Do you know you can use blowtorches for welding metals? Might be not. Because you might consider other equipment and gadgets for welding. Now you are completely ignoring the cons of blowtorch welding.
In that case, it’s alright because you are accustomed to using the methods you find easy and quick. Have you ever thought that you can just use a blowtorch without any need for additional equipment? Or do you want to make your weld look more good and attractive?
Well, using a blowtorch can make your work a lot more efficient. It can increase the productivity of work to complete it faster. Let’s get a detailed overview of blowtorch welding.
- Blowtorch welding
- Background of blowtorch welding
- The blowtorch
- Oxy-acetylene blowtorch
- Butane blowtorch
- Wrapping up
Using a blowtorch for welding might look like a stupid idea at first. Only the blowtorch that you are using should be powerful enough to generate enough energy and heat to melt the solid metal.
Blowtorch welding is also given the name of gas welding. The gas used for this technique is usually a mixture of oxygen with acetylene or propane etc.
The part of metal which is to be welded is heating enough until it gets molten. Then both the metal pieces are joined together. The molten parts fuse into each other and provide solid finishing.
Background of blowtorch welding
Before diving into the details, let’s just first discuss the background of blowtorch welding. Its origin lies back in the 1800s.
Initially, people used this technique to make pieces of jewelry. They used a mixture of oxygen and hydrogen to produce flames. In the late 1800s when acetylene was discovered, this process gained popularity.
The main equipment used for blowtorch welding is indeed a blowtorch. It should be able to withstand the heat produced by the flame.
You will find a variety of blowtorches in the market for example oxy-acetylene torches, adjustable torches, propane torches, etc. These torches are designed to give similar functionality.
They should be capable of providing controlled flame at the required temperature which can be quite high. That is why it should be sustainable. Before using a blowtorch, make sure it has been tested professionally.
Back in old days, a mixture of oxygen and acetylene was used. And along with the help of a blowtorch, people used this mixture to weld metals. Water and calcium carbide are reacted together for the preparation of acetylene.
You will see high-temperature flames when acetylene is burned. The temperature almost reaches 4000 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, when you mix oxygen with acetylene, the temperature increases. It finally reaches approximately 6000 degrees Fahrenheit. This heat is enough to weld and even cut metals.
How blowtorch works with the oxy-acetylene gas
First of all, the torch is ignited by opening the valve of the gas cylinder.
- Then heat is produced by burning acetylene.
- After that, to increase the heat intensity, oxygen is slowly mixed with acetylene to produce a mixture of both gases. The resulting flame has a hot blue color.
- The metal pieces which are to be joined together are put together.
- To weld them, the flame is moved in a circular motion to produce a small metal pool.
- Then the metal pool is pushed forward in the joints of metal where it is to be connected with the help of a torch.
- If the gap between the metals is not filled properly, then you can use additional welding rods to cover the area.
- Until the weld is finished, the torch is moved continuously to produce a throughout and even weld bead.
The butane torch is very similar to a standard lighter. Now you must be thinking that “Can we use a butane torch for welding?”
Technically it’s a no. a butane torch is not powerful to produce enough heat that can weld or cut metals. That is why you are not advised to use not for welding.
How blowtorch works with the butane
This torch has a small tank for refilling the butane when the fuel is finished. Along with butane, it uses the oxygen from the air to keep the flame alive.
The heat produced by a butane torch is relatively low if we compare it with oxy-acetylene blowtorches. They can provide a temperature of roughly 2400 degrees Fahrenheit.
These torches have an open tip from where you can see the pinpoint flame. The flame can be controlled and we can provide different levels of heat to the metal according to the need.
Butane torches are easy to handle and are used for a bunch of purposes like making jewelry, plumbing, etc.
Why can’t we use a butane torch for welding?
Now we will address the main question here why we cannot use it when it comes to welding two metals. As already discussed above, to weld two metals together, enough heat is required.
As the flame is not strong to weld metals, a butane torch alone cannot be used to fulfill the need. In addition, it cannot be used for a long time because it has a quite small reserve. It is not advisable for large and heavy welding processes.
Brazing using butane blowtorch
You don’t have to be worried if you think that you cannot use butane torch welding. Because it might come in handy if you try to use it a different way.
In brazing, high flames of heat are not required to join two metal pieces. They are welded together by using a filler material. It fills all the gaps between the two metals and you don’t have to melt the metals to join them.
Soldering using butane blowtorch
In the world of jewelry, soldering is considered to be the most admired technique. Butane torches serve a special purpose for soldering. With a proper understanding and learning, you can solder silver and copper.
Metals suitable for blowtorch welding
Almost all metals can be welded using blowtorch welding techniques. However, some metals are found to be most suitable for this process.
For blowtorch welding, stainless steel is the most recommended metal. It can be found in different grades in the market. Each grade has its own distinctive mechanical and physical properties.
Besides stainless steel, you can also weld copper, lead, and brass using this technique.
Demerits of blowtorch welding
Despite all the pros of blowtorch welding, there are some drawbacks as well. That is the reason this technique is not advised to be applied to all types of materials.
Metals that are known to be heat sensitive cannot be wed using a blowtorch. It is because of the high-temperature flame produced by the torch. Similarly, brittle metals can also not be welded using this technique.
Moreover, selecting the grade of metal is considered important too.
Precautions and safety measures
As the heat produced by the blowtorch has a very high temperature, there is a high chance that it will melt everything near it. So while using the torch, put the metal on a wooden piece during the weld.
The most important thing is to keep a distance between the torch and the metal piece you are working on. High-temperature flame can cause the metal to burn easily.
For your safety, you should be wearing flame-resistant overalls and gloves. Wear welding goggles and a helmet to protect your eyes, neck, and face.
The welding area should be properly ventilated to prevent the gases from accumulating. Welding can produce gases such as carbon monoxide that cause suffocation if inhaled for a long time.
Now, to conclude all the things we have discussed in one go, you will find it very fascinating to weld two metals using a blowtorch. After a little bit of training and practice, you can easily learn blowtorch welding.
And regardless of the method you use for welding, all we need is to get a strong and long-lasting weld. And you cannot use a blowtorch for all types of welding techniques and metals.
Last but the most important thing is to be cautious. Safety measures should be followed properly to maintain hazard free environment.