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Tips, Techniques, and Questions -- Technical questions or tips

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  #1  
Old 2013-02-04, 2:58pm
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theglassattic theglassattic is offline
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Default The Joy of Pure Oxygen

Ok, so, I have had some recent issues with Oxycons. In fact, I have had nothing but trouble with Oxycons, lol. I have only been doing this for 3 years and have gone through 3, and those are the ones that I actually got, and kept. I just got one (#4), and as far as I can tell, it works fine. BUT, I had been researching some things and found a post somewhere that had some testing data and in almost every test, the pressure and purity were not what you'd want them to be. So, even though my new concentrator seemed to be fine, I had nagging questions about is this really what it should be? I checked around about a meter to test it with, not an easy task, and they are expensive to buy. So, my Hubby has always wanted me to go with tanked oxygen. I have always said no, because I thought it had to be inside, and I work upstairs. NO big ass tanks are coming in my house up the stairs! Yesterday, he decided to take matters into his own hands and got a huge oxygen tank hooked up to my torch and the line goes outside and down to the patio. OMG! I have a mini cc high oxygen, and my baby is singing. I couldn't really see that much difference in the way the flame looks, per say, so I wasn't that impressed. Then, I made a bead. I don't know if the difference is from the pressure, or the purity, but the HEAT, o my lord, the heat! And it's CLEAN heat! My torch was hot before, but the hotter I went, the more likely I was to scum stuff, or, I'm not sure how to describe it. All I can say is, there's nothing like the real thing. The difference is like night and day. It's amazing. I know, I know, the cost of the refills, etc, etc. But the joy of working cleaner and better makes that not so bad. I can't believe the difference, it's that extreme. Maybe one day I'll look into a generator, but I'm not sure I'll ever consider a concentrator again. Right now, I'm in love with my tank, and my torch all over again!!!!! I almost feel bad, like I've been choking it to death for years and the poor thing has been trying so hard and now it can breathe!!!!!
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  #2  
Old 2013-02-04, 4:39pm
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Amen. lol
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  #3  
Old 2013-02-04, 4:55pm
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Congratulations! There is no free lunch and for those of us who are willing to pay for the best performance, tanked Oxygen or Liquid Dewers is the way to go. The difference in working boro is even more pronounced than with soft glasses. Only downside is that I have a tendency to drool when a truck delivering compressed gasses drives by
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  #4  
Old 2013-02-04, 6:10pm
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@LarryC, I think I am just amazed at the difference in performance. And maybe I'm crazy (no comments, I LOVE being crazy) but the glass seems to have more clarity? Seriously, that's the only way I can describe it. It's not so much about melting faster, I was melting at a good clip with a concentrator, it's like the heat is sharper, hell, I don't know. My transparent's are prettier. And they melt like honey in the heat, instead of starting to boil. Well, this goes to prove GOOD things can happen from BAD things!!!!! And I'm all for saving money, but this is my passion, and to see the difference in just the glass itself is enough. As hard as I work, all the skill in the world can't compensate for the basic ingredient that I have been missing, Oxygen. But if you had asked me a few months ago, I'd have said a concentrator is great. I had never seen my torch on Oxygen. I had no idea what I was missing!
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Old 2013-02-04, 7:19pm
hotflashwanda hotflashwanda is offline
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I blew up my oxygen generator one year getting ready to do a show in Tucson (working 12-14 hours a day). Had to get tanked oxygen to keep working, while waiting for repair parts. That was over 6 years ago...and I'd never give up tanks. It's way more expensive than using the generator, have to pay to lease two big tanks, hubby has to exchange them for me frequently, kind of a PITA. BUT the tanks are silent, so I can hear my tunes, and the torch really rocks! I hear ya!
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  #6  
Old 2013-02-04, 7:50pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theglassattic View Post
@LarryC, I think I am just amazed at the difference in performance. And maybe I'm crazy (no comments, I LOVE being crazy) but the glass seems to have more clarity? Seriously, that's the only way I can describe it. It's not so much about melting faster, I was melting at a good clip with a concentrator, it's like the heat is sharper, hell, I don't know. My transparent's are prettier. And they melt like honey in the heat, instead of starting to boil. Well, this goes to prove GOOD things can happen from BAD things!!!!! And I'm all for saving money, but this is my passion, and to see the difference in just the glass itself is enough. As hard as I work, all the skill in the world can't compensate for the basic ingredient that I have been missing, Oxygen. But if you had asked me a few months ago, I'd have said a concentrator is great. I had never seen my torch on Oxygen. I had no idea what I was missing!
Yup. Clears and colors just work like they should. Plenty of high purity oxy is essential for making the best boro colors work. I am often like a broken record on this and I catch a lot of flack over suggesting it.
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Old 2013-02-05, 4:41am
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Yup, tanked/LOX are the way to go for quality. Even with COE 104 Colors and clear behave much better on tanked, as long as you don't cheap out and run a reducing flame.
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  #8  
Old 2013-02-05, 6:06am
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Ok, I'm still a sucker for convenience! I know they are expensive, but what about the industrial GENERATORS. Since my torch is so small (Mini CC High Oxygen) the pressure is not what interests me, it's the purity of what tanked is giving that I think is what is making the difference for me. Is there anything that will make good oxygen for many years? And my hubby got excited about the liquid, he apparently has experience with that from the military. Is that something that would work with my torch? And @Larry, I think you already know "Flack" doesn't phase me, lol. I've owned/operated another business for many years and I learned very early not to cut "quality" corners on products, and I have been very successful because of it. It affects the end result, and this scenario is the same principle. It may well be that none of the concentrators I've used where worth a hoot, but I'd be hard pressed to buy another one. I HAVE one, lol. I just got it, and I was happy with it, really. Business as usual. Hubby just decided to "show" me the difference instead of me wondering what the difference might be. Damn, ignorance was convenient, if not blissful, but there's no going back!
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Old 2013-02-05, 8:55am
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I am making large stuff out of boro right now so I really need the heat. I have been filling T tanks once a week for the last 18 months. I am moving into a studio space soon where liguid is not an option and I plan to get 6 packs delivered initially but I think long term an industrial system would be best. Part of the issue with concentrators is that they are medical devices and are not designed for what we do. The initial investment on these larger systems is high and there is some cost to run them but ultimately if my business is successful I think I will go in that direction.
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Old 2013-02-05, 10:23am
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A set-up with well-made concentrators (or a single large unit) in good working order is going to be very close to working with tanked oxygen for most bead torches/centerfires of larger torches. There is a slight difference, but it is not very pronounced like what you are seeing with your set-up and the convenience factor far outweighs the slight difference.

