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Studio -- Show us your studio setup

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  #1  
Old 2021-02-02, 10:46pm
earthtones earthtones is offline
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Default Gtt Sidewinder or scorpion on oxy concentrators

Looking to set up shop again after a long 5 year hiatus, being home so much with the pandemic has kind of re-ignited my passion to work with glass again and to have another hobby to do since I’m at home a lot more. Don’t wanna deal with the constant hassle and expense of oxygen tanks especially since here in California they are now ridiculously expensive to fill, over $70 after taxes and fees for 1 fill/exchange. I built a sweet workbench over the weekend and have my ventilation worked out but I really need to figure out the oxy/torch situation before I can get set up again.

I’m looking to set up 2 10lpm refurbished oxy concentrators and run a gtt sidewinder or worst case the scorpion if the 2 machines won’t run the sidewinder. I will be setting back up as a hobby so I don’t need crazy firepower but I want a setup that can work boro and make goblets, melt down some smaller iso and spiral/wig wag work, work 38mm-44mm tubing and do some small sculptures, marbles and pendants. I used to have a red max on tanked oxy and was happy with what I could make on it and then I worked on a mirage on lox which was more than enough. If I could even get to 75% capability of the red max with one of these torches on concentrators I would be happy.

I have done a lot of reading and called numerous suppliers to ask but am getting conflicting opinions on what the actual lpm requirements of these torches are. Gtts website has the sidewinder listed ridiculously low @ 15lpm which would be amazing but then I’m reading forums where people have 3 10lpm machines chained together to run a sidewinder or 2 10 lpm machines to run a scorpion and then I saw Kimberly’s old posts on here with the scorpion running on only 1 10lpm machine so at this point I’m confused what the correct set up is?

I can only fund 2 refurbished 10lpm machines and even that is way more than I wanted to spend but with the cost and hassle of oxygen tanks I’m just considering it a wise investment. I can’t afford a regalia machine, I read about those here and looked them up and saw they are like $3,500 plus shipping, holding tanks and any other elaborate and expensive equipment is out of the question due to budget and having limited electricity. Anyone that has any experience with these torches and oxy cons that could help out I would appreciate it.

Last edited by earthtones; 2021-02-02 at 10:57pm.
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  #2  
Old 2021-02-03, 7:39am
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I use a single 9lpm (wish I had 2) for the center fire of my delta, tank for the outer. I can make most anything with the center fire, it just takes a little longer. Tanks for the outer last pretty long even when prepping for a marble show, and I like the extreme heat burst. I have been using this set up for at least ten years now. I had not heard oxygen went up to that price, but I don't think I filled a single tank since my last show in February. I also use a tank one size down from a k tank because I have to move it myself so it costs a little less to fill. I hope that helps a little. Which part of the state are you in?
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  #3  
Old 2021-02-03, 8:32am
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You can definitely run a centerfire on 1 or 2 concentrators. If you don't need the firepower, just hook up the center. Or, you can sell one of those torches and replace it with a smaller one. "Correct" setup seems to be what works for what you want to do, if your flame flares out enough to prevent warping the face.

I see the sidewinder is a Bobcat center. That will definitely run on 1-10lpm if it produces decent purity.
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Old 2021-02-03, 10:03am
earthtones earthtones is offline
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I thought about running a tank on the outer fire but would love to be 100% on concentrators. Iím in the Bay area so everything costs more than the rest of CA, when I last filled K tanks years ago I was paying like $30 out the door but I called Airgas and that is their new pricing.

I havenít purchased a torch yet and sold all my gear years ago so thatís why Iím wondering which torch to get and what it needs. Iíd really love to have the Sidewinder which is comparable to a phantom but with way lower psi and gas usage. Both of these torches would have a triple mix Lynx center fire and just a 2 knob outer.
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  #5  
Old 2021-02-03, 11:42am
RyanTheNumberImp RyanTheNumberImp is offline
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I experienced the same confusion trying to run a mirage off concentrators. The problem is that everyone has a different idea of what an acceptable flame is.

The minimums discussed by soft glass artists are generally enough to run 1/4"-3/8" outer fire candles. IMO if you can't run 3/4" candles in a clean/slightly oxidizing flame you aren't fully supplying the torch.

At concentrator pressures you can only push about 8-10LPM through a lynx, you need more pressure to achieve higher flow.

