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Buy new tanks or Rent them?


#1

Hello,

I’m getting ready to purchase a Meco Midget oxy/propane to set up at
home. This is my first torch, so I want to get all the information
before buy this thing. On Otto Frei’s website they have a Meco Midget
set up with a 5lb. propane tank, 20cft oxygen tank, hoses, regulators
and tips. However I was told you just end up trading in your new
tanks for used ones that are already filled from a welding supply
company. Is it better to rent them or to buy new tanks and ultimately
trade them in right away? What’s my best bet?

Thanks guys!
Ashley


#2

ashley - the tank you are buying is most likely used if you “buy” it
from a welding supply it ok they pay some one to clean them up and
paint them and put new stickers on them and test the tanks. its kind
of like paying rent even though they tell you you are buying the tank
at $80 -$180 for the smaller size tanks which is average rate here
where i live i am sure alot of them dissappear and are lost where i
live you cant buy the big tanks you must rent them. If you dont like
the one the guy brings to the door, just tell him you want a one that
looks nice or write your name on the tank and drop it off and pick up
the same tank later. here in columbus ohio if you buy your tank at
supplier A then supplier B will refuse to trade in your tank because
it has someone elses name on it


#3

You’ll probably have to buy the first tank, then trade back and forth
with the welding co. for filled tanks for a fee. I have a 4ft tank
that works out fine and I use a regular grill tank for my propane.
Just make sure you have the correct regulators and you’ll be fine.


#4
I was told you just end up trading in your new tanks for used ones 

Not necessarily. I take my propane (including the one for my grill)
and oxygen tanks to the nearest welding supply company and have them
refilled. Very quick and easy. I wrote my name on my tanks so I (and
they) can see that it is the same one, for that same reason-- I
wanted to keep my nice new tanks.

Noel


#5

Ashley,

For a long time I used tanks rented from the gas company. At the
time it was the best option but the yearly rent does add up. They
changed the rules and offered to sell the tanks, only took about 1/2
a second to change my ways. I swap for beat up tanks, but it is quick
and I’m not responsible for periodic safety tests ($$).

Talk to the gas people first, anything sold as a jewellery tool
often caries a hefty surcharge. You might have to buy the torch from
a jewellery supplier but the gas people should be able to supply the
rest and offer help with the details. They really don’t like to see
former customers in craters, bad business plan :slight_smile:

Jeff
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#6

Not all suppliers swap tanks only…some will fill your tank. But
you have to wait around while they do it if they’ll do it while you
wait. I see no problem swapping tanks as opposed to refilling yours.

Either way its a good idea to crack the valve to make sure you
indeed get a filled tank. A few times I’ve carted the darned thing
back to the shop only to find they handed me an empty.

If you buy a tank hold onto your receipt, I’ve heard of 'mistakes’
made by charging a rental fee on an owned tank.


#7

Taking your propane tank to the welding supply company to have it
refilled, may be just fine. However, I would not even consider
taking my acetylene B tank to have it refilled. I don’t have a truck
bed, and would have to take it in my car. I know that some do take
acetylene tanks in their cars, and fasten the seat belt around the
tank to secure it, but I would just not take the chance. Good thing
that I am cautious. I had one tank delivered to me that oozed
acetylene from the top where the key fits to shut or open it. I
discovered this after it was delivered. I had attached my torch,
could smell some acetylene and immediately tested with the leak
detector fluid. Wow. It bubbled all over the place. I got that baby
out of my studio, called the welding people, and they came right out
with a replacement tank. It was safe for them to transport it in in
open truck, but would have been deadly if I had picked it up and
transported it in my closed car. -Even if I had the windows open, it
would have been very dangerous. So, even though I started with a
brand new tank, and now get some pretty beat up ones, I feel I am
doing the safe thing by letting them deliver the tanks.

The company I deal with is very reliable. When they brought out the
replacement tank, they attached my torch, and tested it before
leaving.

Alma Rands


#8

I asked about this at our local supplier here in Calgary, Alberta,
and was told that there is no way to have your tank filled and
returned to you. This is due to the fact that all acetylene tanks are
filled in Montreal, Quebec, and there is apparently no way to track a
specific tank. They then informed me that the government is
apparently planning to build a refill centre near Edmonton Alberta,
and if they do it might be possible to track it. So when I turned
in my shiny new tank and they brought out a ratty, pitted one I just
asked if they could at least find one for me that looked kind of
new. This last time I lucked out and according to the numbers coded
on it I am the first user of this most recent tank. They also sold it
to me at the old, cheaper prices. My supplier is pretty good.

