Cutting Torch Opinions

Sat Nov 13, 2010 4:07 pm

I have been looking for one of those small portable oxy/acetylene torch sets...the one with the 20# oxy tank and 10# acetylene...
I didn't want a "full" size set, so I could move it around or take it with me easily.
Just something for heating bolts/nuts and to do a little cutting or bending occasionally.

A fellow offered me a 'mid-sized' set for $200...torch, hoses, tanks, cart. [empty tanks].
I haven't seen it yet...about an hour away from me.
He said the oxy tank is about 3 feet tall.

Does anybody have experience with this size setup?
Mainly with the portability?
Anything I should look out for?

Thanks guys.

Re: Cutting Torch Opinions

Sat Nov 13, 2010 4:16 pm


Make sure the hoses are in good cracks, cuts or splits. Make sure the inspection on the tanks is current. If they're out of date, most places won't fill them. If there is gas in the tanks, make him set it up and light it. That will tell you if the regulators are working properly. I will PM you a link later, that you should read before you go look at them. It's not working at the moment.

Re: Cutting Torch Opinions

Sat Nov 13, 2010 4:17 pm

Ask if he owns the tanks cause if its there rentals when you go for an exchange it needs to come up as an owner tank and not rental if its a rental and not in your name they will keep the tanks and contact the rightful owner.

that said I have a Firepower set up its a good name brand a small cart and easy to move around and a B tank acetelene and a 60 Oxy tank I own both tanks and have been trading them in for over twenty years, I always say I need bigger tanks but have not yet broke out the wallet if I could go back in time Id have bought bigger tanks.

Re: Cutting Torch Opinions

Sat Nov 13, 2010 4:30 pm

The small portables are handy,I have one but if your going to use it spring for a larger set of tanks the smaller set doesnt last long and always go empty saturday afternoon

Re: Cutting Torch Opinions

Sat Nov 13, 2010 5:09 pm

I must second those comments about getting a big enough unit from the get-go so you are not constantly running out of gas. Acetylene is consumed quite fast if you intend to use the torch for heating or cutting purposes. Consider buying a tank dolly to give yourself some portability. Just my two cents from someone who has gone through the stages you are about to embark on. I have been welding since the days I took ag. class in high school. I love my gas setup and I would not be without it. I'm certain you will too. Electric welding is nice, but there sure is a place for a good gas setup for cutting, heating, and brazing.

Re: Cutting Torch Opinions

Sat Nov 13, 2010 5:18 pm

The small tanks will only last 15-20 minutes if you are cutting. They last longer if your using a welding tip. Spring for the the lager tanks. Yes it is harder to move them but so worth it in the long run. You also can opt for a mid size oxygen tank and go for a small propane tank instead of acetylene. Look for date codes stamped on the top of the tank. there will be an asterisk stamped at the end of the date code. It dictates that the tank has to be tested every 5 years. If there is another symbol like a plus stamped after the asterisk the tank only needs to be tested every 10 years. I just purchased a used set of tanks at an auction. they were last tested in 1983. The guy that fills my tanks says he has tanks in his shop from the 1940's that still test good. He also has tanks that are less than 10 years old that test bad. It cost me 35$ to test my oxygen and 45$ to test my acetylene. Keep that in mind if you buy used ones. Plus it costs 13$ to fill the oxygen and 40$ to fill the acetylene. So 133$ + tax just to test and fill. So a 200$ set of out of date tanks will cost a total 333$ to get them working, plus without anything in the tanks you have no way of knowing if the regulators are good. If the regulators have been stored off the tank more than likely they are no good. If I take my regulators off my tanks I put them in ziplock bags to keep contaminants out. In my opinion for a small set it is just as cheap to buy new. I recommend you get a larger set you will be pleased that you did. Tractor supply sells tanks as cheap as you can get them anywhere. A decent set torch and hose kit will set you back around 300$. Now that said I have used the portable set from harbor freight they work pretty good as long as they are not abused or trying to cut 1/2" plate with it.

Also check these guys out. They sell the good stuff.

Good luck with whatever you purchase. If you buy used make SURE that you get a bill of sale....Here where I live without that or ownership papers you cannot get tanks filled.

Re: Cutting Torch Opinions

Sat Nov 13, 2010 6:12 pm

I went with the tsc trade in system. You own the tanks like propane grill tanks and just exchange them when you need to.

Re: Cutting Torch Opinions

Sat Nov 13, 2010 6:16 pm

I have been using my acetylene/oxygen setup for many years now. I own the tanks, but I go to my supplier and swap my emptys for full tanks.
I have some questions about using propane for a fuel gas with oxygen. How does this work? Is it as hot as acetylene? Is it necessary to change out any of your equipment?

My cutting torch stays on the hoses most to the time. I use it for cutting and heating metal. I do very little brazing and gas welding.

Re: Cutting Torch Opinions

Sat Nov 13, 2010 6:21 pm

To use propane you must use a propane regulator, it will not work on an acetylene tank they are different regulators.
Propane is not as hot as acetylene. Mapp gas is a subsitute for acetylene and the regulators can be used on each other.
Bruce T.

Re: Cutting Torch Opinions

Sat Nov 13, 2010 6:37 pm

You can use an acytelene regulator for propane all thats necesary is a propane cutting tip

Re: Cutting Torch Opinions

Sat Nov 13, 2010 6:54 pm

You can use propane to heat/cut with but it's not so good for welding. There is a difference in the regulators tho....The fitting for the acetylene tank will not fit on a propane tank...But it is easy to change. The propane tank fitting is a male reverse thread while the one for older acetylene tanks is a female reverse thread. Some of the new acetylene tanks take the male fitting. Plus dennis is right you need a propane tip.

Re: Cutting Torch Opinions

Sat Nov 13, 2010 7:25 pm

i have also had great results using propane. the guy at my local welding supply suggested it. maybe not quite as hot , but hard to notice the difference, unless cutting one inch thick steel. i have brazed with it and cut. you only have to rent / buy the oxygen bottle. my oxygen bottle (full size) lasts almost a year, and the 20# propane bottles fill at the local feed store, and as they said above, the gas always goes empty on saturday!!! 25 or 50 foot hose, and a little cart and your in good shape. coppersmythe......................shoot,you could put wheelbarrow tires on the cart and make it offroad ready :lol: :wink:

Re: Cutting Torch Opinions

Sat Nov 13, 2010 7:41 pm

I have welded for a living for years. Although I still own a couple of oxy-acetelene outfits, we have used chopsaws, portabands, and zipsaws for cutting for the last 15 years. Less time fitting, and running for gas.
We use the tank rigs for heating only.

Re: Cutting Torch Opinions

Sat Nov 13, 2010 7:43 pm

Go to a welding supply and get the big tanks , they will cost you about $125.00 a year for lease on the tanks, you need to get a Victor or Smith outfit. The cheaper ones will only cause you grief. Just my opinion


Re: Cutting Torch Opinions

Sat Nov 13, 2010 7:54 pm

I forgot I use Ilmo tanks which have the same thread as propane tanks so you dont have to change anything but the tip however Airco tanks are different ,sorry for the mistake