You can always start with the two concentrators and make a change later. I was initialaly running my Mirage on 30LPM of concentrators but added a compressor/storage setup later which solved everything. Its like working off a tank.
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  #6  
Old 2021-02-03, 11:53am
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Agree with that Ryan! How it "will" run and how it "should" run are two different things, and pretty subjective throughout the range of flameworkers.
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Old 2021-02-03, 12:11pm
earthtones earthtones is offline
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Gotcha, I will be working boro and though the flame doesnít have to be 100% but I still want enough oxygen to work colors good and not over reduce. Gtt markets the Sidewinder and Scorpion to pair with concentrators and even with the Lynx center fire they only need 5-15psi according to their website unlike the Phantom or Mirage that need much higher pressure. I have no experience using concentrators though so I donít know what the actual output of 2 10 lpm machines will be like.

I called Gtt and they said 2 10s should run the Sidewinder fine and be more than enough for the Scorpion but like I said Iím reading conflicting opinions online. Has anyone here worked with the Scorpion? And is it capable of medium sized work like goblets and small encalmo vessels or is it a pretty tiny flame? The Sidewinder looks ideal but I donít want to order it and then have a trashy, weak reducing flame.

I would love to set up a holding tank or home filling setup but itís not in the budget and Iím also renting the house Iím in so the shedio in the backyard has limited space and electricity plus I donít want the extra liability of those extra machines and cylinders.
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  #8  
Old 2021-02-03, 2:05pm
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I don't have any experience with them, sorry. Not sure I know anyone that has either of those. There is a Facebook page for Concentrated Lampworkers where you might could ask the question, but they seem to be more about how to build or buy your homefill system.
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Old 2021-02-04, 3:53pm
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l will add that concentrators purity falls off at maximum output so you only want to push a 10 lpm machine to 9.5 lpm at most.

And even at their best, concentrators only have 95% purity and tanked oxygen is most always 98.5% or 99.8% and I am told by those that have played with both that you really can tell the difference when you work with them.

So 'You pays your dime and you takes your choices" as they say.

The nice thing is you can always use concentrators on the smaller inner flames and when / if you get a tank you can use that on the outer.

Oh and shop around. There might be another source of oxygen near by for less cost or playing one source off the other for a discount.

I know that most big box stores can get you a 5 or 10% discount just for asking a manager if they can do any better on a price.
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Old 2021-02-04, 8:37pm
earthtones earthtones is offline
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Okay, thanks Speedslug. I really want to avoid cylinders so I may just have to take my chances with the 2 concentrators and see how it works out. I looked for another gas supplier but unfortunately there is only multiple Airgas locations and 1 PraxAir within an hour of me, most likely the little guys have been priced out of the area and now Airgas has a monopoly.
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  #11  
Old 2021-02-09, 2:29pm
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Using a 4 port Scorpion (center fire Cricket) with three 5 LPM concentrates on natural gas. With that combination made boro marbles up to 1.1 inches in diameter. Using NG at 5 PSI with the static pressure on the concentrates at 9 PSI.

IMO the Scorpion would be maxed out for your needs and would suggest something a bit larger to better fit your creative style.
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Old 2021-02-14, 11:36am
earthtones earthtones is offline
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Guys, this is getting more and more frustrating! I have finally figured out with your replies here and researching old threads on these torches that the Scorpion needs 3 5lpm concentrators or 1 10 & 1 5lpm and the Sidewinder needs and additional 10lpm machine on top of that if I wanted to go with a bigger torch.

I have an issue where my studio is a shed with wall outlets but it is powered by a 15 amp heavy duty contractor grade extention cord and it is not hard wired to the house. I have a separate 15 amp cord for the kiln running to a totally different 20 amp circuit breaker outlet in my kitchen. The separate art studio shed circuit breaker outlet would run the ventilation (1.5amps) and LED lighting(.5 amps) the refrigerator inside the house (3-5amps?) and any oxygen concentrator I would be running and this is on 1 20 amp breaker. I also read not to run concentrators on an extension cord and if you do only 1 machine regardless of the amperage? So it looks like I won’t be able to safely run 3 5lpm machines or 1 10lpm & 1 5lpm safely and certainly not another 10 lpm for the Sidewinder.

Looks like safety wise I can only run 1 10 lpm machine because of the electricity, let me know your thoughts. So now I am considering the Sidewinder with a 10 lpm on the Lynx centerfire and a 125 cu ft tank on the outer flame. I am unable to find any available 10lpm concentrators with Covid so that is another issue, let me know if anyone is looking to sell one or has advice. Also my Airgas is out of owner cylinder K tanks and they charge $73 so I’m looking at a 125 cu. ft. tanks for the outer fire due to availability and ease of transporting/cheaper cost. How long do you guys think a 125 will last roughly if I run the center fire 100% on a concentrator and only use the tank on the outer?

