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Thread: O/A Kit Suggestions

  1. #1
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    O/A Kit Suggestions

    So here's the deal. I'm brand new to welding . I've basically been playing around with a MIG in the shop for less than 15 hours total (Millermatic 140 and 255?). I'm getting really good results with the MIG and I want to continue practicing. I've been told the best way to practice and really understand the different elements involved in welding (heat, wire speed, etc) is to practice using O/A.

    I'm a stickler for getting the best bang for my buck (I'll spend many hours researching any expense more than $100), but I also have a problem wanting to buy the best quality. I basically have the find the middle ground between "that's so expensive I won't be able to eat for a week," and "Holy crap that hurt to buy but I know it's worth it." Unfortunately the type of MIG setup I want is waaaaayyy out of my price range at the moment but I really want to keep practicing. I'd continue to use the MIG gear in the shop but it can be a bit of a hassle. Long story short...I think an O/A setup is my best bet at the moment, and something mobile would be excellent as I'd be using it outdoors most of the time. Keep in mind you're dealing with someone with a dozen or so hours of actual welding experience, and perhaps the same amount of time in research.

    Shopping online is my only option (I live in bum fu%& Alaska and local shops are amazing for advice and help, but not so much for affordable price tags). I would love you guys forever if you could make this incredibly easy for me, as shopping online can be a bit overwhelming with all the options. I want the best recommended starter set-up, but also something that will last a long time if I take care of it. My price range is $200-300 for just the torch kit (I assumed another $100-200 for tanks and gas? I already have jacket, gloves, grinders, etc). The more versatile the setup the better.

    What do you guys think about these kits: Courtesy of Amazon (don't laugh)

    1) Victor Turbo w/ Tote no tanks

    2) Miller

    3) Firepower. Never heard of em...


    I'm more than open to suggestions. If these are all crap please don't hesitate to say so. I can take criticism. Thanks so much, ladies and gents.
    Last edited by SquareBanks; 10-27-2015 at 03:22 AM.

  2. #2
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    Re: O/A Kit Suggestions


  3. #3
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    Re: O/A Kit Suggestions

    Of those choices, Smith.

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    Re: O/A Kit Suggestions

    I like the Smith torches, but I prefer the SC style. Uses a physically larger tip, that I believe handles the heat better. Also a slightly better selection of tips.

  5. #5
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    Re: O/A Kit Suggestions

    Skip the turbo tote kit. The regs are set up for tiny cylinders and the cylinder size is too small to do more than heat and cut small bolts. You'll want at least a 75 cf Acteylene cylinder and 80 cf or larger O2 cylinder.

    Firepower is a model that Victor sells. That one would work fine. My internet connection this morning is acting up, so the other two ones you list are taking forever to load, so I can't comment on them at the moment. Smith usually has good stuff though, so that one should work. Miller now owns Smith, so my guess is that Miller link is to a Smith torch.
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    Re: O/A Kit Suggestions

    Yea I was about to say, the Miller kit looks identical to the Smith kit. My new millermatic 211 came with a nice Smith regulator.

    The Victor Firepower looks to be a good deal.

    And no, you won't get two tanks at a lws for $100 . Save up closer to $400-500 for a 75 cuft of acet. And 125 cuft oxy.
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  7. #7
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    Re: O/A Kit Suggestions

    The Miller kit is a Smith. The same parent company owns both Miller and Smith. The name Smith is slowly being phased out and replaced by Miller. All of the packaging for Smith is now Miller Blue.

    The first and only choice of the three you link to is the Miller/Smith. The Turbo and Firepower are both Victor Brands. The turbo regulators are very small and I am not impressed with torch that comes in the Firepower kit. Also, the Miller/Smith is made in the USA. The other two are made in China or Mexico.

    For $150.00 more you can get a Smith outfit with a LIFETIME Warranty on the torch. It covers manufacturer defects, but it also cover wear from normal use. We are the only Miller/Smith Warranty Repair Facility in the USA and do about 60 LIFETIME warranty repairs a month. The only thing that is not Covered under the LIFETIME Warranty is abuse. You do have to make sure you also use a authentic Miller/Smith Tip. The Miller/Smith LIFETIME warranty is the best in the business.

    One other option is putting a custom outfit together. I personnel would use a Smith SC209/WH200A combo torch and a set of Harris 25 series regulators. As already stated the Smith is the best torch all things considered, and the Harris 25 series is the best value for a regulator on the market.

    Hope this helps!

    Jim Billingsley
    Regulator & Torch Exchange, Inc.

