Note: Nancy L. T. Hamilton and any affiliates are NOT responsible for any injury, damage or health issues resulting from or even remotely related to these posts! You understand that you and only you are responsible for your decisions and actions! Take care and USE COMMON SENSE when working with any material or following any procedure that is even slightly a health risk!!!!!!!!!
Related Web Pages
- What Torch to Buy?
- Soldering – this page has links to 10 other webpages on soldering including how to set up an acetylene/air system.
- Q&A: Soldering, for questions asked by others on this subject.
- Ventilation – DIY fume extractor also discussion on particulate extraction.
- Q&A: Setting up a Jewelry Studio.
- Q&A: Torch/Gas Questions
- How to Set Up a Torch
- Soldering 101, part one and Soldering 101, part two
- All About Solder
- Getting Ready to Solder
- Identify Wire Solder
- Here is a link to my playlist on YouTube with my soldering related videos.
- DIY Fume Extractor
What is a Torch?
A torch is simply (or not) a tool for controlling gas and air, to heat or solder metal. There are many different types of torches that employ, equally as many, gasses. Torches have interchangeable tips (usually) that can be utilized for different applications and heat. Small tips produce, obviously, smaller flames and less heat, larger tips, produce larger flames. The type of torch you use depends on the type of gas you will be using.
Gases Used in Jewelry Making
The gases generally used for jewelry soldering are:
- Gasoline Fumes (used in Africa and other countries – very dangerous).
- Mapp Gas
- Natural Gas
Types of Torches Used for Jewelry Making
Nothing here yet!
Nothing here yet!
Nothing here yet!
Nothing here yet!
Water Torch. Yep, runs on water. It splits H20 molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen is what comes out of the torch and burns. It can reach very high temperatures but, the flame size is limited to reduce flashback. These types of torches are called HHO systems and I think, work off of Electrolysis. Please don’t ask me to explain this!!!
(The Lil Water Torch). There is also the Lil Water Torch which includes torch tips, flashback arrestor, etc.. Here’s a video on the torch by the creator, JDC Products. Although, I have heard some negative comments regarding the company not shipping? There was also a problem with a refund. So, beware and speak with the company before purchasing.
(Hydroflux Welder) Otto Frei ($1,500) carries the HydroFlux Welder as does Gesswein ($1,250) and Rio Grande ($1,275.00) and other suppliers. This torch is great for repair work but, is not hot enough for casting or large scale work though. Read more about this torch at Otto Frei. Here’s a link to the MSDS for the electrolyte solution used. Rio has information on use and maintenance of this product under the “more info” tab at their link.
Check out the SafeFlame EU Project.
I emailed JDC Products with some questions. Follows, are their answers to them (my questions are in italics with a bullet):
- what is the composition of the electrolyte? Do you have a MSDS on this product? Where would one purchase this electrolyte?
- Do you have to add it often? How long does it last?
- What does the electrolyte do? Something about splitting the H2O or is that the electrical current.
- So, I need to buy a computer power supply thingy that has some sort of converter? I read it should be at least 250 watts. What is the wattage range then? What is too many watts? Can the amps be adjusted?
I would recomend you use or purchase a 12-14 volt 250-500 watt variable power supply. The voltage adjust dial will also adjust the amps. The higher the voltage and current the more gas you will produce, which translates to a larger more intense flame. We can also include a high quality variable power supply with the unit for an additional $250. The supply has built in safety mechanisms and meters. Once you receive the kit the only thing you need to do is add the distilled water and thats it. The power supply plugs in to any standard ac outlet and also has a 1 year manufacturers warranty. If you order a system and would like me to include a power supply let me know and I will build you an additional invoice for the $250 and include it with your torch unit.
- Could I send too much voltage into the machine and is there a way to tell? What would happen if it was exceeded (10 – 14 volts, I think you said)? I am not an electrical genius. Actually, I’d be considered mentally challenged in this area – I can put in a chandelier and understand that there is a pos., neg. and a ground and that’s it! I don’t understand amps, watts and volts – obviously, I need to do some homework! I just need to know how not to blow up the machine and not kill myself.
- What are the “washer dry cells” for, what do they do? Do you need to replace them?
- Is there maintenance required? What does that entail? Replacing the cotton, water and electrolyte I would guess
Yes about every 3-6 months its recomended you flush the system with clean distilled or tap water to remove any sediment or corrosion developed from the system during use. The safety and filtration bubbler will need to be replaced with clean water and cotton filters as well.
- Do your other torch tips allow for a larger flame?
- Any ways to lower the torch temp? Like an adjuster knob on the torch handle?
Mouth Blow Pipe – aka: French Torches
Torch image from G&A Warburtons in New Zealand.
The mouth blow pipe, employs the breath of the person working the torch and a non-pressurized gas like from an oil lamp or alcohol lamps. Historically, mouth pipes were the first torches used in metalworking and employed a hollow reed. They are similar to bellows soldering where air is forced into the gas, making it hotter. Bellows soldering is still used today, as is the French torch.
Mark Burgess has a YouTube video on this torch.
Here’s some information at Ganoksin by Collette.
For Further Research
- Nini Graci: Hot Enough for You – What Kind of Torch Do You Need?, at Ganoksin from Lapidary Journal.
- Oppi Untracht: Jewelry: Concepts and Technologies, Pages 410-412, The Mouth Blow Pipe.
- The Studio: Rio Grande’s Blog. Rio Grande’s Soldering Video Series: How to Choose the Right Soldering Torch for Jewelry Making.
- “Butane Hand Torch Troubleshooting“. Learn what to do when things go wrong with your Butane Torch.