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Water torch


#1
 Please explain the workings of a "water torch."  I find the
entire concept very confusing .

Basically, water (usually distilled water) is broken down into is
constiuents, Oxy & Hydrogen, by electrolosis. The gases are then
fed to a torch that when lighted produces a very hot flame
combining the Oxy & Hyd to produce water vapor as a product of
combustion. A flux is add to the g as mixture before it reaches
the torch, therefore there’sno need to flux the area being
soldered/welded. The amount of gas produced is small for most
bench units but is sufficent for jewelry work. The flame isn’t
large enough for melting larger charges for casting.

Dave


#2
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
prongs.

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


#3

dear Ken, Thank you for your detailed info. Yes the cost is high.
Someone had told me thes “gadgets” cost about 700.- This is a
slight difference. I have printed your message out and will keep
on researching. Thanks again!!! Ingeborg


#4

Anyone have any experience with the “water torches” that I have read
a little about? What a wonderful solution, to get the tanks out of
the studio! I’m just questioning if I will be able to use it with
silver and gold. Also, I looked at the Rio model and am not too
impressed with it, any other options out there?

Thanks
Katrina Barnett
(re-creating a safer studio in Minnesota)


#5

Hi.from the gemfactory.com

I have used a water torch from L&R for about 17 or 18 yrs still using
it . As far as retipping have not found a better torch foe this it can
make a flame so small it u can work on the fine filagree . Just make
shure to use MEK as a flux in the mixing chamber gives u a 3400 degree
flame and distilled water for making gas . this torch was so good I
bought 3 more for my students. Still have the Oxy. Acet. setup but
dont use it excepy for larger silver pieces.Got the L&R water torches
, that is the last 3 on ebay for 500$ each they retail for 2200$.
John L. Kamfonik


#6

Hi Katrina, I have a Spirig water torch. Most of the other torches
have a reputation for breaking down or requiring a lot of maintenance.
Spirig is a Swiss company that is working with Chrysler-Daimler with
this technology for use in a car. Their research and patented designs
are far superior to any other unit on the market. They have been in
use for 20 years and going strong. They have plenty heat for silver
and gold. I have a picture of my friend soldering a ring sizing while
holding it in his fingers! The heat is focused and direct. The Spirig
unit can power more than one torch and the generating unit can be set
up hundreds of feet from the torch. They do not require a regulator.
The flame size is adjusted by changing the tip. The tip never gets hot
or even warm. This a perfect unit where someone has a touchy Fire
Marshall. This extreemly safe unit requires about once a year
maintenace and is truly the Mercedes of torches. John, J.A.Henkel
Co.,Inc. Moldmaking, Casting & Finishing


#7

Ive heard the water torch is excellent for platinum, but that you
must never use the mixing chamber flux, creates a contaminate in your
metal. Nothing is perfect. karen from vancouver


#8
Hi Katrina, I have a Spirig water torch. Most of the other torches
have a reputation for breaking down or requiring a lot of maintenance.
Spirig is a Swiss company that is working with Chrysler-Daimler with

So where might one find a Spirig water Torch? Having never seen the
name I wouldn’t know where to begin.
Ben Silver


#9

I have a water torch called the Turbo braze it’s about $900.00 and
can do most soldering and some light melting. If you need lots of heat
like for silver or melting in casting don’t buy this torch. If you are
using it for general jewelry repair then it is a reliable torch. I
have used mine for about 8 years and have 2 in the shop right now.
There are advantages with the oxy/propane or acet. setups that you
dont get with a water torch. You can’t vary the temperature of the
flame with this torch only how big it is. I would reccomend you try to
use someone elses first before buying it If you are used to a oxy/?
setup.

David Hartman


#10

There are water torches then there is the Spirig water torch. The
Spirig does cost more but it doesn’t need to go into the “shop” and it
can run more than one torch. It also has ample heat for the large
jobs. They provide a detailed range of temperature…yes! you can vary
the temp. The Spirig company is working with Daimler-Chrysler with
their technology to power automobiles. That gives you some idea of the
caliber of their units. They have a very high resale value and are
considered the safest water torch available. Don’t buy a water torch
until you try one of these!..John, J.A.Henkel Co.,Inc…Moldmaking,
Casting & Finishing.


#11

Hello to all!!! What about the water torch?? The first mention
I’ve heard of it is in Codina’s

book. Some of you are using it? Do you love it…where is it
purchased? What does it do best? Curious in Long Beach…Sharon


#12

Sharon, I have a water torch to sell used List new is $2.500.00. I
am $1.250.00. It is a L&R 2800 the best one made GRAT tool! Pin point
with heat used in shop for years, nexted to a laser welder. For more
true and personal benfits call (573)380-1910 must go to work call any
time.

-Jay–


#13

Basically it is a unit (not cheap) that uses electricity
(electrolysis) to break down water into Hydrogen and Oxygen,then the
gasses are sent through a pump to increase the pressure and into a
hose to the torch head. I have never used one so any info I provide
could be wrong.

Here are a few links that may help:

	http://users.lmi.net/~drewid/PWR_watertorch.html
	http://www.ishor.com/platinum.htm
	http://www.agthomas.com/Microweld.htm
	http://sra-solder.com/ww.htm
	http://www.eagle-research.com/browngas/erseries.html
	http://www.watertorch.com/buytorch/buybg1.html
	http://www.pytela.bc.ca/int_ene_BrownsGas.html