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How to Handle Oxygen-Acetylene 'Popping'

A viewer just bought a #8 rosebud tip for his oxygen-acetylene rig, just like Kevin had shown in a previous how-to video. The viewer said it pops really loud when he uses it. "How do you make it not pop?" he asked.

Kevin says he didn't have all the information that would be helpful to determine how to address the problem. For instance, is it happening when you start it? When you're using it? When it's really hot? After using it for a while? Without knowing more, Kevin offers some basic answers that might explain what the problem is and how to fix it.

Based on the email, Kevin believes the viewer was somewhere outside the United States. He did say he'd bought some Victor torches, but because he is from outside the U.S., Kevin wonders if he is using the wrong gauge to set his oxygen and actylene levels. First, Kevin says, check the book that came with the torches for the settings for the #8 rosebud. The setting should be 20 - 30 PSI (pounds per square inch) for oxygen.

Make sure you read the correct dial, as there are two scales on the dial. The inner one is PSI. The outer one is Kpa (kilopascal). So one is metric, and one is English. Make sure you are looking at the right scale.

Once you are sure of that, Kevin says he starts off with it set right between the recommended settings at 25. If he needs more heat, he can turn it up a little.

The acetylene has the same issue. The book says 10 - 15 PSI, so he sets it at about 12.5. You can always adjust them again later. So that could be one of the problems - the pressure is set wrong.

Another problem could be that, while lighting the torch, the viewer is opening the acetylene valve just slightly, then turning on the oxygen, which will cause it to pop every time. If you open up the acetylene more fully, then turn on the oxygen, no problem. Turn your oxygen off, then turn your acetylene off - no pop.

Another problem could be holding the torch too close to a project. If you get too close, you get too much back pressure against the tip, and you'll get a pop. Sometimes it will pop so hard it will blow itself out. So keep your distance. You don't want to be right on your metal or far away from your metal. Hold your torch 3/4 - 1" away from the metal so you can heat it up without it popping.

Kevin hopes that one of those is the solution the viewer - and maybe you - needs. Now it's time for him to get back to work.

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