Concentrators are NOT created equal and the difference between concentrators and their performance varies widely. It's a situation where you really do get what you pay for.

As for the difference between a concentrator and a generator, medical or industrial, the technology (pressure swing adsorption) is basically the same, and many of the components are the same, they just might be packaged differently. Medical machines will typically be in an insulated, plastic cabinet, they might or might not have additional filters, and they may or may not have an alarm to indicate backpressure (in case something pinches a patient's oxygen line). For the average lampworking studio, a plastic cabinet is fine (and easy to keep clean) and the insulation that keeps the noise down is welcome. We have enough noise from ventilation fans and torches, thank you. And in the case of the Regalia, it has rugged internals in an insulated cabinet and has a software package for lampworking, so it does not alarm when the flow is restricted (when we close the valves on our torch).

Some of the larger units that require a separate air compressor to feed them give a higher pressure output, but for the smaller torches, high volume at high pressure is unnecessary. The compressor needed has to be oil-free, or an oil filter must be used, and they also require an air dryer. By the time you get everything together, you're looking at a minimum $8,000 - 10,000 investment. If you are running a very large torch or a studio full of small torches, it will eventually pay for itself. But for the hobbyist or small-production worker, it's not practical.
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  #11  
Old 2013-02-05, 10:55am
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I'm on an M-15 concentrator and I'm happy with it for my everyday work. I use earthy (soft glass) colors anyway. And I'm cheap. LOL

BUT...and that's a big but!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE tanked oxygen. The hard stuff. The liquid dewar stuff that just pours out of those ports and dares me to push my luck. When I come home from an event where I've been spoiled for a few days, I give my concentrator the raised eyebrows. LOL

And that is not fair because on a daily basis, this concentrator is a reliable, easy, perfectly adequate oxygen source and I'm quite satisfied.

