How to Convert from Acetylene to an Alternative Fuel LPG (Handy-gas)
The Acetylene Shortage
Acetylene has been the cutting fuel of choice for oxy-welding, brazing, and cutting because it reaches the highest possible temperature, provides clean, efficient cuts, and offers versatility. While most welders would prefer to continue using acetylene for their oxy-fuel welding, cutting there will be a shortage on acetylene for the foreseeable future due to US$ shortages.
While welders regularly debate in online forums the merits of acetylene verses the numerous alternatives available, the current shortage makes switching to alternatives a necessity for many welders who want to continue meeting their objectives. Without weighing in on the debate over which fuel is best for oxy-fuel cutting, welding this guide will provide information about an alternatives to acetylene in order to help welders find the best options for their projects.
Is It Worth Switching from Acetylene?
While many acetylene welders have had to consider switching for the first time due to the current fuel shortage, there are welders who have already switched from acetylene to LPG (Handy-gas) for cutting (technically “oxy-cutting)” and brazing. This guide will focus on using finding acetylene substitutes for cutting and brazing operations.
Below we’ll outline what you need to know about the alternative fuels, compare their benefits and drawbacks, and how to make the switch from acetylene.
Acetylene Alternatives for Welding and Cutting LPG (Handy-gas) for Oxy-cutting
Welders who switch to may need to wait a little longer in order to heat the metal, but if they use the outer edge of the heat cone, they’ll find that preheating won’t take much longer than acetylene. Though acetylene tends to pre-heat faster, there are some important changes welders need to make in order to switch over to . While many welders correctly note that it’s possible to switch over to LPG (Handy-gas) by only changing a nozzle.
Advantages of LPG (Handy-gas):
• More stable and safer than acetylene
• No 15 psi limit on working pressures
• No soot
• More BTU's of heat for heating large parts and thick metal
• Cuts metal quickly and with a very long tip to work distance
• Acetylene prices are rising much faster than propylene
• Better heat transfer properties than acetylene
Disadvantages of LPG Gas
• Requires different nozzle TIG Welding can supply.
• Slight learning curve on lighting and setting the torch