage. A calcium
carbide plant in Louisville KY exploded last week (2 casualties,
sadly). Calcium carbide is a primary component in the production of
acetylene gas, so the production of acetylene in the US is now down
to 30%. Supply is being rationed, prices are sure to rise, andit will
be this way for quite a while to come, they say. We have a shared
studio here, and among the six of us we have three air-acetylene
outfits, an oxy-propane micro torch, and a propane French blowpipe.
Air-acetylene is our primary heat here, and I’m concerned about being
able to get the fuel. My supplier says it’s being rationed to him,
and he will only fill a tank half-way as long as he has fuel to sell.
I’m told an adapter can be used to convert a Smith air-acetylene
torch outfit to propylene, but my supplier says he doesn’t sell a
lot of propylene and I can’t be guaranteed it will be available. He
said some air-acetylene outfits can be converted to propane. That
would be easy fuel to get, but there is no mention of that in the
manual for the torch. And I’m not sure that would get hot enough,
etc… without pure oxygen being added.I don’t want to buy a whole
new setup for us, but I’m not sure what to do.
Does anyone have any ideas or advice?
Ginger Meek Allen