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To weld or not to weld..
1/29/2009

I swear, if I was Greek I would be convinced the Gods were telling me to not bother welding! The amount of petty hurdles getting in the way has become rather bizarre. No, I am not having trouble forming a puddle, or a stack of dimes seam - I can't even get past lighting the thing.

The hurdles:

- I bought a secondhand rig at a hangar sale, it came with a purox torch, but only one tip, which seemed to be damaged, since no matter what I did to it (cleaning etc), I couldnt get it to stop from popping, or to emitt a neat looking flame. So, fine I thought, just go buy some new tips (need more sizes anyways)...being an old design I had to special order and they took 2 weeks to arrive. Now I had a set of tips I thought, great! here I go...not. All the new tips had the same symptoms, so, 'something else then I thought..The O2 was showing 6 pounds ok, but i found if i went past that, it stayed at 6..ahh running out...I threw the bottle in the truck ready to deviate from the work commute the next day and exchange it. I got lost for an hour looking for the Airgas place because google maps/iPhone didn't tell me that this one had closed down ages ago  :0|. As I finally pull up outside another airgas, the phone rings..I have an emergency at work, email server down. For those in I.T. this tends to produce a nasty sinking feeling in ones stomach. Of course, now its time to forget the gas exchange and get the hell back to work. As I pull off, the bottle rolls out the back of the truck! Obviously I left something slightly insecure  :-\ . A few days later I am back at the hangar with the new refil..same symptoms. I then couldn't believe it when the acetlyene set at 5 pounds wouldn't go any higher  :( , another refil. This time I had the bottle upright (good idea for acetylene anyways) and wedged against the cab passenger door by a box. I decided to exchange the bottle locally at a farm supply. The old grumpy lady dealing with me beckoned me to come pick up the new bottle from the array of bottles, as I did so, my foot went through a wood board they had placed over a hole, I went flying head over tit, knocking over a small wall, which in turn knocked over several bottles like dominoes. I think I've chipped the bone in my arm  :0(  . As I am limping back to the truck with the bottle, she says 'cash or check?' I say 'um, credit card?' she says 'cash or check' I say  'debit card?' she says 'Sir, which part of cash or check don't you understand?'! At that point, I am hurting from recently fighting with a brickwall, so I gave up, got my old bottle and left. Finally got the bottle exchanged 30 miles down the road, went to the hangar and setup...same symptoms. So, that is where I am right now. Points to note are:

-very small tips works ok, like 00 and 0, as I try bigger tips, the flame starts to look worse, as if they need cleaning, the bigger tips just have a nasty looking flame  that pops if i try to bring together the 2 flames.I have tried cleaning, filing with those micro files for welding tips, tried different levels of pressure, I even tried drilling one tip up a size, swapped the hoses and valves (luckily I have a spare set), removed the arrestors even, all makes no difference.

- I now have noticed a couple of old dents in the handle...could the dents be distorting the gases as they pass through the handle??

-I have given up, and am now resigned to buying a new Smiths Airline torch plus 3 or 4 new tips to match.


And no, I don't normally have this much bad luck and clumsiness....if I did, I would stop flying! (and building, for that matter).

Addendum

I purchased a new Smiths Airline torch which works wonderfully. I decided to put the old purox torch in the trash...'didn't want some other poor dude scratching his head trying to get things to work... I'm so thoughtful  ;0)

 

 




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