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Thread: Finding the best torch handle and tips to work with propane

  1. #61
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    Default Re: Finding the best torch handle and tips to work with propane

    Quote Originally Posted by Ahmdo Molah View Post
    Regarding the "lopsided" flame, are you talking about the center flame or the 'ring of fire'(multi-port holes) around it?

    Did this "lopsided" issue present itself brand new or did it gradually get that way with use?
    * I ask because a UK frame builder Stephen Hilton mentioned on his blog while describing the Welders Warehouse 'multi-jet' tips, that he has "spoken to someone who has used similar ones in the past but abandoned them due to repeated blockage of the fine nozzles." ... but has "not found this a significant problem" himself.
    some
    If the issue has to do with partial clogging of the fine multi-port holes, would it be possible to flush it out by soaking the tips in alcohol, acetone, or hot water etc.?

    What did the supplier/manufacturer have to say about this and what did they offer to resolve the issue(s)?
    I was referring to the "ring of fire" surrounding center flame. Some little flames were longer than others. TM Technologies replaced the defective ones. However the problem of return international shipping and all that would make replacement inconvenient.

    I've never had a problem with blockage of the fine nozzles and suspect an inexperienced user got too close with his tip and clogged the little holes with melted flux when he accidentally touched the joint. Yes they can be cleaned by soaking them in boiling water. Don't let some random rookie that doesn't know what he is doing influence your purchasing decisions.

    The Meco and Paige tips produce a fairly different flame pattern. The Meco tips have very tiny surrounding holes and as a result very tiny side flames. The Paige tips have slits as surrounding "holes" and as a result have larger side flames. Both flame types work well.

    I have used the Welders Warehouse tips from the UK. A student brought some to one of my classes. They are very nice. The problem is that they have British threads instead of American threads so they aren't practical for Americans to use. They are a class B fit on Smith threads (meaning it will screw on with some force but not fit perfectly). The pitch angle of the threads is a bit different. When Paige came out with their adapters so their tips fit any American torch handle, it didn't make any sense for us to bother with not-quite-right threading issues requiring international shipping. If you were using WW's torch handle then it would make sense to buy the their tips from the UK too.

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    Default Re: Finding the best torch handle and tips to work with propane

    Great thread since I am in the process of getting a torch setup and Propane would be alot easier.

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    Default Re: Finding the best torch handle and tips to work with propane

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Fattic View Post
    ...I've never had a problem with blockage of the fine nozzles and suspect an inexperienced user got too close with his tip and clogged the little holes with melted flux when he accidentally touched the joint. Yes they can be cleaned by soaking them in boiling water.
    ...
    I have used the Welders Warehouse tips from the UK. A student brought some to one of my classes. They are very nice. The problem is that they have British threads instead of American threads so they aren't practical for Americans to use. They are a class B fit on Smith threads (meaning it will screw on with some force but not fit perfectly). The pitch angle of the threads is a bit different. ...
    I'm sooo relieved that you've NOT had problems with blockage of the side/multi-ports, and that TMT replaced the tips with issues.

    After your initial mention of the 'quality issues' of the OX tips, I got a 'lil nervous' and did an online search for "Meco"+"OX"+"tips". I found one item of interest, a weldingweb.com thread - "meco midget tips?"
    https://weldingweb.com/vbb/threads/4...344#post448344

    In this thread the OP (kenc184) mentions acquiring an N-Midget (torch) off Ebay which came with an 'N-1' tip. But this N-1 tip (unlike the current N series tips for acetylene) apparently has side slots, just like Paige Tools' tips. This is clearly visible upon zooming into the photo towards the tip.

    Original Meco N-1(multi-port clogged).JPG

    He goes onto to mention,
    "It's marked 'Meco' and 'N-1' so should be a welding tip, but it has those radial slots around the central hole in the tip. The problem could be two fold -
    1) The tips been cleaned out so many times that it's now more like a N-2
    2) the radial slots are partially clogged and unlike a hole are impossible to clean out."

    Obviously 'kenc184' was talking about cleaning the tip with a typical pokin' type tip cleaner, and had not thought about soaking in boiling water to clean this much abused tip.

    Another member(makoman1860) replies in the thread that this tip may be "an original meco natural gas/lp tip" - presumably very old(?).

    Judging by the sooty tip, and the suspected age of the tip, the partial clogging of the side ports(slots) seems like the result of perhaps rough use and perhaps (like Doug mentioned), "an inexperienced user got too close with his tip and clogged the little holes with melted flux when he accidentally touched the joint."

