So, does anybody have any experience of the above or any better
suggestions ( so i can stop lugging those big cylinders up and
down two flights of stairs, ) any advice much appreciated.
Like many glassworkers, I have been using oxycons to fire
propane/oxygen torches for glass since about 2004. I LOVE them. I
have three hooked together so they can run a glass torch with a flame
up to 1" in diameter and as long as my arm. For your application you
should need only one machine, and perhaps a small one at that.
Oxycons are much more economical than renting or buying oxygen
bottles - mine paid for themselves in less than a year. No need to
transport bottles or pay to refill them ever again.
They are also an improvement in safety - there is no risk of
breaking off tank valves to create an unwanted missile. No large
amounts of compressed oxygen present to accidentally accelerate a
fire out of control.
It takes about 3 minutes for my oxycons to warm up and get a good
purity of oxygen flowing through, so I turn them on a few minutes
before I plan to light my torch. I tend to turn my torch off and on
frequently during a work session so I don’t want to keep turning off
and re-starting my oxycons. Since back-pressure is not good for the
oxycons, I leave the oxygen valve on my torch open all the time. I
just close it briefly (to get a fuel-only flow) when I’m lighting the
torch and again when I’m blowing out the flame. There’s no need to
worry about “wasting” expensive compressed oxygen, and it’s not
possible to create a hazard by super-saturating your workspace with
oxygen because you’re only releasing back into the room a small
quantity of oxygen that was there already.
Other good news is that prices have actually reduced on these
refurbished machines over the last few years - by 50% in the case of
the machines I own. If you’re in the US I recommend Unlimited Oxygen.
Jack Ridgeway, the owner, refurbishes and services the machines. He
modifies them specifically to power torches for both glass and
jewelry applications. This is important. Most torches need flow rates
and pressure that are higher than the human body needs or wants, and
therefore higher than most unmodified oxycons can produce. Unlimited
has great machines, great prices, and great customer service.
According to Smith’s website http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/18x the
Little Torch requires a minimum of 1 lb each of fuel and oxygen
pressure. Recommended pressures track the tip sizes, so at the low
end, 2 lbs of fuel and oxygen pressure are recommended for the #2
tip. At the high end, 8 lbs of fuel and oxygen pressure are
recommended for the #7 tip. Maximum flow rate is not given on the
website but a phone call to Smith should yield that
If you do any casting I suggest that you obtain the flow and
pressure figures for your casting torch as well, and buy an oxycon
big enough to do both jobs. Just buy 1/4" ID plastic tubing and
barbed hose connectors at the hardware store and run it to both torch
Once you know the required flow rate and pressure, check out the
Unlimited Oxygen site at unlimitedoxygen.com and look
over the selection of machines. Call Jack with any questions - he
can discuss your needs, help you convert flow rates between Liters
per Minute and Cubic Feet per Hour if needed, and answer other
technical questions. You should be able to get what you need for
around $250 to $350, depending on the model you choose.