Welding Tools, welders, etc.

Aircraft style torch - from the top down ...

Old blue anodized Meco Aviator Jet 
Currently available Victor J28 (with tinmantech.com light-weight welding hose) 
Old Victor J27 (smaller than J28) with knurls on the knobs 
NOS Victor J27 with newer style knobs
older "J"/light-duty cutting torch

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Vintage Aircraft torches

The first time I ever really "saw the weld puddle" was with a gas torch. Gas welding old school (Oxy-Acetylene) with all it's inherent safety concerns and the mystery surrounding proper procedures can still be a rewarding experience. Getting some solid hands-on safety instruction up front is important. Although the old art of gas welding is not used much anymore, having a torch at hand is always helpful. And many other tasks (welding aside) are unique to the Oxy-Acetylene torch. You can't free a frozen nut/bolt, bend/cut steel, solder a fine jewelry,  silver solder or braze a bicycle together with a MIG gun. Really experienced and skilled fabricators weld aluminum (special eye protection/flux) resulting in strong, and uniform welds. 

The aircraft-style torches shown here are made by Victor, an old West Coast-based company. Many of the ships used in WWII probably went to sea held together with Victor torch welds. Smith (Miller seems to have now purchased Smith) also continues to sell the smaller plated Smith torch. These smaller torches (Both Smith and Victor label them "Light Duty"), equipped with lighter hoses make for a much finer touch/feel and greater control of the weld puddle - troublesome on a heavy torch with large stiff hoses. Much of this equipment, torches, tips, Oxy/Fuel accessories, etc. are available at cyberweld.com and I'll throw some additional Amazon links up on the right.

 

Other equipment/issues:

Safety first! Flashback arrestor use and proper setup (with leak checks) is important. Locate a qualified instructor to learn proper procedures for setup, beginning a work session, gage adjustments, shut down and proper bottle storage.

Eye protection with a number 5 shade for welding protection. I like a Fibre-Metal® F300 Faceshield Headgear and 4178IRUV5 Shade 5 face shield. That, worn over good safety glasses is lightweight and comfortable and provides additional protection. 

A number of torches can be set up on the same tanks, utilizing products like Western Oxy/Fuel "Y" Connections w/Valves.

I've put off getting a gas saver because there always seems to be the associated "pop" (some say it kicks back carbon into the torch body) and having different torches hooked up to switch valves on the same tanks could prove awkward. Procedures for turning off a torch still seems to vary by manufacturer.

When lighting and turning up enough acetylene to lose the sooty flame, don't increase it enough to create a gap between the tip and flame. Dial it back it you've increased it too much and the flame has moved away from the tip. Welding requires a neutral flame. Learn to recognize neutral and oxidizing flames and proper settings, best gleaned from an experienced instructor. 

 

 

Miller 280 MIG

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