Jump to content
I Forge Iron

Question about cutting torch...

Recommended Posts

Hey guys, i'm kinda new to all this stuff and I don't really know anything about cutting torches. I recently found out that they can weld also, and are a whole lot cheaper than a decent welder. I was wondering if the welding cappabilaties are good, 'cause sometimes on high tech multipurpose stuff, one of the options doesn't work to well. I am looking at one that can weld
1/4" and cut 1/2" with the supplied tips, but the catalog says that it will weld up to 3" and cut 6" with different tips. Is this stuff acurate? I would appreciate anything anyone could tell me, thank you. Andrew.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, yes with the right tips you could certainly do both of those, and a rosebud tip is also an excelent source of localized heat for blacksmithing.
However, I'm pretty sure you would need to manifold several tanks together to do either one on material that thick.

With oxy-fuel, you can weld,braze,cut,solder,apply localized heat. The learning curve is not to bad, Probably easier than learning to run a stick welder well. But harder than running a mig. If you can tig weld already then it won't take you ten minuits to get it.
As far as cost,the torch ,hoses and regulators are only part of the cost. You must also either lease, rent, or buy a set of tanks. Also you must pay to keep them filled in most cases. Which could get quite expensive if this is the only welding setup you have and you use it a lot.
Personally I have four torches and three sets of tanks and wouldn't be without them. But I also wouldn't be without a good stick welder also.
Around here you can pick up a decent used 250 Amp AC/AD welder for under a hundred and fifty bucks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Awesome, thank you very much! Where are you located? All the stick welders around here are about $300 somthin', I want to eventually get a Mig, so the torch won't be the only welder, I just can't afford a Mig right now. One more question, would I be able to use 1/2" cutting tip on a 1" bar and just make two cuts, one from each side? Thnx.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Bsing.

I'm in denver Colorado. To answer your question, yes you could cut 1" w/a 1/2" tip but it would be ugly. You probably would be better of turning your oxygen pressure way up over what is rated and slowing down your travel speed. Rather than trying to cut from both sides.
Remember don't turn the acytaline (sp?) up past 15psi. As it becomes unstable and can randomly explode.
By the way, I used to live in kings mountain just outside of charlotte. how far away is hickory?

Good luck.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Andrew: Do NOT try to cut 1/2" from each side. When you don't cut all the way through, you can get uncontrolled spewing gouging with molten crap going everywhere if you don't know what you are doing. Just get a larger cutting tip for the same cutting torch body. They don't cost all that much.

The Lincoln AC 225 "tombstone" or "buzzbox" has been around forever. It is sold nearly everywhere that welding stuff is sold, including Lowe's. On sale, it is usually just around $200. There are 5 of them on ebay right now for much less than $200, and almost every farm auction I've been to has a welder of some sort. The 225 was/is very popular for the price. You will need a 220V 5A outlet.

The MIG is the LAST welder I'd get as a blacksmith. I have one, and it is handy, but it is the least flexible, the easiest to break, and the easiest to weld badly.

If you learn to weld with a torch, then stick, TIG and MIG welding are a piece of cake.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Both in Columbus Ohio and central New Mexico I have seen used lincoln 220vac "tombstone" welders go for US$40. One of these will do quite a lot of what a smith can use a welder for and will outlast you with proper care---the one I picked up is probably close to myself in age and still going strong!

Where are you looking to get $300 prices? Fleamarkets, yardsales, craigslist, bulliten board at the feedstore are places I would suggest.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lots of stuff. Here goes
ebay welder:
in my opinion.....No. About the second one...Maybe but it seems awful light duty. Something like a welder it is best to stick (hehe get it? STICK?) with the big brands- Lincoln, Miller , Hobart, etc. My preference is Lincoln (cause that is what I grew up around on the farm). The Lincoln tombstone welder I am using now was made sometime in the mid-1950's i believe and is still going strong. The last welder we had was a Lincoln Century with the high and low range switch made in the early 1970's i believe. If a cow hadn't of got in the barn and stepped on it it would still be going to. All it needs is a new switch and the wires rewound on the transformer, and easy fix if you don't mind counting more than a thousand windings. As everyone one said above, try a farm auction. The tombstone welders go cheap cause almost anybody that needs one already has one. I've seen them go for anywhere from 15 dollars to 80 dollars.

