Xaiver

Propane regulator

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I've got a frosty t burner that's generally working fantastic, it doesn't burn through fuel like there is no tomorrow, but iI keep wondering... 

When iI made it, iI got a 0-20 psi regulator. I also skipped the pressure Guage. I was just searching around in amazon and saw that iI could get a 0-30 or 40 reg for fairly cheap.

Now, I'm not suggesting that my forge doesn't get hot, but I've been having some trouble learning to weld with it. Would a better regulator help with that? 

Right now, iI can get the steel up to an almost yellow glow at wide open. 

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Generaly a 0-30 psi regulator is recomended, with a guage. This makes it easer to repeat what woked last time.

now I am still fubling around with welding (truth be told after spending a few hours with Steve, I have a handle on what I have been doing right and wrong despite a peice of A36 that refused to weld for either of us) 

clean and flat are the first things of importance, now hot and we can use the hammer to force the peices together. As Steve welds a lot of high carbon materials, I can say with honesty that i was surprised that he worked at high orenge (to my eyes) but he was never in a hurry, letting the steel thoroly heat. 

Keep at it, but atleast get a guage. 

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My reasoning for skipping the Guage was to try and learn it by feel. I prefer to be able to tell by my senses than a number, and honestly, i haven't encountered anything that the Guage would really help with. 

Also, my last attempt at forge welding was with an empty tank.

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Unless you have calibrated ears you should get the guage.  A small difference in pressure can make all the difference in the athmosphere in the forge.  You also need a big cylinder, at least a 100 pounder.  The reason for that is that you'll get less gas out as the cylinder cools from use and with a small cylinder that's rapidly cooling that can make a real difference.

I have wanted to experiment with using an O2 sensor from a car to regulate the forge athmosphere, but never have.

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Well, that's my point though. Not relying on a Guage will train my ears much faster than also using a Guage. 

I use a 40# tank. It's a good balance of cost and duration. If I'm in the forge every day for an hour or two, it'll last me about two weeks. 

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Good Morning Xaiver,

I can understand your wanting to be able to feel/hear the difference. There are a lot of little things that come into play; barometric pressure, temperature of the bottle, pressure of the gas, good and bad luck. You can't control welding heat with a 20lbs. gauge. If you concentrate on forging, the 20 will be adequate when you are starting out. If you want to figure out what works and what doesn't work, buy a 60-75lbs. gauge and regulator. You will start out cold with higher pressure than when the insides of the forge start to activate, you can then turn the pressure down to maintain your heat.

There were a couple suggestions above, you brushed them aside. We hear the same stories from new-bees who know better. Being humble and listening will get you down the path easier.

The propane bottle changes temperature depending on the draw. If the bottle starts to freeze, put it in a garbage can of water, the water acts as a heat sink. Sometimes I use two bottles in parallel, the draw off each bottle is then half and it doesn't freeze up as bad.

The knowledge will not be delivered to your lap, listen and try something. Don't go cheap on a regulator or the hose.

Neil

 

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I must have gone astray here somewhere. I started this thread with one question. I'm not asking you to do the work for me. I'm not expecting any of this to be easy. 

I'm sorry that you get a lot of newbies asking the same questions and iI have tried very hard not to be one of them. You are welcomed to peek through my history and see how many newbie questions I've asked. 

 

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The bottom line is whether you are going to even *consider* following advise to get and use a guage.  You asked for advise, people provided it.

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it's true you only asked one question. And you got an answer in the first reply, you also got a bit extra info for FREE :)

 

i don't know exactly your situation, but us young often guys think we can sidestep the learning process, but the reality is this was/is a trade. Trades today take 3-4 years to learn the basics. If these guys mention it its most probably true. Sure there are always other ways to do things too, so if it's not what your wanting to do right now at least be say thanks, and be great full for the advice they are only trying to help. 

