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Replacing regulators


#1

I’m on the hunt for new regulators for oxy and propane. Want to get dual stage regulators as I would like to have better pressure control. Rio Grande has the dual stage Harris regulator for propane but not oxygen. Am I missing something? I would have thought oxygen would have been the most important to have on a dual stage regulator because it is higher pressure.
Or are there other regulators that are better.
Looking for opinions on what has been successful for you, as I would rather purchase once and pay more, than be frustrated with poor performance.


#2

Hi Cheryl,
Ted here from the UK,
Its good to get a question thats been thought through, easy to help out.
your right to go for 2 stage regulators , there much more sensitive to demand.
however, to answer your query, in principle, you need to start with the following question.
what size tanks? we call them cyls here do you use? I dont need to know of course, were just talking principles.
Here for example the threads on all industrial propane and oxy cyls are standard BSP. Oxy rt hand and acetylene, propane ,etc are L hand . thats in cyls of 47kg propane and 200 ltrs of oxy at 300 bar and smaller! Im not talking about the hobby cyls or torches. There just toys!!. you therefore need to decide what is the largest cyl size you can handle, gas then is cheaper, then get the regs to fit these cyls.
Now where to get the regs,? go to a proper welding supply co. Jewellery suppliers dont carry this industrial size kit. anyone using gases on an engineering scale goes to a gas engineering supply co.
Interested to hear in due course how your researches work out.
Ted.


#3

Hello Cheryl,

Here is a link to Rio Grande for a dual stage regulator for Oxygen tank:

https://www.riogrande.com/Product/Smith-Dual-Stage-Oxygen-Regulator/500121

I am not sure what type of propane tank you are using, but here are some links to Rio Grande for some propane regulators:

(I believe this is the one I recently got to replace my older version propane (non-gauge) regulator for the small disposable propane tanks

https://www.riogrande.com/Product/Smith-Non-Gauge-Regulator-for-Disposable-Propane-MAPP-Tank/500093

https://www.riogrande.com/Product/Harris-Dual-Stage-Propane-or-MAPP-Regulator/500900

you can always call the wonderful tech support @RioGrande and they can help you find everything you need for your complete setup…like check valves, backflash arrestors, leak detection solution, etc…

Best Regards,
Julie


#4

I don’t know what kind of work you are doing, but I regularly use a Meco midget torch to solder 20 - 30 gram sterling silver pieces and cast 30 - 50 gram melts with a non-adjustable ($60) propane regulator on a 1 lb. camp stove cylinder that I refill from a 20 lb. grill cylinder that I keep in the shed. My O2 comes from a used O2 generator. This had been my setup for nearly 2 years now. Prior to that I used single stage acetylene and regulated acetylene or propane and O2. I now have 1 and 2 stage regulators, hoses, tanks, check valves, flashback arrestors and other stuff in storage in the same shed where I keep the 20 lb. propane. This all came about after I decided to get as much of the highly explosive stuff that I could out of my shop and cellar and still run the Meco torch doing the work that I do. I think that we all over think this a bit. I am open to someone telling me what I am doing wrong, but what I do right now supports what I need to do. Thoughts please…Rob


#5

Hi Rob,
Thoughts?
If it does what you need then its all ok.
Re gas costs, here in the UK, I pay £25.50 for 200 ltrs at 300 bar. on a cyl exchange (weight 150 lbs!)with a friend who has an account with BOC. He uses 20 cyls a week for his plasma spray shop. I do odd jobs for him for free.
Then propane, our local supplier will deliver 2 47kgs cyls for £105 . We use one every 3 months on our kitchen propane
cook stove, boiling kettles ,fast heating etc! and i use 47kgs every 3 months as well for w/shop annealing, forging, soldering with oxy, etc. Domestic heating is with wood, get through some 4/5 tons a year, mostly oak which has to be felled, split ,stored covered for a year to be useable. Grow our own!. Thats on a Rayburn Regent domestic heating, domestic hot water, and cooking stove. Central to our home, runs 24/7/365. Manageable IF theres someone around here. Were also off grid, and our own water supply, Last year built our own 3kw solar array, in addition to our US Outback inverter/ generator setup. Can make up to 25KW if needed at UK 240 V s/phase, and 440v 3/phase.
Pretty well self sufficient.
Rob? any progress on the triangular wire rolling?
Ted.


