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  • Hand torch and 40lb propane cylinder

    Hello everyone,
    As you have probably noticed I'm sort of new to this forum and haven't started any threads yet, but lurked for a while and posted a fair bit. This thread could probably go under "pipe joining and fabrication" but considering I would like to ask experienced plumbers about this I figured I would put it here. So here's my question, I have seen hand torches with hoses on them to attach to a standard 14 oz cylinder but I have also seen a guy at a job site one time with a hose and fittings like that on an oxy-acetylene torch, connected to a barbecue sized (20 lb) propane tank on one side and a hand torch on the other. I believe he had a regulator to dial down the pressure, an acetylene regulator I think. Is this possible to do safely with a regulator to keep the torch from being damaged? Would it maybe be cheaper than an acetylene "B" tank setup? Would it be as safe? I kind of doubt it because I have soldered with a B-tank before and it uses very little fuel. I'm against modifying hand torches because it's dangerous but I just wanted to know what your opinion as experienced plumbers is on this subject.

    Thanks very much for taking the time to read this.
    Mark
    Last edited by Marklar89; 08-09-2009, 06:40 PM.

  • #2
    Re: Hand torch and 40lb propane cylinder

    very common to have a "turbo torch" with a large propane tank.

    but seems like we prefer the turbo torch set up with acetylene as it's hotter.

    look for "turbo torch" and you can see the options.

    rick.
    phoebe it is

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    • #3
      Re: Hand torch and 40lb propane cylinder

      That was kind of what I was thinking. From what I have read acetylene burns at 5650 degrees Fahrenheit while propane only burns at 3400. I think I'll stick to B or MC tanks as the speed is so much faster than that of a hand torch. I also find the smaller, hotter flame easier to control and does not heat up as much of the surrounding area as propane or MAPP does. Thanks for the quick reply Rick!
      -Mark

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      • #4
        Re: Hand torch and 40lb propane cylinder

        Mark, in terms of cost of the acetylene/air setup, its not outrageous....A Prestolite acetylene/air outfit (with hose, handle, tips and regulator, you can pick up for $125 new. The "B" tank cost about the same where I got mine and it came full. The tank you own for life and just pay for fill ups after that. I wouldn't get a "MC" tank since the fill up cost is about the same as the much larger "B" tank (10 cu ft vs 40 cu ft) although the B tank is considerably heavier to haul around. Yes it is true acetylene runs much hotter than propane and so work gets done faster with acetylene if you know what you're doing. I wouldn't bother with propane.

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        • #5
          Re: Hand torch and 40lb propane cylinder

          Originally posted by Chemeng View Post
          Mark, in terms of cost of the acetylene/air setup, its not outrageous....A Prestolite acetylene/air outfit (with hose, handle, tips and regulator, you can pick up for $125 new. The "B" tank cost about the same where I got mine and it came full. The tank you own for life and just pay for fill ups after that. I wouldn't get a "MC" tank since the fill up cost is about the same as the much larger "B" tank (10 cu ft vs 40 cu ft) although the B tank is considerably heavier to haul around. Yes it is true acetylene runs much hotter than propane and so work gets done faster with acetylene if you know what you're doing. I wouldn't bother with propane.
          Thanks for the prices, and the advice. Do you know how much a turbotorch for acetylene costs in Canada? My stk-99 hand torch was only like 75 bucks at my wholesaler so I don't think it would cost a fortune. I'm not looking for anything fancy just something that ignites with a striker and has a few tips for general residential/commercial soldering.

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          • #6
            Re: Hand torch and 40lb propane cylinder

            The $125 was CND $'s . I think I saw the Turbo Torch for like $150 CND. But check eBay. I bought a brand new Prestolite acetylene outfit complete in a sealed bubble pack for 60 bucks!!!! (Turbo Torches are always more) Check for yourself on eBay.

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            • #7
              Re: Hand torch and 40lb propane cylinder

              Will do, I might wait a bit though as I might be getting on with a small company (two journeymen and two apprentices, right now there is only one journeyman and apprentice at that company but when he gets another journeyman he said he'd hire me.) He also told me if I end up doing a lot of soldering he would pick me up a turbo torch B-tank kit. This is gonna be awesome when that happens!

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              • #8
                Re: Hand torch and 40lb propane cylinder

                Hope you guys don't mind me piggy backing a couple questions having to do with B tanks and turbo torches. I have two turbo torches and two B tanks which I used quite a bit several years ago. I haven't used them lately and I want to know if it's safe to keep a B tank for a long period of time unused? Should I keep the tip out of the torch handle when not used for a long time? Do you pro's put any silicone lube on the O ring to keep it from drying out over time? Thanks, Frank.

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                • #9
                  Re: Hand torch and 40lb propane cylinder

                  I'll just stick to small mapp gas bottles.
                  Buy cheap, buy twice.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Hand torch and 40lb propane cylinder

                    I don't know what maintenance is like for B-tanks but most of the ones I've seen in shops have just been stored with the hose wrapped around the tank. I keep my hand torch in a case to keep the orifices clean and free of any dirt or dust. My journeyman also told me it preserves the rubber seals. This is a good thing to do with respirators too as it keeps them clean and keeps the rubber in one piece, but that's a whole other story...

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                    • #11
                      Re: Hand torch and 40lb propane cylinder

                      Originally posted by Marklar89 View Post
                      I don't know what maintenance is like for B-tanks but most of the ones I've seen in shops have just been stored with the hose wrapped around the tank. I keep my hand torch in a case to keep the orifices clean and free of any dirt or dust. My journeyman also told me it preserves the rubber seals. This is a good thing to do with respirators too as it keeps them clean and keeps the rubber in one piece, but that's a whole other story...
                      Thanks for the reply. I've had mine sitting in a cornerr of my garage for a couple years and I think it makes sense to better protect the torch from dirt/dust and drying out. I put a little silicone lube on the O ring and then put it in a zip lock bag, also put a plastic bag over the hose/handle end and taped it. I would be less concerned if they were being used on a regular basis but just sitting there for an extended period had me thinking. Thanks.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Hand torch and 40lb propane cylinder

                        I agree, Anything you pay reasonably big money for (like over 100 bucks) would really be a disappointment if it wore out with little use. It's good to see people taking good care of their tools!

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