In response to your next question, this is what they look like (at least what the lincoln looks like anyways)- Browser Level Verification

Mig welder- I have a Blue Point ( Snap-on's introductory line of equipment) Mig and find it more bothersome than I care to deal with. I only use it when welding up sheet metal for whatever reason and this is only rarely. Usually I have to replace the wire spool before I start because the previous spool has collected rust (which will ruin the welding lead liner).

-Aaron @ the SCF

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As mentioned several times above, Lincoln, Miller, Hobart. I would stay away form the Harbor Freights and the like. I would not recommend a MIG machine unless you know what the weld puddle is doing and that comes with more experience. You can make a weld "look" good and it will have cold lap or non-fusion. I have a Miller 251X MIG machine in my shop that has the capabilities of welding 1/16" wire but if I need to make a critical weld I will use my stick machine and 7018 rod. Oxy/fuel welding is not as fast as stick welding as a norm. May I suggest that you go to a welding shop and ask to observe one of the better hands welding, any process, to see what it is supposed to look like. You might even take some bar-b-qued ribs or something along that line.:) Tell them what you are wanting to learn and why. Be sure to wear your appropriate PPE (safety glasses, hard hat, ear protection, cotton shirt and jeans. Leather gloves would be good to have also.)

As far as your rig cutting 3"-6" material, yes, with the proper tip. Liquid Oxygen would be advised and serious preheat. Chances are though you will most likely never cut anything thicker than 2". Good luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This will be my suggestion. Either get proper training on bottles ( acetelyne/oxygen ) or do not handle them or the torch. Bottles are missles. Properly handled, they are absolutely an excellent tool ( torch and bottles ). I personally know welders that make farm repairs with migs. They are WELDERS though. I also know welders that make a good living repairing bad mig repair welds( with stick). Correct on the stick analogy. Stick is stout. My humble opinion. TIG is stouter. Absolutely nothing wrong with mig. It all takes training. Don't mean to come off as sounding sarcastic. Al-Jon car crushers are built with mig ( and them's some tough car crushers ). Admittedly it is pulse.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been keeping quiet just because I wanted to see what everyone else has to say. Pratical limits of oxy/acetlene welding is about 1/8 mild steel and even at that it's slow. Cutting with a big tip is pretty much 1" and you have to cut through in 1 pass or you will have a mess. I have cut through 4.5" axle shafts with a torch but it was ugly and I had to drill out the tip to get enough preheat (don't do this it's dangerous). What you want to look for in any welder. 220V don't even consider a 110 unit trust me it won't be long till you're looking for a bigger rig. Name brand, think of service and support 10-15 years down the road.
I have 2 welders one is a 180 amp engine drive AC only, nice rig because it's portable but AC is harder to handle the puddle in out of position welds. My other rig is a Miller CST250, it's an inverter straight DC machine. 200 amp on single phase and 250 amp on three phase. I also have acess to several MIG welders yes they are nice but with pratice a good weldor can do anything with a stick machine that's needed.
Really what I'm getting at is don't give up on finding a good deal. Go to your local welding supplier(LWS) and let them know what you are looking for. Check the pawn shops that's where I got my CST. I did see a tombstone for $100 at one in Omaha.
Just so you know I'm 35 and have been welding since I was 8. Sorry for being long winded.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Dr.Dean.
Please belive me when I say I mean no disrespect by this, and that the last thing I want to do is start an argument on this forum,.
But this statement: Pratical limits of oxy/acetlene welding is about 1/8 mild steel and even at that it's slow. Cutting with a big tip is pretty much 1" and you have to cut through in 1 pass or you will have a mess. is just not true. As far as welding goes you can weld just about any thickness that a stick, tig or mig will weld. Of course just like the other processes this will require multiple passes.
If you are talking about single pass welding then 1/8" is still not the limit. Twice that would not be considered at all unusual.
As for cutting well I just don't know what to say? Even my little victor journeyman with single tanks will make a decent cut through 11/2" all day long. If you don't want to bellieve me, ( and I can certainly understand that.) or the literature and rated specs. Then take a quick stroll through the local salvage yard. Even with the prevalence of water jet cutting on thicker material lately, It shouldnt take more than ten minuets to stub your toe on a 2 or 3" dropout that was not only flame cut, but pierced with the torch to start the cut.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

