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Why Acetylene?


#41

One of my very experienced instructors warned all his students
that propane is extremely dangerous and explosive and advised us
never to use it in the house, or to store it anywhere near the
house. I have been using the Little Torch for awhile now and
really enjoy it because it is so light and gives such a
controllable flame. I like the Acetyl/Oxy mix–it is hot enough
for everything and can be controlled easily. However, I had a
freak accident the other day, which turned out OK but cost me a
couple of new hoses. A hot piece of metal flipped out of the
tweezers as I was transferring it from a hot surface to a cooler
one, and landed on the hoses. Well- they burned through
immediately–they are made of plastic tubing covered with the
nylon webbing. I could hear the gases hissing out of the holes
made by the burn and had visions of the house going up in one
large blast. I was able to turn off the tanks quickly and no
harm was done except to replace the hoses. Luckily they come with
rather complete instructions, but it was still not an easy thing
to do. So just a word of caution about keeping the hoses well
out of the way and protected from any possible falling objects.
Sandra/ElegantBee


#42

I have been soldering silver with a prestolite torch and have
had great results. I also have a compulsive desire for more toys
and ever since I saw a Little torch at a store have lusted for
one. Well, to make a long story short I found 2 sets of
oxy/acetylene regulators, a good set of 25’ hoses, two
cutting/welding torch bodies, a cutting tip, a MC acetylene
tank, and a 20 cuft O2 tank for $35! (very nice Harris
regulators, I sent one set to be rebuilt for $60 and the other
set works fine.) I found them at a rental place that went out of
business and was liguidating the tools. I instantly ordered a
little torch.(So for about $200 I got a Little torch set up and a
bunch of other neat toys, check out the price in the Rio
catalogue for the Little torch set with regulators and bottles.
I’m like a kid on Christmas morning, my wife is having serious
doubts about my sanity.) I am running the little torch with
propane (yes with the acetylene regulator) from a 20lb tank. It
works great but have had to totaly relearn to solder. The extra
temperature helps a lot at times but that big bushy flame from
the prestolite comes in mighty handy when you have to bring a
larger piece up to temp!( It’s amazing how fast 24 gauge sterling
plate can turn to liquid.I never did that with the prestolite.) I
love the little torch for those little jumprings when replacing a
clasp, working on small earrings etc. That little flame just
where you want it. I can’t decide which I like better for
sterling rings.

I now have both set up at the bench. The prestolite also now has
a very nice regulator instead of the ancient prestolite one.

I also picked up a welding tip for the big torch and am learning
to braze and weld steel. I have been using propane to do this as
well, plenty of heat for the relatively thin metal I’ve been
playing with. I even cut a piece of 1/2" steel with the propane.

I have to buy a new torch set to use in my tiny apartment
because I lost the cheap lease on my jewerly studio.  Is

Acetylnen dangerous? I always thought it was safer than
propane?

If I were to pick one torch it would probably be the little
torch with oxy/propane, especially in an apartment. (Lighting an
oxy/acetylene with no oxygen on gives a lovely plume of soot).
The only problem being the storage of propane. I don’t think I
would want a 20 lb tank sitting in my living room. I have one in
my basement that I am very paranoid about. I am trying to find a
way to have a line run from the outside 250 lb tank that we have
for the stove to one of my regulators. I will have a licensed gas
person do this. One option would be the disposable tanks but the
O2 tanks cost a lot, about the same as filling a 60 cubic foot
tank! Perhaps you could get a set up with disposible propane
tanks and a real O2 tank? If Money was tight I would go for the
prestolite type torch, they burn clean and work real well.

Both gasses are dangerous and a reasonable argument can be made
for not using either gas in an apartment. Just be careful, make
sure nothing leaks, and turn the tanks off when not in use! good
luck dave


#43

Is Acetylnen dangerous? I always thought it was safer
thanpropane?

