Oxy Acetylene Welding

Oxy-acetylene is one of the oldest and most universally used welding processes. In oxy-acetylene welding, oxygen and acetylene gas are combined in a torch handle to produce a flame that burns at over 6000 degrees Fahrenheit. This flame in turn melts the metal faces of the two pieces to be welded, causing the liquified metal to flow between and join them.

Oxy-acetylene welding has become less popular in industrial applications over the years, but is still used extensively in field and shop work. Oxy-acetylene is quite common in automotive repair shops, as well as plumbing applications, fabricating, and even artisan welding.

The oxy-acetylene process is quite versatile, and can be used to weld most metals, it can be used as a cutting torch, as a brazing torch, and as a torch to heat metals for bending and forming. And unlike MIG welding, which can’t be used outdoors because of the shielding gas issue, oxy-acetylene equipment can be used practically anywhere.

In oxy-fuel welding, a regulator is used to control the pressure from the tanks and into the hoses. The operator then adjusts the flow rate through a set of needle valves on the torch itself. It’s necessary to establish a constant inlet pressure into the hose, otherwise the needle valves won’t be able to provide accurate flow control, and poor welds will result.

Typically, regulators are constructed with two stages. In the first stage, a fixed-pressure regulator operates by keeping the pressure released from the cylinder at a constant pressure, even though the pressure in the cylinder is falling. The second stage is adjustable, and the fixed pressure from the first stage is reduced to the low outlet pressure. The regulator has two pressure guages, one to monitor the cylinder pressure, and the other to indicate pressure in the hose.

Other advantages to oxy-fuel welding include the relatively low cost of equipment, the quick learning curve compared to mig or tig welding methods, and the ability to easily regulate flame temperature by adjusting the gas flow.

Oxy-Flame Cutting

There are only a few metals that can be cut effectively with a cutting torch. These are metals that can be oxidized, like iron and steel. Other metals like aluminum and stainless steel don’t oxidize, or rust, therefore they can’t be cut with a torch even though an oxy-fuel torch gets hot enough to melt these metals.

For cutting those metals you’ll need to use a different method, such as laser beam or plasma cutting. Or another option is to use a mechanical cutting method such as a saw wheel or abrasive wheel cutting.





Note — Gas welding and heat forming should always be the starting points for new welders. Only after you’ve mastered — or at least learned the basics — of gas welding will you be ready to tackle the more challenging methods such as Tig and Mig welding.

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