Jump to content
I Forge Iron

HELP Propane burner hookup and gas distribution


Recommended Posts

Hey there I need some help with hooking up the burners to my forge. Im new to smithing and this is my first attempt at a forge. My forge has 3 trex burners and my goal is to be able to use them independantly or all together. I have researched how the propane distribution block should look and came up with this. Pics attached. My issue is to go from the distrobution block to the burners i need to use flexible copper tubing and to connect it im using compression fittings, the issue is the compression fittings keep leaking ive tried a hundred times and i just cant get them not to leak propane a bit. Is there a special way to do this? Any help would be great.

Thanks

20170701_203035.jpg

20170701_203011_002.jpg

20170701_202919.jpg

20170701_202842.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Not compression fittings, you want to use "Flare" fittings. Make your copper tubing long enough to bend a loop in it that way it will flex if something hits it. Cut just right and it'll kink or even break if something hits it.

Your construction looks good. What refractory are you going to use to cover the ceramic blanket? Leaving it uncoated will really shorten its life and you'll be breathing more hard fired ceramic fibers than you really should. A 3,000f water set high alumina castable refractory works very well it's concrete hard at welding temps and is impervious to hot borax welding fluxes. Borax at welding temps is caustic in the extreme and dissolves silicate ceramics like fire brick and ceramic wool refractory blanket. Alumina ceramics don't care at all about caustics.  As of now Kast-O-Lite 30 bubble alumina refractory is looking like the most popular. It's very effective in my forges.

I'd lose the fire brick, it's a heat sink if hard brick and soft brick degrades quickly with the thermal cycling of a small shop forge like we use. 

It's easy to make a flat floor and there are a couple good methods. You can fill the bottom curve with blanket trimmings and smooth flat with refractory. Or you can lay a piece of high alumina kiln shelf on the blanket. 

LIke I said, that's a good looking forge it's going to be screaming hot with 3 Trex burners in such a small volume. That's okay you can use one and make a smaller forge for later. ;)

Frosty The Lucky.

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Scrambler82 said:

The fittings you are using, what are the center pieces ?

I know you use inserts for plastic type tubings but I didn't know for copper tubing.

Also, what type of tubing are you using and where was it made ?

I found the thinner copper tubing does not seal as or bend well as the Refrigeration Grade Copper Tubing !   Refrigeration Grade Copper Tubing is, I believe, the thickest tubing you can buy and it bends nice but a little harder to bend than thinner tubing !

Also, l like the looks of those burners, what is their BTU rating ?

 

The fittings say compression fittings for copper or plastic the center peices are i serts for the plastic i didnt use them though they just come installed incase you need them. The tubi g is refrigeration grade made in the USA. Attached pic. The burners are the T-Rex burners by Hybrid Burners. Ive heard nothing but great stuff about them. BTU chart Attached.

t-rex-chart.gif

20170702_011716.jpg

2 hours ago, Frosty said:

Not compression fittings, you want to use "Flare" fittings. Make your copper tubing long enough to bend a loop in it that way it will flex if something hits it. Cut just right and it'll kink or even break if something hits it.

Your construction looks good. What refractory are you going to use to cover the ceramic blanket? Leaving it uncoated will really shorten its life and you'll be breathing more hard fired ceramic fibers than you really should. A 3,000f water set high alumina castable refractory works very well it's concrete hard at welding temps and is impervious to hot borax welding fluxes. Borax at welding temps is caustic in the extreme and dissolves silicate ceramics like fire brick and ceramic wool refractory blanket. Alumina ceramics don't care at all about caustics.  As of now Kast-O-Lite 30 bubble alumina refractory is looking like the most popular. It's very effective in my forges.

I'd lose the fire brick, it's a heat sink if hard brick and soft brick degrades quickly with the thermal cycling of a small shop forge like we use. 

It's easy to make a flat floor and there are a couple good methods. You can fill the bottom curve with blanket trimmings and smooth flat with refractory. Or you can lay a piece of high alumina kiln shelf on the blanket. 

LIke I said, that's a good looking forge it's going to be screaming hot with 3 Trex burners in such a small volume. That's okay you can use one and make a smaller forge for later. ;)

Frosty The Lucky.

Flare fittings for Copper tubing ive never seen them before. Where might I find them? What do they look like?

Im using Itc 100ht to cover the blanket and I coated the inside metal of the forge and burner tips in Itc213. Also theres no fire brick the forge floor is a 1" thick peice of high alumina klin shelf, i hope it will be sufficent . The only spot I was going to use actual fire brick is at the mouth of the forge i welded on a ledge so I can stack them over the opening. Also i made a peice of tge klin shelf round so it can block off the back of the forge so i can make it as shallow or deep as i want. The wide open depth is 24" and about a 7" diameter.

Also thanks for the suggestions

Link to post
Share on other sites

I buy flare fittings at the local plumbing and HVAC service store, "Gold Star Plumbing and Heating" to drop their name. Big box and general hardware stores don't usually carry the things, I don't know why not, they all have the flaring tool. 