No issues with the gas as in the past I have always just used a Bbq propane tank and set it outside of the studio far from the torch when working and setting it inside the shed turned off with a window cracked when not in use. I would plan on doing the same thing here. There is no pilot lights or appliances in the shed and the weather never gets that hot here on the coast.

P.S. This is a rental property so updating the electric isn’t possible and the whole house has a sketchy 4 20 amp breaker box from the 60s.

Last edited by earthtones; 2021-02-14 at 12:53pm.
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  #13  
Old 2021-02-15, 9:09am
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Oh, that does create issues. I use the next size up from 125, maybe 150. I use my concentrator most of the time. I use the tank for a lot of prep-work like making large canes and making big marbles. Biggest 3 layer marbles that need to heat up masses of glass use up about a third to half a tank. So I think the tank running just the outer fire is about 5 hours, but my outer fire is pretty big and mileage varies. I have also used just my center fire to make up to 2" marbles when I forgot to check my supply before starting. It just takes an extra hour. That's all for boro. I only use my center fire for soft glass when I need a quick heat on a big bead, which is pretty rare. I think you can do a lot if you have patience. Sort of like working on a hot head with soft glass. I'm in Santa Cruz these days if you are nearby.

ETA: foot pedal is essential!
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Old 2021-02-15, 3:03pm
RyanTheNumberImp RyanTheNumberImp is offline
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Oxygen contrators typically draw <3A for 5lpm machines and <6A for 10lpm machines. You should be able to run 2-3 on a circuit. HVO sells a heavy duty powerbar that runs 4 concentrators on a 30A circuit so people are doing it.

Maybe you want dedicated circuits in medical situations, but for lampworking I can't imagine any problems. IMO powering kilns and hot plates is much harder than powering concentrators.

You could also look into a homefill; or even homefill an outer fire cylinder and then use the same concentrator for the center fire while torching. I'm not familiar with how much those systems cost though.
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  #15  
Old 2021-02-15, 9:11pm
earthtones earthtones is offline
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5 hours is pretty good on the outer flame for a Delta Polly. The sidewinder is much smaller with a 15 port outer flame. Called Airgas today and they will fill a 150 cu. ft. Cylinder for $50 out the door which I don’t mind paying for if it will last 5-6 hours. I figure I will fill it 1-2 times a month as a hobbyist and running the 10lpm concentrator on the center fire. I’m about an hour away from Santa Cruz, I’d love to check out your setup and artwork sometime once Covid is over.

The issues I’m having with the house Ryan are the circuit breaker is ancient and with other things on the circuits like the refrigerator the available amps are too low to mess with. I read to only load 16 amps max load onto a 20 amp breaker. I mapped out my house’s electric to where each breaker goes and all the circuits only have like 9-13 amps available due to the other appliances connected to them.

I think I have decided with how terrible the house electric is and having to run extension cords for the kiln and concentrator that an inverter generator is my best bet so I can power everything off of it and not burn the house down. I would have 13-15 amps from the kiln,5-6 from the 10lpm concentrator and 2-3 for the ventilation fan and LED lights so a 30 amp generator shiould be able to handle it just fine or I could even add another concentrator. Let me know if you guys have any experience running equipment off a generator. It feel like it should work as long as I stay within the rated load.

Looks like homefills are hard to come by. I called a couple of medical supply oxygen places and they won’t sell to me because I don’t have a prescription and all the glass blowing suppliers are sold out of 10lpm machines so currently my hands are tied. I’m checking Craigslist daily for a 10 lpm but no luck yet. I guess Covid has really hit the concentrator market hard.

Last edited by earthtones; 2021-02-15 at 9:19pm.
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  #16  
Old 2021-02-15, 9:57pm
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You might offer your land lord a deal and pay for having the power panel replaced to something larger.

You wouldn't have to rewire the whole house, just replace the panel and add the one or two lines you need.

That is unless they don't know about your hobby.

