o Dear Michael, Thanks for your message. Can you go into
further details about the hazards of this torch?(in simple
terms...I am not a chemist) Who makes these torches? How many
different kinds are there?
Ingeborg, I have used the L&R model 2800 aqua torch for about 8
years now and haven’t had any problems with it. The chemicals it
uses are: potassium hydroxide and methyl ethyl keytone (MEK). The
potassium hydroxide is very caustic (similar to drian opener or
lye). The MEK is used by the paint industry as a solvent. It is
also some pretty bad stuff. Don’t breath it or get it on you. I’m
not an engineer or chemist but here is basically how it works:
The potassium hydroxide is mixed with water and stored in the
central tank of the unit. This tank has charged cells in it that
seperate the hydrogen from the oxygen in the water. This hydrogen
gas is then piped through a tube into another chamber which holds
the methyl ethyl keytone (one can also use acetone or ethyl
alcohol to vary the temperature of the flame). This also dries
any moisture out that is left in the line. The torch is very safe
because it operates at very low pressures. As far as maintenance
goes; you must replenish the MEK about once a week or as needed.
The main chamber must be flushed and refilled with the
water-potassium hydroxide solution once a year. The torch handle
has a filter in it that needs to be washed out every month or so.
Occasionally, the o-rings need to be replaced on both the torch
handle and MEK chamber.
Overall, this torch is very low maintenance and cost effective.
It is suited very well for mall locations and general repair
work. The flame is very clean and works great for retipping
The drawbacks include:
*Flame size has to be adjusted with a different size tip.
*Flame is very hot and slightly oxidizing. I also have a Meko
torch setup with oxy-propane to use when I need a reducing flame
(ie. soldering heads on etc.) and a cutting torch with
oxy-acetylene for casting.
*Cant use for melting large amounts of metal or casting.
*Initial cost is high (about 2,000.00 now)
I use mine only for repair work. Hope this helps. Ken