Karen Bahr - Karen’s Artworx
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
http://karensartworx.ganoksin.com/blogs/


#9

Ashley

I looked into this in the UK a while back and after a lot of
research I found that for jewellery application you can not beat an
Oxygen generator over a tank. Propane tanks and regulators are not
too expensive, but all of the kit surrounding an O2 tank is, this is
due to the very high pressures it is stored under, not to mention
fire safety certificates which might be required. The concentrator
just pulls it out of the air around you and never needs replacing
(well, unless it breaks). They can be found on e-bay for a very
reasonable price.

The one I have delivers 5 litres a minute and runs my Hoke on all of
its tips (both little jewellers ones and normal ones, don’t have a
rose burner, so not sure if it would push it up to that, but it does
not struggle with the others so it might). To connect it you just run
a flexible 02 hose from your torch to the outlet on the machine. No
need for flashback arresters as there is little danger of that
happening.

They take a while (about 5 or 10 minutes to get up to a good 02
concentration, and then put out between 70 - 95% oxygen, rather than
pure. The purity goes up at the lower flow rates, which suits
torches as you need a fairly pure supply to keep very fine flames
lit.

The O2 concentrator would only be a bad idea if you ever needed a
lot of gas at any one time, say for an oxygen lance, or to run a big
Oxy Acetylene rig to cut or melt metal. 5l a minute would not really
help you then. Saying that, some glass artists (who use a lot of O2
regularly) put a bunch of concentrators in series to get the feed
they need. A bit of an expensive set up though.

CP


#10
Taking your propane tank to the welding supply company to have it
refilled, may be just fine. However, I would not even consider
taking my acetylene B tank to have it refilled. I don't have a
truck bed, and would have to take it in my car. 

Propane is equally dangerous to transport in a car. In the US it is
not legal to transport either one in a car. For legal transport it
must be in an open truck bed. Yes I know people do it all the time
but if you ever have an accident even if the gas is not involved you
can be cited for improper transport of hazardous material and if
there was a fire or explosion caused or contributed to by your gas
cylinder you may find your insurance will not cover you either.

Jim

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#11

my belief,as it applies to this topic,is to exchange acetylene
containers…If you have the clout…you can have the welding
supplier fill the pristine tanks that you own. I think that this
practice is done by the folks at the California College Of Arts And
Crafts in Oakland,California.

I can’t take the Crafts out of this hallowed institute of
learning…I’d also see a doctor vis a vis the clout condition. Most
of us mortals exchange our “dirty” dang acetylene cylinders for
another “dirty” dang cylinder.

If you are using" clean" propane, you probably own your tank. When
you’re not using it for BBQ’in a nice rare cut of Porter House steak,
it can be used for various heating applications. After you’re
finished, it’s probably a good idea to put it back on the Weber or
whatever. Storeing “Clean” propane within the confines of your house
can be asking for a visit from Mr. Trouble. This also applies to
acetylene. Check the orchid stacks for the debate over this
subject…

A good alternative to the larger BBQ size tank,is a smaller
refillable. Refer to Otto Frei’s catalog for this sweet little ole
puppy. There is to much trash on the planet to purchase the small,
throw away size. The exception to this rule is if you’re planning to
do any last minute soldering on a flight to a show or fair.

Tanks for the memories
rp leaf


#12
Propane is equally dangerous to transport in a car. In the US it
is not legal to transport either one in a car. For legal transport
it must be in an open truck bed. Yes I know people do it all the
time but if you ever have an accident even if the gas is not
involved you can be cited for improper transport of hazardous
material and if there was a fire or explosion caused or contributed
to by your gas cylinder you may find your insurance will not cover
you either. 

Jim: I know it’s not a good idea to transport acetylene in a car,
but where I live, no company will deliver B tanks - they will only
come and fill your underground propane tanks (for those who cook and
heat with propane). Just as you take your propane tank for the
Bar-b-que to get it filled and bring it back home in your car, so do
I take my acetylene tank - I put in behind the passenger seat and jam
the passenger seat against it so it is stable, open all the windows
and take the back route away from traffic when I drive home.

I tried to get it delivered because that thing is heavy when it’s
filled, but alas no company here in town will do so. It used to be
(10 years ago) that if you bought a large tank (probably 100 gal
size) and had it installed outside like the welding companies do-
that they’d come refill it, but that would have been a lifetime
supply for me. I only do this as a hobby so one tank lasts me a long
long time.

So far, luck has been on my side and nothing dreadful has happened
from transporting either the acetylene or the propane. I’d prefer
not to do it, but then I have no choice. And I can hardly afford to
buy a flat bed truck simply to transport one little acetylene tank.

Kay


#13

I’m fascinated by the different ways this is handled, both by
jewelers and by gas companies. Obviously differs widely!

I get my acetylene and my oxygen from a gas company an hour away (no
one local sells either). Generally I drive my tanks to them and swap
them (I do not own my tanks). The “rental” fee is nearly non-
existent. The do make deliveries to my town once a week, with a
fairly hefty delivery fee - plus their truck is huge, and won’t go
down my drive. So when I have to do it that way it costs more AND I
have to drive to meet them at a local bar :wink: We get some weird
looks!

