which is best setup for home garage use
Check with your insurance company bu I think that the Smiths Little Torch w/disposable bottles like one uses for camping is usually acceptable. Many find a used oxy concentrator on Craig’s. You can also fill your little propane bottles from a 20# (grill size) tank with a special adapter. You’ll be able to do anything except casting or pouring ingots.
Actually you can melt up to about two ounces with the rosebud tip and a Smith LT. Check the description in the catalogs or literature to be sure, but that’s my recollection. I moved on to a Hoke torch, which will probably melt a little more, but many people swear by the LT because it is so small and light. Yes, the 1lb bottles will work fine unless you are doing an incredible amount of work. You might want to look for a concentrator as was noted, on CL…I got my first one for $150, but when that gave out I got a reconditioned one for $325…-royjohn
The only real complaint I have with the Little Torch is they are little and quiet. I have trouble holding them because I can’t close my hands enough. I end up working them like a pencil. And I used the sound my old air/fuel plumbers torch made to indicate heat. Since the LT is propane/oxygen there are more variables to generating heat because of the mixes possible, sound is out of the equation for me. Brother Rob uses a Meco torch as well as a Little Torch. I should try his and see if there is the same capability with sound determining heat.
I bought my current concentrator from a company that rebuilds for the home health care industry. Oddly I have seen them on the side of the road.
I’m freaking out right now because I live out in the country and didn’t think twice about setting up my jewelry studio in a spare bedroom of my house…also didn’t think about checking the insurance. Yowza! I have a Silversmith torch, used with acetylene and air, so I only have 1 tank. I’ve been thinking about getting the Smith Little torch, with propane/oxygen. If I were to do that, and went with the portable propane camping tanks, what do I need to know about an oxygen concentrator - does it need to supply a certain amount per minute?
I don’t have a she-shed or some other building to work in, so I NEED to keep it in the house.
What do you recommend?
Thanks in advance,
Deb in N TX
You would need to check with your insurance agent and maybe the local fire marshal to see whether your insurance is void or not with an acetylene tank in the house and whether it is legal or not. The Smith LT and the 1 lb tanks should be legal and OK with your fire insurance. If you go with a concentrator it is certainly more money up front, but it’s slightly safer, as the oxygen is produced on demand only at the pressure you are using, so no high pressure reservoir of oxygen at all. A standard 5 lpm oxygen concentrator is suitable for all your needs with a LT, prolly even as far as melting and casting a small amount of metal. If you were planning on a bigger torch for melting larger amounts of metal, you might go with a 10 lpm concentrator. A portable oxygen concentrator would not work, they have a smaller output. What we’re talking about is a roll around unit about the size of a kitchen garbage can. -royjohn
When i “retired” from working in retail stores, now well over 2 years ago, and was setting up a shop in the farmhouse I heard horror stories about insurance with propane and oxygen tanks in a home.
I located a used concentrator, and began using smaller “camp” tanks of propane.
I put my old torches, with a 15# propane tank and a Oxygen tank on a small handtruck, which I stored outside, ready to pull in when I reached the inevitable point where the small Smith torch, concentrator and camp tank would not provide sufficient heat.
I recently rolled my trusty old hose and 2 tank set up out into an out building, to store it. I have yet to find any job that the concentrator, Smith torch was not sufficient for.
Word of warning: if you use the Smith Little Torch with disposable oxygen and propane tanks, the propane will last a long time and you will blow through the oxygen like crazy. It can get very expensive very fast, since the disposable oxygen tanks are usually around $10 apiece.
I highly recommend an oxygen concentrator, rather than small O2 tanks.
I got mine for free, while cleaning up a rental for a friend…but used ones seem to be reasonably priced.
I no longer cast, so I cannot say how well I could melt a larger mass of metal, but I have no problem melting scrap Gold in the 1oz range using the small torch with camp propane bottles and the concentrator.
I just cast a 60 gram sterling silver ingot with my meco on propane from a 1 lb. camp stove cylinder and an O2 generator. I do this on a regular basis and it only takes about a minute to do the melt. My old regulators, hoses, tanks and other stuff are in storage. Works for me…Rob
Me, too! I think a lot of uncertainty can be solved with good old fashioned trying.
An oxygen concentrator and the Smith LT can really handle any size jewelry job you can throw at it. I added some Paige Tools Tips which are much larger then the LT tips so they can handle a lot more. They also have a new MX tip for melting scraps that is better then the rosebud.