  8. #8
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    Re: O/A Kit Suggestions

    You're all awesome! Thanks!

    "Save up closer to $400-500 for a 75 cuft of acet. And 125 cuft oxy."

    - Bummer! I figured the torch set-up would be the expensive part! Haha. Guess I can always build a cart for the larger tanks to make them semi-portable.

    "For $150.00 more you can get a Smith outfit with a LIFETIME Warranty on the torch."

    - Hmm, interesting. I supposed I could save up a bit more and take the plunge with a lifetime rig. Could you possibly provide a link of where I can get an affordable one online? Why doesn't the Smith set-up on Amazon have a lifetime warranty?

    "Skip the turbo tote kit."

    - Thanks for the heads up! I was a little concerned about how small the tanks would be, and I wasn't sure how far they would get me. I'm assuming gas will be a bit more expensive here than in the lower 48 so Id probably hate filling them constantly.

    "I like the Smith torches, but I prefer the SC style."

    - Excuse my lack of knowledge. SC style? Is that a straight tip instead of a curved tip? Or is it referring to the actual torch?

    Thanks again everyone this has been very informative!
    Last edited by SquareBanks; 10-27-2015 at 02:23 PM.

  9. #9
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    Re: O/A Kit Suggestions

    SC is the heavy duty and MC is the medium duty. You still get diffrent # tips such as #1 or#3 in each series but the SC is a physically larger torch body than a MC. Hope that makes sense.

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    Re: O/A Kit Suggestions

    Absolutely, thanks for the clarification.

    Does the SC offer more versatility than the MC? Is it just capable of cutting/welding larger material, and does that make it less capable of working with smaller material? Thinner/thicker materials would be better descriptors I suppose.

    Cheers,

    Dan

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    Re: O/A Kit Suggestions

    This looks fishy to me...SC209/MH200A combo seems too affordable lol. Does that price look right?

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    Re: O/A Kit Suggestions

    I was going to say something about gas where you live earlier, but my wireless connection today just sucks for what ever reason.

    If you are just cutting and doing general heating, you might look at Oxy Propane vs Oxy Acetylene. If you have a 20 lb propane cylinder like for a gas grill that will work for OP cutting, so you might be able to save there. Also Propane might be a bit easier to find where you are at vs acetylene. Can't help you out ob O2 though.

    There was quite a bit of discussion on both methods in this thread. Also Oxy Propane has been discussed numerous times in the past, especially back about 2 years or so when the big fire at an acetylene plant cut national supplies way down. many people switched over to oxy propane then.

    http://weldingweb.com/vbb/showthread.php...linder-Trading


    One thing to keep in mind. Smith torches are top notch, but parts aren't often available off the shelf. Victor on the other hand is carried just about anywhere, at least the parts that fit the lower end priced torches. Keep this in mind. If you go with Smith, plan to have a spare on hand if using this is critical, that or make arrangements with your local supplier to stock what you use. On the other hand, you can walk into just about any welding supply, box store etc and find say Victor cutting tips that fit the smaller size torches that most use. So if you get jammed up, you can drive to East Jabip, bend over and take one in the rear for what they want to charge you, and be back working again when you get home. If yYou go with Smith, you might be waiting until the mail arrives with your parts. Depending on how far out there you are, that might take a bit from my understanding.
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  13. #13
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    Re: O/A Kit Suggestions

    That link is just the torch. The SC is a larger torch than a MC. If you are into heavier use it will hold up better. I prefer the SC since its longer and I get a better grip. Somebody doing light O/A welding may be better suited to a MC series. You can still cut steel beyond whatever thickness the average user would need with either style.

  14. #14
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    Re: O/A Kit Suggestions

    @ SquareBanks - Go with the Smith/Miller setup you linked. We run the identical outfit in O/P. The Smith torches are awesome and have lifetime warranty. Plus, member OAdoctor here is a certified repair tech should you need any assitance in the future. Plus x 10, Miller is a phone call away for technical consult.
    Last edited by ManoKai; 10-27-2015 at 04:06 PM. Reason: sp3lling
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    Re: O/A Kit Suggestions

    "If you are just cutting and doing general heating, you might look at Oxy Propane vs Oxy Acetylene."

    - My end goal is simply to practice my welding skills and have equipment that I won't outgrow in a few months. Functionality, versatility, and durability are all very important to me at this point. Since I'm so new I'm not 100% sure what type of welding I'll be using it for, but I'm thinking primarily minor fabrication.

    "One thing to keep in mind. Smith torches are top notch, but parts aren't often available off the shelf."

