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  #106 (permalink)  
Old 04-09-2011, 08:04 AM
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Lol I need more guys like you around here!!
My local Airgas were nice to me when I was a noob, then I ended up handling orders and running the toolroom for our local vo-tech and became their largest customer (until State funding evaporated).

Many businesses don't understand that if you take care of customers they don't forget it!

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I love helping guys out because when their buddy needs to get something who do you think they're gonna refer them to,
Ezzacly. Welders are an outspoken bunch.

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Posted by oldred:
Acetylene welding may not account for a large percentage of welding but it is still done quite a lot in spite of what some might think so welding is important to a lot of us, for those of us who do weld with gas then advice on how to obtain Acetylene would be in order and not suggestions on another type of fuel.
Since the sources are regional, perhaps posting who currently "needs" acetylene so others can mention current sources would be appropriate? Who has it on-hand may change over time.

Multifuel suggestions can still be useful since you can cut and heat with an alternate fuel to save acetylene. The crusty veterans won't need that of course, but many folks don't think about convenient ways to do that.

For example, one can use a single oxygen cylinder and a valved Y-fitting (handier for connecting/disconnecting stuff downstream) along with an acetylene welding torch and a propane cutting torch or rosebud setup. No second oxy cylinder rental, no overdraw on small acetylene cylinders for rosebud work, less torch swapping, and money saved for other things.

Google "Western Enterprises" along with the general fitting name and it's often quicker than using their catalog. They rule the roost and their brass fittings are widely available online. If you don't like your LWS or are too far away it's a good way to go.

If you LIKE your LWS, showing up with the printed Western page for reference saves them looking it up. Informed customers are easier to serve. I prefer to do the research and let my LWS do the ordering. Everybody is happy.

The hardcore gas welders might consider haunting Craigslist for more acetylene cylinders to facilitate hoarding. You can get more acetylene cylinders before running your current batch empty.

When hunting used cylinders:

Get the NAME off the neck ring AND the sticker. (I take digital pics when useful.) Over the last century there have been many welding gas suppliers who were later consumed by industry consolidation.

If your local supplier won't exchange the cylinder it's useless. (I would keep 'em for friends who aren't local if they were free.) Call supplier to see if they'll swap. I don't do this where seller can listen in. Know in advance if the supplier actually cares about hydro dates or what hydro will cost. If you have a selection of suppliers, know their different exchange policies.

All this VARIES by region and individual supplier policy. Assume nothing.

Arc marks and other damage can condemn a cylinder easily. There are plenty of UGLY old acetylene cylinders, but know disqualifying damage.

Since J&M is here, he might post his specific policies to educate the group. There are LOTS of good owner-sized cylinders in garages and barns out there which can be exchanged.

If you have buddies with cylinder contracts, they may be able to run your exchange cylinders through their shop. Contract prices can be MUCH lower than guy-off-the-street retail.

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Last edited by 1930case; 04-09-2011 at 08:26 AM.
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  #107 (permalink)  
Old 04-09-2011, 08:47 AM
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I'm not sure about most larger companies policies but i will exchange anything thats not obvious scrap. we do hydrotesting and acetylene/propane requalification in-house so if its just out of date i will charge for requal and swap out. if it winds up being scrap for bad filler or something then i'll either get you next time you come in or just eat it. it happens sometimes. if its a competitors cylinder i'll just swap out with them. they get my cylinders and i get theirs all the time so we will take care of it. some places are just too lazy to deal with it. plus sometimes you get into ownership issues when a guy gives you an airgas bottle and says its his. most of the time its a deal where airgas has his bottle and swapped for theirs and called it clear but if he was renting then hes gonna hit for rent regardless and i'll probably turn that bottle in to get one off my rent too so its really wise for the customer to keep track of it instead of thinking theyre gonna get over on me because it bites back in the end.

