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Bitten by the gas welding bug!

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  • Bitten by the gas welding bug!

    I've been fooling around with the oxy/acetylene torch for a little while now and came across some information on wartime (WW2) oxy/hydrogen welding of aluminum in aircraft production. I searched these forums and found a few folks who seem pretty knowledgeable about the subject. Most of the folks I've asked at welding shops just kinda look at me like I'm an idiot...which may indeed be the case...actually... it's very likely but, something about this old/proven method really "speaks to me". So, I'd like to learn more about the process and give it a go at some point.

    Does anyone know of any useful resources that might help me get started? From what I've been told, hydrogen is a PITA to work/weld with (stupid small atoms sneaking past gaskets!) but can produce AMAZING results on aluminum with the proper technique/application. And yes I know i could just learn TIG and be good to go with aluminum and just about any other material under the sun, but, gas welding just seems to be more my cup-o-tea. Besides I'm severely allergic to electrical arcs, especially lightning and any and all methods of electric shock!

    I'm in southwestern Ohio by the way...


  • #2
    tinmantech is the place for gas welding, their videos are the best

    cobratorches They have You tube videos of the torches in use and it does a nice job on the thin aluminum with practice.

    And a little secret you can weld aluminum with just about any torch and practice!

    You can rent videos at
    glen, If your not on the edge, your wasting space


    • #3
      I think oxy/hydrogen is used for jewelry welding/soldering. You might start searching in that direction. I think they use an electric water separator and produce gas on-the-fly rather than use tanks. That setup may not be able to do much more than a tiny flame though.

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      • #4
        Thanks for the links!!! The Cobra/Henrob torch looks does the Meco N Midget. The Henrob has that slick "pistol-grip" that might be easier to use and the Meco just seems small/light enough to allow for some precise manipulation. I'm thinking the Meco might be a good "next torch" for me. Right now I'm using the Harris model 85 (aka: Lincoln Electric Port-A-Torch) with #0,#1, and #3 welding tips. The torch is bulky I guess, so, maybe a lighter/handier torch would help me some in my journey.

        Thanks again for the help folks!!!


        • #5
          hey Tony when you get the spare time will you make me up one of your Ironman suits.....sorry couldn't help it
          miller 225 bobcat
          miller aead200le (with miller hf tig trailer mounted)
          mm175, mm211, TA181i
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          steel max and evolution carbide saws
          6 4.5" & a 20lb 9" rockwell grinders
          case 580 backhoe (for what i can"t lift)
          if first you don't succeed
          trash the b#####d


          • #6
            I don't think Tinman supports hydrogen welding. I have his torch and Alcoa tape, which is very interesting on all the old methods of welding aluminum.

            What is out there is this stuff:


            HHO generators, and you can weld with it. Apparently needs flux to weld plain steel like aircraft tubing, which is my main thing. But I would love to play around with one.

            There is an example of one of these things being used as cnc, skip to the middle or end:





            • #7
              The jewelry type torches are very expensive for the amount of gas that is generated. Just like the oxygen concentrators for glass bead work low volumes.

              I am in the middle of transferring everything from the old computer to the new one, so I didn't have these book marks. On the new computer.

              This outfit is the one that is on TV news all the time with the system for the vehicles looking for investors

              Is one type that is used for jewelry

              Here is another one
              The full size one first one and the any of are mostly out of reach price wise for the small welding shop or hobbyist. Can be high 4 figures to mid 5 figures.
              You might check your LWS as the local can get Hydrogen in cylinders. as it was used for cutting around here.

              I used an oxy/hydrogen cutting torch, a long time ago in a job at a scrap yard. I never did get the knack as the yard foreman said I had too many bad habits from using acetylene.
              glen, If your not on the edge, your wasting space


              • #8
                I wasn't aware of the fact that the Meco N-Midget torch can't run hydrogen as a fuel-gas. That changes my plans as I was just about to place my order for the torch and complete tip set. I was under the mistaken impression that if acetylene could be used, then hydrogen could be as well with the proper regulator/lines. Oh well, not my first rookie screw-up and surely won't be my last!!!

                Thanks for the heads up on that one!!!

                Of course now I'm wondering what my practical($) options are as far as torch-body and tips that are friendly with hydrogen...hmmm...???


                • #9
                  When I said TM didn't support Hydrogen welding, I didn't mean to suggest you couldn't do it. I don't know either way. I just meant that he is in the OA business, and recently added propane tips to his lineup. This reference would seen to imply that you could use his stuff for hydrogen welding, as long as you don't use it for anything else. But you would need to talk to them about the specifics.


                  What I like about the HHO systems is that while there is a higher up front cost, there aren't any tanks of explosive gasses to keep in the home shop, or to violate your insurance.

                  I use oxy propane, which is not ideal from the heat perspective, but is works, and I feel it is safer and cleaner. I have a friend who is using propane and an oxygen concentrator he got second hand for 250. He says it works well for him. All he has is the same bottle everyone else has for the BBQ. No trips to the gas store for him.


                  • #10
                    You could hunt the jewelry stuff used and experiment cheaply. There are actually a fair number of deals to be had on Ebay and Craigslist if you study what to look for, try a variety of search terms, and are patient.

                    Thread on using an oxygen concentrator with a small Victor torch on propane:



                    • #11
                      That is an interesting thread, and coincidentally, I am picking one of those units up, I hope, this weekend. Obviously it isn't going to run a torch that cuts through 2" of plate, but it will run a small craft torch for aircraft and bike welding sorta stuff. I still have the propane and oxy bottles should I need a cutting torch. This guy is even running his fuel at low pressure, that could be a mean flashback...



                      • #12
                        Gas Rocks!

                        I'm with you, Brother, concerning the gas welding bug. I've had it for a long time even when I've had a shop full of other capabilities. I would also agree with PT that tinman does some amazing gas welding on custom formed aluminum airplane parts, AND that the DHC 2000 torch by Cobra is definitely something to look into.

                        I used another major brand for 38 years, but when I tried the Cobra, I laid it aside and haven't looked back. The torch is made in the U.S. It is designed to be more fuel efficient and, with the Pro Kit (3 extra tips, 3 extra very usable extensions) a bloke can do about anything gas can do, including aluminum, stainless, copper, both of these to mild steel, and mild steel more efficiently (less heating time, buttery puddle, great heat control). This isn't to say that gas welding will ever replace the hallowed status of TIG, MIG, or stick for many applications (thank you, Miller), but you'll follow what speaks to you.

                        As an old welding teacher once told me, "You gotta love 'em all!"

                        Aluminum requires Cobalt glasses and flux. Rod is also available. A lot of plain folk like me, tool company guys, and trade show reps do the sales. In my book, the torch rules! Email [email protected] with more q's.
                        Last edited by tjtorchart; 12-05-2010, 11:14 AM. Reason: want to edit signature for non-compete purposes
                        -Tom Gingras, Sculptor

                        Click Here: Discover the secret art of welded sculpture.


                        • #13
                          Score a medical oxygen concentrator with a pump and you can fill your own medical cylinders. Usually more money, but lurking on Craigslist can't hurt.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by tjtorchart View Post
                            Aluminum requires Cobalt glasses
                            I bought the TM2000 lens . . . absolutely the best . . . no sodium flare at all.
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