    Regarding the Welders Warehouse 'Multi-Jet' nozzles, as I've mentioned above, their threads are 1/4” x 36TPI UNF (according to one of the founders of the Welders Warehouse and their Taiwanese supplier). This would explain the less than ideal fit with Smith AT61 tip's 1/4” x 32TPI UNF.

    BTW, instead of using thick walled brass tubing for my custom 'threaded tip tube', I'm considering copper tubing (as it is on the Smith AT61 mixer), and more specifically 'lightweight swaged welding nozzles'. This seems like a common UK expression for typical actetylene types of copper tips for use with their 'standard' 'lightweight torches' like those shown on the first page of this thread(post #12 & #20 ).

    These copper 'lightweight swaged welding nozzles' have 1/4"x26 TPI threads* which seem to be standard on the UK/Euro-zone's 'lightweight torch/mixers'. They are made with tellurium copper which is apparently easier to machine and also a bit harder & stiffer, than 'pure' copper. They are also considerably cheaper than G-Tec's quotations mentioned above.
    * Referenced from 'GCE Cutting Welding & Heating Nozzles' (online brochure)
    (brochure image sample)
    GCE Brochure (Lightweight Swaged Copper Nozzles).jpg

    I think I'd get the longer(?) ones(no. 18, no. 25), cut off the threaded end and the bent section, then machine & thread both ends(1/4" x 28 TPI) of the remaining straight section in a lathe, and finally rebend one end for use with Smith AT61 mixer and Paige/Meco style tips, OR thread one end 1/4" x 28 TPI for the Smith AT61 mixer and the other end 1/4" x 36 TPI for the Welders Warehouse 'multi-jet' nozzles.

    Thanks Doug...
    Jihoon Jo

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    Default Re: Finding the best torch handle and tips to work with propane

    Quote Originally Posted by Ahmdo Molah View Post
    Regarding the Welders Warehouse 'Multi-Jet' nozzles, as I've mentioned above, their threads are 1/4” x 36TPI UNF (according to one of the founders of the Welders Warehouse and their Taiwanese supplier). This would explain the less than ideal fit with Smith AT61 tip's 1/4” x 32TPI UNF.
    Jihoon, thanks for finding out the threading on Welders Warehouse tips! That allowed me to update my framebuilding class manual. Have you finished yet with getting the brazing equipment you wanted? And if so, what did you get?

    I revisited my G-tec multi-ports tips. I have the #2 and #3 . I got those because the center orifice diameters are the same as Victor numbers. Of course the 6 side holes put out a lot more heat. Too much heat for many frame brazing applications for someone starting out. However I really liked how the center flame was very sharp. Often propane tips provide a kind of rounded flame end. Anyway I went ahead and ordered G-tec tips #0 and #1 . These might work much better for the kind of brazing we do. I'll report back after they have arrived.

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    Default Re: Finding the best torch handle and tips to work with propane

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Fattic View Post
    Jihoon, thanks for finding out the threading on Welders Warehouse tips! That allowed me to update my framebuilding class manual. Have you finished yet with getting the brazing equipment you wanted? ... .
    I'm glad to have made even a very small contribution here and to your great 'notes', thanks to Graham Rhoades (Founding Partner / Technical Advisor) of The Welders Warehouse.

    I have not purchased any brazing equipment yet. I'd like to first secure a decent used oxygen concentrator, then get the other items which are more readily available.
    Locally, the 'dog boom' brought about the 'oxygen room'(basically a clear acrylic box for pets with respiratory issues connected to an oxygen concentrator). It seems more used oxy-cons come from these 'dog boomers' than those from grandmas or meth enthusiasts.
    The German Krober 'Aeroplus 5' oxy cons are popular here (therefore more available) and have the metallic threaded oxygen outlet like the Devilbiss (which are rare here unfortunately). The 'dog boomers' seem to use their units briefly until their pups get better or 'hop over the rainbow', then resell 'em with little use, so I've got my hopes up.

    I'm still interested in the Smith AW1A torch & Smith AT61 mixer, mainly because the multi-port tips of interest (TM Tech's OX tips, Paige Tools' M tips, and Welder's Warehouse Multi-Jet nozzles) are all designed to fit 1/4" OD elbows/necks like the AT61 (for which I would make a 'dual 1/4"x28TPI threaded tip tube' elbow/neck). But I'll certainly remain open minded of course to other options such as G-Tec especially with your future reviews.

    After a long search (due to a lack of reply from many contacts - manufacturers and resellers alike) I've found a UK reseller* for the 1/4" OD 'lightweight welding/brazing nozzles (No.25)'** that I've mentioned above as a source for 'prebored' tellurium copper rod material for making my custom threaded(1/4"x28TPI) elbows/necks. I've learned that these 'nozzles' are not made from thick-walled 'tubes', they are bored/machined/swaged from solid rod.(!) Curious about how they are actually machined, but could not find any videos online.

