JSP so404 torch?

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BJC

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Thanks for the link to the sculptor’s site. Lots of interesting stuff there. I liked this comment:
Most cheap no name tools are like no name canned beans... they are cheap to buy... God knows whats really in the can, they give you bad gas... and turn to **** way sooner than you had hoped or even thought possible... just sayin... : )
BJC
 

13brv3

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What about the Smith Little Torch? If I'm reading this correctly, the #5 tip would work for .035 steel, and the #7 (max size) would work for .063" steel. Obviously you're not going to weld up a trailer with it, but if the goal is to work in the narrow portions of the clusters, and with 4130 thin wall tubing, shouldn't it work well for that?
 

TFF

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The smith little torch and the Meco are competitors for the jewelry market. I think Eastwood brought the little Smith to the auto restoration world 30 years ago. Using one of the very small torches generally put you in two camps. One the expert who can weld perfectly with their feet and do no wrong, and two the people who are worried they are going to burn stuff up. They sell a lot of the small torches to the worriers and they are buying the wrong torch.

The regular Smith Airline was designed to weld 4130 tube every day. Probably ever J3 was welded with one. When welding, you have to be able to control the melting. Too big, it melts too fast; too small it struggles to melt at all. You still want to melt any time you need. Being able to control the melting is welding. Torch size is irrelevant, if you can do that because you know how to adjust. That’s why you practice burning up stuff. The threshold is what you are learning.

The size of the torch body as much as the tip determines the heat. The body is where the gas mixes. I would rank this low to higher output. Little Smith, Meco, Airline.

Another thing, if you are welding .035, don’t practice on 1/4 angle. It does not help because the adjustments and tips are so different. I will back up a bit. It does help over all, but for most trying just to do an airplane project it muddies the water short term.

Last thing, be critical because of safety, but be realistic. If you are only going to weld one fuselage, right at the end you will be welding ok consistently. After your third fuselage, you will be good. If you don’t plan on building that many, don’t grade to that standard if it’s a safe weld. Some look terrible and would be laughed at, but will be safe a lifetime. Seen pretty break right away.
 

13brv3

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Thanks for all the detailed thoughts! I couldn't help but ask about the Little Torch since I keep seeing them around. Since TIG is my preferred weapon, I don't plan to collect a bunch of gas torches, so I probably need to stick with something that will do anything I could reasonably need, and that pretty much rules out the Little Torch.

I understand that the Meco has a dedicated following, and it's sort of a love it or hate it shape. I just have a feeling I'd find it annoying, though it would probably do anything I'd ever need it to.

That pretty much leaves the Smith Airline (or one of the other very similar torches). It's hard to argue with the history it has in aircraft construction, and I'm 90% sure I'd prefer the round handle. It seems about as short as a useful torch can be, and will do anything I could ever need to do with it.

About a year ago, I took on an old Kolb frame that needed most of the top of the cage replaced. It was my first experience with .035 4130, so I cut sections of tubing, butt welding some, and fitting some at 90 degrees. I spent over a month, and a tank of argon practicing with the TIG until I felt reasonably certain I could avoid any huge mistakes. The welds very rarely had any stack of dimes look, but I was 100% confident there was a good joint. The main problem I had was trying to weld inside a small angle on a cluster, where it's hard to get the larger gas lens I'm using on the TIG torch. For those areas, I'd like to try a gas torch, and I'd approach the task with the same practice I used for the TIG. I don't plan to do any of this enough to be an expert, but I do need to make joints that aren't life threatening :)

Cheers,
Rusty
 
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I am learning to gas weld. I have a Smith AW1A torch body with # 1 and #2 tips. I am told a #3 tip will be a requirement for thicker materials so I plan to purchase one. Though the #0 is no longer available, is it worthwhile to search for one? Also, I will be hot bending 3/4 and 7/8 .049 longerons. What tip is recommend for this process? I do not plan to weld the primary structure, I'll get a pro for that, but I plan to weld the doors, fabric tabs and secondary structure after much practice.
Thanks
 

TFF

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Thing also what a torch can do for you other than welding. Heating, bending, brazing. If you get too small of capacity, you loose the jack of all trades usefulness of OA. If one is already TIG welding, too small an OA torch is being redundant. I don’t own a rosebud tip, but I chuck in my bigger torch with the cutting head and will use it to heat stuff to bend. You don’t hit the cutting lever, but when you need heat and lots, it will get you through in a pinch.
 

13brv3

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I am learning to gas weld. I have a Smith AW1A torch body with # 1 and #2 tips. I am told a #3 tip will be a requirement for thicker materials so I plan to purchase one. Though the #0 is no longer available, is it worthwhile to search for one?
This seems to be a helpful tip chart. Others posts I've found recommended the AW201, 203, and 205 tips for starters.
https://www.tinmantech.com/products/welding/meco-torch-accessories/welding-tip-chart.php

Rusty
 

proppastie

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I have a Smith Mini. Right now there is a #6 tip on it. Was welding thicker than. 035. I crossed the Victor chart for metal thickness to get the tip size. OOO or OO for. 035 wall. ( 75-70 drill size .021,.028). #5 (.029) #6 (.037). Flame size is also important. When set up properly it really makes a difference...... If all else fails read the instructions.


welding tip.jpg
 
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13brv3

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Thanks Ron. I've pretty much decided on the AW1A, but I'll probably get a new one when I get closer to needing it.
Rusty
 

wanttobuild

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Just a thought, I use a meco because of the light weight hose. The hose on every other torch is way too heavy. You are gonna be welding thin wall tube, its like art work. Little tiny welds.
Good luck with your fuselage
 

13brv3

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My plan is to use lightweight hoses on the Smith AW1A. If I'm not mistaken, the exact same hoses TM sells will work, and Smith sells their own Kevlar version as well. Cold weather saps my enthusiasm for most of these projects, so I probably won't buy one until it warms up and I get some other spring projects out of the way.
 

wanttobuild

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Okay Great!

The hose is the thing!
Good luck with your project!
Wanna test your work?
Make coupons and pull test them.
Do you have a good reference for fuselage construction?
 
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