Oxygen generator for torch?
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  1. #1
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    Oxygen generator for torch?

    So for starters I don't know too much about oxygen generators. But a decent sized and pretty cheap oxygen generator was offered to me recently, and even though it would be a bit of a learning curve and setup I admit it would be pretty neat if I could hook it up in my garage shop to run my oxy/acetylene torch off of.

    Has anyone had experience with useing oxygen generators before? Nearly all Google searches come up with medical uses and barely any mention of useing one for welding/torch stuff. Is it because new O2 generators are too cost prohibitive compared to just filling an O2 bottle at the store? Or is it just a dumb idea that doesn't work well?

  2. #2
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    Re: Oxygen generator for torch?

    They come in two different models, one that direct connects to the patient for want of a better description, and one that will fill small oxy bottles.

    The model that fills bottles can be adapted to run a torch, but I have no information on cost of operation.

    There is also the question of purity of oxygen delivered by the machine.

    Best advice would be try before you buy.

  3. #3
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    Re: Oxygen generator for torch?

    I recall reading about someone who got a number of replaced oxygen generators from a hospital years ago, on another forum. I'm really not sure, but I think it worked resonably for cutting, but not for welding - unlike bottled oxygen the generators don't provide pure oxygen, there's still quite a bit of nitrogen in it, especially when the generator has to supply gas as fast as it can.

  4. #4
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    Re: Oxygen generator for torch?

    Quick check of information indicates oxygen concentrators for medical use do not deliver pure oxygen to minimize the possibility of the patient becoming Hypoxic.

    Rough calculation indicates the machines are capable of 25% purity on the 2L per minute setting and max out at 45% pure at 6L per minute.

    Not really near the percentage needed to run a torch properly.

  5. #5
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    Re: Oxygen generator for torch?

    Yep, the device in question is an “Oxygen. Concentrator”. They do only multiply the available o2 to around 40-45 percent of output by volume.

    Cost to operate? About the same as a small refrigerator on an annual basis.

    As far as welding? NOPE it ain’t gonna happen unless you talking a very small jewelers torch, and then it would be questionable. NOW, that being said, the glass benders and artist do utilize them to generate more heat in their air/fuel torches.
    Roger
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  6. #6
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    Re: Oxygen generator for torch?

    Oxygen concentrators work by using a molecular sieve to remove the nitrogen from air. Because of this, at best, they can only deliver 95% oxygen, which is really not good enough for cutting. Add that to the fact that the output pressure and flow is too low to cut with, and you may not find one useful.

    Glass blowers however who heat with oxy-fuel use them often.

  7. #7
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    Re: Oxygen generator for torch?

    Looks like this one only produces 93% 02 http://www.oxidationtech.com/og25.html

    I started looking at required 02 for cutting after a few of your responses. Turns or 95% will sort of work ok but 99.5% that comes from the cylinders is optional. Looks like I'll pass this deal by then.

  8. #8
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    Re: Oxygen generator for torch?

    Pretty much the same process as Nitrogen generators sitting unloved in tire shops.
    Just a different charge in the cylinders.

  9. #9
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    Re: Oxygen generator for torch?

    Does anyone still use acetylene generators?
    I’ve never seen one in use, only seen pics
    and heard old timer’s stories.


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  10. #10
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    Re: Oxygen generator for torch?

    Quote Originally Posted by jpump5 View Post
    Does anyone still use acetylene generators?
    I’ve never seen one in use, only seen pics
    and heard old timer’s stories.
    I’m like you jpump, never have used one, but in my younger days I did work in a shop that had once used a gas generator. It was still in place and remnants of the rather sophisticated plumbing for gas distribution to the work stations remained. One of the old German coach builders explained how it worked to me. He made it perfectly clear to me that the young people of the day had it all soft and cushy (that was 50 years ago). From my understanding of the operation the threat of an inadvertent over pressure or leaks in the delivery system had to make them an interesting proposition. The old timers used them because it was what they had available. They knew the risks and planned accordingly.

    I’ll gladly leave the Acetyline generation to the commercial gas suppliers and continue to pay for the convenience of bottled gasses, Thank You.
    Roger
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    Salesman will call, Batteries not included, Assembly is required, and FREE ADVICE IS WORTH EXACTLY WHAT YOU PAY FOR IT!

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  11. #11
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    Re: Oxygen generator for torch?

    Read up on how the city of Speedway Indiana came into being, and you quickly understand the fear of acetylene gas.