    * Despite numerous UK shops offering a No.25 nozzle, so far RAPID Welding & Industrial Supplies Ltd. (UK) is one of the few shops processing international correspondence AND shipping.
    ** No.25 is the longest among the 1/4" OD 'lightweight welding/brazing nozzles' with a straight section length between threads and bend measuring about 128mm (according to RAPID's Sales Director - Andrew Doe).
    As the Smith AT61 mixer's copper elbow/neck seems to measure roughly 110mm(including the bent section), the No.25 should suffice, even after cutting off the bent swaged tip (which can be used to practice threading in the lathe), to make the 'dual 1/4"x28TPI threaded tip tube'(with a lathe, die, and tube bender) to be swapped with the AT61 mixer's stock 'threaded tip tube'.

    Due to the local COVID situation, the facility I use for metal work is closed for at least another few weeks, possibly longer, but I'll be sure to post an update too when I can.
    Jihoon Jo

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    Default Re: Finding the best torch handle and tips to work with propane

    The photo below shows RAPID's Lightweight Welding Nozzle (Size 25, RAPID Ref: NM59).
    * Note: 'Type 5'(or Type 2/3/4) nozzles not marked 'Lightweight' (or 'Light Duty') will not work (for making a 1/4" OD threaded tip tube) because such 'Medium' or 'Heavy Duty' nozzles have too large an OD & ID that it would result in not enough wall thickness for threading a 1/4" OD tube.

    RAPID No.25 Lightweight Nozzle[500kB].jpg

    As a 'lightweight nozzle', the threads of the nozzle shown above would be accordingly 1/4" x 26 TPI(as shown in the GCE brochure clip in post #63 above). Since I need 28 TPI for the multi-port tips of interest, I'd cut off this 26 TPI threaded section from the nozzle as well as the shorter bent section, and essentially be left with a straight 1/4" OD tellurium copper tube (originally machined from solid rod) with a length of roughly 128mm, plenty for making a threaded tip tube (roughly 110mm long) similar to that of the AT61, but with 1/4" x 28 TPI on BOTH ends, that I'd bend with a tube bending tool.

    The cut short tip section's bent/rounded portion can further be cut off leaving a short straight tip. This can be mounted in a lathe with the non-swaged end exposed for machining & die threading practice. Apparently copper is 'sticky' compared to steel when machined, requiring a sharp cutting tool, good emulsified lubricant/cutting fluid as well as shorter incremental cutting/backing off with the die. Hence, a sample material for practice would be all the more welcome.

    Again, I'm only going through this trouble because Paige Tools does not offer international shipping, at least not to my region. Also, I can make multiple elbows/necks - one for Meco OX/Paige Tools, another for Welder's Warehouse tips, and more for other 1/4" based tips that may come along. 'Hope this gives others in my situation some alternative ideas and options when the Paige Tools UN/NK adapters are not an option.
    Jihoon Jo

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    Default Re: Finding the best torch handle and tips to work with propane

    Quote Originally Posted by Ahmdo Molah View Post
    I'm still interested in the Smith AW1A torch & Smith AT61 mixer.
    It's been years since I used the Smith LP tips for the AT61 but if memory serves I think they were reasonably stable; I can't speak to suitability for fillet brazing tubing joints but they're suitable for lugs. I much prefer acetylene's more concentrated heat envelope but when I was using LP I don't recall having serious flame stability issues.

    In any event I wouldn't let the lack of other, preferred tips prevent me from getting started. I'd get the AT61 tips for LP or counter bore a couple of AW 200 series tips (or a tip for whatever torch is available to you for a test drive) and give it a whirl. I did that to two or three AW200 series tips (that's what Smith used to do). The flames weren't as resistant to being extinguished as I'd hoped but they were otherwise workable if, like LP in general, not my preference.

    I only occasionally follow the FB use-groups and haven't followed this thread in detail but I take it that oxygen and presumably acetylene are for some reason not feasible/desirable in your area?
    John Clay
    Tallahassee, FL
    My Framebuilding: https://www.flickr.com/photos/21624415@N04/sets

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    Default Re: Finding the best torch handle and tips to work with propane

    Acetylene and oxygen are certainly available locally (ROK) and propane is just as 'legally' regulated as acetylene in terms of storage and usage.
    (I write 'legally' because it seems many small businesses ignore or are oblivious to the law prohibiting the indoor storage of these gas tanks - they must be stored outdoors in the open air or in specially designed storage sheds with a roof that can easily be 'blow off' in the case of an explosion!).

