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Little Torch Oxygen Use


#1

I recently purchased a little Torch which I have set up with
disposable propane and oxygen bottles. I am finding that the oxygen
gets used up very quickly. I am now on my fourth bottle of oxygen
and still on the first bottle of propane. The propane bottle is 400
grams and the oxygen bottle holds 40.1 grams. These are the
Bernzomatic type small disposable cylinders. At $10.00 (Canadian) per
bottle of oxygen, the cost is much higher than I would have hoped.

A couple of months ago I did a combustion calculation, balancing H,
C and O molecules (I’m a Chemical Engineer) and worked out that it
would take about 36 (40 gram) bottles of oxygen to one (400 gram)
bottle of propane. I am hoping that I made a mistake.

Can any users of the little torch please tell me what their actual
experience has been. i.e. how many bottles of oxygen have you used
per bottle of propane and what is the actual propane weight of gas
in the bottles?

Also, I am thinking of switching over to compressed air and propane.
(I do know about the safety hazards of later switching back to
oxygen) Does anyone out there run propane/ compressed air with a
little torch and how do you do it.

Thanks
MILT Fischbein
Calgary Canada


#2

Milt, you’re math sounds pretty close. I’m a glass blower, and I use
a 10 gallon propane tank ($8 to fill) for every large Dewar flask of
liquid oxygen (160L) ($100 per fill) Mind you these are MUCH larger
torches that I deal with. I use a smith little torch for fine detail
work, and like any other gas/oxy torch, they will use, dollar for
dollar, MUCH more oxygen than fuel. The more oxygen you buy at one
time the cheaper you get it. an oxygen tank, 40-100 cu ft, will prob
cost around US$100, and be under US$20 to fill at a welding supplier.
and should last much longer than the over priced mini tanks.

Hope that helps =)
-Doug in new Mexico.


#3

You did not make a mistake. The little bottles of O2 go really fast
and is non-economical, (but are good if you are on the road alot and
don’t want to lug around a large tank). This is why I purchased a
large refillable bottle from a local gas supplier for about $70. I
don’t remember the size of my first bottle, but it was about the
same height as a 5-gal bucket and about the same diameter as a large
coffee can. I also had to buy a regulator for it at about $50.

Results: I now had a refillable bottle which held 2000psi and
lasted about 6-months between refills, and a refill only cost like
$10.

A few years later I traded in the little bottle + $30 for the next
size up (either an “m” or “n”). I could still use the same
regulator, and now a refill will last me about a year, and a refill
has jumped to the overwhelming price of $15.

I still use the small 14oz bottles of propane, each of which lasts
me about 6-months. I stockpile new bottles when they go on sale for
about $2.00 each. There is even a device on the market which allows
you to refill the little bottles directly from your backyard grill
bottle, but at $2.00 each, why bother.


#4
Also, I am thinking of switching over to compressed air and
propane. (I do know about the safety hazards of later switching
back to oxygen)  Does anyone out there run propane/ compressed air
with a little torch and how do you do it. 

hi- have you considered using an oxygen concentrator? A lot of the
glass beadmakers are using them- they remove and concentrate oxygen
from the atmosphere. They are designed for medical use. Most of the
ones I have heard of being used in glass bead production are bought
used from medical industry and reconditioned. If you’re an engineer,
maintaining this should be a snap for you- Anne (who is mechanically
challenged-)


#5

Hi Milt,

Soon after buying my Little Torch, I concluded that the disposable
tanks of oxygen were no bargain. I bought a regular “M” size oxygen
tank and regulator and get it filled for about $11 with 40 cu. ft. of
oxygen. The regulator is more expensive than the tank but, at the
rate I was going through disposable oxygen tanks, it paid for itself
pretty quickly.

Linda


#6

Milt-

I use regulated bottles, but I think that you can perform a simple

test to find out why you are eating the oxygen. Take soapy water and
brush it over your fittings while they are under pressure. Anywhere
you have a leak, it should bubble (there is also leak testing
solution, but it looks a lot like green flux). Also, consider torch
adjustment. If your adjustments are not ‘perfect’ for consumption
then one gas will always be used faster than it ‘should’ be used,
chemically speaking.

Ben Silver

#7
I am now on my fourth bottle of oxygen and still on the first
bottle of propane. The propane bottle is 400 grams and the oxygen
bottle holds 40.1 grams.  These are the Bernzomatic type small
disposable cylinders. 