G’day, DeDe, All flammable gases are dangerous if not used
sensibly. Acetylene is not particularly poisonous, and no more
so than propane. However, there is not a lot of point in using
acetylene in a small apartment because when you light the flame
without the oxidiser (air or oxygen) turned on as is normal, it
will inevitably produce a lot of soot and in a short time your
walls, ceiling and curtains etc will show proof of that.
However, propane burns reasonably cleanly even without the air or
oxygen turned on, and is almost as hot. You can get propane in
very small containers; I use the little cylindrical Primus
refillable bottles used by campers (don’t know if you have that
in US: they are Swedish actually) and the Primus torches can be
fitted straight on to the bottle, and Primus provide a good
quality flex tube ending in a decent handle into which you can
screw the burners - there are 4. Not too costly either. The
smallest gives a pencil point flame which I use mostly. The
biggest burner gives a roaring flame an inch in diameter; these
torches need no compressed air or oxygen but even the biggest
burner isn’t really quite hot enough for melting for a cast. I
have used the Primus torches with propane for 25 years with no
problems. For melt, or for brazing steel, or for really large
items I use oxy-propane, with the kind of torch which most
welders use, but with tips that allow the use of propane. In NZ
propane must by law contain a foul smelling substance which
smells like rotten cabbage (!) (ethyl mercaptan) So you quickly
know if there is a leak, and do something about it. But I test
with washing-up detergent on a brush around all the joints and
taps at frequent intervals just to make sure. Incidentally, my
jewellery bench is in a room 8ft x 12 ft, and that space is
shared by my computer, woodworking magazines, laboratory
equipment, a sink and lab chemicals. and another bench - so you
aren’t alone in having a small space in which to do jewellery!
But that isn’t a deterrent to enjoying the doing of it. Oh, and
by the way, I used to do a lot of scientific apparatus
glassblowing using oxy-propane with Pyrex glass; it’s good stuff!
So cheers,

        /\
       / /    John Burgess, 
      / /
     / //\    @John_Burgess2
    / / \ \
   / (___) \
  (_________)

#44

I have a little torch and a regular acetylene torch. I find that
the little torch works well for gold and for some small
projects…but, not for anything large. The concentrated heat can
tend to melt anything too delicate as well.

Susan


#45
I have to buy a new torch set to use in my tiny apartment
because I lost the cheap lease on my jewerly studio.  Is
Acetylnen dangerous? I always thought it was safer than propane?

I am a beginner, and just starting out in jewelry, but have had
a number of years exposure to welding and welding gasses such as
acetylene and, lately, propane. One of the main dangers of
either gas is that, being heavier than air, they fill a space,
such as a room or an apartment, from the bottom, accumulating
like a pool of water. When the surface level of this pool
reaches something to ignite it, say, a hot piece of metal, the
pilot light on your stove/furnace/hot water heater, it goes off
with a bang, and continues to burn in the depths of the pool,
igniting the area, first from the blast, then from the continued
burn, which lasts a few seconds. The obvious danger to working
in an area not properly ventilated is if your tanks or torch leak
a significant amount of gas, you are sitting in the middle of
this pool.

Right now, my propane is sitting several feet from the house,
away from house vents or overhangs, with a long hose! I am
risking the oxygen tank inside. I plan to purchase or
construct a propane locker as used on boats. These contain the
flammable gases, and provide for properly venting to the outside.
Some also are equipped with a solenoid on/off valve, and a
hydrocarbon detector. I also plan to expand to this setup, as
they are not cheap. You may not be able to take the liberties
with installation in a rented apartment that I plan, but I
would recommend getting some advice on venting from your local
gas distributor. You might also check and see what your
homeowner’s/rentor’s insurance has to say on the matter of using
and storing gases in a residence. I have a friend who is
working in her house, however, with no mishap to date, after
several years of risk!

Here’s hoping for a safe, profitable, installation!

<> Marrin T. Fleet <>
<> MFleet@cc.memphis.edu <>
<> SCT Corp. in adminstration of: <>
<> Admin. Computing Services <>
<> The University of Memphis <>
<> Memphis, TN 38152 <>
<> 901-678-3604 <>


#46

I have been using Little Torch for awhile now and I love it. I
find soldering easier than with straight acetyl, and it’s more
controllable, the flame is easily managed. For large pieces use
larger tips. I often solder two heavy pieces of cast sterling
silver, about 3 to three inches large, and it has worked very
well. ElegantBee


#47
I have to buy a new torch set to use in my tiny apartment
because I lost the cheap lease on my jewerly studio.  Is
Acetylnen dangerous? I always thought it was safer than propane?