    BUT... most if not all acetylene tanks are imported, must be rented, and likely to contain some asbestos. I've read of some newer domestically designed asbestos-free options, but they are still assembled overseas and imported, even more costly.

    Since TIG is my base for welding tubes (for now), although I do fancy fillet brazing, it is not my immediate need, which is getting a solid base in brazing the basic braze-ons then onto dropouts (if necessary). By the time I feel comfortable with these basics, I assume fillet brazing can be attempted without too much discomfort from any bias towards acetylene as I would not have had any bias accumulated, whereas some skill with propane will have been acquired.

    LPG(propane) tanks are produced domestically, and LPG is relatively easier to get as there are LPG stations (like gasoline gas stations) for LPG taxis/cars where one can take a small tank (3/5/10 kg tanks) like those used for bbq grills for fill up, and LPG suppliers of the larger 20kg tanks for home stoves/industrial applications.

    LPG Tanks (ROK).jpg

    Locally, (220g) butane cans can be stored legally indoors and are available in grocery stores as they are used for 'table top bbq dining'.

    Butane Cans (Export).jpg

    I know I'll get some s**t for this, but hear me out (for laughs for you wizards). Until I get setup in a rural setting with a dedicated shop separate from a house, I plan on practicing in an urban public metal shop (for free!). Hence I need to keep my foot print small, and any 'pressurized gas' within legal bounds, hence the butane idea. Of course when I'm setup with my own shop, I'd likely get a small LPG tank.

    I even found a butane can to CGA 510 adapter to connect an acetylene pressure regulator ;

    Butane - CGA510 Adapter.jpg

    Butane - CGA510 Adapter On Can.jpg
    * "Home safety, MAX, Explosion Preventing Butane, (on the curiously located shield) Explosion Prevention(!), < Invention Patent! >, Safe High Class Butane, blah blah blah..."
    - Between the upper rim seal and the domed section, there are perforated sections that will slowly leak gas in case of overheat or over pressurization, preventing an explosion.

    Butane - CGA510 Adapter Next to LPG Can Valve.jpg
    Jihoon Jo

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    Default Re: Finding the best torch handle and tips to work with propane

    Shop space and some other constraints/concerns. I understand the predicament. I'd guess that you'd burn through the little butane cans pretty quickly; I wonder if the 5kg LP cylinder would be small enough for the space constraints and be reasonable in the transport hassle department (if you can't leave your equipment in the shop).

    Re the Midget - Maybe somebody who's using it with LP can post the O2 pressures they use; I just can't remember with adequate certainty. It wasn't vastly higher...maybe 10psi where my other torches would have needed 5 but it was enough that I thought it worth mentioning and for any prospective user to suss out. I wouldn't think that I ever needed more than 15psi O2 with LP. All that said it seems like just getting the AW1A, AT61 with a few of the available tips from Miller would get you started with a torch that's proven to work with the types of O2 concentrators being used for this service. It's a fine torch (as they all are); not my absolute fave but this really gets into splitting hairs that just don't matter from my perspective. I use the AW1A and am perfectly happy.
    John Clay
    Tallahassee, FL
    My Framebuilding: https://www.flickr.com/photos/21624415@N04/sets

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    Default Re: Finding the best torch handle and tips to work with propane

    Quote Originally Posted by jclay View Post
    ... I'd guess that you'd burn through the little butane cans pretty quickly; I wonder if the 5kg LP cylinder would be small enough for the space constraints and be reasonable in the transport hassle department (if you can't leave your equipment in the shop).
    Yes, I predict more can swaps than I'd like, but considering that they get used to power portable gas stoves for large stews and inch thick stone plates for 'bbq' meals multiple times, I'm sure I should get plenty of practice brazing relatively small braze-ons and mock-up dropouts before a swap is needed. As I predict a relatively drastic shift in pressure compared to larger cylinders, I'm considering a relatively affordable dual-stage acetylene regulator, a Uniweld RHT8011, with hopes it would prevent constant fiddling with output knobs.

    The 5kg LP cylinder would be my choice for my own shop in the future, but such high pressure cylinder would get a nervous eye if not out right refusal from the public facility managers weary of city officials/fire department inspectors etc. I could probably convince the facility managers to let me use it there under the condition that I'd take it with me upon leaving, but it would be a concerning load to lug around(even if concealed in a backpack) during transport like in the subway (faster than driving in the city).

    But... the smallest 3kg cylinder on the other hand just might be compact enough to lug around in a backpack and stored in the well ventilated balcony would pose little concern. We'll see...

