Gas Welding Equipment

Old 02-20-05, 10:54 AM
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Gas Welding Equipment

I have done a lot of Oxy/Acetylene welding in the past but never owned any of the equipment. I was in the Army for over 20 years and always had access to welding equipment when I needed it. It would have been impossible to own tanks and move them around the world with me.

So now I am retired, want to do a little hobby/automotive/farm welding and need to buy equipment. I am thinking about one of the small tote around kits I see on Ebay but am not familiar with the terms "MC" and "R" referring to the type of tank they use.

My question is do they use standard regulators or do they use a special regulator just for that type of tank. I ask because I might later decide to go to larger tanks in the shop and want to know if I can use the same regulators from one to the other.

Old 02-20-05, 02:54 PM
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The operation of the regulators is identical for any cylinder size. You just have to make sure that you are able to easily replace the fitting to match the tank.
In some cases you need an extra long nipple or an extension on the fitting because some regulators are too large to fit on the smaller tanks.

The designation "MC" you are referring to is an acetylene tank that is about 14" tall. The larger one is referred to as a "B" size and stands around 26" tall.
Not all areas refer to these letters for cylinder sizing so you will have to check with local welding suppliers as to what sizes they carry.

Some cylinder trivia is that these designators refer to the original use for acetylene and that is for lighting.
Lighting use for acetylene came before they realized they could melt steel with it.
In the early days of automobiles, acetylene was used to power the headlights.
"MC" referred to the size that would be used in a motor car, and "B" was what was used on a bus.

As far as using this size of cylinder, I would suggest that because they are such small cylinders, the contents/cu ft cost would be very high.
Another thing you must take into account is whether or not you must pay a lease on the cylinders.
I personally own my B and MC tanks as well as the "PF" sized oxygen, which matches the B tank.
This size is the standard plumbers size and I use a few of them and put up with the high cost of the contents because of portability.
The MC size, which is the really small one is only used on special occasions, like fly in jobs because of how painfull they are to refill.
I am also lucky in that my local gas supplier will loan me a larger cylinder if I have a big project and not charge a lease fee which here is $60.00 CDN/cylinder/year!
So with this and using Co2 for my mig welder, which I use soda Co2 tanks I scrounged, I am saving several hundreds of dollars compared to what I use to spend.
Old 02-20-05, 06:06 PM
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Thanks for the great information Greg.

If I am following you correctly, the small cylinder would cost more per CF to fill so I would be better off, from an economic point of view, to get larger cylinders instead of the portable units.

One thing I did carry around from post to post was a Oxy/Mapp setup I bought for small jobs back in the 80's. Now THAT was expensive for the amount of work I could do per cylinder of Mapp and Oxygen. But it was a handy little unit to use to patch in pieces when doing bodywork/rust repair.
Old 02-20-05, 07:09 PM
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Mapp is fairly expensive compared to acetylene because of there being a lower btu/cu ft content.

I would go to a gas supplier and get a list of the cylinders they offer, the contents in cu ft of gas, the price and the cylinder lease cost.
You can then sit down at your kitchen table and work out the best deal for you.

Let us know what is available to you.
Old 02-21-05, 01:16 PM
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The size of the acetylene cylinder will limit the size of metal you can weld or heat safely.
To prevent loss of acetone, never use a tip that uses over 1/7 the capacity of the acetylene cylinder.
Old 02-23-05, 08:46 PM
Bob Haller
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Local gas supopliers selltanks, and a buddy recently looked into this they arent very expensive.

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