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liquid propane question


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Hey Guys,

 

I was wondering if anyone has had experience with liquid propane as a fuel source for a gas forge i.e. the kind of tank that comes off of

 

a forklift.

 

i suspect the propane would turn into vapor past the regulator. so i  was wondering if i would need  a specific reg for the fluid. also what

 

other dangers would i run into that would be different from a normal BBQ tank.

 

 

 

 

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Hi Ironsmith,

First let me say I have not tried to run my propane forge on liquid propane. However, I do own a Minneapolis Moline M670 tractor which is factory powered by propane and I own 3 other propane tanks which were on forklifts. My tractor and the forklift tanks all have dual valves, one for vapor and one for liquid. When the tractor is not demanding a lot of fuel it is designed to run on vapor. If you hook up a 12 bottom plow and need full power you must switch to liquid as vapor cannot provide the fuel that the engine demands.. So look at the tank and see if there are two valves if so they should be marked. The liquid valve will have a dip tube which runs down to the bottom of the tank. I use the forklift tanks on vapor for the forge if I need them. I think that if you run liquid in a forge designed to run on vapor you may run into trouble. I would not recommend it. On my tractor the same regulator is used for either vapor or liquid and hot coolant from the engine is circulated through the regulator to both prevent icing and I suppose to help vaporize liquid. I hope this helps, be careful!

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hey thanks for the reply,

 

there is a valve for vapor, but i have never seen any fittings available for it at the box stores. I'll have to do some research to see what it would take.

 

I am interested to see how it would act on the liquid though, curious if there would be any difference.

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Well Dire, I grew up farmmin'......so finally, "something" I have a clue about. I usually just lurk and try to learn here. ( did I mention I just love this site) anyway....glad you took my ribbing as intended. Back in the day of moldboard plowing, 6 bottom was about max around here. other than a few of the "big boys" with the 4 wheel drives pulling 10. But that soon gave way to chisel plows then no-till farming. Thus my interest in smithing.....to learn to sharpen the blacksmith plow shares.....boy, do I have a ways to go. Thanks ... Dave 

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You'd have to design or buy a burner for liquid propane or it could get pretty spectacular. Don't experiment in the shop, a large paved area might be suitable and do NOT stand close.

 

Another thought is general safety. If something cuts or perforates a propane hose to my forge it'd make a big flame till I hit the shutoff but nothing a guy couldn't deal with and it wouldn't burn down the shop. Sure I'd lose some hair and maybe get a 1st degree burn if I was actually caught in the flame. Bad but not catastrophic.

 

However, envision cutting a hose containing liquid propane, it'd make the same temperature flame but what 10x as much, more? We're talking a fireball that'd be squirting out the windows and doors of a 20'x20' shop till you got it shut off or the tank ran dry?

 

I don't have the numbers at hand and I'm not going to look up the specifics of just how big a fire say 6' of hose containing liquid propane would make if it broke. Many years ago I tried firing an experimental LP burner I made by flipping the bottle upside down. The normal tuned NA burner flame is probably up to 10-12" long, the LP burner flame was an orange torch a good 15' long.

 

It was obvious I COULD'VE tweaked it and tuned it to a usable burner but . . .

 

So, that's my 2 bits. Anything CAN be made to work but is it worth the risk and effort?

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boiling_liquid_expanding_vapor_explosion

You may want to read up on these. A friend who works at a refinery where they produce propane, along with gasoline and a myriad of other flammables, told me gasoline fires don't scare him - but a propane fire does.

The issue is that when propane hits the atmosphere it instantly goes to a gas creating a highly explosive situation.
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What maybe you should be asking is, why? Actually maybe we should be asking that of you. The reason, as I understand it, for using propane is to be able to draw off a large amount of fuel from a small, portable tank, without an endothermic reaction preventing said fuel consumption. Us blacksmiths (excepting Michael Dillon) generally use small enough forges and large enough tanks to not run into much in the way of problems. Furthermore, If you are having freeze issues, a 100lb propane tank bought and filled is cheaper than a forklift tank bought and filled.and after the initial purpose it's the same per gallon, so I guess I don't see the advantage. In any case I hope this helps, and I am curious as to what you have planned, Take care, Matt

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What maybe you should be asking is, why? Actually maybe we should be asking that of you. The reason, as I understand it, for using propane is to be able to draw off a large amount of fuel from a small, portable tank, without an endothermic reaction preventing said fuel consumption. Us blacksmiths (excepting Michael Dillon) generally use small enough forges and large enough tanks to not run into much in the way of problems. Furthermore, If you are having freeze issues, a 100lb propane tank bought and filled is cheaper than a forklift tank bought and filled.and after the initial purpose it's the same per gallon, so I guess I don't see the advantage. In any case I hope this helps, and I am curious as to what you have planned, Take care, Matt

 

I think the idea is to use them because he has them. A FINE old blacksmith's tradition but . . .

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Hi Dave, thats a great lookin  JD tractor! Thanks for the help explaning plows! Ironmith you might try a propane company they usually have fittings if you want to use your tank. As the others have pointed out using liquid is not a good choice. If you were closer I would set you up with a standard tank. I just bought two full 20LB tanks at a farm auction today for $12.00 and have others. Good luck and be safe.

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Thanks for the 2cents guys, as frosty says i have the tank so i was going to use it.

I am familiar with building/ tuning forges and had never ran across a reason why no one

has used liquid propane, Again Frosty gave me his experience.

 

I can see it would be way too dangerous to attempt a burner with liquid propane.

 

thanks for the offer Direwolf, I have 4 tanks as it is ;)  i need to sell them and get a 100lb tank one day.

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Time to scavenge and scrounge.... I'm still kicking myself that a few years back I didn't grab 2 100 lb propane cylinders that had been turned in at one of the Waste Management plants I stopped at while trying to hook up with a guy over a generator. They also had 2 or 3 nice 60-150 cf welding cylinders in their "HAZMAT" pile. I'm betting $20 or so would have convinced the old guy who was watching people unload their trash to let me load them up. At the time I was more interested in hooking up with this guy and bringing home the diesel Bobcat I was supposed to be getting from his workers and didn't want them taking up space in the back of the truck.

 

I have a couple of guys who scrap stuff regularly on the look out for a 40 lb or 100 lb propane cylinder, Usually they just dump them and chop them so they can scrap them, but I've let them know I'll pay WAY more than scrap value if the cylinders are in good shape. So far, either they have forgotten and chopped them or the ones they brought have been too rusty to bother with. All the ones turned in at the township collection area are all 20 lb ones. However I have managed to grab 2 or 3 of the older non OPV valved 20 lb cylinders for use with my big burner or lead pot or my Oxy propane torch.

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