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Thread: Airco track cutter

  1. #1
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    Airco track cutter

    Just came across an old Airco track cutter.
    Looks like itís an Airco 10 from the photos I see for it. The riveted label is missing from the machine.
    Iíve rewired in a new cable for it. It runs, switches direction, speeds up and slows down like it should.
    We may need to purchase a track for it.
    The wheels are 6Ē apart and look to be about 3/16Ē wide.
    Is this the same track that the Victor 200 machine uses?
    Are there still parts available these days for these old Airco track cutters?
    Jason
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  2. #2
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    Re: Airco track cutter

    Some of the machine cutting torch can use Angel iron go track too.

    If post photo of wheels i can help you more.

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by snoeproe View Post
    Just came across an old Airco track cutter.
    Looks like itís an Airco 10 from the photos I see for it. The riveted label is missing from the machine.
    Iíve rewired in a new cable for it. It runs, switches direction, speeds up and slows down like it should.
    We may need to purchase a track for it.
    The wheels are 6Ē apart and look to be about 3/16Ē wide.
    Is this the same track that the Victor 200 machine uses?
    Are there still parts available these days for these old Airco track cutters?
    HF 170 welder
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  3. #3
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    Re: Airco track cutter

    I don't believe there are any new parts available for them. A few parts can be found on ebay. I snagged a NOS gearmotor a while back to hold as a spare for the two 10B's I have. There isn't much to go wrong otherwise. THe speed control is a set of spinning mechanical contact points that open and close to regulate the motor speed via caveman PWM.





    The drive gearbox and clutch is a worm gear and dog clutch that is about punch press sized. You'd really have to use the thing to ever wear it out.



    As far as track goes, good luck. I've seen a single 6ft piece go for $200 at an auction. I bought one with two 6ft lengths of original track and basically considered the beetle a free bouns. The ends sort of key together to keep the track lined up. They are made from about 5/16 x 1 1/2 flat bar with vee grooves milled in. I also have a couple shop built tracks. One is a piece of 8' aluminum channel with two vee milled strips screwed on top. You could probably get away with using a table saw to cut grooves in a piece of aluminum to guide the wheels.




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  5. #4
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    Re: Airco track cutter

    I have some track that I would sell...PM me for info.

  6. #5
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    Re: Airco track cutter

    My concern is the part that looks like a long resister inside against the side wall in front of where the wiring comes into it. Everythingís working like it should but man, this thing can get hot. It appears to have heat damage on the wire thatís attached to it.
    Jason
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  7. #6
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    Re: Airco track cutter

    Iíve ran the Victor track machines
    a lot. Cut a lot of very heavy plate with the Victor machines. Had my heart set on acquiring a
    Victor but ended up with the old Airco.
    Jason
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  8. #7
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    Re: Airco track cutter

    I hit my archives. I didn't realize I had an operation and parts manual. Ignore the power cord resistor. It's for 220V input. These are ok for use on AC or DC 120v. The resistor in question is 300 ohm for 120v. I do not know the wattage. The tag on the machines say 0.5A, which would be 60 watts or so if the resistor saw the entire load. I'd bet the old wires are have higher resistance and are drawing extra load. Replacing them and a suitable equivalent resistor should help out. It will still get hot.








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  10. #8
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    Re: Airco track cutter

    Nice. Just what I was looking for. Thanks.
    Access to all the wiring will be much better with the big resister out for sure.
    Jason
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  11. #9
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    Re: Airco track cutter

    The images on this thread brought back memories of the first larger boat (52' steel) i helped build in the 70's. It was an Ed Monk (Sr.) design for a 48' inshore crabber that was to be stretched to 52' and was plated in what was then called multi-chine design.

    The keel seam was curved, then half way from the keel line (rabbit line) to a chine- there was a 'knuckle' as they were called and another before the topsides actually turned upward- then a third and part of a 4th before the topsides ended at the sheer.

    The Skipper/Builder was a pipe fitter by trade and on a recent job in our area was given access to dumpster on site; where he'd rescued a track torch (I think Victor?) like the one shown here. He brought it home to his shop and put is on a shelf and forgot about it as it didn't run reliably- full of dust and shavings as I found out when I opened it up.

    With a 52' hull and multiple longwise curves in the plates (mostly 1/4" but some 3/8" on the bottom) cutting this boat's frames, then hull plates with a hand torch was going to be slow going. I used the track torch to cut all those curves and it saved hours of time, added very highly to the accuracy of the lines/knuckles/hull intersection curves and reduced the time spent on the shop floor- gravel- trying to get uniform cuts on hundreds of feet of steel.

    If the offset torch mount bar's gears (rack and pinion) are cleaned, lubed and tightened 'just so' then the torch distance from the track/carriage body can be varied by twisting the offset knob control as the torch moves along the track.

    By setting the track as a 'chord' of any given curve- you can with a minimum of practice- crawl along keeping your eyes on the torch and cut line while turning the knob in and out to obtain as clean a curve as we get from NC cuts today.

    Thanks for posting, the images brought back memories of my first plate boat!

    Cheers,
    Kevin Morin
    Kenai, AK

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  13. #10
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    Re: Airco track cutter

    We have picked up a few sections of straight track. Also picked up a circle track for it. Man, that circle track is heavy.
    Jason
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  14. #11
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    Re: Airco track cutter

    Koike was supporting the Airco units last time I had to get parts for one. But that was a few years ago.

