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Aquarium hose for torch?


#1

Has anyone used aquarium hoses on a propane/oxy torch to lighten the
weight? I’ve never used any torch but the super light weight Smiths
Little Torch so that’s what I’m used to but now I would like to get a
Meco Midget and I’m concerned about the weight of the hoses. I know
Alan Revere uses/used them and wrote about this subject here. Is
there a special type aquarium hose that is safe? Can clear hose from
a hardware store be used? What is your experience with this (good or
bad). Your input would be greatly appreciated.

Laurel


#2
Has anyone used aquarium hoses on a propane/oxy torch to lighten
the weight? 

Yes, I use the greenish aquarium hose for my Little Torch. It is the
stuff normally used to connect the air bubbler pump to the aquarium.
I bought a roll on sale at my local pet store for a less than five
dollars because the box was damaged. I used the fittings from a
dried-out and broken Smith hose, and bound the junction with the
barbs with binding wire, and covered the binding with electrical
tape. In the five or six years the hoses have been in use, there is
no indication of hardening, the usual problem with the incorrect
hose.

I have also used the clear plastic hose from the hardware store, but
prefer the aquarium hose. Not only is the aquarium hose lighter, but
it is more flexible as well. For the the reason of flexibility, I
prefer the aquarium hose to the Smith hoses. A secondary reason is
that they are cheaper. The downside is that the green hose is
sensitive to heat. The slightest amount of heat and the hose balloons
out then bursts. However, with a bit of care, and covering the hose
with the glass fiber covering from a long-previous set of real Smith
hoses, I have no problems. I also draw a line with a red sharpie down
the fuel hose, and a black line down the oxygen hose, even though
this area is covered, just in case. (I only had a red and a black
sharpie at the time.)

I also am able to make my hoses an extended length in this way. I
have my Flex-shaft and torch hanging from a swinging arm next to the
bench,with the torch and tip hanging just a couple of inches from the
floor. The swinging arm is about 5-1/2 feet from the floor. I can
make the single hose long enough to reach from the floor next to the
bench all the way up through the swinging arm to the torch. I cover
the excess length with a piece of glass-fiber tubing from a heating
supply company.

My friend and mentor from several years ago had the clear hose on
his torch. After seeing the increased flexibility, he had me switch
his hoses to the aquarium hose.

Relating to a different post from a few days (weeks?) ago, I have my
propane tank outside the building, and the tank of oxygen in the
closet of the “shop” in my house. I use Y- connectors to feed two
Little Torches on the two benches in the shop. No, I don’t have a
part number on the Y-connections. I bought what was available from my
local artist-friendly welding shop. I did get the ones with
individual cutoff valves.

Works GREAT!.


#3

I have used them on my Meco torch for more than 30 years. No
problems. It has been so long that I can’t remember who told me this
was a good way to go for the hoses. I check the hose with soapy
water occasionally, and have changed them several times. I buy the
hose at an aquarium store only, so can’t say how it compares with
hardware store variety.

Carol Holaday


#4

Laurel,

Yes, aquarium hose will work fine for your torch, if your torch has
hose barbs for connections. Some torches have a screw-on fittings,
threaded one way for gas, one way for oxygen, and a few have hose
barbs, like the Hoke torch. The welding supply stores carry a heavy
red and green (threaded ) hose that will work for jeweler’s torches,
but I find them way too heavy and inflexible to be practical in the
studio. On the other hand, the plastic hoses I use are readily
available in a good hardware store, and in many diameters and sold by
the foot. It’s pretty inexpensive, too. If you go this route, I’d
advise miniature hose clamps on your hose barbs, on both ends of the
hoses. Take your torch into the store with you to check the hoses’
fit. If your torch has screw-type fittings, I think you’ll be looking
for manufactured hoses designed for that application. Those heavy red
and green hoses from welding supply stores will work, but I’m not
such a big fan. Smith carries those cute red and green cloth covered
hoses which they make for their torches, which you can buy
separately, but they are really pricey!! I have a set of black rubber
hoses on my Meco Midget, which were included in my original studio
purchase, so I have no idea who manufactured them originally. I am on
a quest to find a supplier for those magic hoses, so light and
supple, but I’ve had no luck.

