Soldering with hydrogen


I have done a lot of work with hydrogen and oxygen from bottles.
First deal with only a large and reputable supplier in your area;
any dirt or oil accidentally introduced into your bottles (tanks)
could be a disaster. You will need a hydrogen specific regulator as
well. Get a good one. Acetylene torches work very well for hydrogen
and can also (with experience) be modified for specific flame
characteristics. Hydrogen is both the cleanest for casting, ingots
and special brazing needs, and the most dangerous thing you may ever
work with. A good clean flame in nearly invisible and hard to
adjust, also, there is some doubt as to the efficacy of back flash
arrestors, but, I say this only from shop talk, no personal
experience (thank goodness).

I always discard any remaining hydrogen (no matter the cost) out of
doors when I am done; crack the torch valve slowly with a small
piece of paper clipped over the opening (to see a flame if one
starts). I also clean the tips with acetone if they haven’t been used
for a while, but take the time to let them dry. Even for brazing, you
might find rose bud tips of different sizes to be easier to work with
than single point tips.

If you need hydrogen only occasionally, you might find a industrial
brazing company to do the work for you.

Good luck and be safe.
Daniel Culver


You can contact Daniel Ballard @ PM West regarding the use of
hydrogen torches & soldering in general. I believe they still send
out videos & DVD’s on the proper use of & safety of hydrogen in the
shop. Very good stuff.


American Goldworks

Dear Ray:

It should be noted, I work for Spirig Advanced Technologies, Inc.
which is the foremost supplier of hydrogen/oxygen gas generators
world wide. Several thousand of our gas generators are operating
around the world every day, mostly in industrial and automated
applications. We also have a good number of very pleased “jewelry”

I grew up in the jewelry industry and over the years worked my way
through a series of different bottled gas combinations, finally
settling on hydrogen/oxygen tanks as the best and cleanest for my
torch work and for most of my torch casting. Your local gas supplier
can set this up for you. For bench work I found this gas combination
to be the easiest to work with due to the axial flame configuration
of hydrogen/oxygen flames (all of the heat out in front, no heat on
the sides). Hydrogen as a light gas is safer, dissipates more easily
than some of the heavier gases.

It was always my wish to make my flame as precise and accurate as
the rest of the tools in my shop. And the weakness of all bottled gas
systems is the regulation and pressure variance of tanks and
regulators. So, the next step was the use of a multicell
hydrogen/oxygen generator. With a multicell generator the gas is
always a perfect mix of two parts hydrogen to one part oxygen. By
accurately increasing the small electrical input generating the gas
the you can easily control the volume of gas to the Millibar
producing very accurate and repeatable flame sizes. Flame
temperatures are always plus or minus one degree. As an example we do
a great deal of fully automated applications (precision, noncontact)
such as soldering on printed circuit boards.

Everything from watches, to automative components, to radios. None
of these jobs could be done or are done with bottled gas. Although
occasionally we run into an application which has tried this, is not
getting consistent results and we will do a retrofit.

By generating gas only as needed there is not just a superior more
consistent flame, but there is also a tremendous operating and
safety advant age.

Although most of our jewelry customers feel their primary benefit is
the ability to make the same size flame (large to small) repeatedly
easily and accurately. For control and accuracy, the torch goes from
being an ax to a scalpel.

This is a field I have been working with for many years for a number
of industries. I would be happy to answer any additional questions
you might have related to hydrogen/oxygen gases, or torch work,
bottled or generated if you wanted to contact me directly. There is
also a lot of excellent gas safety in the Orchid archive
supplied by Milt Fischbein in Canada.

Best Regards,

Gary W. Miller
Sr. Technical Advisor
Spirig Advanced Technologies, Inc.
Technical Division 35 Bronson Road Stratford, CT 06614-3654 U. S. A.
Telephone: 800 499 9933/203 378 5216 Fax: 203 386 1346