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Torch regulators for disposable tanks


#1

Problem with Smith Little Torch regulators for disposable tanks

Hello everyone, I just joined last week and this is my first post,
so please bear with me! I know a lot of people use the Smith Little
Torch and/or the Smith regulators for disposable tanks, so I wanted
to share some problems I’ve been having recently in case anyone else
out there is having similar issues. I am a new to the Smith Little
Torch and disposable regulators, but I learned on a Smith Silversmith
acetylene air torch so I’m more used to that setup. The only reason I
switched to disposable oxy/propane is because I’m working in my
attached garage (i.e. no big tanks). I was very happy with my old
Smith torch, so my intent is not to imply anything bad about the
company, only to share and maybe get some feedback.The regulators I
received with my Little Torch disposable tank kit are all brass, not
the brass regulators with black plastic knobs you see in almost all
of the kits sold online. On my first attempt, I hooked up the
regulators, and when I opened the torch valves got neither fuel nor
oxygen to the torch tip.

I unhooked everything and started over (hand tightened the
regulators, attached hoses, opened the regulators, pressurized, leak
tested, purged, etc.) and was then able to get propane to the the
torch and light it, but still no oxygen. I tried two oxygen tanks,
both with the same result - nothing to the torch. I even went and
bought a third oxygen tank, thinking maybe the first two were empty,
but still no oxygen to the torch. As an aside, when I went to swap
out the third oxygen tank, I purged the lines and I could hear
propane escaping from the torch tip even though I had closed the
propane regulator several hours earlier. Hmmm. I unhooked everything
and called Smith this morning. Their customer service rep told me
the all brass regulators are a newer version and are not
manufactured by Smith, that these regulators were purchased from
another manufacturer/vendor, and that they are in the process of
finding a new manufacturer/vendor to replace the current one. They
did send me an RA# for the kit, but it could be as long as 60 days
until they send a replacement as they are still in the process of
finding a new vendor. I can’t speak to the efficacy of the Little
Torch itself, since I could never get it to function fully. Has
anyone heard of anything like this or had similar experiences? Is
Smith the only company that distributes regulators for disposable
propane tanks? I’m happy they agreed to replace the torch and
regulators, and it sounds like this might be a known issue that
they’re working on, but now I have no torch and I’m second guessing
this setup altogether. Even if I go with another torch like the Meco
Midget, and use a refillable oxygen tank in lieu of the disposable
ones, I’ll still need a regulator for a disposable propane tank,
since that’s what I’m limited to for now. Any thoughts’ thank you,
and my apologies for the long post!

Amber (in Seattle)


#2

Amber,

Problem with Smith Little Torch regulators for disposable tanks 

Ya got to be almost out of your mind to use the disposables or have
a trust fund. The O2 is very expensive, I do use the disposable
propane but rarely, I like oxy/acetylene.

In most places in the civilised world you can lease, buy (better) or
steal (rather illegal) smaller tanks. A 4 foot bottle of O2 should be
good for a decade, a 2’ one ya got to get exchanged/ filled once a
year. No propane greater than 5 pounds or keep the disposable. Use
real regulators, the kind with gauges etc. I once took apart a
disposable propane one… it sort of had all the parts to regulate
but would not be my first choice.

jeffD
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#3

Amber,

We use a couple of the small Smith regulators on the disposable type
propane cylinders in our studio. They have never given us any
problems, as they are very simple devices. However, to make it work (
get gas to flow through it) you have to turn the knob ALL THE WAY ON
or it won’t let gas through it. Try turning that knob all the way
counter-clockwise until it stops.

I am usually squatting down while turning the propane tank on, and
when the regulator opens, it emits a loud squawking ( farting) sound,
and I always apologize to my students, telling them it wasn’t me
making the sound!

—Jay


#4

Hi Amber,

The fire code in my building limits the size of fuel tanks.
Strangely, there is no limitation to the size of the oxygen bottle. I
use oxy/acetylene and air/acetylene with a size B O2 and an MC5 (what
my welder people call it),and a Y connection to switch from the two
setups. I have a Little Torch and Smith air/acet.

Here is a handy chart of refillable tanks sizes which welding
suppliers use. The tiny one on the far left is the MC and "5"
corresponds to the width. So mine is an MC5.

http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/1fu

As I read your frustrations, would it be possible for you switch to
small refillable propane tanks? The reasoning behind this idea, is
that a welding supply company has expertise in this area. I don’t use
disposable tanks, mostly cause I don’t’ want a bunch of tanks lying
around, but mostly, it does put the responsibility and efficacy on
the welding shop to make sure that everything works before you leave
their door.

In this manner, I have gone through up to three bad tanks (leaking
stem valves, excess dirt, etc.) and have made them do leak tests on
site. The amount of time this saves me is enormous.

The second reason is that we as gas consumers for our craft, also
need to work in tandem with the gas suppliers. They need to educated
on what we do. We might not purchase gas in huge quantities, but
there are a lot of us out there. Hmm, perhaps a movement in Occupy
Welding Suppliers is in order.

There seems to be a huge communication breakdown between what we
purchase in the glossy pages of a catalog and when the whole thing
comes back to our studio. Take it to an expert, have them assist you
become a loyal customer.

Good luck!

Karen Christians
www.cleverwerx.com


#5

Hi,

Jay - Yes, thank you for the input. I did have the regulators all
the way open, each time. I am interested in the setup you have, if
you wouldn’t mind elaborating? I saw a post from you before I joined
about using a Meco Midget/disposable propane/refillable oxygen tank.
Are there any limitations to this combo? I work on mostly small
scale silver projects right now, no casting, but I’d like to have a
torch that can grow with me.

Jeff - Yeah, yeah, I know. I won’t be using disposable oxygen tanks,
but per my post, I am limited to using a disposable propane tank
because I am working in a space attached to my house. If I had a
trust fund I would build myself a nice, separate outbuilding in my
back yard!

Amber


#6

Amber,

I do use disposable propane tanks, It is the O2 tank which gets my
respect. Scuba diver in the past when I could carry the damn 2000 psi
tanks. I did learn the dangers involved and had much respect. If you
chain up a 2’ O2 tank it is not a real hazard. Take my advise with
caution but it has worked for more decades than I will admit to.

JeffD
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#7

Amber,

Yes, having those big 5 ga. propane tanks indoors is not a good
idea, and most fire codes don’t permit them. However, those little 1
lb. “disposable” camping-type propane cylinders doesn’t seem to
bother the fire depts. I guess everyone’s got a Coleman stove with a
few extra of those propane cylinders on the shelf in their garage.
Throw those 1 lb. cylinders away when they’re empty??! You’re
kidding me. I’ve been successfully refilling them from my big 5 ga.
propane tank for years. Get that refill connector from harbor Freight
or online. Refill them yourself, easy.

The regulators for those little cylinders are a simple valve, either
on or off. I use two of them in my studio, and they have been trouble
free. I’d send the malfunctioning one you have back to the maker (
Smith?) and get it replaced. I would think in this liability-crazy
world Smith would bend over backwards to get you a new one, and not
risk one of their products leaking or not working properly.

So with the propane issue being easily solved, you have gas, and I
mean that in a good way. Propane is cheap, very hot, and clean. You
can even use it to melt platinum ( with added oxygen), which is a
good thing. Now just buy the biggest oxygen tank you can carry
easily(The B tank) and an inexpensive regulator, and you’re good to
go.

Everyone has their own favorite torch, but for all around soldering
and melting, I think the Meco Midget offers the widest range of
heating in a single torch.

—Jay