If and when I find out who makes these great black hoses, I will
definitely post my find on Orchid!

Jay Whaley


#5

I don’t believe it would be safe for propane. In Alan’s studio, they
use natural gas, and I’m not sure it’s “aquarium hose” - looked more
like latex or lab tubing to me, when I was there as a student several
years ago.

In any case, you need to use hose approved for propane, if you are
using that fuel. It can rot other types of hose. Tinman Tech does
sell a lightweight hose set for the Meco midget that is good for
propane use. However, I have the standard Meco hose, and haven’t
found the hoses to be unwieldy at all.

Regards,
Bob


#6
If your torch has screw-type fittings, I think you'll be looking
for manufactured hoses designed for that application. 

Or, your welding supply store also has, or can get, adapters. For
your meco midget, these are “A” sized screw on fittings that screw
onto your torch, and end with hose barbs that will work with the
clear vinyl tubing. Be aware that hose barbs also come in different
sizes. The hose barbs I have on my meco, with the A sized (smaller)
threaded fittings, are smaller diameter barbs than the adapters
sized for B fittings. With work, you can get the hose that tightly
fits the “A” barbs to stretch over the “B” barbs, but it takes some
effort, and warming the hose. Or, use the next larger hose that fits
nicely on the B barbs, and a bit loose on the A barbs. Hose clamps
then tighten the connection.

Peter Rowe


#7

When I needed to replace the hoses on my mini torch I went to my
local hardware (they sell & repair chain saws, etc.) & purchased some
gas line with the same ID (I took a piece of the old hose with me).
It worked well and has a thick outer wall. I removed pieces of the
red & green covers & used them to delineate oxygen from acetylene.

Rick


#8

Hi Jay,

If and when I find out who makes these great black hoses, I will
definitely post my find on Orchid! 

Made me think of the site someone mentioned recently for Meco
accessories. Are the “Ultra Light Weight” ones what you’re hunting?

Says they’re Acetylene only, but also says “T” grade which the prior
listing rates for Propane, so not sure which piece to rely on (know
which I’d like to :-).

Cheers,
Ann Ray


#9

“TinmanTech” dot com has ultra-light-weight 9 foot long black rubber
hoses that work for the Meco Midget torch. They are recommended for
Oxy & Acetylene, but they also work (unofficially) for Propane. I
suppose they will only last for a couple of years if pressurized with
gas most of the time. These sound like they may be the same kind of
black rubber hose that Jay was mentioning. Anyway, I find they work
great (I am using Oxy/Propane) and are feather light and very
flexible, compared to the green & red rubber hose alternative. Of
course, they are not nearly as cheap as plastic aquarium hose. If in
doubt, call the folks at Tinman Tech and talk about it; see what they
have to say. Here’s the link to TMTech hoses:

To talk to a person: 530-292-3506. Again, I invoke all disclaimers.
I have no affiliation with this company, other than being an
occasional customer.

I just like what Kent and the gang do there: educate and train the
interested public, innovate & create new ways of doing things,
manufacture and market high quality products with excellent service!

Charlie


#10

Jay, the black hose in medical devices for the BP cuffs may be
rather thicker than you saw on your torch, but it is very flexible,
and inside diameter is small, and used on barbed fittings normally.
Also I see it in grey on some brands, but not as flexy I think.

I work my day job fixing electronic medical devices in hospital
setting. When get to work tomorrow I will see if I can get some
links. One firm of scientific/lab supplies I recall right now at
home is Cole-Parmer. Nafion tubing is another type of clear tubing
used in high stress apps inside some medical devices.

You will have to research your hose choice for heat resistance. I do
know a nurse won’t throw a BP cuff away for years. But it’s air that
is the gas under pressure, up to 200Hg on a regular basis for those
black or grey hoses.

Terry