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If you're working with 1/2 copper you might try a good electric heat gun with a shield. It's slow, but does work pretty well. Please see below for more. If you know someone into working with stainless steel such as in commercial kitchens, he may be able to make up something like this for your turbo torch. Regular sheet steel won't take the heat.
in 1996 i bought an electric soldering tool for pipe.
the real issue i found was that the carbons on the tongs will glow orange hot. now you have to deal with glow in the dark carbons. more so as the fittings get larger. the 1/2'' they demo at the trade show is done for a reason. not just to save money
needless to say, the tool has been sitting on the shelf since 1996
I use my Ridgid RT-100 soldering tongs often, I surprised to hear Rick has not found them usefull. Mostly 1/2 & 3/4 sure not faster but safer in THOSE situations and yes if the carbons are red hot they will ignite red rag.
What model do you have Rick? I'm in no hurry, maybe join you guys on one of your get togethers and pick it up if no else snags it!
The carbon tips are pricey $50.00 + last time and I need to order another set. I'm sure thy've gone up.
The supply houses around here carry a heat proof blanket about the size of a washcloth. They work very well and are easy to tuck in behind things. I have also made it a policy to have a small spray bottle of water with me when soldering close to things that burn. A small fire extinguisher aint a bad idea also.
With a gazzillion tools for every conceivable purpose, I just use double folded smoke pipe. I bend it to whatever the situation calls for. It's not to be cheap, just that I have so many hand tools stashed in my truck & storage I couldn't even tell you what I own...the fewer the better. Things like channel locks, wrenches, cutters are unavoidable, but custom tools that clutter me I tend to avoid.
I Always use the spray bottle to flash the flux off a wiped fitting so it's always with the torch,solder,flux and rag.Anytime there is anything close to leave evidence of a torch being in the vicinity the water is applied.I talk to guys that cannot control their torch and mark wood to try to get them to better themselves.The apprentice I'm working with now used to be the King of Coal when I first met him.Funny how he went from saying "That is how we do it." to him installing an entire custom home without even deforming a plastic duct while soldering a copper fitting against it.Going to have to find a new nickname for him.