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[Beginner] Torch Safety In Initial Set Up


#1

Hello,

I am planning to buy an air acetylene torch. I will set it up in my
garage, near a window, using fan and partly open garage door to
ventilate.

I have several questions.

Home owner’s insurance-- Do I need to check with them about having
this?

Safety in initial set up. My local supplier of acetylene will not
deliver, so I need a safe way to transport a B tank filled.
Suggestions for keeping it from moving.

Also, I will need to do the initial set up of the tank, regulator,
torch. I took a class that explained how to bleed a line, check for
leaks, etc. I haven’t actually tried these things. Any suggestions
for a newbie–or good resources.

And lastly–I’m using a plumber’s torch (propane) currently. It is
working alright for silver; but having trouble reaching solder flow
temperature for a larger copper piece. I’ve cleaned and retried
several times. Wondering if its just a lower temp. torch or if I’m
doing something.

Thank you in advance for any help.
Jamie


#2
Home owner's insurance-- Do I need to check with them about having
this? 

Possibly. that depends on your policy, state and local laws and fire
regs, and whether this is for personal (ie homeowner) use or for an
actual business. Safer to check, but then there’s always the
possibility that you’ll end up opening up a can of worms. You might
wish to be “discrete” in inquiring. On the other hand, should you
ever have a fire, even if not related to the torch, and the insurance
people find you’ve misled them on something they expect they should
have been told, then it could invalidate your whole coverage and in
some states, might even be considered fraud or something. The one
thing I cannot suggest would be that you deliberately suggest you
don’t have such, if for example there’s somewhere in your policy
application or paperwork that asks you, or requires you to tell them.
That WOULD be fraud, if you lie to them. it’s less clear if they
don’t ask, and you don’t tell… But you still might be putting your
coverage at risk. Read your policy carefully. Then it’s your call.
But the fully correct and by the book answer would be to have you ask
them about it, and maybe be willing, if needed, to pay extra for
coverage with that torch taken into account.

Safety in initial set up. My local supplier of acetylene will not
deliver, so I need a safe way to transport a B tank filled.
Suggestions for keeping it from moving. 

The B tanks aren’t that large, for one thing, and acetylene is not
under high pressure. So these are not so dangerous to move. I’d
suggest either on the floor of the passenger’s front seat, leaning up
against the seat with the seat belt wrapped around the neck to secure
it in position, or flat on the floor in the back seat, where there’s
just not much room for a tank to roll anywhere anyway. But ask your
supplier if that seems OK to them. Again, local regulations might
apply, or your car’s design might suggest alternative options…

Also, I will need to do the initial set up of the tank, regulator,
torch. I took a class that explained how to bleed a line, check
for leaks, etc. I haven't actually tried these things. Any
suggestions for a newbie--or good resources. 

Your gas supplier, for one. Your nose, for two. Acetylene stinks. If
you’ve got a leak, you’ll likely notice it. But check anyway after
things are hooked up with either a commercial leak detection liquid
your supplier can sell you, or the traditional standby, a bit of
water with dish soap. Remember, NEVER use a flame source to look for
leaks. And rest assured that this is not as risky and tricky as some
warnings might lead you to believe. Some common sense will go a long
way, once you’ve asked your supplier the appropriate questions and
all… Air/acetylene torches are not prone to some of the mistakes
that you can make with the oxygen and fuel torch setups. They’re
pretty straight forward.

And lastly--I'm using a plumber's torch (propane) currently. It is
working alright for silver; but having trouble reaching solder
flow temperature for a larger copper piece. I've cleaned and
retried several times. Wondering if its just a lower temp. torch or
if I'm doing something.

I’d guess you simply don’t have enough heat. The acetylene torch
will be better, especially if you’ve got a larger size tip for it.

Peter


#3
I'm using a plumber's torch (propane) currently. It is working
alright for silver; but having trouble reaching solder flow
temperature for a larger copper piece. I've cleaned and retried
several times. Wondering if its just a lower temp. torch or if I'm
doing something. 

Jamie, copper radiates heat like crazy. The propane may just not
burn hot enough for a larger copper piece. Try building a little
"furnace" around your piece, using soft firebrick, charcoal blocks,
or the tufa from the annealing pan, and see if that arrangement will
(eventually) retain enough heat for solder flow on your copper piece.

Judy Bjorkman


#4

Jamie,

  1. Tell insurance AFTER you have made a reasonable setup. Tell the
    fire dept, as well. This could get nasty, as overzealous regulatory
    types make you do more than is really needed. They might give
    referrals to a connected crony who will “help” you to comply.

  2. Keep the tank upright if at all possible. Keep it restrained from
    bouncing around, doing whatever it takes to accomplish. A bunch of
    small rope and a Boy Scout handbook are good tools to have, or webbing
    tie-downs, or bungeess Do not store tank in an unventilated area.
    Check for leaks, especially when you take possession.

  3. Keep the tank restrained and upright in the shop. Keep it away
    from any heat sources. The fusible plugs could melt. Acetylene dealer
    should have free resources about safe handling, good revisiting of
    your coursework.

  4. Copper does have a high melt point, you will need serious heat!

Best of luck, welcome aboard! – Dan, I.J.S.


#5
I'm using a plumber's torch (propane) currently. It is working
alright for silver; but having trouble reaching solder flow
temperature for a larger copper piece. I've cleaned and retried
several times. Wondering if its just a lower temp. torch or if I'm
doing something. 

Got a welder friend who can put a real torch to it ? It sounds like
a job for acetylene, not for propane or MAPP, although you might try
one of those little butane torches if you’re doing spot soldering.
You’d be surprised how much heat some of those little suckers can put
out, with a very concentrated pinpoint flame. The plumber’s torch
flame dissipates too much - great for melting silver and such, but
the only soldering you can really do is tin/lead on copper pipe. I
learned that early on (read last week) the hard way.

Brian Corll
Vassar Jewelers