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Monday, October 13, 2008

How I hook it up-the oxygen part, lampwork torch info

In my last post I discussed how I hook up and then start up the propane part of my lampwork torch.  This morning I'll tell you how I have my oxygen hooked up.  I hope this comes in handy for someone wanting to get their own torch set up and need a little help doing so.  I learned how to do this on my own, and then with the help of my husband, we set it all up.  I didn't take a lampwork class and at the time, I couldn't find information (like what I am supplying to you) online to show me how to set it up!  But, like I said in the propane post in my blog, I am not responsible for any problems you might encounter while setting up, or then running your own torch!  

For my oxygen equipment I use an oxygen concentrator.  A concentrator is a medical machine that produces oxygen on demand to fill oxygen tanks (and perhaps used for other things in medical applications).  I bought the concentrator instead of buying an oxygen tank because I wasn't sure how easy it would be for me to get oxygen tanks filled!  Propane tanks are easy to get filled, even at my local gas station where they have a large propane tank outside.

I bought my concentrator online through an Ebay auction.   I believe that some lampwork supply retailers may sell concentrators, too.  I'm not sure where you can buy the oxygen tanks, if you decide to go that way.  Oxygen tanks are the cheaper way to go if you are on a tight budget.  Its hard to be on a tight budget when setting up a lampwork studio!   But if you are wanting to save some money and it is easy for you to get it filled, buy the oxygen tank.  

If you hook up an oxygen tank you probably should use a backflow preventor to your hose, just like I told you to do on the propane tank-between the end of the hose and the regulator.  Also if you use a tank, you need to buy a regulator made for oxygen tanks,  (just like you had to do with the propane tank and the propane regulator).  But if you use an oxygen concentrator, you won't need an oxygen regulator attached to it because there is an internal regulator in the machine.  

Make sure that both oxygen and propane tanks are secured where ever you place them.  If they fall over and the tank's valve is damaged, the tank can become a shooting projectile because of the contents escaping the tank under pressure.  It can also explode too.

Hook up the green hose between the concentrator and the torch.  Again use the hose which came in the hose set especially made for lampwork torches which you bought from a stained glass or lampwork, or some other glass supplier, ONLY.  When I bought my hoses they came in two available lengths.  That is because it is safer to put your propane tank outside and because of this an extra length is available for people that have to run their hoses a long distance.

If you intend to use a large torch, you will need two oxygen concentrators to supply enough oxygen to run them sufficiently.  I only have one oxygen concentrator hooked up because I only use a minor burner.  But mega burners and the larger torches need to use two concentrators.  If you have a triple mix torch, and one with many jets, you probably need two concentrators.  It would be a good idea to read all torch literature and see how much psi you need to run your torch.  

My concentrator is set to put out between 6 and 8 lbs per minute of oxygen.  You should buy a concentrator that can put out as many lbs per minute of oxygen as you can afford.  You don't want to buy a small concentrator then discover it won't keep up with the amount of oxygen you need!

Anyway, it is easy to hook up the concentrator, just attach the hose to the torch and plug it in!  

So, once you get the propane turned on and running, and the torch lit,   all of this I covered in the previous post, then you turn on the oxygen-the concentrator has a switch you flip to start it up.  I keep the oxygen knob on my torch at the same position (most of the time), so I don't need to adjust it before I turn on the concentrator.  If you have an oxygen tank, you must go through the same procedure you did with the propane regulator.  

Occasionally when I turn on my oxygen, it blows out the flame on my torch.  If this happens to you, go back and re-light it.  If it is hard to start, give your torch a little more propane and it will light up!  

Now, one more thing,  this is how I turn it all off.  I shut off the propane first.  I do this by going to the propane tank and shutting the valve on the tank itself.  That is the purple "x" in the propane picture in my previous post.  I then go to my torch, and to speed it up, I sometimes open up the propane knob on my torch to burn off the extra propane left in the propane hose feeding the torch.  Once that is done, the fire will go out.  I then turn the propane knob on my torch down so that the next time I start up my torch, I don't get a blow torch going on my work bench.  (If you mess up and when you light your torch it is blasting like a blow torch, which I once did, don't panic, just run over and shut off your propane valve on your propane tank-the purple tank).  Next,  I screw in the knob on the regulator on the propane tank.  Lastly,  I shut off my oxygen concentrator and unplug it.  If using an oxygen tank, you should then shut off the valve to the oxygen tank, and then screw in the knob on the oxygen tank's regulator. 



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