My propane I can get locally, and I use one of their tanks. They
will refill as I wait - small town, small company, no problem.

I worried about driving with the tanks, but both companies assure me
it is fine. I nestle them in, and do strap them in, and so far have
had no problem. That said, if I get hit while carrying them I
suspect it would be a very bad problem… but nothing I can do about
that except drive carefully and defensively.

Beth Wicker
Three Cats and a Dog Design Studio
http://www.bethwicker.com


http://bethwicker.ganoksin.com/blogs/


#14

You may want to change to propane, its a cleaner flame. And more
convenient to fill.


#15

Here in Ohio, I believe it’s even illegal to have acetylene in doors
of your business. It must be outside the business and chained up for
support.


#16

whether it is legal or not to transport propane in a car a 20lb
propane tank would be like a mini nuke if it exploded so it wont
matter if it goes off in the back of the truck or within 20 feet of
the truck or the car or all the cars and trucks around you,you will
be dead or injured and so will every one else within the blast
radius. i think what the law and saftey concerns are trying to gaurd
against is, if the tank is leaky, so if you have to bring it home,
and you are worried about it, think about the problem and carefully
put the tank in some sort of plastic bag or contain it some how so if
it is leaking,the gas,will be in the bag then you can release the
errant gas into the open area of the great outdoors after you get the
thing to its destination provding you are able to stave offa nicotine
fit during the process

goo


#17

Not saying people will stop carrying tanks in their cars, but this:

and the related videos will make you think deeply about it.

BTW, we own, we have it delivered, and just pay for it. But we have
6 tanks, too.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#18

In Denver, Colorado the Acetylene tanks are all shipped to Amarillo,
TX to be refilled. Sad, but true. I gave an outfit to my son, and he
said he wasn’t going to give up his pretty original tank!!! OHOH

Also, when I pick up a refilled tank, I really like to see it full
instead of 3/4, or in between!

Rose Marie Christison


#19
Also, when I pick up a refilled tank, I really like to see it full
instead of 3/4, or in between! 

Or with a leaky valve, or one so stiff it takes a pipe wrench
handled by Hercules himself to open and close the damn thing…

One other consideration with tanks and refilling them or exchanging
them, whether oxygen or acetylene, is the issue of pressure testing
them. In most areas, tanks are usually required to be tested, and to
have passed that test before they can be refilled. Not sure if this
varies by location, but certainly it might by country. But in most
cases in the U.S., If you take a tank in for refilling, and it’s past
the expiration date from the last test, you might find the company
unwilling to accept it for exchange, or to refill it without
charging you for the pressure test. If the tank originally came from
that firm, they usually, but not always, waive that consideration,
since they’d have had to otherwise do the testing anyway, had the
tank been returned just before the expiration date (the test dates
are stamped into the tanks) This, by the way, is true whether the
tank is one you bought new, or one you got as an exchange. If you
use the gas slowly enough that you’ll have that tank around for a
longer time than the average welding shop might do, then it would pay
you, when exchanging the tank, to specifically request a tank that
has long enough remaining since it’s last test so as to not cause
trouble when it needs to be again exchanged. That request will often
get you a somewhat newer tank, in my experience. If you specifically
try to retain the exact tank you bought new (almost always difficult
to do), then you also might find yourself being held responsible for
the cost of pressure testing them now and then when getting them
refilled.

Peter


#20

One advantage of the lease/rent option for the tanks that you use is
that the owner company will then do the mandated pressure safety
checks and make sure the tanks meet safety specifications. We have
around 100+ E and M cylinders delivered each week with pick up of
empties (Tuesday and Friday). If we start to run short, a simple
phone call brings us the truck and delivery. Our main storage has
about 70 tanks in it, the outlying stations each have five tanks in
storage.

Remember, tanks do not spontaneously explode. They have to be heated
from outside or have the valve stem break off or the equivalent.
Something in the system has to fail. We had an employee involved (and
injured) in an oxygen fueled event when the regulator on the cylinder
failed when she performed a routine pressure check at the beginning
of her work tour.

Oh yes, I should also mention that we have 32 trucks with tanks in
them (1M and 3 Es). These vehicles are in use 24/7. In the past 34
years that we have been operating the only time we have had any
problem, including some massive damage vehicle accidents was the one
routine pressure check failure.

And to conclude, my full time position is with Emergency Medical
Services, we handled about 65000 requests for service last year. The
major thing about pressurized gases is to make sure that you handle
them safely.

John
John Atwell Rasmussen, Ph.D.
Geologist and Gemologist
Rasmussen Gems and Jewelry
Web: www.rasmussengems.com
Blog: http://rasmussengems.ganoksin.com/blogs/