Andy

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It just cuts down the learning curve. Bet you Jerry can tell you what presure his burners are running at with out looking, but i guarantee he started looking at the guage 

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I started with a gauge and by the time the gauge broke I didn't need it anymore.  As many folks don't calibrate their gauges the pressures they give you may be off up to 50% and folks get hung up on what the gauge says over what the forge says.  Forges often need adjusting over time in use as it heats up, bottles chill, etc. don't get stuck at *1* magical pressure!

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Thank you. That makes sense. I'll see if the propane shop here in town has a gauge that will work. Otherwise I'll grab one from amazon. 

My forge has a 0-20 regulator on it, Mr heater, iI think... I got it at Menards (like home depot for the Midwest) when iI was getting the burner together. 

I'm wondering if that is a huge bottleneck for me. Would it be better to have a better one? One that goes to 30 or 40 psi? 

Also... I don't usually leave my metal to soak in the forge for very long... If it's longer than a few inches outside the box it just wants to fall out when it gets hot. I had been debating rigging up something to hold it there so iI can work on other stuff in the mean time, do you have any suggestions on that? 

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I have a heavy propane forge the shell was made from a section of oxy welding tank.  It's bolted to the stand made from a gas grill cart.  What I did is to arc weld a section of small sq tubing along the side  that a piece of sq stock  fits in . Put  a right angle bend that goes across the front of the forge and I have a sliding third hand for longer work.  For really long or heavy  stock I have a stand that holds the end out side of the forge.

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If you buy from a propane supplier they'll have 0-30psi high pressure, high flow regulators on the shelf. Here in Wasilla Alaska where shipping REALLY raises the price of everything they sell for $26. and change.

Yeah, put a helper on your forge. All my forges except the big coal forge have helpers to support long stock in the forge. I welded square tubing to the frame under the forge chamber as a receiver for the helper. The helper itself is a pair of smaller sq. tubes that insert in the receivers with uprights and a cross bar at the forge floor level. I can slide it in till the bar contacts the outside edge of the forge floor or extend it to hold long stock.

If I'm working stock longer than about 30" I have to use one of the stands. I call the things a "Blacksmith's helper" but that's what I call them I'm sure they have aliases. B)

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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Thank you for the help. The other thread was feeling a bit hostile and condescending. I'm not a fan of either of those features of communication. Had lots of school teachers that were that way, which iI learned nothing from. I often wonder why it is so hard for some people to not assume the worst. 

Anyhow, now I've got a couple more things to do. Then I'll try to figure out how to keep the anvil from dancing away from me when I'm working. 

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This probably belongs in a general topic but since it came up here, I'll comment on it here.  I know this runs a high risk of my sounding preachy and that's not the intent.

Sometimes people will ask questions and then insist that what others are telling them they're doing wrong is right, or say that they'll keep doing what others are telling them anyway.

In my mind, the first can be either an unwillingness to learn, or maybe its just kind of thinking out loud to elicit more argument about why its wrong so that they can learn from it.  The second instance might be because someone just wants to experiment and learn first hand for themselves how things behave.  I think there can be a tendency assume that the behavior always stems from the first reason (unwillingness to learn) and then for the more experienced to not want to waste their time on someone who thinks they already know it all.  I think we'd all benefit from at least starting out with the assumption that we're dealing with option 2 until the posters proves himself to be in camp #1.

In my case, I asked for advice on power hammer importers and got a bunch of advice telling me not to do it.  All of it well meant and trying to save me from wasting thousands of Dollars.  I tried to explain that I knew and understood the risk and this was an experiment I wanted to do.  I wound up getting some PMs instead of a public response because some people felt the hostility to the idea and didn't want to poke their heads up.  If I was a newbie trying to learn for myself if I could forge weld in my home oven instead of a thick skinned old fart, I might have given up on the forum as a place to discuss and learn.

I think Xaiver and I wrote at the same time.  I got a notice that he had posted and went ahead and posted without reading his.

Last thing:  Xaiver, in my gas forge I run 15 PSI in general so if you can get to 20 that might be all you need.  I got a 30psi guage because its what the store had.