Hi Milt,

I also use the Little Torch, but with acetylene and oxygen. It just
came that way. In retrospect, I might have preferred propane had I
known there was a choice. My oxygen tank is not disposable, but
refillable/exchangeable at my local welding supply company. It last
about as long as my acetylene tank does. Not sure offhand of what a
refill costs, but it doesn’t hurt much, and is certainly more cost
effective than disposable canisters. You might investigate what would
be involved to move to this type of configuration.

All the best,

Dave

Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)
dave@sebaste.com


#8

I have a oxy propane rig with two torches running off it. One is a
larger Smith handpiece and the other is the Little Torch. I bought
the rig in 1982 and have never filled the propane tank ( I may be
forgetting one fill) , while I go through 3 or so tanks of oxygen a
year. The propane lasts for ever.

I would suggest you buy a larger oxygen tank, since the price for a
fill goes down with volume. You are paying a real premium for the
small tank fills. The large tank will pay for itself in savings.

I doubt it would run on compressed air. Propane stretches it’s
limits enough and allows you to only use number 5 tips and larger.
You need acetyl for the smaller tips.

Hope this helps,

Don


#9

Hello Milt

I have used an acetelyn torch for many years and last year invested
in an little torch. I use a propane tank like you use for a barbeque
and a propane tank that is about 4 feet tall. My husband hooked it up
so that all the fuel is out side and piped into my bench in the house
(I work out of my house, and after questioning fire standards found
in case of fire fire-fighters would not enter premises if I had gases
in the house). Also for my piece of mind outside is better because if
they ever leak outside it will dissipate easily with the winds we
have in Calgary.

You are welcome to come and see our setup if you wish. Just give me
a call 510-4043.

Karen Seidel-Bahr
the ‘ROCKLADY’ @Rocklady
K.I.S. Creations
May your gems always “Sparkle”


#10

I’ve also got the acetylene and oxygen set. I got the adaptor so
that my Little Torch regulators fit the smaller MC fuel tank that I
use on my larger torch (used for HVAC work as well as casting), as
that B tank that the regulators were made to fit is just a pain to
lug around. I just exchanged both tanks this weekend and it cost
just under $US 18.

 Ron Charlotte -- Gainesville, FL

#11

Hi Dave

 I also use the Little Torch, but with acetylene and oxygen. It
just came that way. In retrospect, I might have preferred propane
had I known there was a choice.

I started using only acetelyn. When my husband hooked up my little
torch last year he hooked it up to propane/oxygen or acetelyn/oxygen
and my Prestolite is acetelyn only. Just a turn of the knob and I can
change from acetelyn to propane in the little torch. So I know it can
be done. He did explain it to me but I just can’t seem to
remember/understand that stuff. Kinda like car engine stuff beyond
oil, filters and fan belts.:slight_smile:

Karen Seidel-Bahr
the ‘ROCKLADY’ @Rocklady
K.I.S. Creations
May your gems always “Sparkle”


#12

Don, As for not being able to use anything smaller that a #5 tip
with your Little Torch when burning propane, could it be the pressure
settings on your regulator? I use a Little Torch with propane and
mostly use a #4 tip and

sometimes a #3, but it will work even with a #1, although I don’t
have much use for the smaller ones.


#13
  Can any users of the little torch please tell me what their
actual experience has been.  

I use the little torch with refillable tanks of oxygen and propane.
The propane tank is the same as that for a barbecue. I go through a
tank of oxygen about twice a year and in over two years have yet to
refill my propane tank. I don’t know exactly what size my bottles
are, my refill receipt for the oxygen reads: C-55 oxygen compressed
2.2 UN1072. I wouldn’t be surprised if your calculations are
correct. You are, after all, an engineer.

Bill


#14
 Just a turn of the knob and I can change from acetylene to
propane in the little torch.

Please correct me if I’m wrong. This is a no-no. There are hoses
made for acetylene, and there are hoses made for fuel gasses (T
grade?). They are not under any circumstance interchangeable. I’m not
an engineer or anything, and I can’t authoratively state why this
should not be done, but in all my training as a welder, glass blower,
and now jeweler, I’ve always been told not to mix hoses. I don’t see
a physical difference between fuel-gas and acetylene hoses, but they
are printed one way or another, and costs vary between the 2 (this
may be related to different suppliers). Also, the Little Torch system
is made for one or the other, but not both, a look at the box and
you’ll see there’s a check box for oxy/propane or oxy/acetylene. This
may all be undue paranoia, but I thought I should speak up =P

Take care
-Doug Harroun


#15
 Just a turn of the knob and I can change from acetelyn to propane
in the little torch. 