some obvioyus scrap issues:
1) if its a B or MC shake it. if the filler inside rattles, it's scrap
2) arc burns, deep cuts, or large dents will scrap it
3) if the top or bottom fuse plugs are trash and rusted to the point i cant get them out, i'm probably gonna scrap it.
4) if the bottom is all rusted out especially where it joins the sidewall i'm probably gonna scrap it and pitting on the sidewall will kill it if its a huge spot and deep.
5) a cylinder over 50 yrs old with the pressed on footring is scrap. they put those press on and sometimes welded on footrings on them and they rust underneath it where i cant see so federal law says i have to kill it.
6) acetylene has to have a shell inspection every ten years. look for a date stamped on the top with an S after it. the newest date is your last shell requal. it also needs a filler inspection 20 years after manufacture. the date will have S and F behind it for that.

you can go to your local supply shop and they can get you a copy of the CGA guidelines. i cant remember the number of the booklet off the top of my head. i think its C-4 but dont hold me to that. i'll look monday when i get to the shop

i know that for the distributors who use western to get their acetylene filled they all received a letter saying if they were caught piggy backing another companies acetylene then their contract would be immediately terminated. but for the guy on the street if you have a buddy in a supply shop who has a steady supply or close to a steady supply i'm sure they can get you taken care of one way or the other. just ask. most supply shops especially the local guys (not a major like airgas) will bend over backwards for their customers. i'm sure they can find a solution for you.

Last edited by J&MCylinderGases; 04-09-2011 at 08:59 AM.
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  #108 (permalink)  
Old 04-09-2011, 11:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1930case
Multifuel suggestions can still be useful since you can cut and heat with an alternate fuel to save acetylene. The crusty veterans won't need that of course, but many folks don't think about convenient ways to do that.

For example, one can use a single oxygen cylinder and a valved Y-fitting (handier for connecting/disconnecting stuff downstream) along with an acetylene welding torch and a propane cutting torch or rosebud setup. No second oxy cylinder rental, no overdraw on small acetylene cylinders for rosebud work, less torch swapping, and money saved for other things.

Google "Western Enterprises" along with the general fitting name and it's often quicker than using their catalog. They rule the roost and their brass fittings are widely available online. If you don't like your LWS or are too far away it's a good way to go.

There are LOTS of good owner-sized cylinders in garages and barns out there which can be exchanged.

If you have buddies with cylinder contracts, they may be able to run your exchange cylinders through their shop. Contract prices can be MUCH lower than guy-off-the-street retail.


All good suggestions for those who need Acetylene. I personally have used LP for years for cutting and mostly just use Acetylene to weld with and occasionally with a scarfing tip. For many years when I ran my shop I also used LP for most cutting chores because of the major cost savings so I mostly was just trying to get this discussion back to the main topic of "what do we use now if we can't get Acetylene"?

As far as which alternate gas to use then it must be remembered that home shops are going to have mostly different requirements than an industrial setting. My point from the start has been there is no point in recommending someone go out and spend money for a conversion (if required) for a specialty gas when LP is so easy to find and so inexpensive to use. If there is an advantage to a particular gas vs LP that makes the extra cost and bother worth it then lets discuss that but honestly what benefits, for the home shop, could there be? All I am saying is why have someone spend money for regulators, etc and then hunt down the fuel only to find that they can do the same thing with LP which can be found anywhere? Been a lot of good info for us "Crusty veterans" and it has been quite interesting but the real issue is for the home shop and WHICH alternate gas to use!


My honest opinion is that LP is by far the best choice for the home shop.

Reasons are,

It's probably the least cost both to set up and use.

With most torches it will require a simple tip change.

Widely available and easy to get anywhere.

Cuts cleanly and handles heating and brazing chores easily.


Ok now any suggestions for a better gas alternative and reasons why?
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  #109 (permalink)  
Old 04-09-2011, 11:38 AM
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acetylene requalification info. its very general and deals with test dates mainly. and the CGA pamphlet you need to see is C-13 but i cant find it for free anywhere. maybe someone else will have some better luck.


https://hazmatonline.phmsa.dot.gov/s...s/safe4-01.pdf
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  #110 (permalink)  
Old 04-09-2011, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by oldred
All good suggestions for those who need Acetylene. I personally have used LP for years for cutting and mostly just use Acetylene to weld with and occasionally with a scarfing tip. For many years when I ran my shop I also used LP for most cutting chores because of the major cost savings so I mostly was just trying to get this discussion back to the main topic of "what do we use now if we can't get Acetylene"?