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This probably belongs in a general topic but since it came up here, I'll comment on it here.  I know this runs a high risk of my sounding preachy and that's not the intent.

Sometimes people will ask questions and then insist that what others are telling them they're doing wrong is right, or say that they'll keep doing what others are telling them [not to do] anyway.

In my mind, the first can be either an unwillingness to learn, or maybe its just kind of thinking out loud to elicit more argument about why its wrong so that they can learn from it.  The second instance might be because someone just wants to experiment and learn first hand for themselves how things behave.  I think there can be a tendency assume that the behavior always stems from the first reason (unwillingness to learn) and then for the more experienced to not want to waste their time on someone who thinks they already know it all.  I think we'd all benefit from at least starting out with the assumption that we're dealing with option 2 until the posters proves himself to be in camp #1.

There's a third option, I think, and one of which I know I myself have been guilty plenty of times: the tendency of the newbie (or the relative newbie) to seek reassurance and approval, especially if they (consciously or not) aren't feeling particularly confident or if they feel that they have done something particularly creative or clever, but lack the experience and perspective to know that others have tried and failed that particular method before them. Unfortunately, when confronted with some straight talk from the IFI curmudgeons, it can be easier to be defensive than it is to be humble.

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I don't have a gauge because my forge didn't come with one, but I like the idea of keeping a log of what worked when. Can anyone suggest a trustworthy brand?

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Unless a person wants to spend a lot more gauges are more meters to estimate by. I use mine all the time, it's just faster and easier then eyeballing and listening. there's still quite a variance with weather you still have to fine adjust IF you need some specific temp.

For my use I run low yellow for general forging, mid to high orange for bending and screaming high yellow for welding unless it's all high carbon then I tone it down to mid yellow. PSIG? Oh 8psig-22psig give or take depending on weather variables. If weather is particularly funky I'll tune with the gauge because I know about how much adding say 3psig will change the temp. It's just there for repeatability.

The gauge I use was salvaged off a propane tank being trashed at work and I've had it probably 35 years. Accurate? HAH! :rolleyes:  I use it like eyeballing a glass of water, 1/4 , 1/2, almost full. don't know nor care how many ozs., mils, etc of water's in it it's 1/3 full, good enough for this batch of pancakes, biscuits, etc. If I'm baking a cake I get out the measuring cups and graduate for liquids. different world.

It'd be the same deal if I were heat treating or fusing mokume like some of our guys are. You need precision where it's necessary otherwise it's just something to worry about that doesn't really matter.

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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Update :

Installed a 0-40 regulator and a 0'60 gauge yesterday. Test fire says it works, and she'll get hot. 

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Better regulators usually provide larger volume a more reliable pressure setting.  Cheap regulators often open up as the inlet pressure decrease so the delivery pressure increases.

Not as much problem with Propane in this application but something to think about when relying on pressure settings.

 

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I don't mean to hijack the thread but I have a regulator related question and thought this might be a good location. If not let me know and I'll start a new thread.

I have a 0-30 Fisher regulator. I would prefer to keep my tank relatively remote from the forge and have the regulator at the forge so I can easily adjust it. I know this isn't typical hence the query. Can I install a secondary regulator at the portable tank for added safety and if so do you have suggestions on the type/specifications of such a reg?

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I've  posted on the subject of propane regulators before but I will repeat my advice for another round.   For the small, one or two burner propane forge the 20-30 psi regulators are probably adequate.   I spent over twenty years in the industrial gas business with the opportunity to use a wide variety of regulator brands and sizes.  I recommend that you go to your industrial gas supplier and purchase one of the propane regulators that is used with oxy/propane cutting rigs. 

Why?

Greater accuracy in regulation, higher flow when required,  better reliability,  better materials of construction, higher safety, long term use and industrial ruggedness.  

Who should be using them?  Anybody that is trying to earn professional money from heating things with propane.

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