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  1. #1
    Platinum Member westbrooklawn's Avatar
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    North Carolina
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    kubota L3400HST

    Default Cheap Cutting Torch?

    I think I need to invest in a cutting torch, guages, tanks, etc. The sawzall is great for lighter metals, but I'm looking at a few projects that will involve 3/8 steel and thicker.

    My question... since this is a hobby for me, and I might only do some cutting 2 or 3 times a year, I don't want to put a lot of money in an outfit. Can anyone advise me of the least expensive way to go? I have looked at a Lincoln torch/guage combination that SAM'S sells for around $140, but don't know if it is adequate.

    Also any ballpark figures on tank cost, etc.? Just trying to pick knowledge from everyone before I go any further. Thanks in advance for any help.




  2. #2
    Super Star Member EddieWalker's Avatar
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    May 2003
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    Tyler, Texas
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    Several, all used and abused.

    Default Re: Cheap Cutting Torch?

    I bought a small setup from my discount tool store. Home Depot has a similar setup too. Mine is Victor compatable, which is just a type of fittings. Lincoln would be just as good, just different.

    Mine has a plastic moulded case with two bottles, hoses, guages, cutting and welding tip. Plus goggles and striker. Basically everything you need in a small package. Price was around what you said. Hundred plus something, but I forget exactly what I paid for it.

    The tanks are exchanged at my closest welding supply store. Each tank is just under $20 to replace. I expected them to fill my brand new tanks, but they don't do that. The guy said it takes a day for them to do what ever they have to do. So it's a quick exchange. Every time you get different bottles.

    Sometimes the gas bottles have knobs on the, someitmes it's the old square thing that you have to use the special wrench for. They said eventually all the gas bottles will have knobs.

    I asked about buying extra bottles, but they were more expensive then the whole kit, so I decidided against it.

    I usually only use mine for repairs on the tractors. I had to cut off some bolts the other day to get to a cylinder on my dozer. Otherwise, I cut most of my metal with a 14 inch chop saw.

    They last a fair amount of time, but with heavy usage, I had to refill them every day when I was cutting up a trailer I found.

    I also like how portable they are. I can put the set in my front seat of my truck, drive to the back of my land where the promblem is, cut what I need to cut, and bring it back. Real easy.

    For me, it's been a huge plus having it. I have no need or desire for a full sized setup since the compact one works so well.

    Eddie


  3. #3
    Platinum Member westbrooklawn's Avatar
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    kubota L3400HST

    Default Re: Cheap Cutting Torch?

    Eddie -

    Thanks for the reply. The set I saw at SAM'S did not include any tanks. I have seen the portable outfit you are talking about, but they were in the $400 range. I think I want full size tanks... I think I can just rent them from a local welding supply shop and have them refilled.

  4. #4
    Veteran Member
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    Jul 2003
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    Kansas
    Tractor
    2003 BX2200

    Default Re: Cheap Cutting Torch?

    How old are you? Don't laugh--its important! A decent set of gages and tips will last a lifetime.

    I bought my set USED in 1975; it is Craftsman set that someday I'll replace with victor gages. Years ago, I bought the victor handle/tips, so that's common to all now. If you have the time and watch for auctions and estate sales, you might find one like I did. What I paid at auction was equal to about the actual cost of the 15 yrs remaining of the balance of a 20 yr bottle lease. The gages/handle/tip didn't cost me anything!

    If you contact a welding supply place, they can steer you to bottles. Here, you lease the bottles for like $200 for 10 yrs, then pay to have them filled each time (exchanged).

    If you start cutting a lot of 3/8 or 1/2 stuff, you will use a LOT of oxygen.

    Happy cutting!
    ron

  5. #5
    Elite Member
    Rest in Peace

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    New Hampshire
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    Kubota B2710, IH TD6-62 dozer with Drott 4n1 bucket loader

    Default Re: Cheap Cutting Torch?

    Large tanks over 80cf are leased, usually on a yearly basis. You might find a rent-a-center that has some for rent. Check with your local welding supply store.

    By the time you get done leasing or buying smaller tanks plus the cost of the torches/valves you are probably looking at $400 or more for an initial investment.

  6. #6
    Platinum Member westbrooklawn's Avatar
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    kubota L3400HST

    Default Re: Cheap Cutting Torch?

    RonR -

    Can't help it... you did make me laugh!! I am old somedays, and a young buck on most days! The number (and never forget, it is only a number) is 56 yrs.

    I understand your comments about good stuff lasting a lifetime, but my needs are so infrequent that I want to buy something that is "not the cheapest... but certainly not the best".

    I'm almost thinking I could get away with one of the small portable sets which I see online for as little as $250 range. I don't want to take the time to wait to find one at an auction or estate sale, although I certainly understand the great deals that can be had by doing that.

  7. #7
    Silver Member
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    Apr 2004
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    Keyser WV
    Tractor
    John Deer 2210

    Default Re: Cheap Cutting Torch?

    That $140 sounds like a reasonable amount. around hear you can rent tanks the larger size. for $25 each a year + fuel or ox. I bought my own which are much smaller for $200 . I didn't get the smallest tanks. If you do you should get Two ox. if your going to do a lot of burning. Tractor supply sells tanks and fills them. If you own your one tank you can have it filled anywere. They are all close the same price.
    Charlie

  8. #8
    Platinum Member
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    May 2005
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    Location
    Farwell, Michigan
    Tractor
    JD 2010

    Default Re: Cheap Cutting Torch?

    Don't know if you have a Tractor Supply in your area, if you do, they are now dealing with gas welding tanks and supplies. Not sure of their costs but may be worth checking out.
    Farwell

  9. #9
    Veteran Member
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    Dec 2001
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    1,054
    Location
    Minnesota
    Tractor
    JD 4100 HST

    Default Re: Cheap Cutting Torch?

    I find that my porta-band hand-held bandsaw does a fine job on cutting steel even over an inch thick.

    It won't be as versatile as a gas torch in terms of what you can cut - you won't likely fit it in the place you need to cut off a rusted bolt, for example, but for light fabrication in the shop, it makes a cleaner cut and is a bit less expensive to run (assuming you don't abuse the blades too much).

    Another alternative to look into would be a plasma torch. Again, no gas to buy - just electricity to run it. With a generator or 110v supply and a tank compressed air (150 psi, not high pressure), you can even be somewhat portable.

    - Rick


  10. #10
    Platinum Member
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    Aug 2003
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    Tulsa OK
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    Ford 3000

    Default Re: Cheap Cutting Torch?

    My setup was cheaper than the SAMS outfit but has done everything I asked. If I were starting from scratch I would go with the deal from SAMS, have looked at it and it seems to be a step above the one I have. The only real issue with mine is the need to keep a close eye on the O rings on the torch and cutting heads. If these O rings start leaking it mixes in the handle which can get real exciting real fast.

    I lease the bottles from a local welding supply house and pay by the year, can't remember how much but it isn't a whole lot.

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