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Acetone in Regulator


Eric Dennis
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First off- I understand this isn't strictly about bladesmithing... however, I was working on metal when this problem arose... and blades are also made of metal... is this even the correct board? Apologies if there is a better location.

 

I have been asking around and haven't found a straight answer yet to my question so I figured I would put it to others that likely also use oxy-acetylene torches.

 

So, I was heating up a large piece of steel with a rosebud tip and seem to have broken the 1/7 rule. When I turned the torch off I immediately noticed the smell: acetone. I looked closer and noticed a reddish greasy liquid bubbling at the tip. Acetone seems to have been pulled up during the high pressure heating.

 

Given that I now have gooey acetone in the regulator and hoses. I understand this is a BAD thing. But, my QUESTION is: how bad? is my acetylene diaphragm (and hoses?) slowly being eaten away and it's just a matter of time before I blow myself up? Is there any effective and safe way to clean this stuff out or do I need to re-build the regulator / buy a new one? I've asked a few people online and to my local machinist and their answers were sort of vague. Any advice that isn't vague?

 

Thanks in advance,

 

Eric

Edited by Eric Dennis
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I think no one is replying because they don't want to blow you up.. I would call your local welding supply.. they might try to sell you something, but if you call a couple of them you should get some clear answers... safely too. This is also probably Google able, there are a few welding and machining forums out there.

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you may also check with airgas as they are suppliers. Acetone is bad. Not sure about cleaning it either. Had somewhat similar occurance in shop and they replaced both hoses and acetylene regulator

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Use propane and oxygen for your rosebud heating tip. The rosebud needs lots of fuel, more than the acetylene bottle can provide so it starts sucking acetone. Propane is cheaper and works well and I have a acetylene regulator on mine and while the pressure readings are probably not accurate, who cares? I have both a propane bottle and acetylene bottle on my torch, acetylene for the cutting torch and propane for the rosebud and I have a Y fitting off the oxygen regulator to supply both torches. Also,always use your acetylene bottle in the upright position as it can spew acetone while it is on its side.

I don't know if you damaged your hoses and regulators though. You should post that question on one of the welding forums and see what those folk say.

Just so you know that I am not an armchair internet expert, I have been working with gas torches for 46 years and worked in shop that used rosebud heating tips that were fueled with propane and liquid oxygen. The oxygen was supplied from a LOX dewar.

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Didn't think about it until I got to shop this morning, but we have been looking at switching to propolyene (map) and oxygen. Much hotter than propane and uses same regulator. Different tip for cutting but not big deal. Also no acetone. My gas supplier trying to get me to switch forge over also. May bring tank home tomorrow and give it a try with some cable Damascus about to start. Have to change orifice in burners but a 5 min job. I'll update on outcome

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