I tried ferrule, compression fittings and it was just too hard to get them to not leak. Flare fittings almost never leak and if they do just trim the tubing back and flare it again. Another good reason to have extra tubing in the final supply circuit. I just use 1/4" soft copper, I don't know what it's for, heck I picked up about 3/4 of a box at a yard sale as part of a bundle for some other stuff, I think it came out to about $2.00. It's soft and flares, that's all I care about I'm not making anything critical. Beyond not leaking when in use of course. When it's off it's off at the tank and the tank valves don't leak, I exchange at the local Petrolane and they inspect every tank going through. 

ITC-100 is a kiln wash and will protect blanket from flux at heat, my shop forge lid isn't coated with anything but ITC-100 and it's been in use for about 10 years. Unfortunately it doesn't protect against mechanical damage, you're going to be putting steel in and out. It's going to bet poked, rubbed, etc. HOT Kaowool is fragile stuff about like thick cotton candy. ITC-100 is WAY too expensive for my wallet, Plisex and Metricote are comparable products, better in some ways.

Since I started covering the inside surface with approx 1/2" of water setting 3,000f high alumina hard refractory I haven't had to reline one. I've retired a couple failed experiments but not because the liner wasn't hard as concrete at welding temps. Once dry and heat cured I wash the inside with a home brew kiln wash of (by volume) approx 2 pts. Zircopax flour, to 1pt. sifted Kast-O-Lite 30, the castable refractory I make the inner liner with. I sift to remove the aggregate for as smooth an interior surface as reasonably possible.

That explains why it fooled me, 1" kiln shelf is thicker than most folk use. It's more than enough to do the job, more than you need but I like a reasonable amount of over kill.

That figures to be about 924 cu/in by my guesstimated arithmetic. About top of the scale for 2 hybrid burners but 3 is significant overkill. I'm assuming they are 3/4" and it's going to be one HOT forge. Having a movable back wall makes it even better, no way you'll be using that much forge all the time unless you're doing something industrial or maybe architectural. SWEET.

Fire brick is good for a front door, read what Mike has to say about thermal baffles and how to make them perform. If you have more kiln shelf I'd be tempted to use it for the front door it'll last longer. Don't forget to kiln wash both front and back doors they'll be more efficient and last longer. 

Check out Wayne Coe's site, he carries small quantities of materials and good information about building forges.

Frosty The Lucky.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 Leaks in flare fittings are so common that some areas require a certified plumber to do any flare fittings if you want to meet code. Fortunately the cause and answers for the problem are both straight forward. The usual cause is a very poor quality flaring tool, which leaves gouge marks on the soft copper. The tool's face should be dressed. Small enough imperfections on the copper can be buffed out with jewelers compound.

Both flare and compression fittings can develop leaks and cracks,if the the copper tubing is stressed. Of more concern is that many areas have codes that only allow one kind of fitting, or the other. However, regular fuel gas fittings are available through welding supply stores, and online; they can be threaded and/or brazed in place, making an end run around the problem, if you can't solve it any other way. 

14 hours ago, Scrambler82 said:

Also, l like the looks of those burners, what is their BTU rating ?

That depends on how high their incoming gas pressures are turned up. I can tell you that they are one of the two hottest commercial burners out there. They are the hottest commercial burner that you can buy in a variety of sizes. The other burner is only for sale in 1" size, from Chili Forge.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess I assumed folk would know they can't use a scratched up flaring tool, my bad.

The worst trouble I had getting gas tight flares is trying to flare too much tubing. Just a little works a treat and by all means test it with some soapy water. Heck, hook it up to compressed air and over pressure it a little.

Frosty The Lucky.

Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Scrambler82 said:

Similar to Brake Line Flaring ?

Yes

I wonder if a Double Flare Brake Line Flaring Tool, (BLFT) will work on Cooper Tubing or is even 3/8 of an inch...  don't remember now that I asked ?

Yes

I will look tomorrow at my flaring tool and see.

I have used the BLFT with S/S Brake Line in my Off Road Jeep but not Copper because Copper is not good for the high pressure of the brake system !

I may have to redo my Propane Plumbing, I will not be happy if I don't !

As always thanks !

I have never had a problem with copper splitting. Usually happens when the flare is too large.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Scrambler: No, I've never tried to double flare copper tubing.  Copper tubing is nowhere near strong enough for brake lines.

The only time I've had copper tubing split is if it gets bent and kinked. You need to anneal it with a torch or it'll crack when the kink straightens IF you can get it to bend AT the kink.

Frosty The Lucky.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Uh, I don't see how double flaring brake line and flaring copper are similar but I don't know the theory or why it must. You clean got me there buddy.

You blame CRS and want a quick thought from ME? . . . And get in trouble with Glenn and Steve. :P

Frosty The Lucky.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, I like to double flare all compression connections especially ones that carry pressure or are disassembled frequently . I have less problems with leaks that way because the flare is thicker.

I make sure the line is cut square using a sharp tubing cutter and extend the end of the tubing out of the clamp by the thickness of the flaring anvil. I use the deep style nuts designed for double flares too. All of my household propane copper connections have been trouble free since installing them 35 years ago and the steel brake lines that I replaced on my old '53 Willys Jeep are still holding. Don't know if there is any special technique involved.

Link to post
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.

Guest
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...