I do alot of braze/solder work with copper and steel. Mostly
ornamental. I've always used a fairly cheap torch that attaches
directly to the small bottles of propane or mapp gas. I would like to
start using one of the 20 lbs. bottles of propane instead, so I don't
have to hold the bottle as well as the torch. Does anyone have any
recomendations for a good torch of this type? I don't want to use
oxygen also, just the propane. Thanks.
I did something similar in my propane-fired PMR research boiler. (OSHA
probably wouldn't approve) I took a propane soldering torch (control) and
cut it off where the burner (torch) connects. To that I connected a hose,
the other end of which connects to the control assembly from a propane camp
stove. ($19 at Wally Mart) Normally, the control assy. screws into the
burner of the camp stove. I made another burner from a 1 inch round brass
tube about 4 inches long - drilled 4 rows of 1/16th inch holes - close
together on one side. The brass burner is threaded to screw on the camp
stove control assy. in place of its normal burner. The camp stove regulator
is left wide open and regulation is by careful manipulation of the soldering
torch control. The solder torch control screws on to the camp stove propane
bottle. ($2.25 apiece at Wally Mart)
I had to experiment to find the right amount of air to admit to the
cylindrical brass burner. This was done via drilling additional air holes
in the camp stove throat tube and plugging the extra ones to obtain the best
flame. Metal tape partially covering the holes, assisted in determining
the correct amount of "hole" to use.
One bottle of "camp stove" propane will power the PMR boiler for several
hours, while running a 2 inch steam engine at a respectable demo speed, with
boiler pressure just below the 50# safety release pressure. Feed water must
be periodically pumped into the boiler via a check valve. At demo speed, it
will take about a pint of water per hour. Distilled water is recommended.
Caution: This is a potential carbon monoxide hazard but it doesn't appear
any worse in that respect than using the recommended Esbit fuel tablets.
Never leave the hose assy. screwed into a propane bottle when not in use.
You have several choices. Propane, Mapp, Propylene and Acetylene.
You can buy burners for any one and air.
Propane is the UNhottest flame of them all. If you do much copper,
I'm surprised that you find propane hot enough for brazing. I would go
to your local welding supplier and pose your situation to them.
There are a lot of "Prestolite" outfits out there. These use a Tupe
B acetylene cylinder and air. You get the tank, the torch and several
feet of hose. Sounds like a good solution to me. Try running an ad in
your local newspaper for one. The Type B cylinder isn't regulated like
the bigger ones, so they can be refilled anywhere and you don't need
proof of original purchase. Not cheap, but a lot hotter.
That could depend on what you are doing with it. I find Propane is
"hot enough" for everything, except cutting -- if I am using the right
size of torch for the job.
The original poster is happy with the heat output from a tiny propane
torch attached to a 1 pound canister of propane. He shouldn't have
any problems with the heat output from a real torch attached to a 20#
Perhaps but, as I've indicated in another forum, in my case, there are
other benefits to using propane:
- light weight, easy to handle
- no more tank rentals
- no more driving 80 miles get welding gas
- no more waiting till they open on Monday for a refill
- runs off a standard 20# propane tank
- refillable at the corner gas station
- propane less expensive than special welding gases
- in a pinch, I borrow the tank off my propane barbeque
I have an O/A torch and don't recall the last time I've used it after
I got my Propane Turbo Torch. This was about 10 years ago and I
haven't look back since then.
They're plenty of them on eBay. Right now there's only new ones, but
used ones show up from time to time:
I use one of those with the stove adaptor hose Gerry described. It's
plenty good enough for all my small brazing and silver soldering jobs,
and I can screw it onto a small tank of Mapp gas if I need a bit higher
The easy on-off feature of those torches helps keep you from wasting gas.
If you can wait, eBay might be the answer. It took maybe a year of
on-and-off watching, but I got a TurboTorch off of eBay for less than $50,
including shipping. It was the style similar to this:
http://tinyurl.com/89hgy except mine was used and had the T-5 propane tip.
It works like a charm on light brazing and steel bending. I can heat a
small section 3/8" steel rod inabout 1/2 a minute.
And I have a 5-lb tank I got for camping. This makes the whole rig pretty
easy to tote around for plumbing jobs.
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