#6

Might be wise to go down to your local welding supply house and tell them what you are doing. They are experts and can advise you on regulators tanks hoses and spark arrestors. DON’T forget the spark arrestors. Unless of course you have a death wish and you don’t care who you take with you.


#7

Not yet, I am having some trouble finding a local machine shop willing to take on a small task like this. I guess that the economy is better than our president elect claims it to be. Stay tuned for any progress…Rob


#8

Thanks all for the comments and thank you Julie for the links. I will be in touch with Rio about the Harris regulators.

Ted, to answer your questions I use a 5lb propane tank which our insurance company has OK’d for indoor use. The threads are as you noted. Oxygen, I have an account with our supplier for refilling (they pick up and drop off as required) and I also keep a back up B tank. Generally I keep a H size tank (60" tall) as our son is a glass blower and sometimes comes and uses my shop if we are doing something together.
He can burn through a 60" high oxygen cylinder in 2 or 3 hours if he’s got that thing cooking.

I have 3 torches that I use, depending on what’s happening (not including the glass torches), but it’s the Mini midget torch with the small sapphire tip that I have issues. Each torch has it’s own hose set and I have a y valve after the flash back arrestors to allow me to have two torches attached to the tanks at any time.
The Oxy cylinder is secured to the wall so it does not fall over and become a missile (for information on this, go back to Hans Meevis really old accounts of his shop in SA burning down and an Oxy cylinder becoming a projectile into his car over 1 km away.)

In terms of industrial suppliers, believe it or not, the jewellery suppliers are much more advanced. I had started talking to the industrial suppliers over 6 months ago, when I knew I was having pressure problems (mostly Oxy). When I open my Oxy regulator (all the way till it stops), the pressure jumps up to 40 lbs, even though it’s set at 20. Releasing the pressure before I light the torch brings it down to 20, but it’s tough to light a small torch when the pressure keeps climbing. I don’t keep my torch lite when I am working, so each time I go to use it, I have to relight. Just irritating. As these regulators are now approaching 10 years old, it’s time to replace.

In terms of industrial suppliers, what I found is that they carry 1 stage regulators but can access some 2 stage regulators although they are not common and tend to be ordered in as requested. Most industrial welders are not using the same type of mixed gas control as jewelers are, so they don’t need to have the fine flame control as I do. (welders like big flames). When I got a quote for a 2 stage off shore regulator (not Harris) it was over double the price of what I saw the Harris regulators for in the US.
It seems the industrial suppliers in Canada are not prepared to be competitive and don’t order enough to make it cost effective. So I will be purchasing through a US supplier and shipping to me. Frankly, all 3 industrial suppliers that I spoke with were not very helpful. And all I have is 3 suppliers in my area. Even my gas supply company didn’t know much about 2 stage regulators.

So I think I’m off to call Rio and order the Harris ones!


#9

Hi Cheryl,
I couldn’t find much data on the smallest tips for the Meco. From what is listed, it does appear that the #00 tip can be used with all gases. The smallest Little Torch tip is only used for acetylene, but the Meco is 0.0135", 80 drill size, and can evidently be used with propane. A similar size tip for the Little Torch has a 4/4 spec for propane/oxygen psi. I think you’re right that it can be a little difficult to maintain a steady pressure at that level, so new regulators may help. You might also consider cleaning the tip, as anything that restricts it could put the flame off. When I used the Little Torch for acetylene, I remember the smallest tip being hard to keep lit. It might be the better part of valor to just use the next largest tip and turn down the knobs on the torch as far as possible. Paige tips reccomends boiling their tips in water to remove flux, etc. that might block them. You might also talk with Paige about their tips, which are reputed to stay lit better, but IDK if they can give you a flame quite as small as the smallest Meco tip. You’d have to talk with them. I’m currently using an old Hoke (USA made) with the hypodermic tips, along with a 1 lb tank and an oxygen concentrator, Haven’t used it a lot, but it does stay lit with the smallest tips as far as I can see. Good luck getting it going!


#10

I went to the vet. got a hippo needle slipped over the small tip it moves the flame out so you can see it plus it is smaller . can get in to smaller places to weld.