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Welding: Oxygen Acetylene

The Voice: Hey, Kevin. What are you doing?

Kevin Caron: I had a request for a how-to video on oxygen acetylene welding, so that's what we're doing today.

Let's get the oxygen acetylene torch and do some welding. You'll notice that I put a couple of pieces of scrap stainless steel on my magnets so we've got a nice line to weld down. Here?s my fancy, high-dollar welding rod. It?s actually a coat hanger. It makes a very good welding rod for oxygen acetylene.

Are you ready to weld? Put on your safety glasses and safety gloves. Now go ahead and light your torch up, get a neutral flame going.

Start working at the end of your metal, warm it up, get it just about molten, and then we'll start feeding in the filler rod, working along at the same time, getting it molten, feeding the rod, flowing it from one side to the other. Just weld the whole thing together. You'll see that the technique for doing this is very similar to another type of welding. I'll tell you about that later.

For now, go ahead and light the torch. Turn on the acetylene a little bit. Light it with a sparker. Open the oxygen up a little. When you look at the flame, you can see it's all yellow and jagged. That means it's almost nothing but acetylene. As you start to put the oxygen to it, you see it begins to clean up, it turns bluer.

Get your flame all the way down to a sharp, defined blue point. That's considered a neutral flame. That's the kind of flame that you want when you're welding. I'm going to warm it up just a bit more, get a little bigger flame going for the thickness of metal that we're working with.

Notice that as you start to get the metal hot, you'll see the metal starting to turn red. Just about the time it starts to turn molten, you add in a little filler. Keep it molten; just start working along.

You really need a good fit between your two pieces when you're doing this so you don't have big gaps to try to fill in. I got a little too close; that's why it popped. When you're using the oxygen acetylene, if you wind up working with a big gap, you'll have a lot of burn-through where the two pieces melt and fall apart before you can actually get the filler rod in there.

Let's move over to the middle and try again. Get a little more flame going; a little warmer. See the two edges starting to get warm; getting hot.

The great thing about oxygen acetylene is that you can use it just about anywhere. You can work indoors, such as here in my studio, or you can take the bottles out in the field when you want to work on a fence post. You can also turn the flame down, or you can get smaller tips so you're working with a cooler fire. You would use a little less fire if you work on something smaller, such as I'm doing with my smaller pieces of garden art.

Let's say you're working on thinner, cheaper metal, such as sheet metal, or exhaust pipes. It's great for brazing, and working with copper or cast iron.

Now, you see I've got such a nice fit right here that I don't even have to add any filler rod to it. I can just melt the two pieces and they just flow together. That's pretty much how you do it. Turn your torch off, and you're good to go.

As I mentioned earlier, the technique for using oxygen acetylene for welding is very similar to a different type of welding: TIG welding. You have a torch and a filler rod; you start your puddle, get it molten, then you work and add in your filler rod as you go along.

The only difference is you don't have a foot pedal or a finger control to control the flame. Once you master oxygen acetylene welding, it's really easy to make the jump over to TIG welding.

Hope that helps. See you next time.

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