    Yes, I used one, 60 years back, and it was a wonderful thing beyond listening to Old Bill growl at me. Also chopped dry ice into a tank and held the hatch in place till the pressure kept it there to get Co2 to fill fire extinguishers. Both systems are long gone to remelt because Insurance Carriers decided something they couldn't understand was too dangerous to cover.

    Insurance carriers also decided acetylene and gasoline were unsafe fuels for home lighting and cooking, and forced replacement of hollow wire gasoline lighting systems with propane systems. Neither was dangerous when operated by qualified people, and some hollow wire existed in NE NY and Vermont into the 50s. Electricity didn't become totally available in NY until the mid 50s, and many farms still got electric from Kohler and DelcoLight plants that self started when the light was switched on.

  12. #12
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    Re: Oxygen generator for torch?

    Way back I used to use a acetylene generator on my head.
    Let's see who figures it out first.

  13. #13
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    Re: Oxygen generator for torch?

    Quote Originally Posted by rexcormack View Post
    Way back I used to use a acetylene generator on my head.
    Let's see who figures it out first.
    You were either a coal miner or a coon hunter.
    Roger
    Old, Tired, and GRUMPY

    Salesman will call, Batteries not included, Assembly is required, and FREE ADVICE IS WORTH EXACTLY WHAT YOU PAY FOR IT!

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  14. #14
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    Re: Oxygen generator for torch?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rog02 View Post
    You were either a coal miner or a coon hunter.
    Lot of interesting stories the old timers used to tell about coal miners, acetylene head lamps and out houses. On the way out of the portal for the shift the miners would visit the out house & empty their bladders and empty their head lamps.......... out houses could be a dangerous place for smokers.
    "The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life." -Theodore Roosevelt

  15. #15
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    Re: Oxygen generator for torch?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rog02 View Post
    You were either a coal miner or a coon hunter.
    The coal miner is close but not quite.

  16. #16
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    Re: Oxygen generator for torch?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rog02 View Post
    You were either a coal miner or a coon hunter.
    Or a spelunker?
    I remember one supplier of outdoor gear
    for hiking, climbing,caving etc. selling
    headlamps and calcium carbonate (I think)
    powder. Early ‘70’s.


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  17. #17
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    Re: Oxygen generator for torch?

    Quote Originally Posted by jpump5 View Post
    Or a spelunker?
    I remember one supplier of outdoor gear
    for hiking, climbing,caving etc. selling
    headlamps and calcium carbonate (I think)
    powder. Early ‘70’s.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Thanks for the laugh.

    It's Calcium Carbide, and it goes bad sitting on the shelf even in a sealed container.

    Now I gotta quit thinking of a fat cave crawler sitting in the dark trying to refill his lamp and wondering why his Celular device has no bars in the cave he just had to crawl into.

  18. #18
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    Re: Oxygen generator for torch?

    I’ve seen a couple of old acetylene generators in an exibit at a local fair. They look interesting and I’m sure they worked ok back in the day, I even have a couple books from the 1940’s that go over how to opperate them. If I could get my hands on one I’d put it in the barn as a conversation piece but I think operationg it would be more trouble than it’s worth. I don’t know where you’d get the carbide and then you have the sludge to get rid of. Plus the possibility of going boom would make me a little nervous.
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  19. #19
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    Re: Oxygen generator for torch?

    You put the sludge in a double bag and drop it off at Ben & Jerry's ice cream factory. Once or twice a year they make a limited batch of Old Weldor from it.

    The generators are still made and still in use around the world where Wimpboys from Insurance Carriers who believed everything the instructor said was gospel don't rule.

    Only hazard is from overpressuring the gas chamber, and that usually follows some stingy plick wiring the safety down.

  20. #20
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    Re: Oxygen generator for torch?

    Quote Originally Posted by rexcormack View Post
    Way back I used to use a acetylene generator on my head.
    Let's see who figures it out first.
    So Rex,can we now assume you were not
    mining, hunting or caving?


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  21. #21
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    Re: Oxygen generator for torch?

    Quote Originally Posted by jpump5 View Post
    So Rex,can we now assume you were not
    mining, hunting or caving?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Sorry for the slow reply. Been busy at work.

    Spelunker is correct.
    In this part of Texas caves are a major source of recharge for our aquifer.
    In the early to mid '70's I helped a group of guys that were doing cave surveys for the state.
    All of the headlamps back then were acetylene. First battery powered one I saw was in the '80's.
    It was kinda tricky changing the carbide in the pitch black especially since we always carried out
    our carbide waste. But we did carry out our human waste also!
    Spent 21 hours in a cave in Mexico. Seemed like our packs were heavier coming out than when we went in!

    I really miss caving but I'm too stove up for anything but a walk in cave.

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