Cutting torch opinions

Steve, I'm a professional welder, taught welding for six years, and for the last sixteen years have been in the welding supply business myself, so I'll give you my honest opinion. Since Thermadyne bought Victor, and moved their manufacturing out of country, they've really fallen in quality. Your local counter guy is correct; Harris beats Victor hands down, especially with propane. However, I will say this about Harris, they're owned by Lincoln, and made in Holland. It seems everything Lincoln buys, eventually winds up doing badly. Again, just my opinion. Having said that, let me give you more options. Smith, Purox, and Oxweld, are still made in The UNITED STATES, and all carry a LIFETIME warranty. Where Smith Equipment is concerned, that's the lifetime of the torch, not the owner. Hard to beat. All cut just as well with alternate fuel gasses. As an added bonus, Purox, and Oxweld carry and extra 100 Day, 100% guarantee; meaning that if you're not happy with the equipment in the first 100 days, your money is refunded in full. I strongly suggest you buy AMERICAN made. Those three companies are very competively priced, and I firmly believe in AMERICAN jobs. Good luck, Barry
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Today, while at the local welding supply, the counter guy asked how my
conversion to propane cutting was over acetylene. I said it was coming
along, although it is still quite a bit different to me than acetylene. He
asked what type of torch I was using. I said Victor. He said that the
Harris torches had a much better mixing chamber for propane than a standard
Victor, and that the cut with the Harris equipment was a lot better.
Has anyone used both of these and can compare? I'd like to get the best cut
now that I've gone to propane. I have two sets of OA regs, one Victor, and
one Generico, a Victor clone, IIRC. It would seem the regs would function
the same, but what about the torch body?
I need to get all of it serviced soon, as it was purchased used, and has
quite a few miles on it, and needs gone through, especially the torches.
But I don't want to spend the $$ if Harris would do a better job.
Advice and experiences appreciated.
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not hurt to have an estimate on servicing them. The torch head might need re-seating by now, and the diaphragms in the regulators might be weakening. You can tell if the needles in your guages fluctuate or pulse, or it seems you need to use more or less pressure than normal. One thing's for sure; Your equipment is paid for, and it don't owe you anything. Don't buy new unless you have to, or if it's not cost effective to have them serviced. By the way, if your regulators say San Francisco on them, they're way older than 25 years, and are collectible. Barry
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Thanks. Your reply has been copied to my welding folder. Do you think the Victor regs would be okay? They have to be around 25 years old, so are of the older manufacture. Do you think I should have them rebuilt, or just start with a whole new rig? The regs look in pretty good shape on the surface, but could probably use a tune up to make sure.
If Smith is priced like Victor, that would be about $500 for the set. If the regs will do okay, I can get by for less by just buying the torch. Yet, I don't want to cheap out and be standing there with malfunctioning equipment.
I have always been a fan of buying more than I need and buying quality. The worst thing I can think of on a job (next to a safety incident) is equipment that won't work right, and I don't care who made it. Everything stops including the cash register.
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When using the regulators, the needles are steady. When I hit the O2 lever, the needle barely moves. They do not creep up or down, and stay right where they are set even if I don't cut anything for half an hour. The T handles feel a little tight, but do not creak when turned. I backed them out, and there was a green grease on the ball at the end of the T.
You said the torch head might need reseating. I have two heads, and they both are a little cranky, having hard to turn valves. The O rings don't look good. In general, they look like they could use a going through. But, if a Smith would operate better, then that would be the way to go. Again, if the Victor regs work okay, that would be the way to go rather than replacing two things that are working properly.
In the discussion, the mixing chamber of the torch was the thing that was said to be of a different design or configuration.
Should I just get a new Smith head and use the Victor regulators?
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Well, this isn't exactly what you are asking about, but:
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I've used their torches and they are a treat to use when cutting. They do have Harris make their torches as well.
Unfortunately their videos are down.
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Todd Rich
External only I hope on those regulators. I don't recall dishwasher detergent as being an approved cleaner or even pre-cleaner for O2 servicing.
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Pete C.
A manual spray bottle (Windex type) filled with strong (dishwasher) detergent & water mix is your best helper. Use it on your regulators, gauges, torch and lots on your hoses to find small leaks.
Good luck,
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Nothing wrong with some mismatch if everything operates correctly. A rebuild of the regs less guages should be less than a c-note. Like Barry said, don't buy new unless you have to. A good torch/weld equipment repair outfit is worth their weight in gold. My local guys are badass.
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