Gas Welding Equipment - a bit of an overview
Gas Welding Kits is a bit of a generic term, as Gas Equipment can be used for a wide variety of purposes, not just welding.
When choosing equipment, the most important thing to consider is exactly what you want to be able to do, as this will determine what type of Fuel Gas you can use. Oxygen + Propane is probably the most economical as Propane is available on a cylinder deposit basis, rather than rental, however, it is not possible to fusion weld with Oxygen + Propane. Oxygen + Gasex (Mapp) is also potentially free from cylinder rental and can be used for lightweight Gas Welding, however, as the canisters are small and disposable, long term costs can mount if you use your Gas Welding Kit frequently. Oxygen + Acetylene is the traditional Gas Welding set up as it is the most versatile, but here you have to rent the Acetylene Cylinder.
So in summary:
Oxygen + Propane = Heating, Cutting, Brazing, Silver Soldering etc but not Gas Welding
Oxygen + Gasex = Welding, Heating, Brazing, Silver Soldering etc but not Cutting
Oxygen + Acetylene = All of the above, but expensive cylinder rental
If you already have some Gas Welding Equipment and are looking to change gases (the most common change we're asked about is Acetylene to Propane or Gasex), there are some important things you need to know!
You MUST NOT use an Acetylene Regulator Flash Arrestor or Hose (Red) for Propane or Gasex as these gases are corrosive to the internal materials of Acetylene items. It is however OK to put Acetylene through a Propane/Gasex hose (Orange). If you are changing from Acetylene to Propane or Gasex you WILL need to change your Gas Regulator, but your Flash Arrestor may be OK. Check the labelling on your Flash Arrestor, if it says "Fuel Gas", then its OK to use it for any of the fuel gases mentioned, if it says "Acetylene" or "Propane", then it can only be used for that gas. All The Welders Warehouse Flash Arrestors are "Fuel".
All Gas Equipment should be regularly checked by a competent person, checks should be made for leaks and signs of wear. Hoses particularly are prone to cracking at the key bend points, usually at either end within 10cm of the fittings. BE realistic about the condition of Gas Welding Equipment. If it looks past its best, replace it, it's just not worth risking an accident with Gas Welding Equipment!!!
Another consideration when choosing, or changing, Fuel Gas is the type of Nozzles used for different Fuel Gases. Acetylene is fast burning, so the nozzles tend to be quite simple in construction, usually simple holes. Propane and Gasex are slower burning and so require a more complex design of nozzle. It is possible to use Acetylene Nozzles with Oxygen + Propane or Gasex, but torches with this configuration are usually difficult to light, blow out easily and often lack heat volume. You should NEVER use Acetylene with Nozzles designed for Propane or Gasex as this can be extremely dangerous!
If you would like to discuss your own specific Gas Welding Kit needs in more detail, please don't hesitate to contact us and speak to one of our Technical Advisors.
Some useful information is also available within Graham's blog