It's like my concentrator is the strong, stable husband and the tanks are the sordid affair. LOL
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  #12  
Old 2013-02-05, 1:34pm
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Geez, it's like used cars, lol. So much to investigate! My husband is starting to scare me with his desire to get liquid oxygen. I have no idea what it is, but he's so excited that I think it must be dangerous. @Kim, I think I read somewhere you did or do distribute for Sequal? I might have some questions for you, but I don't know enough yet, I'm still sorting through info. I won't have a full torch day until Thursday. By Thursday night I'll know how much of a tank I burn through in a day and how fast I'm going to try and find another solution. Maybe my teeny tiny torch will just sip a tank a month, and we can keep things like they are........Bwahahaha. I have the huge industrial one, so I got lucky with that, it's the size up from the T one. I don't even ask where my man gets this crap from anymore. I have the largest propane tank I have ever seen, he dragged home from somewhere, but I've never had it filled.
@Mary, your work is amazing, and it's well -respected artist like you that use a concentrator that tells me some of them do work right!!!! Or at least are so close that it's do-able!!! I don't have enough experience yet to say, but I know I prefer transparents, bright colors, and used to love to encase everything and the oxygen makes the most difference so far on my encasing. I had been using about a pound of aether a month to get the clarity I want, and will always love it out of loyalty, lol, but suddenly either my skill level sky rocketed or the tanked is the answer. The only clear I've forced scum out of was some old effreti (sad, can't spell it) and vetrofond. I'm hoping and praying that I will see a difference in silver glass. I 'm not good with it at all, but keep trying. Geez, I would so love to torch right now!!!!!! Craig (hubby) decided to build me a new bench and "remodel" my studio and I can't even get in there. He promised me by Thursday, or I will be at the dining room table making beads one way or another!
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Old 2013-02-05, 2:52pm
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If you want something that is going to last, then why don't you consider investing in an Airsep generator. I have had my AS-12A for eleven years, and I run it in an extremely humid climate. Mine is the self-contained type, which they don't make my particular model anymore. The new ones are the Topaz+ and the Onyx+.
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Old 2013-02-05, 3:35pm
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As indicated above Airsep makes some nice units. Also check out OGSI. Cost for a industrial sized machine is in the $10 to $12 K range depending on LPM and pressure. Some will provide oxygen at 50 PSI others less. These are large and heavy units but built to last.

LOX can be expensive depending on the region. There is also the cost of monthly rental for the tank. Here it is not economical as rental is $3 per day pus $600 per fill. Too high to even consider. Other places a lot less depending on competition and availability.

If high use is required then LOX is the way to go. Excellent purity. For low use out gassing will use up the supply.
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Old 2013-02-05, 3:38pm
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Even pluming multiple concentrators together, I have never been happy with that type of flame. I like the push of a tanked oxy so much that I returned a free concentrator. Some of us are just snotty spoiled on the bottle. When I turn the knobs on the torch I don't want my flame size limited by the power of the machine. I want the full use of my range. The hassle of the tank swap is one moment in a week of satisfying flame work for me.

A liquid tank is really only helpful if you work A LOT. They will vent off in about a month if your using it or not. Faster in a hot climate, slower in a cool one. The pop off sound can be loud on some LOX tanks, like a fire cracker(residential neighborhoods can frown on it when it happens at 1 AM). If you only get a couple days a week to work, you won't save any money over tanks with liquid.
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Old 2013-02-05, 6:24pm
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Quote:
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Even pluming multiple concentrators together, I have never been happy with that type of flame. I like the push of a tanked oxy so much that I returned a free concentrator. Some of us are just snotty spoiled on the bottle. When I turn the knobs on the torch I don't want my flame size limited by the power of the machine. I want the full use of my range. The hassle of the tank swap is one moment in a week of satisfying flame work for me.

A liquid tank is really only helpful if you work A LOT. They will vent off in about a month if your using it or not. Faster in a hot climate, slower in a cool one. The pop off sound can be loud on some LOX tanks, like a fire cracker(residential neighborhoods can frown on it when it happens at 1 AM). If you only get a couple days a week to work, you won't save any money over tanks with liquid.
yup. It is a pain to have to fill tanks but for large boro work the difference in performance is worth it to me. I will be getting six packs of tanks delivered at my new studio.
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Old 2013-02-05, 11:03pm
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I just can't believe you've only been at this for 3 years...whaaat?!

