Newbie needs advice on gas equipment for heating

Hello,
I am new here and pretty new to welding. I own a Lincoln SP-135 Plus MIG welder and I think it is great, and great fun. But I see the need
for ways to form steel beyond what I am currently equipped to do. It seems to me the thing I lack most is a good metal heating method to facilitate bending. I am considering whether I need a forge or a torch for this purpose. I feel like I really don't have a good place to build a forge and I think perhaps torch heating might be more versitile and controllable, so this draws me to gas equipment. Further, I am attracted by some of the other posibilities with oxy-acetylene, such as cutting and brazing, and who knows but that some day I may even want to learn to weld with the thing.
I see these el-cheapo oxy-acetylene rigs on eBay. Most of them seem to have heating and cutting tips included. So I am wondering right off if this might be a good place to start? This is strictly hobby, home projects, so while I am impressed with the beautiful Victor equipment and such, I am just not sure I can justify the expense for my simple purposes and my advancing years.
Also I am wondering if perhaps there isn't some better way to go if my main purpose is just heating. What would it take to convert an oxy-acetylene setup for oxy-propane, and would this perhaps serve me as well and at less cost for gas? Is there some other torch I should be considering instead of a standard oxy-acetylene rig for this use? I don't think I want one of those Bernz-O-Matic oxy-mapp setups because I think that would be false economy over time having to deal with those little tanks, but I could be wrong. Most of my uses will be with fairly small and light stuff.
Thanks for your patience. I can imagine that this topic has already been hashed over to death.
Vic
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Hi Vic.
Check e-bay for Victor Superrange II outfits. About $160 with free shipping from weldfabulous. Good folks.If this is too steep, get a cheapo set from Harbor freight for under $100. The REAL cost is buying bottles. I paid $340 for mine, but they are kinda large. You can also rent for about $15 a month. GET ox/acy! You won't be happy with anything else. Gas is pretty cheap, so that's no big deal. Get yourself at least 2 welding tips, a #0 for rreal thin stuff, and a #2 for up to 1/" welding and brazing. I have a rosebud for heating, but most times I just the cutting attachment instead.
Welding with gas is fun, precise, and clean. I like it a lot.
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Bullfrog,
Thank you for your input. Needless to say, that Victor Superrange II did not go unnoticed by me. It does seem like a good deal. I am afraid that I would want to go for the rigs he is selling with a rosebug included, though. $175.
I guess I do see the advanbtage of buying from HF also, since they do have some sort of spare parts system. I suppose it is asking too much for the el-cheapo rigs on eBay that are claimed to be "Victor compatible" to actually work with real Victor parts.
OK, I will mull it over some more. I am comitted to do something about it. I made sure of that by ordering a HF gas welder cart already, which is probably headed my way about now. Well, they were on sale. What could I do?
Vic
On Sun, 11 Jul 2004 21:45:41 -0700, "Bullfrog"

Remove "NS" (no spam) from my email address to reply to me personally..
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Keep in mind that rosebuds can use a LOT of gas. If you don't have a large acetylene tank, it can be difficult to run the larger ones. Remember you can only draw 1/7 of a tanks volume in an hour. You will get there quick with a good-sized rosebud. Also you need bigger hoses for big rosebuds.
A cutting torch can be used to heat in a pinch, but is no substitute for a rosebud. I have forged small things with a cutting torch (but I'd rather have a forge).

Don't forget to look in pawn shops. Around Seattle, it seems like every other shop has an OA rig for sale. You can also find good, old 2-stage regulators used.
I've heard of folks building a temporary forge out of one of those propane weed-burners and a bunch of fire bricks. I may have to try that some time...
Jeff Dantzler
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Thank you all of you who have responded. I did take Jeff's advice and made a search of all the local pawn shops, but the closest I came to gas welding equipment was a small Lincoln MIG welder. I guess these things must be in demand around here.
Vic
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I made sure of that by ordering a HF gas welder cart

make your own? that's good practice for anyone. A gas torch makes it easy.
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Any pointers to where information would be for a beginner on how to do this well ?
Thank you.
Spike wrote:

--
s/v Mutiny
Rhodes Bounty II
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You can goggle and/or buy a beginner's book at Amazon. After that it just takes lots of practice. I would also help to go watch an expert in your area. Local colleges usually have welding courses. have fun!
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[make gas welding cart]
I bought a cheap hand truck from the local borg and modified it to hold my cylinders, hoses, torch, etc.
The first thing I did was figure out the footprint of my 2 cylinders. I flipped the hand truck over and welded (using my gas rig of course) some angle iron to the bottom such that one leg or the angle was flat against the bottom of the truck and one leg pointed up with the truck in the normal position. This made a tray of sorts to capture the bottom end of the cylinders so they couldn't come off the truck.
I was lazy and just looped some chain around the truck/cylinders 2/3 of the way up the cylinders to secure them.
I bent some 3/16" mild rod into a 2 gentle hook shapes and welded one on the top & bottom of a side support of the hand truck. The hoses get looped around here and the torch just hangs.
Finally, for tool storage, I welded an angle iron support to the back of the truck to support a little, red toolbox. I can store all of my tips, cutting attachment, striker, etc. on-board now.
I'll try to snap a picture tonight as that will make it easier to visualize. One of these days I'll get around to learning how to use the dropbox...
By the way, Richard Finch has plans for a simple gas rig in his ubiquitous book:
Welder's Handbook: A Complete Guide to Mig, Arc, and Oxyacetlylene Welding
Jeff Dantzler
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Here are some pictures of a cheap but very functional gas cart:
http://www.drizzle.com/~dantzler/images/shop/gas_cart_1.JPG
http://www.drizzle.com/~dantzler/images/shop/gas_cart_2.JPG
http://www.drizzle.com/~dantzler/images/shop/gas_cart_3.JPG
It took a Saturday afternoon and a few cold beers to make.
Jeff Dantzler
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Thank you Jeff !
Courtney
Jeff Dantzler wrote:

--
s/v Mutiny
Rhodes Bounty II
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I moved these files into the 2004 dropbox. They are called:
gas_cart.txt gas_cart_1.JPG gas_cart_2.JPG gas_cart_3.JPG
I'll drop pictures of a MIG cart soon.
Jeff Dantzler
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Two short ideas.
1) Victor Turbo Torch in either Propane or Acet. Lots of heat and no oxygen is required. If you get the propane unit you can get gas at any local Home Depot or UHaul. (Instead of the typical 20 lb tank I particularly like the 5 lb propane bottle sold at some RV dealers.) You can even use one of these torches as the heater element in a "coffee can forge". The VTT has enough heat to let you harden O1; I have done it several times. Recently I bent some 3/4" rebar into tight, complex shapes using my VTT and a 3 lb hammer.
2) The venerable Hibachi grill. Need to bend a piece of 1" stock? Lay a bag of charcoal in the Hibachi, add 1" stock, add a second bag of charcoal. Douse with lighter fluid and light. Come back in a half hour or so and you will find some red flexible steel. Quiet and easy clean-up. Not a cheap method, but it will not disturb your neighbors quite so much.

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