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    Re: Airco track cutter

    Koike bought the rights to the Airco radiagraph. They were the best track cutter ever made and then Koike discontinued them after 65 years. Edmonton Exchanger has/had over 40 of them. I believe the track is 6" center to center and is common with newer Koike track and possibly Victor or other track. The tech school had them and the biggest issue was making sure to turn the motor switch off or unplug them after use. If the clutch was disengaged the motor would keep running and burn out.

  16. #13
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    Re: Airco track cutter

    Iíve worked for PCL Indistrial quite a bit and did lots of structural fabrication for them. They always had Victor track cutters. For some reason, I think the Victor machines had a wider wheel base (7Ē) than the
    Airco machines 6Ē wheel base. But, donít quote me on that.
    Jason
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  17. #14
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    Re: Airco track cutter

    Victor track may be different. I've used several different track cutting machines and there's a reason the bigger shops paid the extra money to buy the Airco machines. I've used the Victor and it works fine but it's way too big and bulky. Airco were preferred for the linked chain pipe cutting machines as well. Esab got the rights to some of the Airco equipment but Esab has a way of messing things up. Why they totally abandoned Purox is beyond me. Cutting torches can last for decades and Esab discontinued everything including their new torches (they were crap but people that bought them couldn't get a rosebud for example). What a way to treat your customers. Then someone at Esab wanted their design instead and changed the Victor torches that were extremely popular. You don't have to change things just for the sake of change especially when it's the best selling to begin with.

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  19. #15
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    Re: Airco track cutter

    Quote Originally Posted by gtermini View Post
    I don't believe there are any new parts available for them. A few parts can be found on ebay. I snagged a NOS gearmotor a while back to hold as a spare for the two 10B's I have. There isn't much to go wrong otherwise. THe speed control is a set of spinning mechanical contact points that open and close to regulate the motor speed via caveman PWM.





    The drive gearbox and clutch is a worm gear and dog clutch that is about punch press sized. You'd really have to use the thing to ever wear it out.



    As far as track goes, good luck. I've seen a single 6ft piece go for $200 at an auction. I bought one with two 6ft lengths of original track and basically considered the beetle a free bouns. The ends sort of key together to keep the track lined up. They are made from about 5/16 x 1 1/2 flat bar with vee grooves milled in. I also have a couple shop built tracks. One is a piece of 8' aluminum channel with two vee milled strips screwed on top. You could probably get away with using a table saw to cut grooves in a piece of aluminum to guide the wheels.



    Do you have any info on how you got that governor apart? I have one and itís not working properly and would like to check the inside of the governor out

  20. #16
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    Re: Airco track cutter

    One thing Iíve come to understand with these units is that universal joint or flexible coupling on the drive shaft needs to be free. Some random lube is not a bad idea on this.
    Jason
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  21. #17
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    Re: Airco track cutter

    New to the forum, can anybody tell me if they have or had trouble with the airco track torch governor or adjustment knob.
    Forward and reverse works fine.Thanks

  22. #18
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    Re: Airco track cutter

    They were made for 65 years so every perceivable problem has likely come up. A big one is leaving them turned on after cutting (turning the clutch off only) and the motor burns up. Lee Electric Governor made the speed control. They may still be in business. Koike really dropped the ball by discounting them and a few years later discontinuing the parts. They were the gold standard for track cutters and all the big shops here wouldn't buy anything else. Edmonton Exchanger had about 40 of them! Koike should have sold the rights to someone else instead of pushing their own machines on long term 10B users.

  23. #19
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    Re: Airco track cutter

    Thanks for the information need to get educated more on the 10b just bought one and the knob is stuck

  24. #20
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    Re: Airco track cutter

    Any thoughts on were to start

  25. #21
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    Re: Airco track cutter

    Maybe send gtermini a PM. He looks to have a manual. You could try looking on the internet too.

  26. #22
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    Re: Airco track cutter

    Check your voltage at each point. Tell find spot that has low power or does not have any power.

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by agandy View Post
    Any thoughts on were to start

  27. #23
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    Re: Airco track cutter

    I'm a few minutes from Seattle. I have 4 lengths of track of which I'd sell 3. 6" wide grooves. Works with Airco or Victor. Won't ship, though.

    metalmagpie

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    Re: Airco track cutter

    I've been using Airco No. 10 radiograph machines for the past 26 years and I believe they were old when I started using them back in '95. As far as I know, the Victor tracks work with the Airco machines.

    I started my own fabricating business 15 years ago and purchased two No.10 machines on eBay and they have worked great until recently. All the controls work fine, but the machines have started to lose their speed and movement accuracy. The machine hesitates and then moves back to it's set speed or slows down a tiny bit and then resumes. It's barely noticeable to the eye when looking at the machine, but when cutting with a plasma torch mounted there will be little burn in nicks quite frequently. We've checked all possible factors that could be creating the issue (grit in the tracks, misaligned steering wheels, cable management, etc.) and have come to the conclusion it's the machines.

    Has anyone else experienced this and have an idea where the issue would lie? I am leaning towards the drive gearbox, but I suppose voltage issues in the speed control could be the problem as well.

    Is there anyone that rebuilds these machines? I would have no trouble sending them out for a full refurbish if I could get another 15+ years out of them.

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    Re: Airco track cutter

    Maybe the speed control needs to be cleaned?

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