    Quote Originally Posted by jclay View Post
    Re the Midget - Maybe somebody who's using it with LP can post the O2 pressures they use; I just can't remember with adequate certainty. It wasn't vastly higher...maybe 10psi where my other torches would have needed 5 but it was enough that I thought it worth mentioning and for any prospective user to suss out. I wouldn't think that I ever needed more than 15psi O2 with LP.
    I was initially set on the Midget torch, especially after reading one of your posts mentioning how once connected with a hose, the Midget's center of mass gets positioned around the mixer, hence in your finger tips or palm, and not several inches away from your hand, making it seem relatively weightless like a music conducting baton.

    My understanding in terms of chemistry regarding oxygen requirements for LP gases is that more volume (mols) of O2 is needed for LP compared to acetylene, and in this context pressure is not an issue. Therefore, oxygen concentrators would be fine, as the supplied volumes are adequate even without the higher pressures of a cylinder.

    But once I encountered your comments (in another thread) about the higher O2 pressures required by the Midget, as well as the comments by 'surlypud' in post #11 of the thread 'Propane and propane related accessories' (https://www.velocipedesalon.com/foru...ies-35064.html)
    mentioning how the combination of a Midget's smaller diameter mixer + oxygen concentrators' limited output pressure (8~10 PSI) caused a lack of O2 supply issue when a large flame is desired, it convinced me to seek an 'airline style' torch solution, as they apparently accommodate relatively higher O2 volumes even with the relatively low pressures that oxygen concentrators can manage.
    Last edited by Ahmdo Molah; 10-18-2021 at 05:41 AM.
    Jihoon Jo

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    Default Re: Finding the best torch handle and tips to work with propane

    Compressed oxygen cylinders would, presumably, be similarly problematic in terms of storage at the metal lockup. I can certainly see an O2 concentrator being the way to go for you.

    Yes, LP requires lots more oxygen; in the range of 2 or 3x.

    You have some challenging logistical hurdles....consider making things easy where you can, like with the torch! AW1A, AT61 and two or three screw on tips from Miller if you can't easily get the Paige or TM ones, or whatever airline torch, mixer, tip combo that works right out of the box.

    Having said that, aren't small oxy/fuel torches (with LP tips) available in the ROK? I've notice a number of folks in Europe going to an awful lot of trouble and expense to get a US brand airline torch when they have what looks to me like pretty nice options over there. Actually, I think I'd prefer the flat-ish body shape and valve placement of the European torches I've seen, relative to the round US airline units. If that sort of thing is available, and assuming workable LP tips, I'd jump on it. I can't imagine they'd require higher inlet pressures than US airline torches and be unsuitable for use with O2 concentrators of low pressure capy.

    Like the one in post #118 , here: https://www.velocipedesalon.com/foru...e-30480-6.html

    If necessary or no LP brazing tips are available you could easily counter-bore an acetylene tip or three to get started and get everything else sorted out.
    John Clay
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    My Framebuilding: https://www.flickr.com/photos/21624415@N04/sets

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    Default Re: Finding the best torch handle and tips to work with propane

    Jihoon, I have almost every torch handle and tip for both propane and acetylene so my framebuilding class students can try them all out to see what they like best. The tips that make propane work wonderfully for using both silver and brass and either fillet (especially fillet) or lug brazing are the Meco or Paige multiport tips. I’d give the advantage to Meco tips because their larger #4 and #5 are a bit bigger than Paige’s #4 and #5. Paige’s was designed for delicate jewelry making and Meco’s is a bit more general purpose. The flames produced by these tips are very sharp making them ideal for pin point control. I think of my last 100 students, only 1 chose acetylene and everyone else liked using propane better. Not just because it is vastly cheaper and more convenient to use but because those multiport tips really provide an exceptional flame pattern. For bigger flames on bigger work (like brazing a fork crown to a steerer), Victor TEN tips work very well.

    I have also tried the Welder’s Warehouse multiport tips from the UK. They worked just about the same as Meco tips. The problem is that their threading is challenging for use on American torches. If you choose their European lightweight torch handle and lightweight hoses, then everything will work fine.

    I wouldn’t let my buddy John influence you to buy the Smith tips that screw onto their AT-61. They are a terrible choice compared to either Meco or Paige tips. Their NE tips that screw on the AT-61 and are designed for propane don’t have a recessed tip so they blow out really easily and have an awful flame pattern. Big, short and blunt. And then to kind of make them work so they don’t blow out so easily, you have to go to the bother of drilling a recess on the end. A drill bit doesn’t work well for this because it doesn’t have a square end. This could be solved by grinding the drill bit square. Furthermore their orifice size is too big for most frame brazing operations. Smith’s LT series of tips designed for acetylene that screw onto their AT-60 (designed for acetylene) are the right orifice size and can be screwed onto the AT-61 and will work as long as you don’t mind their very inferior flame pattern compared to better tips.