I can almost guarantee that your local fire codes prohibit the
storage of an acetylene tank in your apartment. My local fire
chief talked me out of using it in my basement. As I owned the
home, he could not forbid it, but in any none single-unit
residential location it is strictly forbidden. On the other
hand, I now rent a storefront, and the fire department had no
problem with a small propane gas tank in the buiding. I bought
the smallest size grill type tank they make, and it has lasted
me oh…maybe two years, and I’m still not out. The important
thing to remember is to soap bubble test all joints, no matter
what type of gas you are using. Propane does have the advantage
of an additive which gives it a very noticeable odor, which lets
you know if you have a leak.

Hope this helps.

Sharon Ziemek


#48

I construct jewelry or do small silversmithing.I chose acetylene
because I was told that it was lighter than air and would rise
whereas propane would “puddle” near the floor. I also like the
prestolite. This setup does not produce the soot the others do.

Marilyn Smith


#49

Is Acetylnen dangerous? I always thought it was safer
thanpropane?

I used to work for a large national retail jeweler and found out
real quick that propane was a big no no and not allowed in malls
and strip centers where the public would be exposed. Acetylene
was ok though. The fire marshals would write anyone up real quick
that used propane. I think this had something to do with the fact
that the cylinders used for acetylene are much thicker and have
to be inspected periodically. Natural gas was ok too because the
pressures used are so low. I dont like to use acetylene for
soldering because it is much dirtier than propane or natural gas,
so our solution to this problem was to purchase an L&R aqua torch
which generates a very clean burning hydrogen gas at very low
pressures. I still use acetylene for casting though because it
seems I cant get a large and bushy enough flame with propane.
Maybe its the tip I use? Ken


#50

Their torch is not generating enough heat. If you are soldering
a thick piece of metal (like 18 gauge) you need to use at least a
number 3 tip to melt your solder otherwise you are just going to
warp your metal…

dede


#51

I plan on buying a “B” tank that functions without an oxygen
tank (the gas tank tank takes in air on its own) I will be using
the tank with the standard jewerly tips (size 1-5). So do you
think having an acetylene tank is too dangerous for home use?

DeDe


#52

This is what I use in my tiny, nyc apartment and have not had any problems
with leakage or soot. Though after reading some of these comments, I am
more careful about closing it after each use! I use the Smith acetylene
and air soldering outfit with it and have been very happy. I do not find
it too dirty for soldering, though I have never used propane so I cannot
compare the two.


#53
I plan on buying a "B" tank that functions without an oxygen
tank (the gas tank tank takes in air on its own) I will be using
the tank with the standard jewerly tips (size 1-5). So do you
think having an acetylene tank is too dangerous for home use?

Hi. For what it’s worth, that’s exactly the set up I have in my
basement. B acetylene tank with Smith torch. I’m not sure about
the jewelry tip sizes you mentioned. Mine are 00 to 3, probably
just a different manufacturer. I do miscellaneous jewelry
(rings, small pins, earrings) in gold and silver and have had no
problems. I’m about to try out chains and I think it’ll be fine
for that as well with the smaller 00 or 0 tips.

When I hooked it up a few months ago, I waited a few days before
turning the tank key. Finally held my breath and went for it.
Now it’s no longer frightening. I do check for leaks (no, not
with a lit match :-)) but with soapy bubbles on all connections
every time before using the torch. I would definitely recommend
that.


#54
I plan on buying a "B" tank that functions without an oxygen
tank (the gas tank tank takes in air on its own) I will be using
the tank with the standard jewerly tips (size 1-5). So do you
think having an acetylene tank is too dangerous for home use?

Yes, unless special precautions are taken. In variance with
another respondant (Cynthia, perhaps?) I am told that acetylene,
like propane, is heavier than air, and shares the same problems
of pooling and low dispersal. I am acting on the advice of my
gas distributor, and presently not putting flammable gasses in my
house, for safety, and the consequent insurance restrictions. I
am planning a locker, probably outside (or inside and heavily
vented to prevent inside accumulation) hidden among my shrubs, to
contain propane and perhaps acetylene. I plan to use a marine
solenoid operated valve to cut off gas flow at the regulator from
inside. Oxygen is apparently OK inside a residence. All these
plans need is the liberal application of money! Some of these
things would be hard to do if you are in an apartment or other
rental property.

