I’m a working and teaching metalsmith, with one of my roles being (very part-time) managing the metals studio of an arts center. Our soldering setup is a pair of acetylene B-tanks with Prest-o-lite regulators/hoses (they came in an all in one kit, purchased approximately 10 years ago).
We have a wonderful long-time instructor who has been having issues with the torch:
–gas flowing back into the regulator at one point, which was a faulty valve on an old B-tank we received, but supposedly this is still happening with other tanks we’ve received since though I’ve never personally observed it. Seems like the main/only cause would be the tank not being shut all the way? Are there any other causes for this? Specifically, she bleeds the tank, gauge dial goes to E, she loosens the pressure valve, and then when coming in a week later for her class (limited class offerings right now), finding that the dial has crept back up.
–“flames coming out the bottom of it” I think where the torch tip screws into the hand piece, which would just be a case of the tip not being all the way screwed in? Any other potential causes for this?
I’m trying to balance being sure that the studio is safe, and also that the instructor feels comfortable. She apparently is so nervous about acetylene that she doesn’t use it in her home studio anymore, and only uses disposable MAPP gas canisters there, so part of the issue certainly seems like anxiety, but I don’t want to brush aside any legit safety issues. One concern of hers is the age of the hoses/regulator. Is there a general guideline for the lifespan of an acetylene regulator and hoses? We also have a large oxygen-acetylene casting setup which unfortunately hasn’t been used for a few years and she’s concerned about those going bad and being a safety risk as well (I’m less certain of their age, but I think the casting setup got new hoses/hand piece around 10 years ago as well).
One main option that she seems to feel good about is replacing the regulators/hoses. I had first wondered about a two-gauge Smith, but turns out she’s never had a two-gauge torch and I wonder if that unknown factor would increase anxiety. But also, they’re a bit pricy! I’ve personally used a Prest-o-lite for almost 20 years without any issues, so I suppose I’m inclined to stick with what I know. Does anyone have any recommendations for another dependable, reliable torch/hose kit that might be any better and good leads on best prices?
Thanks for sticking through the rambles! Trying to find a solution that keeps students safe and fosters a comfortable learning environment, makes our instructors feel safe and valued, and makes our administrators happy by not breaking the bank!