    TM Technologies sells and ships internationally and has a Meco tip solution that can be used with other mixer elbows if you don’t mind doing some work. They have a AWS-0067 (their order #) Meco Torch tip adaptor for $12. It is a ” brass tube with Meco threads on one end and a plain tube on the other. By cutting off the end of a mixer/elbow and the plain end of the adaptor they can be brazed together with the help of a 3/8” sleeve. If you are using the Victor UN-J, half the sleeve needs to be drilled 5/16” because that is the OD of their elbow. I’ll attach a picture.

    John, I just tried last night my Meco Midget torch handle with a Meco #5 tip last night using one of my Devilbiss 5lph concentrators to supply the oxygen. It works fine even when I switched to a larger Paige MX tip. I’ll remind Jihoon that seldom does one of my students prefer to use the Midget after trying the other torch handles. Last week my current student started with the Midget and then switched to the Uniweld 71 and liked the 71 better. The difference isn’t that huge and if other handles were not available, most would be happy enough with the Midget. I’ll also add that those that like the Midget best really love it. Once I took John’s advice to turn the elbow so it is in line with the torch body and added flashback arrestors to the bottom of the torch handle, I like using it okay even though it is not my preference. Using the Midget simplifies tip threading issues.

    However, I recommend one of the Victor threaded torch handles because sometimes using TEN tips are useful when wanting a larger flame. By the way, there is a lot of propane in one of those disposable bottles. They don’t run out all that quickly. It is the limited amount of oxygen in a disposable oxygen bottle that is the problem.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Default Re: Finding the best torch handle and tips to work with propane

    Just to be clear: I'm not really recommending the Smith propane tips, or any tips in particular; I'm recommending:

    1) That if the Paige, Meco or whatever tips aren't available that one (Jihoon in this instance) proceed with the most workable equipment that is available.
    2) That decent torch (& probably tip) options exist outside of the US made stuff.
    3) To keep your equipment arrangement as simple and standard as possible.

    I'm glad to hear that TM ships internationally and that the Midget worked with the O2 concentrator. That would cork it for me.

    Some general comments relating to the power of suggestion (inadvertent or otherwise), emulating what we see and that sort of thing, re Midget v conventional looking torches.

    Folks are used to seeing conventional torches.

    Folks generally follow the herd.

    Even slight preferences voiced by an instructor carry much weight. I mean, collegially, you have a bias and it's clear, and it's not unreasonable for you...you've been using round body torches for, what, 50 years? Why would you switch after five decades of developing kinesthetic memory in your hands/eyes/fingers? BUT, if you started marketing the Midget as the "hot setup" (voicing all the supporting rationale I've noted before), and pronounced it superior to round body torches (for those reasons) to your students I'll bet you lunch that they'd purchase the Midget when they got home. And there's no question in the world that the Midget is lighter and more notably has a vastly reduced polar moment of inertia than the round body torches, meaning it's more like a conductors wand in the hand than a slippery bar of round stock!

    Beginning students aren't really experienced enough to know what will ultimately work best for them.

    Lightweight hoses make slippery, round body torches much easier to grip....the Midget (or Av Jet), being rectangular, don't suffer that slipping problem and so aren't so reliant on more expensive and fragile hoses.

    Now, having said all of that....ALL of the torches being discussed are excellent and will do the job. We are splitting hairs, which is why I go back to recommending that one get reasonable stuff that's actually available, if the super duper stuff isn't available...which it appears that it is!

    Gotta run or I'd clean up the verbage but you guys get the point and it's all well intended.


    .
    John Clay
    Tallahassee, FL
    My Framebuilding: https://www.flickr.com/photos/21624415@N04/sets

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    Default Re: Finding the best torch handle and tips to work with propane

    Having thought about how I ended up with my perspectives on this subject it occurs to me that if I hadn't accidentally ended up with BB hose + B/A adapters for my AW1A, which provided a non-round, non-slippery end of the torch to grip (I hold the torch by those hose connectors/adapters, not the round torch body), I would want lightweight hoses (or a Midget) bc the damn thing is so slick, slippery and easily rotates in the hand. To me that's the reason for lightweight hoses; their desirability is more a result of, well...kinda crappy design. There's a reason people love the Av Jet and some other similarly designed, aluminum body torches of the welded, tubular aircraft fuselage era. My guess it that that's part of it.