    - There are a few local welding shops but I do the majority of my equipment shopping online. Not only are the prices at local shops a little steep, but they're selection is often a bit limited as well. At this point I'm very used to ordering online and twiddling my thumbs until it arrives

    "Somebody doing light O/A welding may be better suited to a MC series."

    - I might go the MC route then. Right now I'm just an average shmo learning to weld so maybe the MC will suit my needs a little better. Also, I honestly don't see myself doing anything too heavy duty with it. Just minor fabricating and household repairs.

    "Go with the Smith/Miller setup you linked."

    - I'll keep that one at the top of the list. Seem it's been recommended by a few members (at least recommended based on the 3 setups I listed). Thanks

  16. #16
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    Re: O/A Kit Suggestions

    Smith is great stuff, also mainstream Victor and Oxweld/Purox (ESAB). Some have come up with some low-end econo models, so be aware of that. Some folks swear by Harris cutting torches. And Koike has some really good cutting torches, perhaps as an acquisition of the AIRCO torch stuff. I hear their tips are very nice. CONCOA may have also taken over some of that line. And there's another American company that makes compatible clones of several brands, just can't think of the name.

    Ah, Uniweld. Though some may be made offshore nowadays.

    Kinda cool - some Harris history:

    http://www.harrisproductsgroup.com/e...y/History.aspx
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  17. #17
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    Re: O/A Kit Suggestions

    Hmmm, interesting. I have seen the Harris name floating around a bit when I check out online retailers. Seems they are around the same price range as the kits I'm looking at.

  18. #18
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    Re: O/A Kit Suggestions

    Stick with major brands and their top of the line stuff, not their econo models. Down south here, we can get all kinds of good used stuff cheap. You aren't so lucky up there.

    Keep in mind that for a safe and useful O/A setup you need really big tanks! I'm renting an Acet tank of about 200 CF and it really isn't big enough for the small rosebud that came with our medium Victor set. (#6 rosebud, I think?)
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  19. #19
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    Re: O/A Kit Suggestions

    I honestly think tanks are going to cost me more than the torch and regulators...figured it would be the opposite.

    I'll need to purchase tanks that are safe to store and use outside during the winter. I won't be using them during the harsher winter months, but it will definitely see use during the winter. The extreme months here have an average of -20 I believe, with cold spells as low as -50/-60 (-68 is the coldest I've ever seen). I was planning to research cold weather O/A welding before doing any work during the winter, so if this is a dangerous practice please don't bite me head off. I'm just thinking ahead here

    Thanks again for the feedback everyone! You are all really saving me some headache, and very likely buyers remorse.

    Cheers,

    Dan

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    Re: O/A Kit Suggestions

    And just in case people are curious about local pricing...

    A Victor MC set (Sorry I didn't get model number, but it was Victor Medalist 250 I think?) was a hair under $400, 150cu oxygen tank (empty) was around $310, 75cu acetylene tank (empty) was around $200, getting them both filled was $140....

    Even with a student "discount" on the torch set it still came out to $1016. Rough.

    Any suggestions for somewhere online to buy tanks? Heh.
    Last edited by SquareBanks; 10-27-2015 at 09:56 PM.

  21. #21
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    Re: O/A Kit Suggestions

    The more I research the more I realize how stupid I am for thinking I could get a good setup for $500 new...

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    Re: O/A Kit Suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by SquareBanks View Post
    This looks fishy to me...SC209/MH200A combo seems too affordable lol. Does that price look right?
    That is my website and the price is legit. To compete online everything is heavily discounted. Please note this is is only the cutting attachment, welding handle, two cutting tips and a set of flash arrestors. Does not include regulators or a hose.

  23. #23
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    Re: O/A Kit Suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by SquareBanks View Post
    - Excuse my lack of knowledge. SC style? Is that a straight tip instead of a curved tip? Or is it referring to the actual torch?

    Thanks again everyone this has been very informative!
    SC series is Heavy Duty the MC series is medium Duty. Both are available with a LIFETIME Warranty.

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    Re: O/A Kit Suggestions

    Im not an expert at all but from my point of view.. the only reason to have OA around instead of oxy/propane is to do some brazing? maybe you can braze with oxy propane as well i dont know. I would not want to do o/a welding myself, i did that when i was in AP school and it was not fun, way to hot and uncomfortable. There is a reason everyone arc welds now. You would be better off spending your 500 on arc welding equipment or putting it towards a plasma cutter.

  25. #25
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    Re: O/A Kit Suggestions

    You have it twisted slightly. You can cut or braze with either OA or OP, but you can only weld with OA.
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