When I started people said it has to be outside, chained and all these other things that scared me.
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Old 2013-02-06, 8:45am
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Ok, I couldn't wait for Thursday, lol. I pushed crap aside and climbed around and hit the torch for about an hour last night. There have been a few beads that I have tried to do since day one. I have never been successful and quite frankly, it has eaten me alive. Anything to do with melting down a disc of clear. Feathered triangles, stripes, distorted stringer, etc. Pretty basic stuff, IMO. So much so, that just at Christmas, I took some time and re-read every bit of info I could find. So, first bead, purple triangles, perfect, like I have been making them for years. 2nd bead, blue stripes, great, I'll be listing it for sale. 3rd bead, my favorite, clear and white twisty over aqua transparent, TB fanatics are calling them "spirals" at the moment, I'm keeping that sucker. It's been the heat, not me. But I have issues, one of them being a touch of OCD, and the fact that I couldn't make what to some are relatively simple beads has pretty much driven me nuts. There have been many days that I have tried the disc thing for 8 hrs, and at the end, I've been so angry and bitter, it was pathetic. I never thought in a million years that my flame chemistry had that much impact. I realize now, that I could never generate enough sharp clean heat to make a disc of clear flow evenly. If I could ever get it to flow, it was totally scummed up. The upside, is that it forced me to do other things that I could manage with what I was working with, so, it's ok. But I have a feeling I'm going to be making "old school" stripes, and triangles for the next few weeks, lol, just because I finally can! The silver glass I just suck at, lol. No real miraculous difference with the couple I tried, dang it. I also know liquid is out for me, and I am so OK with that!!! @Lisi, I'm so glad you posted, I saw a post of yours about your machine and have been trying to find it. Thank you for the info!!!!And @Ravenesque, I'm not sure what you mean about the 3 years? I feel completely retarded it has taken me that long to figure out I have been working slightly handi-capped with a poor flame. But, do to space constraints and my issue with a tank that large going up a flight of stairs, my Oxy is outside and strapped to the wall. My propane has always been outside, so it's no hassle to turn them on/off at the same time. If I keep the Oxy tank set-up, we are going to build the 2 tanks a larger "shed" to keep the regulators out of the elements and that big Oxy tank concealed from view. I can also say that there is going to be a whole new learning curve to this new flame. I had to turn down both the propane and the oxy below specs for my torch to try and handle things, lol. I've never seen white melt that fast and flat! And I have to learn to work further out in the flame, where I should have always been. I think I kept creeping closer to the face of my torch looking for that sharp edge of heat, which is now on the side of my flame where it belongs! I still don't know how much I'm going to use in a full day, but I think the un-wasted time, glass and frustration will make up for it, no matter what! Regardless of how much I go through, I have decided to roll with the expense and inconvenience for a while, just so I can KNOW what I am comparing any alternative to in the future. I'm still pretty excited for tommorow to see how much I use in a day!
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Old 2013-02-06, 7:30pm
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What I meant was, do you mean you've been lampworking only 3 years? If so holy...because you're amazing at it!
That's what I took it to mean "i've been at this 3 years".

Enjoy your new flame!
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Old 2013-02-07, 5:13pm
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@Ravenesque, thank you! That was sweet! 3 years seems like forever, but I still feel like a "Newbie", lol, Ok, the verdict is in. I'd rather feed my family Ramen Noodles 7 days a week than give up my Oxygen tank!!! It hasn't burped and asked for more yet, but I have used almost 1/2 of that big ol' tank. Aprox 4 hrs, plus today was 10. That was so much friggin' fun, but I was sweatin' my tush off, my studio has never gotten that hot. OMG, I still want to keep going in a way, but I'm whooped. I smell and I have a headache. The clear flowed like honey. And I think the biggest difference on color is Pink. I love me some pink, but it never really liked me much, I just struggled through. I made several beads with Reich Pink Lady, one of my favorites and it has never behaved so nicely. It's a good day when you don't waste a lot of pretty glass and wonder what you're doing wrong!!! I guess Hubby better dig up another monster tank, 'cuz I'm gonna need a spare. I think he said it was around $35 to fill it, so cost wise, I'm thinking it could be worse. I've gotten 14hrs and it's still 1/2 way(a smidge more) full. So maybe about 30 hrs a tank. I can live with that for now.
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Old 2013-07-19, 9:32am
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I didn't read all the posts so if this has been mentioned please forgive me.

The only differeence between an oxycon and an oxy generator is size. They both operate on the pressure absorbtion principle. Generally if it is industrial size it is called a generator and if for basically medical use it is called a concentrator.

To reduce your tanked oxy cost find the lowest priced supplier near you and set up an account. My supplier charged (several years back) $38 plus fees for a 250 cf walkin exchange. After setting up my account it dropped to $18 plus fees.

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