Two basic varieties of gas welding torches exist. The first type uses fuel and air in order to heat metals while the second makes use of fuel and pure oxygen to produce a flame which is so hot that it is able to weld hard metals. Many situations exist in which either variety of torches can be used. Similarities exist between the ways in which both types of torches are operated. However limitations also exist in relation to their interchangeability.
Propane torches used by plumbers are a prime example of Air-Fuel torches. The most obvious limiting factor is the heat (approximately 3500 degrees F.). Air is a mixture of 30% oxygen and 70% nitrogen and as a result, the large majority of the fuel expending during the burning process is used to heat the nitrogen and this does not serve to increase the energy of the flame. Regardless of this limitation, this type of torch is inexpensive to buy and can be used for a wide variety of purposes. Their low heat means that this type of torch is unsuitable for a large majority of welding operations. However they prove suitable for use in soldering and brazing or for home orientated projects. These torches can be used to repair air conditioning units and copper plumbing fixtures found in homes and workplaces. They are invaluable for projects which involve the bending and shaping of metal or lead work.
Oxygen and fuel torches are typically referred to on the basis of the kind of fuel that they use, oxy-mapp, oxy-propane and oxy-acetelene being good examples. When pure oxygen is thrown into the mix, the heat produced drastically increases. The heat produced ranges in temperature. Propane typically produces heat of 5000 degrees F. while mapp produces heat of 6200 degrees F. Acetelene produces heat of 6500 degrees F. but it is also the priciest. The drawback of these types of gas torch kits is that they are expensive. However, in the past few years many outstanding mini setups have become available at affordable prices. The variety of work able to be performed with the use of these torches increases with the price. Metals of increasing thickness and larger selections of materials can be welded with the more expensive models. Oxygen and fuel torches are advantageous as with a change of tip, they are able to perform cutting operations. Simple air and fuel setups are unable to do this.
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