In any work we do, the best scenario is achieving the highest-quality output with the least usage of materials and the cheapest cost. Most of the time, however, people equate quality with cost—the more expensive a product is, the better the results. While this is true in some cases, you can still achieve the same output at a more affordable price.
One such cheap material is propane, and that is the topic we will talk about today. Propane is an excellent choice for alternative fuel to acetylene. It is also the more affordable choice if you are into cutting, heating, and brazing.
Let’s get into detail and know why.
Propane and Its Uses
Propane is the product of two primary processes: extraction from natural gas and crude oil refinement. Its supply is abundant all over the world. Anywhere you go, you’ll see industries, businesses, and households using this fuel. You can utilize propane in your workshops, home repairs, or in your restoration services shop.
- Home usage: Have you seen the cylinder used to light up your BBQ grill or stove? That is liquefied petroleum gas or propane. Some of the home uses of propane are cooking and water and home heating and as a backup energy source.
- Appliance and machines: Propane can also power many machines and appliances. These include water pumps, irrigators, heaters, and other machines used in agribusiness.
- Fuel for cars: Another machine that propane can power is vehicles. When propane fuels cars and buses, it is called autogas.
- Cutting, heating, and brazing: As mentioned, propane is an excellent alternative to acetylene. You can use propane in an oxy-propane cutting torch for your workshop projects, repairs, and industrial-type cutting, heating, and brazing. This last use of propane in a propane cutting torch is what we will focus on in the subsequent parts of this article.
Advantages of Using Propane
- Cheap: Prime among the benefits of using a propane-oxygen cutting torch is the cost. Propane is a cheaper alternative to acetylene.
- Easy to find: Propane is more accessible than acetylene because it is widely used. You can go to a hardware store within your town and find one. In contrast, if you need to buy or get a refill of acetylene, you need to go to a gas supplier.
- Clean cuts: Depending on the tip you are using, propane can provide high-quality and clean cuts at a cheaper cost.
- Higher BTU: BTU is a heat measurement, and propane generates 2488 BTU. With a hotter temperature, the material melts faster. Moreover, you can do cutting tasks faster.
- Best for heating and bending: Propane is not for welding, but it is best used for bending and heating because of its higher BTU.
- Easier to transport: If you are a tradesman who moves from one place to another offering your service, the portability of propane is beneficial to you.
Oxy-Propane as Alternative to Oxyacetylene Fuel
You can use different fuels to weld, cut, heat, and braze in your workshop. These include gasoline, hydrogen, methylacetylene-propadiene, propylene, and butane. Still, propane and acetylene are crowd favorites.
Acetylene is an all-around fuel you can use for welding, cutting, heating, and brazing. When mixed with oxygen through oxyacetylene welding, it creates the best cuts in different materials. However, among all fuels, acetylene will cost you the most.
If your tasks do not include welding, propane is an excellent alternative to acetylene. Propane supply is abundant globally, so you can get it anytime. Unlike acetylene, propane is more portable and movable. While other people suggest that propane does not cut as cleanly as acetylene, this is not true. Propane, with the right tips and techniques, produces cutting outputs at par with those of acetylene.
The only advantage of acetylene is you can use it in all tasks in your workshop. Propane is not applicable for welding.
How to Use Oxy-Propane Cutting Torch
To safely and properly use an oxy-propane cutting torch, follow these three main stages: safety check, turning on and actual use, and turning the equipment off.
- Cylinder check: Ensure that no debris or obstructions are present in the cylinder valves by slowly opening them before attaching the hoses and gauges. Also, make sure that the cylinder chains are correctly attached.
- Gauge and hose check: Ensure that the gauges and hoses have no leaks.
- Clearing the work area: Clear the work area of anything that can burn and cause work-related accidents.
- Wearing your personal protective equipment: Of course, get yourself protected with the proper work attire.
Turning on and using the equipment
- Ensure that you have the propane cutting torch tip attached correctly.
- Open the oxygen valve first, followed by the propane gas valve.
- Open the propane valve in the torch.
- Use a striker to ignite and light the propane cutting torch.
- Next is the oxygen valve on the torch. Open it until you get a blue, cone-shaped flame.
- You are ready to cut!
Turning off after use
- Turn of the torch’s propane valve first, followed by the oxygen valve.
- Turn off the valve regulators.
- Purge the remaining fuel in the torch by opening it again until the regulators show zero pressure. Then, turn off the valves.
- Store it in a safe place for subsequent use.
Now that you know what propane fuel is, its benefits, and how to use it safely, you might be thinking of using this fuel type in your workshops and projects. First, you need oxy-propane cutting torch tips. It is also best if you have a propane cutting torch kit. Some products allow you to use both propane and acetylene. Still, if you mostly use propane, you better have a kit made specifically for this fuel type.
As you use your torch, the projects you’ll be undertaking will level up in quality and complexity. You’ll also discover the other benefits of using oxy-propane for cutting. Feel free to share in the comment section below what those are. We’ll be delighted to hear from you.