Discount Torch Kit Cylinders - Can They Be Filled? How?
After a long term loan my “B” size (about knee-high) oxygen tank
recently went back to its rightful owner and left me in quest of a
new tank and gauge. Here in Canada the three dominant gas & welding
suppliers are Praxair, Linde and Air Liquide. The price for B tank,
gas and gauges at the nearest of these majors (doesn’t matter which)
seeming quite steep, I then checked out ebay - which led to the
following curious situation.
A number of ebay vendors offered “portable Victor style kits” -
oxygen cylinder, gas cylinder, hose, torch tip, gauges, all complete
in a carrying caddy at considerably less than half the gas majors’
prices for a comparable unit. Only thing is, all the ebay listings
come with the caveat that their cylinders are non DOT and not stamped
so the buyers should check with their gas company first.
After checking with various metalsmith forums here and in the US it
seems that certainly none of the gas company majors will fill such an
unstamped cylinder. Thus the curious moral of the story appears to be
that if you get the ebay kit, you’re essentially out of luck: you
can’t get the cylinders filled, hence can’t use it. As a Canadian
jeweler wrote, “Hans, we bought one and no one would fill it unless
we had it inspected and stamped which was cost prohibitive. Still
sitting empty in our shed.”
Now, in their listings, some (but not all) of the ebay sellers give
a running total of how many of these kits they’ve sold. Adding up all
the ones that did give a tally, just on the first ebay page alone it
came to about 1,400 units sold.
Does that mean that we have (at least) 1,400 people saying "Oh shit
- what do I do with it now?" or does it mean that there must be a
tank-fill workaround that I don’t (yet) know about?
Which at last brings me to my specific question/s: short of sending
them out for testing and certification, can such cylinders be filled?
(In the US or Canada). How? By some underground black market
moonlight route or by a legitimate path? Have you ever had yours
filled (howe) or know anyone who has, or who has bought such a kit
and actually happily uses it?