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Old 09-06-2017, 09:44 AM
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Default Acetylene vs propane

I have the opportunity to buy a Victor Medalist 350HD LP torch set with 100' grade T hose for a pretty good price. I have propane bottles of various sizes, but have never used it for cutting. What are the pros and cons? I can refill my own bottles out of my 500 gal. tank and save a 60 mile trip to my Airgas dealer for acetylene, but how does the performance compare between the 2?

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OleDog
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Old 09-06-2017, 09:50 AM
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I am not a particular fan of propane for cutting, I have played with it. For
heating, brazing, etc. I see little difference. Acetylene will get hotter period,
that carbon carbon triple bond has a lot of energy in it.

If you can get the equipment cheap and the convenience of refilling from your
own tank is nice. Also you can lay cylinder down move them and stand them
up and use them right away vs. letting the stand for a few hours or a day first
it nice if you move around a lot.

If you don't cut a lot I doubt you'd see much difference in performance.

My 2 cents. I still run acetylene, I have the equipment and the cost and
convenience really does not help my much in my shop, ymmv.

Hope that helps.
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Old 09-06-2017, 11:37 AM
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I've used both. Aces gets hotter so starts are a bit quicker. Aces is more $.

If you think you can avoid trips to the gas vendor... not so much. Propane needs oxygen to cut too.
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Old 09-06-2017, 11:48 AM
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Default Acetylene vs propane

As long as you only cut with it, you probably would really notice any different. It does take a little longer to preheat before cutting. You should be able to braze with it, but torch welding is out. Will not get a neutral flame like you need for welding. ( at least that is what I have read on the internet. and the couple of times I have tried it, it did not work very well for me, and I used to do ok oxy-act welding in high school.)

Other bonus is if you can fill it up from your own big tank is a bonus. But you will still go thru 2-3 big tanks of oxygen to one 20 lb cylinder.

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Old 09-06-2017, 12:39 PM
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Definitely no fan here. My wife's uncle, who was sort of my mentor when I was getting started in the late 60s and into the 70s, used nothing but propane. I wanted to try oxy/acetylene so that's what I bought when I got my first outfit. After using the oxy/acet setup I always got frustrated when I went to his place to do anything.

Propane is slower for everything and, to get equivalent heat you need to run one or two tip sizes larger so proportionately you're going to use more propane than acetylene. Propane will still be cheaper because of the difference in cost but, for me at least, it's a trade-off I'm not prepared to make.

And yeah, you're still gonna make trips to your welding supplier because you're always gonna burn more oxygen than fuel gas...
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Old 09-06-2017, 02:32 PM
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I had heard that propane didn't get as hot and that was a concern. I wonder if I can swap out the cutting tips to acetylene tips and just use the body and cutting head, or if there is something different about the mixing chamber? This is a pretty complete set for a decent price.

Like new Victor Medalist 350HD LP Torch set with 100' of Grade T hose. Included in the torch set was a #1 cutting tip and #8 Heat nozzle. The extras I am including are #00 and #3 cutting tips, #0, #2, #4, and #6 Mixer tips for brazing and soldering. I am also including a SUA LP regulator (which is more acurate than the Victor included in the set), Forney check valves and hose connectors, striker, cutting goggles and a new tool box for all the accessories (take your pick of red or black), and a magnetic stand for holding the heat nozzle. I have around $600 invested in this setup and only used a few times.

OleDog
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Old 09-06-2017, 02:47 PM
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Propane tips are two piece
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Old 09-06-2017, 06:07 PM
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Also, from this
http://www.wilhelmsen.com/marine-pro...ne-vs-propane/

quote - "Cutting

Propane can like acetylene be used for cutting. If you cut with acetylene, you normally put the tip of the inner flame cone on the metal (1mm from the plate surface). If you do the same with propane, you will be waiting for a long time. If you raise the torch so that the outer flame cone is used the preheat process is started faster. Propane releases only a small proportion of heat in the inner flame cone (less than 10%), so most of the heat in the flame is located in the outer cone. Acetylene releases almost 40% of its heat in the inner flame cone. "

More on the above link... Steve
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Old 09-06-2017, 06:26 PM
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I have a smith medium duty set up here at home that runs propane. I have been happy with it over the years. I can still cut better with acetylene but get good enough results with propane.

There is a learning curve. 2 mistakes I see people make are not driving the torch hard enough and holding the tip too close.

Propane cutting you don't just turn the gas up a little at a time until you get a good flame, you set your regulator to the prescribed pressure for the tip you are using and then walk your way up until the fuel gas valve is wide open on the torch, adjust the oxygen for a good flame and now your are in business. A propane cutting torch is in its happy place when its screaming like the burner on a forge. Despite that, they are still very economical on propane, a 20lb tank will get you through a couple oxygen bottles easily.

2nd, as stated above, the inner cone of a propane flame seems to still have a lot of unburnt gas in it. It isn't very hot. Lift your tip up a little bit higher and you will get better results.

I have done a little bit of brazing with mine. For no better at brazing than I am, oxy-propane works fine. You will not be able to weld with it though.
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Old 09-06-2017, 06:48 PM
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We used propane at the truck wrecking yard. I cut a lot of thick steel with it and never had a problem. We did use big torches and tips though. And I wasn't pay for the propane so I don't know how it compares as far as cost. But performance was no problem.
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