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Gas regulators

To Peter, I second the motion made by Susan Ronan. We could use some
help in understanding gas regulators, how they work and how to adjust
them. I have not forgotten your offer to “talk electroforming” here in
Seattle. I hope to take you up on it shortly after I get some family
stuff out of the way. Hannah in Seattle

I would like to tag on. I’ve been told by some that the set of
Victor regulators I have doesn’t hold low enough pressure to work with
a Little Torch or a Swiss Torch. Unfortunately the people who told me
that have a vested interest in selling new regulators. They may be
correct, but in such cases I like to see the specs. I’ve looked at
both Victor’s and Smith’s sites and can not find a way to compare.
What is the scope? Other’s say it’s all hooey.

Similarly, the basic welding books I’ve consulted don’t say if you
can use a regulator for acetylene with propane. Some companies like
Frei and Borel sell an adaptor. If it works can you use a commercial
acetylene regulator with the “barbecue” type propane tanks.

Where do you go to get answers to these questions when you know the
people you are asking have a vested interest in selling you

I use a set of Victor oxy-acetylene regulators on oxygen and
acetylene tanks and the acetylene regulator and fittings are a perfect
fit on my barbecue tank of propane. I have used this propane-oxygen
mix many times for centrifical casting (and even for all the plumbing
in one floor of my home). Propane burns clean. Acetylene, before it is
burning with oxygen, is extremely dirty, giving off big, sticky globs
of soot that goes everywhere and makes a mess inside any building.

I learned the trick of attaching my acetylene regulator to a propane
tank from a jeweller in Washington. He had been doing it for years. He
said they are both fuel gasses and therefore share common fittings. He
was right. I love using propane and oxygen. Just love it.

Also, based on 25 years experience with my Victor set, I don’t think
think these regulators can hold a low enough pressure for the tiny
jeweller’s torch. These are higher-flow devices, designed for
industrial uses. I used jeweller’s equipment for the small stuff.

Most of the regulators sold at relatively economical prices are
"single stage". This means the high pressure from the tank is reduced
directly to the set working pressure delivered to the lines. With this
type of regulator, very low operating pressures will sometimes give you
a somewhat variable pressure, with a bit of surging now and then.
While this can be annoying, it usually is still workable. If you want
to spend more money, you then can get “dual stage” regulators. These
reduce the tank pressure to an intermediate, relatively low pressure,
which is then reduced again by the second stage, who’s output pressure
you can adjust. Because this second stage is only reducing a
relatively low pressure, rather than the high tank pressure, it’s
diaphram can be considerably more delicate and sensative, and thus
better able to set and control low pressures and low flow rates. In
most of the cases where dual stage regulators are needed, it’s a case
of multiple torches being run from one set of tanks, with situations
like one person turning on their torch and thus affecting the gas
pressures deliverd to the other torches. I get to deal with that at
work a lot, where we’ve got everyone working off an oxygen tank with a
single stage regulator. One guy lights his torch down the line, and my
oxy pressure changes, and my flame with it. If I’m in the middle of
welding a platinum piece, I might not see that change, and suddenly
find myself working with a carbon rich reducing flame with the molten
platinum. Not good. This would be a fine place for a dual stage
regulator, which would be better at keeping constant line pressures.
And your little torch, especially with it’s smallest tips, will run
better with the regulators designed for it. But that said, I’ve been
using cheap single stage regulators with my setup, including a little
torch, for 25 years, and not seen sufficient annoyance with that to
warrant switching to the more expensive regulators.

   Similarly, the basic welding books I've consulted don't say if
you can use a regulator for acetylene with propane.  Some companies
like Frei and Borel sell an adaptor.  If it works can you use a
commercial acetylene regulator with the "barbecue" type propane

Yes. but don’t take a regulator used this way for propane, and
switch it back to an acetylene use, without having the regulator
cleaned and serviced first. Or so, at least, I’ve been told. If anyone
knows specifically why, I’d love to know.

Peter Rowe

Victor Commercial regulators, “barbecue” size propane(commercial reg
fits without an adaptor) and a swiss torch have worked for me for
over two years. All I can say is it works for me. Beyond that
you have to make up your own mind. Hehehe two stage regs are pretty accurate it seems.