Gas cutting torches have been used to weld and cut metal from a really long time. Also called oxy-fuel welding, gas welding processes use oxygen and fuel gases to cut metals or to weld them. The flame temperature is increased by using oxygen instead of air. In order to allow localized melting of the metal. An oxygen/acetylene flame burns at 3,500 °C and an oxygen/propane flame burns at 2,500 °C.
As it is extremely effective, the oxygen/acetylene torch is used predominantly for industrial purposes. Using this gas cutting torch can be extremely dangerous if the user does not know how to handle the equipment. With practice and precautions, it is possible to effectively cut steel to the required shape and size using this torch.
Things you can do with an oxygen acetylene gas cutting torch include –
- Heat and bend thick metals (metals of up to 1 inch thickness)
- Weld 4130 chromoly tubing
- Silver braze stainless steel
- Solder copper water pipe
- Braze air conditioning line sets
If not used in the proper manner, oxy-fuel gas cutting torches can be extremely dangerous. It requires proper training and qualification to handle this equipment for brazing, heating or cutting. Users need to understand the safety principles and follow basic safety guidelines.
Here are a few reasons why you should take necessary precautions while using the gas cutting torch –
- Liquid acetone is used to saturate highly compressed, porous acetylene gas in the cylinders. Gas flow can be restricted or regulators can be severely damaged by the liquid acetone if the gas cylinder is not kept upright at all times. If there is a necessity to haul them by laying them down, the cylinders must be allowed to stand upright for a while before using.
- Care must be taken not to knock over the oxygen cylinders as they are pressured to over 2500 psi. If knocked over, these cylinders can become a projectile. When the cylinder is not in use, the cap must be kept screwed on.
- Damaged equipment must immediately be repaired or replaced. Using compromised gas cutting torch and other equipment is extremely dangerous.
- Cylinders must not be stored or transported in an enclosed space such as tool box of a truck or car trunk. There are chances of acetylene and oxygen cylinders exploding.
- High caution must be exercised while opening the cylinder. They must be opened slowly as quick opening could lead to explosion of the regulator.
- When oil comes into contact with pure oxygen, it ignites quickly. Oil must therefore never be used in the gas cutting torch.
- After you finish using the oxy-fuel, gas cutting torch, remember to back out the regulator screws after bleeding down the gases
There are plenty of manufacturers that offer gas cutting torches. There may be slight variations is the way torches from different manufacturers are used. It is essential carefully go through the manufacturer’s instructions before using the equipment.
Below mentioned are a few guidelines to follow –
- Handling gas cutting torch is best done with protective equipment like gloves and shade 3 to 5 ANSI eyewear and so on
- Equipment must be carefully inspected for check valves, zeroed gauges, condition of hoses, chains on bottles and torch quality
- Replace any damaged gauges and ensure gauges read zero
- The most important step is to open the oxygen cylinders very slowly
- Use the manufacturer’s instructions as guidelines to choose the perfect tip and set the right pressure settings
- Lines must be individually purged and gauges must be carefully set
- Torch must be lit after opening the acetylene torch valve to ¼ turn.
- After increasing the acetylene flame high enough, oxygen flame must be carefully added till a neutral flame is created by the blue cones
- You are now ready to perform your work with the gas cutting torch. After completion of the job, the torch must be extinguished by turning off the gas valves.
Follow these steps to get your work done. It is now time to purge lines after turning off the cylinders. Check if the regulator screws are backed out and gauges are zeroed before you return the gas cutting torch to the storage place.