Just reading over some recent posts, and noted some misinformation and misunderstanding on this topic.
To clarify, balancing gases is NOT to be done when OA-CUTTING! Cutting pressures are usually set with the manufacturer's table of thickness of metal and resultant tip size, and pressures of each gas, modified by other factors that may cause loss of pressure (arresters, check-valves, hose-length, poor gauge accuracy).
Balancing gases, however, is a method used by experienced OA weldors in the OA-WELDING process to compensate for loss of pressure factors, and increase safety. For those not familiar with the process, here is my archived description again.
Balancing Gases In OAW
By M R Tebo - C. 2005
Back in the” old days”, before the widespread use of check valves and flashback arrestors, beginners were always taught to balance gases. This is a procedure I still use today, not only because of safety, but because it is a good way to check on the current condition of your equipment, and guarantees the correct setting with any tip size or regulator gauge peculiarity. With a little practice, it only takes a minute, and accurately gives you the proper setting with any make of equipment, with the max. and min. of the heat range of any tip. The instructions I usually give an OAW beginner are below.
With both bottles on, and regulator adjusting screws turned out (“off” position), turn the acetylene torch valve wide-open (3 half turns is usually enough). Then, turn your acetylene regulator adjusting screw in until gas starts to flow and light the torch. Continue to turn the adjusting screw in until the flame just blows away from the tip, then back off the screw until the flame just returns to the tip. Your acetylene pressure is now set for that tip.
Then , open the oxygen torch valve wide-open (3 half turns) and slowly begin to turn your oxygen regulator adjusting screw in until you you have a blue feather extending from a blue cone at the tip. Continue to add oxygen until the feather just disappears into the inner cone, giving you a neutral flame. You now have the torch set for maximum heat for that tip. (Wiggle both torch valves at this point to make sure you have them wide-open: if you do the flame will not change)
Finally, turn your oxygen torch valve off. Then, close your acetylene torch valve until the yellow flame starts to produce smoke, and immediately open it just so it is not smoking. Slowly open your oxygen torch valve until you again have a neutral flame , and you now have the minimum flame you can use on that tip without backfires.
This seems like a lot of trouble, but only takes 1-2 minutes with practice and only needs to be done once unless tips or regulator settings are changed. Also, note that at no point are you depending on or even looking at regulator gauges, which can be very unreliable when abused. This method will work with all standard OA equipment for welding.
Last edited by Northweldor; 10-08-2005 at 05:51 AM.
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