    I ended up keeping the AW1A (and ditching the Midget and AvJet) bc I sometimes need (needed??) a cutting attachment. Looking forward...not so sure I will, which poses an obvious question (not that it matters to my brazing performance one bit)
    John Clay
    Tallahassee, FL
    My Framebuilding: https://www.flickr.com/photos/21624415@N04/sets

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    Default Re: Finding the best torch handle and tips to work with propane

    Quote Originally Posted by jclay View Post
    ... aren't small oxy/fuel torches (with LP tips) available in the ROK?...
    There are 'mini' acetylene torches with threaded tip tubes that can be fitted with LP tips similar to the Welder's Warehouse tips, but with less peripheral ports. The DK100 is made in the ROK (for over 40 years apparently).

    DK100 Mini Torch.jpg

    Length : 300mm (about 1 foot)
    Weight: 260g
    Pressure Ranges : O2 7-12 PSI / Fuel 1.45-3 PSI
    Nipples : 8mm OD (M12 x 1.5 female threads)
    Price : about $30

    It seems like it would be convenient for O2 adjustment on the fly with thumb and index, while fuel adjustment would have to be done with the other hand.

    But... I don't like the fact that this style of torch is designed for 1 'proper' holding position (in the right hand), and any deviation from such position would either diminish the output control comfort or potentially lead to accidental turning of the knobs. It is unclear if any specific features were incorporated into the torch or mixer itself for use with LP gases, as its main use is for acetylene.
    The ROK's current standard for acetylene and LPG cylinders and valves is based on the US standard - CGA 510, whereas this torch's standard is metric, likely influenced from Japanese Industrial Standard JIS, hence the larger 12mm OD connections. I prefer to not mix standards and also prefer the smaller 3/8"(9.525mm) OD hose connections , that would also allow smaller check valves on the torch (separate from a flashback arrestor on the fuel pressure regulator). Keeping it all one standard makes shopping a lil simpler too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Fattic View Post
    ... I recommend one of the Victor threaded torch handles because sometimes using TEN tips are useful when wanting a larger flame. ...
    Thanks Doug for sharing all your tips in the group photo... (Oh my GOT...). BTW, have you ever noticed any pros or cons comparing copper vs brass necks? For example, do you think a brass neck keeps the torch handle cooler because brass is less thermally conductive than copper, or does the copper neck have an advantage (keeping the torch handle cooler) because the copper neck may dissipate heat more quickly than a brass neck?
    Jihoon Jo

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    Default Re: Finding the best torch handle and tips to work with propane

    Quote Originally Posted by Ahmdo Molah View Post
    I even found a butane can to CGA 510 adapter to connect an acetylene pressure regulator ;

    Butane - CGA510 Adapter.jpg

    Butane - CGA510 Adapter On Can.jpg

    Butane - CGA510 Adapter Next to LPG Can Valve.jpg
    The reason more Americans haven't used disposable propane or mapp gas bottles for brazing frames is because we haven't found the adapter you are showing in your picture. That would allow a decent regulator to be put on the bottle. What we have (or at least all I have found) is disposable bottle regulators that are not adjustable for either pressure or flow.

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    Default Re: Finding the best torch handle and tips to work with propane

    Quote Originally Posted by Ahmdo Molah View Post
    Thanks Doug for sharing all your tips in the group photo... (Oh my GOT...). BTW, have you ever noticed any pros or cons comparing copper vs brass necks? For example, do you think a brass neck keeps the torch handle cooler because brass is less thermally conductive than copper, or does the copper neck have an advantage (keeping the torch handle cooler) because the copper neck may dissipate heat more quickly than a brass neck?
    I don't think the material of the neck (elbow) matters for the kind of brazing we do making frames. Almost no joint requires lengthy brazing so they don't get that hot. The one caution to that statement is Smith's "Little Torch" (and clones) that jewelers like. Many years ago I bought one as a present to myself and discovered the handle would overheat doing a typical frame braze. The neck/tip is too short and heat easily finds its way back to the torch body. Paige does make a longer stainless neck for the Little Torch that has threading on the end for their Paige tips. I haven't tried it myself so I don't know how well it works. The Meco Midget has a brass neck (you can even buy an extra long one) and the Victor AT-61's neck is made of copper. So is G-tec's. I've never had a problem with any of them. I can also tell you that John "just use what you have and get on with it" Clay will say to just buy what is convenient because they all work okay. I have stronger preferences but agree they all work okay. Well except the tips. Those multiport tips from Meco and Paige (and WW) are awesome - especially when using the smaller sizes. They are the reason propane works so well as a fuel.