As far as which alternate gas to use then it must be remembered that home shops are going to have mostly different requirements than an industrial setting. My point from the start has been there is no point in recommending someone go out and spend money for a conversion (if required) for a specialty gas when LP is so easy to find and so inexpensive to use. If there is an advantage to a particular gas vs LP that makes the extra cost and bother worth it then lets discuss that but honestly what benefits, for the home shop, could there be? All I am saying is why have someone spend money for regulators, etc and then hunt down the fuel only to find that they can do the same thing with LP which can be found anywhere? Been a lot of good info for us "Crusty veterans" and it has been quite interesting but the real issue is for the home shop and WHICH alternate gas to use!


My honest opinion is that LP is by far the best choice for the home shop.

Reasons are,

It's probably the least cost both to set up and use.

With most torches it will require a simple tip change.

Widely available and easy to get anywhere.

Cuts cleanly and handles heating and brazing chores easily.


Ok now any suggestions for a better gas alternative and reasons why?
you basically only have a few options and its up to the individual to decide whats the best for their needs. you got LP, propylene, and hydrogen based alternatives (magnegas and the version of MAPP thats available) and i saw a gasoline setup maybe on this thread. any more out there i'm forgetting??
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  #111 (permalink)  
Old 04-09-2011, 01:34 PM
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Since welding with alternate gases ain't happening, it becomes a question of cutting and brazing.

Remember if you want more preheat when cutting, just run a bigger tip and hold the torch back enough to get a clean kerf. Many new cutters don't know that even on warm days a preheat pass over thick metal makes for a much nicer cut.

Tip experimentation for the hobbyist can get expensive, so snag a pile of them cheap off Fleabay or similar. You can also run the American Torch Tip Multi-Use adapter with a variety of inexpensive tips for different gases. I get mine from ATL Welding Supplies online. If you have a vintage torch that's a hassle to get tips for, these can help. My Smith LC and Meco Cutmaster are back in use since I found out about them.

Any propylene fans out there? I've never used it or run into someone with practice using it.

http://www.weldingtipsandtricks.com/...l-cutting.html

Last edited by 1930case; 04-09-2011 at 01:58 PM.
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  #112 (permalink)  
Old 04-09-2011, 02:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1930case
Any propylene fans out there? I've never used it or run into someone with practice using it.

http://www.weldingtipsandtricks.com/...l-cutting.html

Not a fan of the stuff for sure but I did use quite a bit of it back in the 80's before I switched to LP. It has the advantage of LP in that most torches require only a simple tip change and it is hotter. It also seemed to be better in an outdoor situation in really cold weather when a large demand such as a heating tip was required. It has no disadvantage to LP and as I said it is hotter if that is a concern, for a home shop it will not be, and it is widely available at most welding gas suppliers. My suggestion on Propylene would be to base the decision on cost and availability because other than that there will be little difference between it and LP in a home shop.
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  #113 (permalink)  
Old 04-09-2011, 02:42 PM
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Straight and to the point, Thank you!
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  #114 (permalink)  
Old 04-11-2011, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by oldred
I have not found the burn temperature of this gas (yet) but I seriously doubt it is as hot as Acetylene, that would be industry headline news! Also the site mentions welding, but says little else and a gas that could be used to actually weld steel with would again be headline news to the industry! I certainly could be wrong but I am willing to bet, especially considering the source for this gas (hydrocarbon fuels) that the flame chemistry will have waaaay too much Hydrogen in it to weld with, brazing sure but welding? Sorry I still see nothing here but a sales pitch and a site that is making some extravagant claims that should be an industry shaker but the first place we hear about it is on the internet?


