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Oxygen generators

Oxygen generators–More Specifically, EX-5 from Rio

Hi All,

It’s funny–in researching the question I’m about to ask, I came
across a thread that I actually started waaaaay back in 2005 on the
exact same topic

[MAN I’m getting old–ha!]

Since I’m about to ask again, I guess it’s obvious I never bought
one, although I did end up buying a water torch–as well as a small
traditional propane/air torch set-up for other stuff. I’m moving
forward on a natural gas + oxygen generator set up this time, and I
have two questions. My question is about oxygen generators (NOT

#1) Does anyone use an oxygen generator (again, NOT a concentrator)
for general jewelry work (silver, gold) instead of the
compressed/stored oxygen canisters–if so, what have your experiences
been–e.g., with what type of fuel gas, what’s the reliability of the
device you use, are there other noteworthy things to consider, etc.;

#2) Does anyone have experience specifically with the EX-5 oxygen
generator as sold by Rio? What do or don’t you like about it?

Since time has elapsed, I’m hoping there might be some additional
responses–at least to the first question. And anything at all about
the EX-5 will be helpful. I think the EX-5 is a fairly new
offering–at least as marketed to jewelers by Rio–so I’m not
expecting much in the way of responses yet; however, if I’m wrong and
it’s been around forever and I’ve just been living under a rock, by
all means, please dish! It’s 95% likely that I’m going to be getting
one, and I would like to have more feedback beyond the two
diametrically opposed product reviews on the site.

Thanks in advance.

Tamra Gentry

[I still have a few things available from my recent tools purge… ;-D There is a spreadsheet (TGsPurge.xls) in the folder that contains prices and information for the items in the photos.]

This site came up in a search on ‘EX-5 oxygen’

quoting from it:

“…With an oxygen concentrator (also known as an oxygen generator),
oxygen is pulled out of the air.”

It is just a quibble over terms, but the EX-5 concentrates
(extracts) oxygen from the air, it doesn’t generate it. Generating
would be done from chemicals, such as heating potassium chlorate
mixed with a manganese dioxide catalyst, if my long term memory* is

The EX-5 (and other concentrators) have been used by glass workers
for years. You might check with glass workers or a glass worker’s

I considered getting one but read (on Orchid I believe) that they
need to be kept on, not just switched on when you are using your
torch, and that they are noisy. I also believe I read that they need
to be run on something like a regular basis. Given those things and
the size of the unit, I decided to do without it.

If any of those points might be a problem for you then you will want
to confirm or rule out before spending that kind of money. I’m sure
Rio would be able to tell you via a phone call or an email inquiry.

*Decades ago when I was a teenager (under 18) I used to make trips
to Greenwich Village in NYC to buy chemicals over the counter at
Fisher Scientific. Which included potassium chlorate for generating
oxygen, concentrated sulfuric acid, powdered antimony, and a whole
lot more that I carefully carried home on the subway. You did have to
be 18 or possibly 21 to buy the really dangerous things - white
phosphorus comes to mind. Hard to imagine, now.

Neil A.

#1) Does anyone use an oxygen generator (again, NOT a
concentrator) for general jewelry work (silver, gold) instead of
the compressed/stored oxygen canisters--if so, what have your
experiences been--e.g., with what type of fuel gas, what's the
reliability ofthe device you use, are there other noteworthy things
to consider, etc.. 

Oxygen generator is an oxygen concentrator. Rio’s description says
medical grade.

I have used one for 10 years, and my wife is on oxygen 24/7. The
machine has sieve beds that filter out other gases resulting in
oxygen in the 90% pure range. These can be found on Craigslist,
sometimes for as low as $200, but you have to have it tested to make
sure it is producing the correct % of oxygen. The current one I use
has 60,000 hours on it. I use mine with acetylene gas. Easier to get
in high altitude cities.

Richard Hart G.G.
Denver, Co.

I have used one for 10 years, 

Is it loud?

One thing that has not been mentioned yet is the noise level. We had
one of these at home once when someone was recovering from an
illness and it was quite loud.

Something to consider.


I use one for my glass lampworking, they are pretty cheap second hand
as they are medical equipment that is not reused once the original
customer has no further use for it (died) They make about as much
noise as a domestic refrigerator but they dont last forever as they
work bt extracting the nitrogen from the air passed through it and
then compress the residual oxygen and other gases. This is done by a
chemical catalyst that needs replacing and it is usually cheaper to
buy another secondhand unit than to revamp your worn out one. But if
you want a nice hot flame and you have the correct burner then they
are economical compared to gas cylinder rental in the long run. Keep
the filters clean though otherwise they get a bit tempramental.

Nick Royall

Dear Tamra,

I stumbled into oxygen generators a couple years back. I own an old
NCG 122 oxygen tank I bought in Florida over 30 years ago. NCG sold
out around 25 years ago and I have to travel over an hour to refill
it. Every time I would do that I would first call around to every
local oxygen company and see if they would fill it or trade it for
their brand tank. Never any luck. Two years ago on one of my calling
sprees I found a guy 15 minutes from me that said he could fill it.
When I got there he had found out his compressor wasn’t working and
said it would take a couple of days to fill my tank and asked what I
was using it for. I said I was a jeweler and a sly grin came over his
face. He said here try this out till I get your cylinder. Turns out I
was standing in the Extreme Oxygen manufacturing facility. Took the
machine home and returned to pick up my tank a week later with a
check for him for my new EX-5. It works great for 90 plus percent of
what I do. It will not produce enough O2 to weld a heavy sterling
ring that has a stone submerged in water. It will not produce enough
for melting for a casting. It takes about 5 minutes to warm up enough
to have the purity to work with (good news is it warms up faster with
the O2 valve open, adding O2 to the air around you). Use my tank and
laser for many things but it has become my standby. Feel free to
contact me direct with any questions.

PS He filled my tank that time for free. Bonus!