How to Use Acetylene Torches

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Acetylene torches can be used for heating and bending metal, welding and brazing, or cutting through steel and stainless steel. The correct head for the torch must be used for each type of job. For instance, a rosebud head is used for heating metal and doing welding or brazing, while a cutting head is attached to the torch mixing handle in order to perform cutting operations.

Things You'll Need

  • Spark lighter
  • Open the valves on both the oxygen and acetylene tanks by rotating the valve handle on each tank in a counterclockwise direction until it cannot be turned any farther. Turn each handle clockwise until the desired pressure in the hose has been achieved.

  • Open the oxygen valve on the acetylene torch mixing handle to the fully open position by rotating it in a counterclockwise direction. Leave the valve open for 3 to 5 seconds and reclose the valve by turning it in a clockwise direction until the valve is completely closed, purging the oxygen line. Purge the acetylene line in the same manner. Purging the lines will ensure that there is no oxygen in the acetylene line and no acetylene in the oxygen line.

  • Attach the appropriate head to the acetylene torch mixing handle for the job being done. Open the acetylene valve by turning it 1/8 to 1/4 turn in a counterclockwise direction. Light the acetylene by holding a spark lighter over the end of the torch and squeezing its handle. This will result in a spark that ignites the acetylene.

  • Open the acetylene valve slowly and continuously until the flame stops smoking. The resulting flame will be up approximately 8 inches long. Open the oxygen valve on the torch mixing handle by turning counterclockwise until the flame loses its feather around the inner core.

  • Perform the welding, bending or cutting operation.

  • Turn off the acetylene torch by first turning the oxygen valve on the mixing handle in a clockwise direction until it is closed. Close the acetylene valve on the mixing handle by turning clockwise until the valve is seated.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always wear protective clothes, gloves and welding goggles or a welding mask when performing tasks with an acetylene torch.
  • Always have a fire extinguisher nearby when working with an acetylene torch.
  • Always ensure that the hot tip of an acetylene torch does not rest on anything flammable after it is turned off.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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