Hi Karen, A cool idea… I may have to look into that! In the mean
time, what I really need to do is have a plumber come out to
connect my natural gas line in the studio to my second torch rig (a
Midget torch I can’t wait to try). It’s ready to go… I just need to
bridge the gap, so to speak. I already have a “splitter” on my oxygen
tank! From there, I guess its a small step to platinum work, huh? :wink:

Dave
Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)
dave@sebaste.com


#16
 There are hoses made for acetylene, and there are hoses made for
fuel gasses (T grade?). They are not under any circumstance
interchangeable 

Hi Doug You are partially correct. Hoses made for acetylene are only
for acetylene. T grade hose however is okay for either. We phoned the
welders supply this morning to double check, although we actually
bought all our supplies from them in the first place.

Dan put a splitter on the gas line for the Little Torch so I can
switch between propane and acetylene. Oxygen is direct for either. My
Prestolite is only on acetylene with acetylene hose which we would
have to change if we put a splitter on it in order to use propane.

All the gases are outside and piped in through a small hole in the
wall. They then pipe down into the cupboard and up through a hole in
my bench. Using a piece of rubber tubing in the holes allows me to
have my torches standing ready to use. I just pull up enough hose
from the cupboard for maneuvering my handpiece and solder. When
finished is stuff the hose back down the hole and the handpieces
stands ready for use again.

Dan also put a fan right in the bench beside my soldering area that
vents directly outside, flush with the table top. This means when it
is -30C (22 below in the US) I don’t have to open a window to
ventilate. Also not to noisy. This means my whole shop fits into a
small what used to be a bar area approximately 8’x8’.

Karen Seidel-Bahr
the ‘ROCKLADY’ @Rocklady
K.I.S. Creations
May your gems always “Sparkle”


#17

I need to agree with Doug. Acetylene is not petroleum based and
can use rubber hoses. Propane, Propalene, Chemalene and others are
petroleum based and petroleum will melt rubber hoses. They need a
special grade fo hose. I don’t see any problems with using the
hoses for petroleum based products with acetylene, but not vice
versa.

I’ll call my gas man at my welding shop tomorrow and make
sure…will report later.

Love and God Bless
-randy
http://www.rocksmyth.com


#18

Thanks to all of you who replied to my post about high oxygen use. I
have stopped buying the disposable cylinders and am planning to rent
a high pressure oxygen cylinder. The welding shop will deliver for
a small additional charge and the cost of the oxygen is very
reasonable. I wish I had taken the time to do the calculations before
I invested in all of those disposable tanks. I reviewed my numbers
and am pretty sure that they are correct. For every disposable
bottle of propane which weighs 400 grams and costs about $4 cdn, one
needs 36, disposable bottles of oxygen, each containing 40.1 grams
of O2. At $10 per disposable O2 bottle, one would need about $360 of
oxygen for $4 of propane, or $90 of Oxygen for every dollar of
propane burned. In the high pressure cylinders, the same amount of
oxygen is about $30!!!

I also heard from a local Calgarian, Orchidian (Karen Seidel-Bahr)
who stores her gases outside. She has invited me to drop by and see
how she has installed the gasses. I agree with her philosophy of
keeping combustible gasses outside of your home.

Regards
Milt Fischbein
Calgary Canada


#19

I stand corrected =) but glad that’s been noted, before people start
to use the wrong hose for something =P

I really like your idea about the retractable hoses also, I imagine
this could be done to the top of a bench also, put a hole, run the
hose through the desktop, hehehe… now I have a project to do…

Anyways sounds neat, I’d tke the bar tho =P take care, -Doug


#20

Hi Doug

I usually research anything that can be potentially dangerous ahead
of time. I knew I had on this one too but a phone to check never
hurts.

I read your note to my husband who also has a wicked :slight_smile: sense of
humour. He said to tell you to put a bucket underneath to catch the
extra hose or else you may have problems with it snarling up with
something else. You can mount the valves right into the bench top
too. I have it so it is easy to change from propane to acetylene and
marked the valves as to which is which, you know what it is like when
busy :)).

Let me know how it turns out.

Karen Seidel-Bahr
the ‘ROCKLADY’ @Rocklady
K.I.S. Creations
May your gems always “Sparkle”