This is not the first "miracle" gas to come along and the claims for it are about the same old tune as the others. Seriously a gas that is as hot as Acetylene and could be used to weld with would be a major breakthrough and an industry changer but outside of a relatively obscure website where is the big news? Get some facts to back up these miraculous claims and then come back and tell us about it.
I have actually worked in this industry for over 20 years now and i wanted to post some information to clear this up a little bit. This shortage is definately real and happening right now, so alternative fuels are going to have to be used. As far as "heat" goes, there are 2 ways of looking at this. Acetylene burns with oxygen at 5900 degrees, but only puts out 1483 BTU per cubic foot. Propane on the other hand burns with oxygen at a lower 5650 degrees, but puts out 2600 BTU per cubic foot. Either of these temps are hot enough to melt steel readily, but with double the BTU(energy to cut steel) propane is twice as efficient as acetylene. This means out of the same quantity of gas you will be able to cut twice as much. As far as brazing or welding, propane is not a good option, although the Harris companies do make a brazing nozzle for alternate fuel. I have never used one, so i can't claim to know how well they work.
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:03 AM
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The largest hand cutting torches run propane, and the steel industry can afford it's choice of gases:

Check the thickness range specs for the cutting nozzles!

http://products.esabna.com/EN/home/g...utting_nozzles
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rdrew5762
I have actually worked in this industry for over 20 years now and i wanted to post some information to clear this up a little bit. This shortage is definately real and happening right now, so alternative fuels are going to have to be used. As far as "heat" goes, there are 2 ways of looking at this. Acetylene burns with oxygen at 5900 degrees, but only puts out 1483 BTU per cubic foot. Propane on the other hand burns with oxygen at a lower 5650 degrees, but puts out 2600 BTU per cubic foot. Either of these temps are hot enough to melt steel readily, but with double the BTU(energy to cut steel) propane is twice as efficient as acetylene. This means out of the same quantity of gas you will be able to cut twice as much. As far as brazing or welding, propane is not a good option, although the Harris companies do make a brazing nozzle for alternate fuel. I have never used one, so i can't claim to know how well they work.


That's been my point about using LP and for the home shop I just can't think of anything better. As far as brazing /welding, it does work for brazing but not as well as Acetylene due to it not being as hot but with the right tip and a bit of patience it does work. Welding is just not going to happen period! Even with enough heat to melt the weld puddle it still will not work because the flame chemistry is all wrong and all it will do is make a mess.
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:28 AM
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Here's a guy with the right brazing tips, patience, and pics of work plus a bend test:

http://www.chaski.com/homemachinist/...p?f=12&t=87931

I used to braze steel rule fabric cutting dies for a stuffed toy company. (Eden Toys, Jersey City, I'm ancient!) We used acetylene because it was what the company had.

They would take some impressive force on the cutting press (they work like cookie cutters for fabric) and the normal failure point was when the steel bent and twisted.

Heat it, beat it straight, braze it, and put it back back to work cutting more toy skins.

Brazing is tough, flexible, EASY to learn, and you can wash off the brazing filler with a torch without trashing the parent metal.

Last edited by 1930case; 04-11-2011 at 10:49 AM.
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  #118 (permalink)  
Old 04-11-2011, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by 1930case
Brazing is tough, flexible, EASY to learn, and you can wash off the brazing filler with a torch without trashing the parent metal.

We may be heading off in a different direction here but that is an excellent point! Brazing is a very often mis-understood method of repair and too many people just think of it as a weak patch instead of the strong joint it is. Proper Brazing with a good Bronze filler is a lot stronger than most people give it credit for and it is often passed up for that reason when it actually might be the better choice depending on the job at hand.
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Old 04-11-2011, 12:22 PM
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Brazing can be an opportunistic use of available equipment.

Gearhead buys propane torch for inexpensive cutting, needs to join something unexpected, has brazing (which can be done with the preheat flame of a cutting torch as well as a combo torch tip) in their "mental toolbox", solves problem.

Multiply "stuff you own" by "what that stuff can do" and that can be quite a bit of scope.

Extra points for not requiring electricity.
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  #120 (permalink)  
Old 04-13-2011, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by MARTINSR
I hope so, I know the guy I talked to at the welding supply was seriously bummed and said the rationing is "indefinite".

Brian
sounds like Ca
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