HI BSing,

I agree with Aaron don't waste your money. Get a Lincoln or simular buzz box welder 200 amps or more. You may not know it you can cut with stick welder. You turn it up to gouge out metal with stick or carbon. They also make what's known as a carbon arc torch that you can used to heat steel to forge ,bent and braze with. So keep looking for something like that for starter welder.

Above all BE SAFE!!
Larry McCollum

Try not to spend $10 worth time on $.10 job.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Johnny no offense taken. I guess what I'm refering to for the 1/8 is I have the choice of spending more time with the torch or flip a switch and get the job done. My refrence to 1" for cutting is the average setup that I see around all the farm shops, they need bigger tips. The other thought for limiting thickness is the midget bottles that people buy and don't realize that they need to limit the acetlene flow. I don't remember off the top of my head what the flow limit is for acetelene seems to be 1/7 quanity of the bottle per hour. I'm probably wrong please correct me if so. I strongly believe that a torch rig and a welder both have thier place in a shop. If i'm going to weld some muffler pipe yes I'm going for the torch but most of the time it's limit is heating and cutting in my shop.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Dr. Dean.
Yes, I can certainly agree with all of the points in your second post. I to very rarely do any torch welding because of the speed factor. Generally, I mig for production, stick weld for strength , and tig for pretty. Come to that , most of my cutting is done with the plasma. What I find a torch absolutely indispensible for is heating. However, when the power goes out in my shop, rendering all of my electrical goodys worthless. I can still get those jobs done with the torch if I need to. At least untill I realize I forgot to get the tanks filled AGAIN!!!!

Larry, Do you like using the carbon arc torch? I have a couple of them kicking around. I always found them to be so so at a whole range of tasks that other prosseses do better (probably need more practice). But I do like playing with the airarc gouge.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Andrew: Now you've heard lots of good opinions about welding equipment for welding. Since you posted this question in the Blacksmithin' Forum, I am going to assume your primary reason for exploring welders is for your forging shop. I've said before that in my estimation, the torch is more valuable to a blacksmith because it does more than cut and weld.

With welding tips, you can provide localized heat to bend small parts and soften rivet heads for forging. This is often hard to do in a coal forge when the parts are inside of a larger structure such as a table, and is usually impossible in a gas forge. With the rosebud tip, you can heat larger pieces exactly where you need to do adjustments, bending and twisted. Controlling sheet metal is much easier with a torch than a forge.

The torch is also very handy for warming a project after you've cleaned it all up before putting on a finish. I sometimes use the rosebud like a garden hose and sort of "wash" the project just enough to make a finish flow and dry onto it.

Wherever you need a specific point of heat for working metal, the torch can usually provide it, making it a very useful complement to a coal or gas forge.

My experience is ONLY with acetylene. If I were starting out with no gas torch set, I would certainly look at the other gas fuels. They are all much more stable fuels and the tanks are sometimes easier to own and/or get filled. Some are probably cheaper to operate. The biggest drawback is that I think none except acetylene weld very well or at all. But each gas choice requires some different torch gear, so it is worth exploring before you buy to see what suits your specific need.