<> Marrin T. Fleet <>
<> MFleet@cc.memphis.edu <>
<> SCT Corp. in adminstration of: <>
<> Admin. Computing Services <>
<> The University of Memphis <>
<> Memphis, TN 38152 <>
<> 901-678-3604 <>


#55

check out the rose bud tip for the little torch. You can melt
ingots of an ounce or so not to mention soldering on large
pieces. Frank


#56

I’m interested in this discussion, because I have used
acetylene/air for years ( in my basement, Dede!) and have had no
problems. However, i have started making glass beads, which
requires propane or mapp. i really don’t need any more explosives
in my house! I am thinking of moving the whole shebang out into
one of the aluminum sheds ( 8 by 10) out in the backyard. My
question is- is this a danger if it gets too hot in there? or
should I leave the gas outside and run a hose thru window? This
IS Alabama, and it gets extremely warm in those metal sheds when
you aren’t in there running the air conditioning. Definitely
have to do something- I have been thru 2 of those disposable MAPP
gas cans this week , at $7 a piece, that isn’t too cost
effective. anne


#57
I plan on buying a "B" tank that functions without an
oxygen tank (the gas tank tank takes in air on its own) I will
be using the tank with the standard jewerly tips (size 1-5). So
do you think having an acetylene tank is too dangerous for home
use?

I think the danger is in the volume of gas you have inside. The
B tank holds 20 cu.ft… The MC tank holds 10 cu. ft., I guess you
could say that’s half as dangerous.

I’ve opened a catalog to a unit I’d probaly go with.
Propane-oxygen Little Torch that uses 16.4 oz. Coleman
disposable tanks. Each tank provides up to 12 hrs. running time
with a No. 5 tip (much smaller than the tips you mentioned, but
using oxygen the flame is much hotter).

I guess it depends on the type of work you’re doing. If you
prefer the acetylene-air torch and are in a small space you might
consider the MC tank.

Dick Caverly


#58

I have been using Little Torch for awhile now and I love it.

Ditto for me. I bought my Little Torch about 5 years ago and
found it really made my life easier. I use acetylene because
it’s very handy to have so hot a flame. Yes, you can burn holes
in anything, but it’s very easy to control so damage is easy to
avoid.

There have been a lot of comments about acetylene being such a
dirty flame. All you have to do is crack open the oxygen valve
before you light it. And when you’re done, turn off both valves
at once. If you do that you will have no soot. I’d be the last
person to suggest my shop is clean, but at least it’s not sooty.

I’ve had an acetylene tank in my little shop room for almost 30
years now. If you turn off the valve on the tank when you leave
I don’t see that it would be any more dangerous than a container
of alcohol or anything else flamable.

Neal Nye
@nnye


#59

These are some relative gas densities as we would encounter
them in our environment.

Nitrogen N2 = 28 approx. 80% of the gas in air
Oxygen O2 = 32 approx. 20% of the gas in air
Acetylene C2H4 = 28
methane CH4 = 16
propane C3H8 = 44
butane C4H10 = 58
hydrogen H2 = 2

Based of these densities acetylene is safer as a fuel from a
density standpoint because it will tend to mingle more freely
with air being closer to the density of air. Propane and
butane which are heavier than air will sink and tend to
collect in potentially more dangereous concentrations near
the floor.

Mike McKim


#60

I construct jewelry or do small silversmithing.I chose acetylene
because I was told that it was lighter than air and would rise
whereas propane would “puddle” near the floor. I also like the
prestolite. This setup does not produce the soot the others do.

The most difficult soldering that I did was when I made
white metal (tin) jewelry models for a RI jewelry house. We
used a natural gas/compressed air torch. The lead solder and
the tin alloy melted just a few degrees apart- I really
learned soldering!

Rick Hamilton
Richard D. Hamilton

Fabricated 14k, 18k, and platinum Jewelry
wax carving, modelmaking, jewelry photography

http://www.rick-hamilton.com
@rick_hamilton