You may want to think twice about running a generator because some of us, I for one anyway, tend to melt glass at all hours of the day and night.
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Old 2021-02-19, 9:40am
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If you are calling around for a concentrator try Kiss My Glass in Santa Cruz. I don't know if she has big ones in stock, but she does carry them. I also thought I saw them at ABR recently but not sure about that. One thing with electric, your kiln is drawing the most power when ramping up so if you can time it so that the draw is not all happening at the same time it helps a lot.
Right now my studio is up north, but I'm itching to get a torch down here. I haven't officially moved back....yet
And, eventually, I will get back to mobile teaching when it is safe to do so
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Old 2021-02-19, 9:47pm
earthtones earthtones is offline
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I brought up changing the electrical panel a couple of years ago to the landlord because it is so old and scary and also unpowered for modern living but it never happened. Everything is so expensive around here I’m not going to pay to update it but if it was updated I wouldn’t mind adding a breaker for the art studio and hard wiring it. The Honda inverter generators run pretty quietly but I definitely couldn’t be out there all night and it would limit my work hours.

I called Kiss my glass today and they don’t have any useable concentrators in stock. They said Covid has hit the concentrator market hard. ABR has such mixed reviews on equipment so I’m not too sure about going through them but it looks like they have some in stock. At this point I’m just kind of thinking everything over and deciding if it’s really feasible to set up my studio here. I might talk to the landlord again about the electric and also using the space for glass work. I never told her or really thought about it initially because I was so excited to set up shop again and never needed special permission to blow glass in the past but I’m thinking now I should run it by her for liability/insurance issues if I decide to proceed with anything. Unfortunately renting studio space somewhere with Covid is out of the question and it looks like Revere glass shut down which is an hour from my house but the closest lampworking spot I’m aware of where you can rent space.

Last edited by earthtones; 2021-02-19 at 9:49pm.
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  #19  
Old 2021-02-20, 12:29am
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Aye, you really would not want to surprise a landlord with a lampworking setup.

They may understand that it isn't any more dangerous than cooking a turkey but then again they may not and frightening them with something they don't understand is only going to get you looking for another place to live in a hurry.

There are a couple of conversations in the old files here about trying to teach a fire marshal that lampworking isn't dangerous and not succeeding.
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Old 2021-02-20, 8:50am
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I don't know where you are, but have you looked into BAGI in San Jose? I can't remember if they rent torch space. They are just starting up classes again.
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Old 2021-02-21, 5:53pm
earthtones earthtones is offline
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I spoke to the landlord and for better or worse was completely honest. She seemed to not really care and thought it was ďinterestingĒ but she was most worried about the ďkilnĒ in the small space but I told her it is a very small kiln and then texted her photos of small lamp working setups people have in their homes and garages/sheds so she could see the equipment and show it to her insurance if needed. She said she would talk to her insurance company this week and then let me know if itís covered or not. Not sure if Fire marshall Bill needs to get involved or not but hopefully not since California is fire central and I wonít have hard plumbed gas and will be using a generator until the electric gets updated. If the insurance company says itís okay then I can setup, if not guess I wonít be back in the game for a while. If I get setup Iíll post some victory shots of the setup when itís done, if not probably wonít see me on here for awhile.
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Old 2021-02-21, 8:12pm
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Did you offer to pay for the work on updating the electrical to do what you need?

Might swing any questions in your favor.
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Old 2021-02-21, 8:34pm
earthtones earthtones is offline
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She said she is planning on replacing the panel this summer Phil but I’m not getting my hopes up since we’ve been talking about it for a couple of years. I did offer to pitch in on running a 30-40 amp breaker and hard wired line out to the art studio and she kind of was like “Oh, yeah,okay.” She didn’t have much to say about that but maybe because it’s pointless unless the studio gets approved by the insurance company. She did say she would prefer me waiting until the electric is updated if I did setup but I still feel the inverter generator will work just to work once or twice a week until then and I want to buy one anyways for the power outages California is experiencing more and more.

The whole lamp working thing is very foreign to the everyday person so I think she was just spinning the words “torch, kiln, fire, ventilation fan, oxygen & propane tank” in her head and then thinking in my shed on my property?????? Hopefully the pictures I sent her show her that people can set up safely inside of all different areas. I won’t be surprised if I get shot down but I’d rather be honest and make sure everything is covered by insurance.

Spoke to my Mom who said I could set up in her garage but she lives 2 hours away so I would only be able to torch on occasion but that was nice of her. She is a painter/ drawing artist and is familiar with seeing my old glass blowing setup and knows what’s involved.

Last edited by earthtones; 2021-02-21 at 8:42pm.
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Old 2021-04-14, 6:21pm
Wndeson Wndeson is offline
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I thought about running a tank on the outer fire but would love to be 100% on concentrators. I’m in the Bay area so everything costs more than the rest of CA, when I last filled K tanks years ago I was paying like $30 out the door but I called Airgas and that is their new pricing.
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