I will also pass on advice given to me that I ignored and you probably will also: Buy a good NEW set. Don't buy a cheap set, and don't buy a used one. By going cheap and used, I've spent enough money to buy two or three good new sets by now, trying to get what I wanted and get stuff that worked at all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's a condensed version of my quest for equipment so far:

Build an all-scrounged, no weld forge.

Forge and sell enough iron work to earn $250.

Go to Lowes and buy a new Lincoln 225.

Learn to stick weld while building a bigger and better forge.

Now, to bang out another $500 - $600 worth of goods, then take Ed's advise and buy a new torch.

To be poor is to be patient ;)


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Browser Level Verification
The Harris Products Group - Classic Outfits

Im not a weldor but trying to learn
The address on top is the welder they are talking about, I have one & think most people that do any welding has one or had one.

The second is the Torch I have "Steelworker" Harris doent cost much and mine seems to be a good torch. If I was buying a torch I would buy new.Im guessing $ 300.00

Im not trying to tell you to buy anything & sure we will hear about every brand under the sun.

The welder & torch dont cost much and work.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Victor Journeyman set
• Cuts up to 3/4”/19mm (8”/200mm with optional tips)
• Welds up to 1/2”/12mm (3”/75mm with optional nozzles)
Victor welding lists the cutting capacity of their torches at 1/8"/3.25mm to 6"/152mm. With a #8 tip you can cut up to 12" thick material.

Esab cutting torches can cut up to 12 in. steel with acetylene, 16 in. with any other fuel gases.

Esba Acetylene Welding/Heating Heads (Single Flame) Steel Thickness 1/32-1 in. With a different head you can achieve an Average Heat Output of 500,000 - 1.2m Btu/hr.

Harris lists an Acetylene #136 Hand Cutting Torch that Cuts to 36"

Harris Welding Tip - Acetylene for plate up to 1" thickness

Linde Gas representative says gas can cut up to about 12" and weld up to 1 to 1-1/2".

Final gas welding results:
Equipment is available for gas cutting up to 12", and gas welding up to 1" thickness plate. A Harris torch can cut up to 36" thickness.

You should look into the BEST type of equipment for the job at hand. Gas is more versatile for cutting than an arc welder using carbon rods to cut metal. The arc welder is a better choice for welding thicker materials. There are other choices such as plasma, water jet, laser, etc for cutting.

Burce Wilcock cuts metal (1-1/2" maybe) using forge heat and a chisel. He produces anchors and anvils by forge welding. So thick and heavy can be done in the forge.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now if cutting and spot heating is your primary need I would suggest Oxy-Propane rather than Oxy-Acetylene; no rate of draw issues save chilling the tank and *much* cheaper to buy fuel for.

It does take special types that are available for all "good" brands. Most scrap yards I know of use it for "disassembly".

Why this need to buy a new lincoln? I had my old one tested by a weldor I trusted and he gave it a thumbs up and it's probably from the 1950's and has *COPPER* windings instead of Al!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thomas: I just saw oxy/propylene which seems even better than propane for performance. The specs support that. All that is required to change from acetylene is to change the actual tips; even the gage and hose can remain the same. I think propylene is less of an oxygen hog than propane.

Since I have 3 large O2 bottles and only one medium acetylene, I might check into this. Not to hijack the thread too much -- does anybody here have any experience with propylene?

I definitely agree with you about buying a used 225. They simply don't die. I see them at auctions all the time. I saw two of them for sale at the last SOFA Quad State for about $100. I really like my Miller 185 MIG welder, but I still think the tombstone is more versatile at a fraction of the cost. For small shop/home use, it simply can't be beat for price. They are everywhere. Mine came from a farm auction and it is does seem slightly better built than newer ones I've used (and repaired).

The important thing to remember is that our answers in this section are for help in supporting your blacksmithing habit, and are not advice to start you on the road to being a professional welder. All bets are off if you leave the smithy with our suggestions! :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...