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    Default Re: Finding the best torch handle and tips to work with propane

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Fattic View Post
    I can also tell you that John "just use what you have and get on with it" Clay will say to just buy what is convenient because they all work okay. I have stronger preferences but agree they all work okay. Well except the tips. Those multiport tips from Meco and Paige (and WW) are awesome - especially when using the smaller sizes. They are the reason propane works so well as a fuel.
    Well, that's not really quite what I said, but never mind; I have a question or three: Do I understand that the Meco and Paige multiport tips have a much sharper heat focus than, say, the AT61 tips? I mean, do the multiport tips emulate the heat focus of Oxy/Acetylene?

    Or do they just sort of tighten the secondary flame cone common to single orifice tips (like the AT61 or Smith 400 series tips), but not really approaching the more pinpoint focus of acetylene?

    Or is it merely that they have relatively exceptional blow-out resistance (compared to the paltry resistance of the countersunk tips I've made/used and the AT61 stuff)?

    I wonder if they cleverly change the relative heat energy content of the two flame cones; I don't see how the fluid mechanics of the multiport orifices would change the combustion chemistry but, maybe the little jets add up to a different profile.

    Just curious as to the main attraction of those tips.
    John Clay
    Tallahassee, FL
    My Framebuilding: https://www.flickr.com/photos/21624415@N04/sets

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    Default Re: Finding the best torch handle and tips to work with propane

    Let me begin by saying that my primary job is to teach beginners how to braze successfully. I need to help them avoid frustration and discouragement that reduce their capacity to learn. Providing them with the best possible equipment is only a small part of the successful educational formula but an important one. Besides the cost and convenience of propane, its lower flame heat works to their advantage. It gives them a bit more time to react instead of needing cat like reflexes to keep the joint within the proper temperature window.

    Quote Originally Posted by jclay View Post
    Well, that's not really quite what I said, but never mind; I have a question or three: Do I understand that the Meco and Paige multiport tips have a much sharper heat focus than, say, the AT61 tips? I mean, do the multiport tips emulate the heat focus of Oxy/Acetylene?

    I would describe the flame pattern of a Meco/Paige tip to be like a long needle. In other words it is thin with a sharp end. This allows the student to point the flame exactly where he wants it to be. The yucky Smith screw-on tips for their AT-61 in contrast gives a short and blunt flame. An acetylene flame is shorter in comparison to a Meco/Paige propane flame. It reminds me of the tip of a pencil that has been sharpened with a little hand sharpener.

    Or do they just sort of tighten the secondary flame cone common to single orifice tips (like the AT61 or Smith 400 series tips), but not really approaching the more pinpoint focus of acetylene?

    Fortunately for me one time you alerted me to an eBay sale of Smith AW400 series of propane tips. They have a much superior flame pattern than the AT-61 tips. I liked using them. However when doing fillet brazing, the gas pressure bouncing off the joint could sometime blow out the flame. This doesn't happen with the Meco/Paige tips. Also the Meco/Paige flame is even sharper and more pointed.

    Or is it merely that they have relatively exceptional blow-out resistance (compared to the paltry resistance of the countersunk tips I've made/used and the AT61 stuff)?

    Well the Meco/Paige tips do have exceptional blow-out resistance.

    I wonder if they cleverly change the relative heat energy content of the two flame cones; I don't see how the fluid mechanics of the multiport orifices would change the combustion chemistry but, maybe the little jets add up to a different profile.

    I don't know anything about combustion chemistry of any flame but I can say the little side flames on the multi-port tips seem to make the center flame skinny like a needle with a very sharp end.

    Just curious as to the main attraction of those tips.
    My latest framebuilding class student tried oxyacetylene first since he might have access to a unit. Once we fired up the propane with a concentrator, he could see that Meco multi-port tips provided a superior flame pattern (sharp and pointed). And with the cost and convenience thrown in, it was a no-brainer he chose to continue learning with propane. I want to emphasize again that the sharp cooler flame provided by a Meco/Paige tip is more manageable for someone starting out. It doesn't make as much difference to me but I still prefer using propane with multi-port tips over acetylene.

    Here is a picture of the very first attempt at fillet brazing my student did this week. It shows that with proper instruction and propane multi-port tips, it is possible to get good results right away. We will continue to work on making improvements with more practice.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Default Re: Finding the best torch handle and tips to work with propane

    Thanks for the descriptions.

    If I still had a Midget I'd grab one multiport tip just for the sake of curiosity. It sounds like they make the LP flame behave more like acetylene!

    You liked the AW400 tips? I found them annoying.
    John Clay
    Tallahassee, FL
    My Framebuilding: https://www.flickr.com/photos/21624415@N04/sets

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